November 7, 1951

PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

I should like to make one other reference to prices. The Prime Minister was certainly very anxious about making comparisons, but he should remember one thing, and it is a very simple thing. Prices fluctuate, and sometimes the advertisers put in the paper articles that they know will be most attractive and draw customers to the stores. That is particularly true with respect to the price of eggs. It seems to be a futile business to try to compare egg prices. For five days there was a daily difference of 5 cents in the price of eggs here in Ottawa. On one day they were 82 cents, the following day 77 cents, the next day 72, the next day back to 77 and then up to 82 and down to 80. Some of these things are fluctuating from time to time; but in regard to the main items of clothing, hardware, house furnishings, and that sort of thing, all hon. members will agree with me when I say that prices are very much lower in the United States than they are in Canada. It is a great temptation for people who visit therebecause the legal limit is only $100 every three months-to bring in goods clandestinely.

For the remainder of my talk I should like to make reference to conditions in Newfoundland. Last year I drew attention to the low prices which the Newfoundland fishermen were receiving for their fish. As a result of the crisis that developed over the fish situation in Newfoundland, the federal government called for an investigation by the fisheries prices support board, and the provincial government ordered a committee to inquire into the prices which had been paid to fishermen. The committee which was appointed by the provincial government was headed by Mr. Bruce Feather, who was released by the federal government. He had been employed in the Department of Trade and Commerce. He brought in an interim report which the government said justified them in stating that 55 merchants had underpaid the fishermen, and that they were considering introducing retroactive legislation which would compel the merchants to pay higher prices than they had paid for the 1950 catch. I was afraid that the turmoil that was caused over this would prevent the fishermen getting anything from the fisheries prices support board; but fortunately the fisheries prices support board kept on an even keel and went ahead with their investigation. As hon. members know, a couple of days before the house opened the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Mayhew) made an announcement that as a result of their investigation they were going to pay to all fishermen in Newfoundland the sum of $1.30 per quintal. A quintal is the weight we use for fish. It is a Spanish word meaning 112 pounds or a hundredweight. The federal government is going to pay that, as soon as they get the necessary information to enable them to pay it. They are going to pay it direct to the fishermen, and they are paying it independently of what the fishermen received for their fish. Some fishermen received an average of $3, some $4, some $5 and some received $9, or perhaps even higher than that. I am not at all satisfied with the bare statement contained in this announcement. We should have from the minister or from his parliamentary assistant a statement as to how this figure of $1.30 was arrived at. It seems to me the government said that the full worth of the fish was $10.10, and that the average price received was $8.80, which left a balance of $1.30, and that therefore the fishermen should receive $1.30.

However, I do wish to say this, that the fishermen of Newfoundland are pleased, and are grateful to the government for having come to their rescue in the 1950 season, and for paying even this $1.30. Of course some of them will not make money by receiving

The Address-Mr. W. J. Browne that sum, because they received such low prices for their fish. However, it is something which the majority did not believe the federal government would pay at all.

This past summer, in company with my wife, I had the privilege of touring Newfoundland, travelling around the island on a boat operated by the Canadian National Railways. We went to Corner Brook, and then visited all the various outports along the coast of Newfoundland, up to Labrador, and down the east coast. I found it most interesting, a beautiful trip. The scenery is magnificent, and I would recommend it highly to any hon. members who might want to take a trip next summer. They could take the same steamship S.S. Northern Ranger, and make the trip around the coast.

I was about to say however that in the various outports I visited I saw evidence of work being done by the federal Department of Public Works, in the restoration of wharves. I saw many fine wharves built by that department. Perhaps I am a little jealous of the attention districts represented by Liberal members have received. It seems to me they received the lion's share of the moneys expended by the Department of Public Works. The Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) need not shake his head in a negative fashion, because I am satisfied that by far the greater portion of money has been spent in districts represented by Liberal members. That applies particularly to the constituency represented by the Secretary of State (Mr. Bradley). In fact I believe that in the last two years about $3 million have been spent in that riding alone. Mind you, I am not saying the money is not well spent. Nevertheless the fact is that that amount of money is being spent in his constituency. In Bonavista at the present time a wharf valued at $150,000 is being constructed and at Carbonear in the constituency represented by the hon. member for Trinity-Conception (Mr. Stick) another wharf valued at $150,000 is also being constructed.

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LIB

Leonard T. Stick

Liberal

Mr. Stick:

May I return the compliment by saying that I recommended the construction of a wharf in the constituency of St. John's West, and it is now under construction.

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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

I wonder if my hon. friend would enlighten me as to where it is?

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LIB

Leonard T. Stick

Liberal

Mr. Stick:

At Arnold's Cove.

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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

I am very puzzled now, because I had recommended that construction, and I am wondering whose influence was greater.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

I feel strongly about this. I visited the place with a Mr. Waveham, who carries on business there. I made an inspection and wrote several letters, and I have documentary proof to show that I recommended it. However, I am wondering whether I would have got it at all if I had not had the support of my Liberal friend from Trinity-Conception.

Last summer when I went around the island I noted a great deal of enthusiasm among the people. Fish had been taken in large quantities, and they were hopeful that this year was going to be a most successful one for them. Some of them complained to us that they could have taken much greater quantities of fish if they had had salt. This is a recurrent problem in Newfoundland, one to which I drew the attention of the house at the spring session, when I learned that some places were short of salt.

It seems to me it is necessary for some government, whether provincial or federal I do not know, to see to it that reserves of salt are available to be supplied to fishermen at those times when they are taking large quantities of fish, because the fisherman who takes these fish sometimes catches 200 or 300 quintals a day. It is a terrific amount -that would be $2,000 or $3,000 worth of fish in one day. Sometimes much of the catch is lost, completely, if they have not the salt. If they do not have it, the dead fish go into the ocean, and the fisherman has no return for his labour. It is something to which those in authority should give attention.

There was great enthusiasm in the country. As you know, we have down there a government led by a gentleman who has a reputation for great industry, a man who is indefatigable. He has travelled more miles in the last two years than all the cabinet ministers of the federal government put together. He has travelled by steamship, by train and by aeroplane-and if there were shooting stars available, he would be on them. He has travelled over the world, trying to introduce foreign capital into Newfoundland. But it seems the only foreign capital he could introduce was from Germany. He is assisted there by a gentleman who was once employed in the Department of Trade and Commerce at, I understand, $100 a month. The department, apparently, was unable to realize this man's great worth; but the premier of Newfoundland engaged him at the modest salary of $25,000 a year, as director of economic development, on the understanding that he was to initiate in Newfoundland one industry per month.

He has exceeded that, so that the premier has been able to announce that there are now twenty-five industries either started or conceived by this brilliant economic adviser, Mr. Alfred Valdmanis, who, in a book written in 1943 by Gregory Meiksins, was called the Quisling of Latvia and a nazi collaborator. That gentleman has come to the assistance of the premier of Newfoundland, who himself has been very keen on industrial development, the industrialization of the country. He has introduced Germans who have built a cement plant at Corner Brook to produce 600,000 bags of cement a year, at a cost of $3 million-[DOT] and supplied, of course, with German machinery. Indeed, all those plants are to be operated by Germans and are to be supplied with German machinery. There is one plant the government itself built to manufacture birch flooring, etc. I understand it was not with the approval of the economic director. This plant is just outside the city of St. John's, and has been constructed at a cost of $1,500,000. I have not seen any production from it yet, but I understand the man who built it has recently advertised birch junk for sale.

Other industries which are to be established in Newfoundland include a steel mill, and a machinery plant eight miles from St. John's, occupying 300 acres, which is going to employ 5,000 men, and which is to be the largest factory of its kind in Canada. There is a cotton mill to be built by the United Cotton Mills or Union Cotton Mills. I looked them up, but I could not find any record of them in Moody's. I did see a record of United Cotton Corporation, which makes cotton bandages for the Rexall drug stores. But I could not find the name of this industry at all.

There is to be a glove factory, a tannery and various other factories too numerous to mention. How are they to be financed? They are to be financed out of funds left by the commission of government, after it had been in charge of Newfoundland for twelve years. When the present government of Newfoundland took over, they had a nest-egg of between $40 million and $50 million which is now being used to finance these enterprises. The other day in the house I asked the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) how much of that money was on deposit with the federal government. I was told it was none of my business. I was told that that was a confidential matter between the provincial and federal government who looked upon themselves as bankers and would not release that information. At the same time the premier of Newfoundland was telling the people down there that there was $20 million in the

The Address-Mr. W. J. Browne federal treasury to the account of the provincial government. Who owns that money? Does the provincial government own it? Do the people of Newfoundland own it? If the people of Newfoundland own that money why is not a representative of the people of Newfoundland entitled to be told whether it is being expended? I feel that the government is not doing right when it refuses to give that information to a representative from Newfoundland. Last year they had no compunction about giving out that information. We were told in the spring that there was $20 million there, but I doubt very much if there is $20 million there today. If there is, it is certainly earmarked for some of these industries.

Mark you, these are socialized industries which the provincial government is undertaking to support to the extent of 50 per cent of the capital. I am sure our province will be a C.C.F. paradise with all these government enterprises which have either started or are about to be started. Such methods of carrying on industry do not appeal to all the people of Newfoundland. I have here the Evening Telegram of Friday, November 6, and I should like to read a paragraph or two from an editorial entitled "Bevan's Socialism a Model?" This newspaper supported the present premier of Newfoundland when he embarked upon his confederation campaign and has supported him ever since although it has become a reluctant follower when it found where it was being led by the nose. I would like my hon. friends to my left who are listening so attentively to pay attention to this.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

I do not think Newfoundland provincial politics should be aired here.

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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

This is a

most important matter for Canada. I notice that hon. members from Saskatchewan frequently bring up conditions in that province and I feel that I am entitled to proceed. The editorial reads:

Setting forth his political faith in a pamphlet, "Whither Socialism," Mr. Aneurin Bevan, aspirant to the leadership of the British labour party, holds that the entire economy of the country must be under the direct control of the government. In his opinion, there can be no such thing as a division between private enterprise and nationalization. What Mr. Bevan does not, of course, mention is that with the employers servants of the state, and with nowhere else to turn if they lost their jobs, they have to be subservient to their political bosses -the commissars, as they are known in the countries under communist domination. His declaration of faith reads:

"I regard it as an absolute prerequisite . . . that elected governments in the modern world should arm themselves with effective economic powers, because no democracy in a modern world is safe unless it becomes a socialistic democracy. There is no halfway house here at all. We must have a

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The Address-Mr. W. J. Browne

society in which the democratic institutions and the elected representatives of the people have their hands on the levers of economic power and where the massive movement of economic affairs are under central direction and control."

That is what is happening in Newfoundland, I am sorry to say. With the assistance of this man who was formerly called a Quisling we are having national socialism in Canada today. The editorial continues:

With the restoration in Newfoundland of the system of democratic government, by one measure after another which was passed through the legislature, with scant time allowed to permit the involvements of the contractual agreements thoroughly to be probed and revealed, the government has committed itself to national direction and control of the operations. It has provided the risk capital. In the house on Tuesday, it was stated by Premier Smallwood that the contracts into which the government had entered would involve in the form of loans and advances to breathe the breath of life into the various schemes an outlay of $25,000,000, and he did not consider that to be a great investment to provide 15,000 to 20,000 with employment. Of the factors vital to the permanent existence of the new industries-the costs of output, the markets to absorb them and among others, transportation expenses-nothing whatever has been revealed, and the answers to the searching questions by the independent member for Ferry-land throw little light on those matters.

It would almost appear that the government under Valdmanis tutelage is in process of putting into effect a system of economic nationalization not dissimilar to that expounded by the Bevan school of socialistic ideology. In view of the disconcerting results of its limited venture into the field of economic nationalization, the late British labour government shrank from further commitments in that direction . . .

Are we in this province moving out on the same slippery slope?

And again:

We do not know where the country stands because the information necessary to reach an intelligent opinion is not disclosed. The assembly is even refused to be permitted to examine the invoices of machinery for the factories, which as Mr. Cashin pointed out, was necessary to judge of its value to be set against government grants.

The premier of that province has called a sudden election for three weeks from Monday past and he says that the people will now have a chance to give him a mandate. The fact is that several of these industries have been started and commitments have been made in connection with others. Why has he stopped at this juncture like a rider on horseback in midstream? Why has he stopped to go to the people for a mandate? While the house of assembly was in session he did not want to disclose to his critics any of the facts or particulars about what had transpired up to the present time. The result is that the people have no information on which they could base their mandate. This gentleman will have to bear the responsibility for the ruin which he may be bringing upon this country by this mad venture into national socialism.

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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member's time has expired.

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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (Si. John's West):

I would not be much longer.

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LIB

Henry Byron McCulloch

Liberal

Mr. McCulloch:

We should abide by the rules of the house.

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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

In the absence of unanimous consent I cannot allow the hon. member to continue. Has the hon. member unanimous consent?

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?

Some hon. Members:

No.

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Some hon. Members:

Yes.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Has the time been changed?

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LIB

David Arnold Croll

Liberal

Mr. Croll:

The hon. member spoke last Monday.

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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I have allowed the hon. member five minutes beyond his time, but perhaps he could be given another couple of minutes.

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PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

There is only one other thing that I want to bring to the attention of this house in connection with this wild experiment that has been taken on by this man who has won the admiration of. some of the cabinet ministers, although I will not say of all. They are familiar with his methods of skulduggery by which he introduced confederation into Newfoundland. One feature of this that I should like to bring to the attention of every hon. member is that they are talking of nationalizing the fisheries. That would be the last straw. This is the place where the federal government can do something to stop this. Last year I asked the federal government to assist in organizing the fishermen in Newfoundland as they have been organized in Nova Scotia, to inaugurate co-operative methods of carrying on their business, but very little attention was paid to that suggestion. The provincial government jumped at the suggestion I made and put it into effect.

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LIB

John Hugh Proudfoot

Liberal

Mr. Proudfoot:

Probably the hon. member for Trinity-Conception (Mr. Stick) would recommend that.

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November 7, 1951