November 14, 1951

PC

Julian Harcourt Ferguson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ferguson:

The hon. member has no right to read it.

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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member for Regina City says that he has only a few more pages to read.

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LIB

Emmett Andrew McCusker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. McCusker:

I shall not delay the house much longer.

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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Probably the objection to

reading this speech might have been made a little earlier. Perhaps under the circumstances the house will give unanimous consent to the hon. member finishing.

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LIB

Emmett Andrew McCusker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. McCusker:

I notice the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) is amused and laughs. If I repeated a speech as frequently in this house as he does I would not have to refer to notes, but this is the first time this speech has been made.

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PC

Julian Harcourt Ferguson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ferguson:

My speeches are always made from knowledge and I do not have to read them.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

On a point of order, have I not the right to show my approval of Your Honour's ruling without being subjected to the remarks the hon. member has made?

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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

The ruling I made was that under the circumstances the hon. member for Regina City should be allowed to finish reading his speech.

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LIB

Emmett Andrew McCusker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. McCusker:

If I misunderstood the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre I will withdraw that remark.

In many of our communities the authorities are alert to their responsibility. In most parts of Canada civil defence programs are beginning to take on solid form. The federal government, for its part, is steadily increasing its capacity and programs to assist the provinces and, through them, the municipalities.

The Address-Mr. Argue

But the key to any really effective civil defence program is voluntary effort. Now that most civil defence organizations are ready to receive and train recruits, individual citizens must come forward in their thousands. To us in this house, aware of the necessity for what must be done in these days to ensure fellow Canadians against the effects of enemy attack, aware of the determined efforts of the federal government to play its part in this vital work, there is a clear responsibility to give leadership in our own communities in our local civil defence activities.

I know that many members are already active. But if we are not to close our eyes to reality, we more than any other group of Canadians, I suggest, should be leaders in developing Canada's civil defence program. By coming forward and volunteering to play our part as good citizens in our own communities, we will help to encourage the general citizens' movement now developing to support the efforts of the civil defence authorities.

Our objective in Canada is to build a responsible and yet realistic program for the protection of our civilian population. As a nation, our first goal is still to work with the free nations to preserve the peace. At the same time we are readying our military defences in case war is forced upon us. But all the while, and moving steadily from the planning into the training and operational stage, we are building a nation-wide network of co-operating civil defence organizations to ensure that if war should ever come upon us we will be ready to protect the lives and property of our fellow citizens.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to continue. I confess freely that I read a good part of it, but I wished to put it on record in full so that it might be of some service, even to my friend who interrupted.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. H. R. Argue (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, in speaking this afternoon I wish to emphasize to the government once again the really catastrophic situation that faces the farmers of western Canada with respect to disposing of this year's crop and their serious financial predicament, particularly for the farmers who have been unable to harvest any of the 1951 crop. I wish also to repeat that I am in full support of the demands of the Canadian Legion with regard to an increase in the war disability pension and the war veterans allowance.

I believe that the government and the people of Canada have a great duty toward our veterans who have helped in the fight for democracy in two world wars. I believe ihe people of Canada are most anxious that

their government meet the veterans' request in full. I want to make it abundantly clear that I support the Canadian Legion's request for a one-third increase in the war disability pension. While I welcome the resolution which forecasts an increase in the pension, nevertheless I regret it has not been stated therein that the request of the Legion would be met in full. I am most anxious that veterans on war veterans allowance shall have their pensions increased at least to the amounts requested by the Canadian Legion, namely, $50 for a single man and $100 for a married man. My opinion is that with today's cost of living these amounts are most modest and could be even higher. The November issue of The Legionary contains an excellent editorial with respect to the war veterans allowance. It points out:

It is regrettable that the government did not see fit to have a parliamentary committee set up to deal with war veterans allowance during the current fall session so that the increase, whatever it may be, could have helped to tide the recipients over the coming winter months, when expenses are heaviest. The government having announced its decision, however, The "Legionary can only express the fervent hope which it feels sure all ex-service men and women will share, that when the amount of the increase is determined, it will be sufficient to enable these gallant old defenders of Canada's freedom to spend their remaining years in reasonable comfort, free from fear of want or outright poverty. Nothing less than that will satisfy their younger or more fortunately placed comrades- nor, we firmly believe, the citizens of this country generally.

I further suggest that the government should give the same treatment to those veterans now receiving war veterans allowance as has been accorded to other Canadians who will be in receipt of the old age security pension. I think it would be most unfair to these veterans, and it would be dragging the means test in by the back door, if the war veterans allowance is reduced in any way to those recipients of it who qualify for the no means test old age pension. I believe the Canadian people are generous and want their government to meet the request of the Legion so that veterans on pension may be better able to meet the high cost of living.

Turning now to the situation confronting the farmers of the prairie provinces, I should like to outline first of all some of the facts of the present catastrophe. The first is that the 1950 crop was exceedingly large, was severely damaged by frost and consequently was of relatively low grade. The present crop is even larger, and because of adverse weather the grades are a good deal lower than normal. Much of the grain is being graded tough or damp. Last year's crop was large and we find, according to the grain

statistics weekly published by the dominion bureau of statistics, that on October 25 of this year there were on hand in all Canadian positions over 220 million bushels of wheat compared to something over 191 million bushels on the same date of the preceding year.

Not only has there been an increase in the amount of grain in storage at terminals, country elevators and other points but the bulk of the grain in storage is No. 5, No. 6 and feed wheat. As a result there is a real marketing problem. The very severe shortage of box cars in western Canada has been raised in this house already a number of times. Insufficient box cars are available and more elevators are becoming plugged week by week. I have here the latest map of congested pool elevator points in the province of Saskatchewan. Looking at it one can see quite readily that points on the C.P.R. lines are in a much worse position than points on the C.N.R. lines. I suggest to the government, and to the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) particularly, that they should take a hand directly in this situation and make certain that the C.P.R. allots a greater number of box cars, especially to points on their branch lines, so that the congestion may be alleviated. In replying to a supplementary question put by the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) on October 30 with respect to the number of congested elevator points in Saskatchewan, the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) had this to say, as recorded at page 512 of Hansard:

I must say that I have not received that wire. I did receive a letter from George Robertson, the secretary, signed by his own hand, as we say in the house, which mentioned the congested points. I did not count them, but if there were one hundred I would be greatly surprised.

That followed a statement by the member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) that there were 528 pool elevator points in Saskatchewan congested on that date. In my hand I have a report of the Saskatchewan wheat pool as it appeared in the Leader-Post of November 1. The first paragraph of that report reads as follows:

In our message to the Minister of Trade and Commerce under date of October 19 the minister was advised that as at that date 528 pool country elevators out of a total of 1,165 elevators are plugged for all practical purposes and cannot take in grain as offered.

The wheat pool had indicated to the Minister of Trade and Commerce on October 19 that there were 528 pool elevator points in Saskatchewan plugged, yet on October 30 the Minister of Trade and Commerce gets up in the house and says that so far as he knows there were less than 100 elevator points in

The Address-Mr. Argue Saskatchewan that were plugged. The Minister of Trade and Commerce should get his facts straight, and should realize that this is a deplorable situation. Unless something is done, great hardship will be suffered by the people of Saskatchewan. The situation is not getting any better.

In a further report a week later the Saskatchewan wheat pool said that instead of 528 wheat pool elevator points being plugged, there were then 663 pool elevator points in Saskatchewan that were unable to take grain as offered for sale. Once again I ask the government to take a hand in the situation, and to see that more box cars are made available for the disposal of grain in Saskatchewan. When the farmers are unable to market their grain, then some steps must be taken in order to provide the farmers with sufficient cash to pay their store bills and to meet their family living costs for the winter. In a question to the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) I asked that consideration be given to the suggestion that a 75 per cent advance payment be made on farm-stored grain. The Prime Minister stated that the matter is under consideration, but an official decision has not been reached yet.

I want to point out to the government that an advance payment equal to 75 per cent of the initial price on farm-stored grain is not a political question. In a letter to the government the premier of Saskatchewan made that request. I see by the Leader-Post that the leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal party, Mr. Walter Tucker, favours such a program. Farm organizations are calling upon the government to make an advance payment on farm-stored grain. I feel that, in a situation such as this, the government should act speedily to assist our farmers. At this session I have placed on the order paper a bill to provide for payment of storage on farm-stored grain. Under the present wheat board act the Canadian wheat board has authority to make a payment on farm-stored grain if directed to do so by regulation. The bill I have proposed would make it mandatory on the Canadian wheat board to make a payment on farm-stored grain. I believe it is only fair that the farmers should receive the same payment on farm-stored grain as that received by the elevator companies. Why should a farmer have to go to the expense of building and repairing granaries every year and receive no storage payment, when the elevator companies at the local points spend large sums of money building annexes in order to receive a payment of one-thirtieth of a cent per bushel per day from the wheat board for the grain stored in those annexes?

The Address-Mr. Argue

The Saskatchewan wheat pool has always handled a larger percentage of the farmers' grain when the wheat pool was in a position to accept all the grain the farmers offered to their own co-operative organization. When you have a situation, as you have at present, with over half of the wheat pool elevators plugged, then the farmers' own co-operative marketing organization is at a great disadvantage. The majority of the farmers haul their grain to their own co-operative marketing agency, the Saskatchewan wheat pool. But as soon as the pool elevators become plugged they are often forced, through financial circumstances, to haul their grain to the line elevators. If storage were paid on grain on the farm, a farmer could possibly then afford to store his grain on the farm until such time as there was room at his local elevator point for that grain. So I say that a storage payment, in addition to helping the individual farmer, would greatly assist the wheat pool, the farmers' own marketing organization.

If the government should decide, as I hope it will, to make an advance to farmers of 75 per cent of the initial price for wheat on the farm, it will be of material help to those farmers who have already harvested their grain but who are unable to market any substantial quantity of it. But it would still leave unassisted a smaller portion of farmers who are in an even worse position financially because they have been unable to harvest any of their crop. The premier of Saskatchewan has stated that over $200 million worth of grain is under the snow in Saskatchewan, and is likely to go through the winter unharvested. For those farmers who have their whole crop unharvested, and who have no hope of getting any harvesting done before next spring, I believe the government of Canada should co-operate with the provincial and municipal authorities in assisting the farmers by making a loan of $10 per acre on the crops still unharvested. Once again I say this question seems to me to be outside the realm of politics. The premier of Saskatchewan, and, as well, the leader of the Liberal party in that province, have advocated that plan. The rural municipalities are prepared to co-operate, as is the provincial government. A loan of $10 per acre on unharvested grain will be made if this government decides as it should to co-operate with the other governmental bodies. I have suggested to the government that the steps to be taken in order to deal with this calamitous situation should include a better allocation of box cars in the west, a 75 per cent advance on farm-stored grain, the payment of farm storage, and co-operation with other governments in the advancing of $10 per acre for grain which is unharvested. In addition to that, I believe TMr. Argue.]

that the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) should immediately announce the final payment on the 1950 crop and see to it that the cheques are mailed just as quickly as possible.

In an answer to a question of mine that was brought down today, I am informed that the wheat board account for the 1950 crop year was closed out on October 20, but the amount of payment and the price for wheat when the account was closed has not yet been determined pending, as the answer says, completion of the relevant accounting. From that return I would take it that it is going to be some considerable time before the final payment is announced, the cheques are in the mail, and the farmers receive their payment. In a situation such as this, where farmers are so desperately short of money, I think that the final payment on the 1950 crop-which is the farmers' own money-should be made available immediately, and that the Minister of Trade and Commerce should take steps to see that that is done.

So much then for the present marketing difficulties in western Canada. I now want to deal with the long-term wheat price. The present price is insufficient to cover their cost of production and provide a reasonable standard of living and a fair share of the national income. We in this group were not at all satisfied with the final payment made on the five-year pool. But as I have said before, farmers receiving $1833 a bushel as they did during that five-year period were in a much better financial position than they are at the present time. According to the dominion bureau of statistics' eleven-factor index, the average cost of production during that five-year period was 176 -1. The last available eleven-factor index was published in April of this year; and shows the cost of production at 232-5. If $1.83 was a fair price for wheat during the years 1945-49 on the basis of the then prevailing cost of production, then in order that the farmer may receive the same purchasing power today the price of wheat should be at least $2.42 per bushel. We all know that the final price is going to be very much lower than $2.42.

Canada signed the international wheat agreement plan. We in this group have always supported international agreements for the marketing of farm commodities. But we say to the government that never again should the farmers of western Canada be asked to support an agreement which sets a stable or frozen price for wheat a number of years in advance, unless the government will guarantee that they will not allow the farmers' cost of production to get out of hand

until a point is reached as it now is where that international wheat agreement price becomes completely inadequate.

As I have said already in this session on another matter, I believe that in the government's wheat policy-as in other policies affecting agricultural products-the farmers should have a guaranteed floor based on a parity price. The wheat farmer in the United States is infinitely better off than the wheat farmer in Canada. The United States government signed the international wheat agreement and agreed to supply a greater quantity of wheat than that supplied by Canada. But the United States government has never forced United States farmers to take merely the international wheat agreement price for wheat with their increasing cost of production. The cost of producing wheat has risen in the United States, but the United States farmer is guaranteed 90 per cent of parity, which this year is $2.17 a bushel.

In addition to that guarantee, the farmer in the United States receives any increase in the price finally obtained for wheat. He receives the highest prevailing price. The Chicago price recently has been approximately $2.55 a bushel. The United States farmer receives the full price. For the hundreds of millions of bushels of United States wheat being sold under the international wheat agreement the United States farmers are not asked to make up the difference, as are the farmers in Canada, but rather the government of the United States pays the difference between the highest price and the international wheat agreement price. In Canada, however, our government refuses to pay anything more than the international wheat agreement price; and in addition, it forces Canadian wheat producers to subsidize the Canadian consumer, at the present time, to the extent of more than 50 cents a bushel. I say it is a gross injustice to force any group within Canada to subsidize everybody else in Canada; and I think the time has arrived when the government should give to the wheat producers of Canada the best possible price for wheat going into the production of Canadian flour and for use in Canada.

If the government does not want wheat sold to the Canadian millers at $2.50 a bushel to result in an increase in the price of bread, then I suggest to the government that it provide a subsidy to the Canadian consumer in order that the price of bread will not be increased. But in the meantime it is certainly unjust and discriminatory for the government to force prairie wheat producers to subsidize everybody else in Canada, when the Canadian government and the Canadian public are

The Address-Mr. Low risking absolutely nothing in the way of placing a floor price under wheat. I think it is time the wheat producers of Canada received a guaranteed price for wheat year in and year out, at a price commensurate with the cost of production.

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I impress upon the government the need to give more than mere consideration to all of the questions we have raised in regard to storage, the 75 per cent advance, increased box car facilities and so on. The time has arrived when the wheat producers in western Canada want action, not merely consideration.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Solon E. Low (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, I make no apologies whatever for taking part in this debate the second time. I say that because, since I first spoke on the C.C.F. amendment, a number of very important things have taken place in the house which require that I do say something this afternoon. I do not intend to take very long to do it, but I feel perfectly justified in speaking in support of the amendment which was moved by the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Quelch) on behalf of the Social Credit group.

Before I launch into things which I want to say in connection with the amendment and other things, Mr. Speaker, I should like to comment just briefly on some things that have been said here this afternoon by other hon. members. First, the hon. member for Regina City (Mr. McCusker), who placed before the house what I think is very useful information concerning civil defence. Let me assure you, Mr. Speaker, and the hon. member for Regina City, that I look upon this whole matter of civil defence as of very great importance to this country, and I feel that too much information about it cannot possibly be given to the Canadian people. Therefore I welcome any information we can get here. I have been personally interested in the whole program for civil defence, and have stated on various occasions what my own views were. I do not want to go into them this afternoon, but I should like to point out to the hon. member for Regina City that in the program as it is now going forward something seems to be lacking.

I am told by various people that considerable complaint is being made about the training schemes that are being conducted in various centres throughout the country. The complaint is that trainees are taken into the centres; they are given a period of training in civil defence, and when they go back home to their own communities they have nothing to work with. Well, that is like what the United States government did a few

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The Address-Mr. Low years ago. About the time that they were building the Alaska highway, early in the second world war, the United States government sent medical officers and nurses up into the far reaches of Alaska to teach the Eskimo the art of modern living. They thought that the Eskimos were backward. They brought representatives from the various tribes into certain centres to give them training, and then they were supposed to go back and help their less fortunate friends and members of their families and their communities. Well, one of the interesting things they did was to tell the Eskimos that they should be more up-to-date in the way they expressed themselves in art. As you know, the Eskimos are very clever in the carving of ivory tusks and that sort of thing. They make ivory statuettes, and very interesting little things that become very valuable. But these people from the United States said: "You are doing it wrong. What you need to do is use our electric stylus." So they trained these young people in the art of carving with an electric stylus, and when they went back home to their igloos, what did they have? Nothing at all. I am afraid that in some respects the civil defence program reminds me of the program of training the Eskimo in the art of modern living. What I and what I believe everyone who is keenly interested in this thing and concerned about it would like to see is more equipment to work with in the various communities that are concerned or that may be in danger, so that when the trainees finish their courses and go back to their communities they will have something worth while to do and worth while to work with. I just throw that suggestion out, but I do want to commend the hon. member for Regina City on bringing the matter before the house as he did this afternoon. I for one was not bored by his reading the address. Sometimes we find that people have to read addresses in order to get the details on record.

I should also like to commend the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue) on what I think was a very timely and sensible address this afternoon on the western Canadian farm situation. I understand that he has now gone to the same committee that I should have been attending, and which I had to sort of chuck for a little while in order to speak, as I wanted to say something on this amendment.

The hon. member for Assiniboia raised this whole tragic situation as it exists in the prairie provinces, and it is no less than tragic in many parts of those provinces, particularly in the province of Alberta, although

I am not at all minimizing the difficulties they are having in Saskatchewan and in Manitoba. I am advised that in Alberta not more than 49 per cent of one of the greatest crops in their history has been safely gathered in. That is a tragic situation. Last summer I saw many wheat crops that would have yielded 60 bushels to the acre. Many of them now lie under the snow or lie flat on the ground and frozen so that they cannot be harvested.

Much of the beet crop in the Lethbridge southern area is still under the snow, and perhaps they never will get a good deal of it. These things are hard to meet. They are things about which we can do little in this parliament, but we certainly can do some other things to alleviate the results of this tragic situation as they affect the farmers in those smitten areas.

I should like to say a word about this whole matter of marketing. People in many parts of Alberta had a hard time to get their grain to market. Those who were fortunate enough to harvest the grain could not get it into the elevators because they became plugged very early in the season. In the Peace river country, which I represent, we have not been able to ship more than a very small portion of our grain simply because there has been a shortage of cars, and in many parts of my riding today you find huge piles of oats, barley and wheat out in the fields subjected to severe weather conditions. Under these circumstances it is inevitable that the grain will deteriorate and farmers will take great losses. Why is it there? Simply because there is no storage space to receive it. The elevators have been plugged for weeks. There have been no cars in some areas in the Peace river country, and particularly north of the river, for quite a long time, and many fewer cars than there ought to have been to bring out the wheat that is there.

Let me say, Mr. Speaker, that in the area around Grimshaw, Fairview, Hines Creek and points in between, there are vast quantities of milling wheat. That is something that is important. It is milling wheat that ought to be brought into market as quickly as possible. I understand that vessels have actually sailed across the seas from European points to be loaded with our wheat here in Canada, and they have had to return empty, or had to wait for quite a lengthy period before they could load. There has been quite a lot of milling wheat in the Peace river country that should have been brought out. You see, we have been more fortunate up there than they have been in the southern part of the province, although we are five

hundred miles farther north than the Lethbridge district. I understand we have been able to harvest about 80 per cent of our wheat. Some of it, as I said, is of milling quality.

I urge upon the wheat board who, I understand, have direction of shipping policy now, and I urge upon the transport controller, to see to it that a fair allocation of available cars is made so that grain can be drawn out of the Peace river country, and taken to market.

The situation is such that the farmers in that area cannot pay their debts, because they cannot market any grain. They cannot buy the clothing they need and the clothing their children need, because they cannot market their grain. That is why I think some suggestion such as that offered by the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue) is timely. I say the government ought to give consideration to allowing some sort of advance on grain stored on the farms, so as to help those people out. It is a cold country, and when winter sets in up in that area, it stays. The children of families up there need warm clothing and good food; and they cannot have it until the farmers market their crops.

The government should also attend to something else. The shipping situation now existing in the Peace river country is not one peculiar to this year, but is one which develops all too often. Almost every year for quite a number of years we have had a shortage of box cars and grain cars up there. We are told one of the reasons is that the Peace river country is isolated. Of course it is isolated; but one of the biggest reasons for this is that the railways in this country do not supply that far northern area with its fair share of shipping space.

I believe the government ought to put pressure on the railroads to build a link from the western terminus of the Northern Alberta Railways, at Hines Creek, on the north side of the river, or from Dawson Creek on the south, to the Pacific coast; or to link up at some point with the Pacific Great Eastern Railway; and it should be done just as quickly as possible. That is the only way the people in that area can get justice in the matter of shipping. I appeal to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) and the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) to see what they can do to relieve the bad situation that develops in all too many years in that area.

I have one further consideration. I am beginning to think the government ought to give consideration to the building of a storage elevator in that great northern area, where

The Address-Mr. Low grain could be accumulated, properly cleaned, properly dried and processed before coming out. I believe this would effect a large saving not only to the farmers themselves but to the wheat board. I am asking the government to give consideration to the building of a government elevator with a capacity of one or two million bushels up in that area, so that the farmers may market their wheat. In those years when we have large quantities of frozen or low-grade wheat it can be received into the elevator and properly dried. Some of it may require processing and cleaning before it is dried out. I believe this might be a solution for some of the difficulties in that part of the country.

I should like now to say a few words about the subamendment moved on behalf of this group by the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Quelch). Perhaps I had better read it again because, while it has been put on the record a number of times, I believe it does not do any harm to draw it to the attention of hon. members frequently.

The subamendment is worded as follows:

That the amendment be amended by adding thereto the following words:

"Furthermore we regret that Your Excellency's advisers have failed to compensate the recipients of war veterans allowance for the increase in the cost of living by an appropriate increase in the amount of the allowance."

No group of people in Canada are more desirous of some increase in their allowance than these people who have been receiving or are likely to receive war veterans allowances. We moved the subamendment because we were sincere and earnest in our efforts to try to get some help for this particular group of people, who have been suffering because of the terrific increase in the cost of living, and who have not been able in many instances to live decently.

The government has received appeals from veterans organizations throughout Canada asking that the same kind of consideration be given in connection with war veterans allowances as was given in connection with pensions. But when the appeal was made on behalf of war veterans and their dependents, the government has said, "Well, we will give consideration, anyway, to doing something some time. Perhaps next session we will take the matter up, when a committee is appointed."

Let me point out that when the urgent call for men went out in 1914 and again in 1939, asking them to give their time and effort, and their very lives if necessary, to save the world for democracy, these men did not say, "Well, we will set up a committee next spring to consider the matter, and if at that time it is thought advisable we may

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The Address-Mr. Low ask our people to do something about it." They did not do that at all. They asked no questions. They made no reservations or qualifications whatever. Those men saw their duty. They came forward at once and gave themselves to the task awaiting them, without waiting for committees or for consideration of any kind.

They did their duty. They protected Canada in her time of stress, and I say it is only common decency that Canada should protect them now in their time of economic trouble. One can imagine these veterans and their families attempting to get along on $70 a month, with a cost of living that has almost doubled since 1939. It is shameful, and it casts a shadow of doubt upon the gratitude of the Canadian people. _

It is true that at one time we established for these men allowances that were perhaps as generous as those provided by any nation in the world. At that time they were fairly adequate. In those days the Canadian dollar would buy a dollar's worth of goods. But that time has gone. Today the allowances are not adequate to the needs of the veterans, their widows and dependents. Today, to give these men the allowances they are now given is just about like giving a person an umbrella to protect him in a hurricane.

A thankful people should do more than that. We can do more.

I have not heard a single person argue in the house that we cannot do more. It was with the hope that the consciences of members in the House of Commons might be touched and quickened that we Social Crediters moved our subamendment. We have no desire in moving it to embarrass anybody. We have no desire to play politics with such a serious matter. I claim that the amendment is straightforward. Everyone who has spoken on it thus far has approved of it, has indicated his support, and this includes members of all the opposition parties. There have been only one or two on the opposition side of the house, speaking in this debate since the amendment was moved, who did not indicate their support. An interesting thing to note is that not one single speaker has risen in his place since the amendment was moved to speak against it or to indicate in any way that he was opposed to it.

What does it mean? It means that there is a remarkable unanimity of opinion in this house with regard to these war veterans allowances. I am certain that if they were free to speak on this matter at this time there would be remarkable unanimity among Liberal members. I am not blaming them for not taking the floor at the moment, but I

do submit that before this debate closes somebody from the Liberal side ought to get up and give good reasons why war veterans allowances should not be increased to at least $100 per month for married and $50 per month for single veterans. That should be done now and not wait until next spring.

There is a fund from which this money can be obtained. That fund is not depleted. Many of these veterans are going to be in straitened circumstances this winter. Cold weather is coming on and their dependents may need warm clothing. Goodness knows, warm clothing costs money these days. Just go down and see how much it costs to buy a decent suit of underwear for a child, let alone warm underclothing for a veteran who may be working outside in the cold weather, provided he can get a job. That is the catch because most of them are suffering some form of disability.

Surely no one can argue that this is not the time to help these men. We should hang our heads in shame if we allow this debate to conclude without having a statement from the government side to the effect that they intend to do the decent thing at this session for these veterans and their dependents. The cost would not be very great. If it were a matter of $100 million or $200 million, or even $25 million or $30 million it might be necessary to wait until next spring, but let me point out some of the facts. The total number of war veteran allowance recipients as at September 30, 1951, was 30,876; the total number of widows of veterans was 8,038; of dependents, 724; of orphans, 143: or a total of 38,781.

The report of the Department of Veterans Affairs for the year ended March 31, 1951, gives the total annual liability as at March 31, 1951, including the liabilities as a result of the amendments of the 1950 session, as $23,096,744. To provide $100 to married veterans and $50 to single veterans, and to do the other things that have been asked for by the veteran organizations across the country, would not cost this country more than $6 million or $7 million annually.

Is it not shameful for us to hesitate and say that we will take up this matter next spring when only $6 million or $7 million is involved to bring happiness and a decent way of life to 38,000 of our valiant people who are faced with the near approach of Christmas? Hon. members of this house will have pretty hard hearts if they do not do something about the situation at this session.

Speaking on behalf of the members of my group may I say that we appreciate deeply the stand that has been taken by the representatives of all the parties on this side of

the house who have spoken. I should like to mention them individually, but let it be reduced to this simple sentence. I think some very stirring and eloquent appeals have been made and we appreciate the support that has been indicated because we are earnest and sincere about this amendment.

Let me say by way of conclusion that there would be no need of forcing a vote on this subamendment if someone on the government side, preferably the minister or his parliamentary assistant, would rise in his place and give the house the assurance that before the end of the session something will be done. The hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Quelch) says that it will be all right if I say to you, and to the house through you, that in that circumstance he would be prepared to withdraw the subamendment immediately and not attempt to force a vote on it. That is how we feel in connection with war veterans allowances.

During the course of his remarks the other night on this same matter the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Herridge) said that he was supporting this subamendment. He made a most interesting appeal for granting to these veterans and their dependents some measure of relief from the high cost of living. Then the hon, member went on to deliver a mild reprimand or rebuke to the member for Peace River because of an alleged statement that he was supposed to have made in British Columbia. As reported on page 946 of Hansard of November 12, the hon. member made this statement:

I regret I find that duty requires me to bring to the attention of the house some of the remarks of his leader-

He was referring to the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Quelch).

-on a certain occasion and to do my best to correct the false impression he may have created. I am speaking of the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low).

Then the hon. member for Kootenay West is reported as follows on page 947:

I have been asked by a number of members of the Fruit Growers Association of British Columbia, to which I belong, to bring this matter before the house to correct the false impression created by the hon. member's remarks. I will be generous enough to say that I think the hon. member for Peace River spoke without thoroughly examining the situation, and without a full knowledge of the facts.

Then the hon. member proceeded to give some valuable information, which I deeply appreciated, and he went on further to give some kindly advice to me and other members of the house, which I also appreciated. We cannot have too much good advice, but I usually like to see the giver of advice prepared to take his own medicine. I do not like to see doctors prescribe certain things

The Address-Mr. Low for patients unless they are prepared under similar circumstances to take their own medicine. Evidently that is something that the hon. member for Kootenay West was not prepared to do. He said to me in effect: A lot of trouble can be stirred up if people talk about things they know nothing about; it is always wise, if you are going to have something to say, to get the facts. I agree with that; I think that is sound advice, and I am quite prepared to follow it and to thank him for it. But the hon. member turned right round and did what he accused me of doing. He did not get the facts. He did not attempt to.

The hon. member was doing his duty because he had been asked by the fruit growers association to raise this question on the floor of the house, and I suppose he took as his cue a letter which he received from them, or maybe several letters. Then he said he had seen a dispatch in a Vancouver paper, had read an article in Country Life, and had been asked by the fruit growers to bring up the matter on the floor of the house. I suggest that the hon. member had a perfectly easy way of finding out if the alleged statements had been made, but he did not, and because he did not he took for granted that the reports he had read were true. He accused me of taking for granted some things that somebody told me were true.

I suggest with all deference, and with the kindliest feeling toward the hon. member for Kootenay West, that very often too much can be said about certain things and a lot of trouble can be stirred up without getting at the facts of the situation. That is exactly what has happened in this case. Actually what my hon. friend did the other night was to try to correct impressions not created by me but created by a newspaper report that did not accurately represent what I had said at my Summerland meeting. My attention was drawn to this newspaper report by a telegram which I received in Mission, B.C., a few days after I had been in Summerland, from the president of the fruit growers association, Mr. Garrish. I dictated a reply to that telegram and arranged to have it sent from Salmon Arm, British Columbia, on the second day of October. In it I explained the situation to Mr. Garrish and exactly what I had said.

Evidently Mr. Garrish did not make that letter available to Mr. Hayden, the writer of the article that was quoted by my hon. friend as having appeared in Country Life. Furthermore, I did reply to the article that appeared in Country Life, and I am going to read into the record what I said as a means of correcting this whole situation, if I possibly can. I

1026

The Address-Mr. Low do not need to quote all of it, but I want to read the pertinent part of the letter which I sent to Mr. Charles A. Hayden, editor and manager of Country Life in Vernon, British Columbia, on November 6. It reads as follows:

It is quite evident that you were not present at my meeting in Summerland. It is also quite apparent that your whole article is based on hearsay which you have assumed to be wholly true, without making any effort to check its accuracy. Moreover, it appears that you have not seen, or heard of, a letter which I wrote to Mr. A. R. Garrish on October 2, and arranged to have typed and posted to him from Salmon Arm. This letter was in reply to the telegram which Mr. Garrish sent to me on the evening I spoke in Mission. If you did see my letter, then your article is all the more amazing in that you completely ignored the facts stated therein. I would rather think that you hadn't seen it.

A copy of my letter to Mr. Garrish is attached hereto. It will make clear to you what I did say at my Summerland meeting, which was the only place where I made any comments about the fruit situation, except at Mission and Salmon Arm when I merely replied to Mr. Garrish's telegram in much the same terms as expressed in my letter.

Now, sir, I should like to make it perfectly clear to you that in my Summerland meeting I never mentioned the B.C. fruit growers organization. I did not even allude to them in my speech. I did not attempt to blame them for any situation whatsoever. My only reference to "gestapo" methods was in connection with the practice of stopping visiting cars and trucks and requiring them, before leaving B.C., to unload and leave any fruit for which the drivers cannot show a receipt as having been purchased through "authorized channels." Even my reference here was specifically to surplus fruits, or fruits which for some reason were considered unsaleable, and which might have been given to the visitors as a gift, or which might have been traded to the visitors for grain feeds so badly needed by B.C. farmers. I was not referring to the fruits ordinarily considered by the B.C. fruit growers to be marketable at a fair return to the farmer. Even then, I did not blame the fruit growers organization for the practice, for I am thoroughly acquainted with the market problems under which they labour in the present financial state of affairs in this country.

I did refer in my Summerland speech to the year 1950 when the big problem harassing the fruit growers was the problem of finding a lucrative market for 8 million boxes of apples and a bumper crop of plums and some other fruits. I want to make it abundantly clear that I did not at Summer-land, nor at any other point, advocate a return to what you call "wildcat" selling. In the course of my public life I have always advocated orderly systems of marketing under the local control of producers boards or organizations, with sympathetic and helpful assistance from provincial and dominion departments of trade, finance and agriculture. If the mischievous reporter who rushed out of my meeting and garbled what I did say had remained long enough to hear the whole story, he would have learned that the sort of marketing system which I believe would be successful in your province, as well as other parts of Canada, is not very different from the system presently followed by the B.C. Fruit Growers Association. If he had stayed long enough he would have learned that the emphasis in my address was placed on what become "unsaleable surpluses" of good fruits in many years of cur experience.

In that part of my Summerland address dealing with fruit marketing I placed the emphasis on three things, namely:

1. Encouragement of the production of an optimum quantity of fruits in those areas that are suited to fruit growing.

2. Close co-operation between growers and provincial and dominion authorities to ensure orderly and complete distribution, with smallest possible wastage, of the fruit that is produced.

3. The use of a compensated price discount type of subsidy, to ensure that the people of Canada can buy the fruit at a price to the producers which represents a fair profit to them on their investment and their efforts. It would require only a comparatively small per capita increase in consumption of any one of our fruits in any year to cause a surplus to disappear entirely.

With all these facts and proposals before you as I said and used them, how can you possibly contend that I "basely harmed" the fruit growers of B.C.? I am wondering now if you are fair and just enough to print these letters in the next issue of your periodical. I hope so. My thanks if you do. I have nothing but good will towards the B.C. Fruit Growers Association.

That ends the letter I sent to Mr. Hayden in answer to the article which appeared in the October issue of Country Life. Let me say most emphatically, Mr. Speaker, that I have never at any time on my visits around the country attacked organizations like the B.C. Fruit Growers Association because I know what they have gone through. I lived on the prairies. I saw the development of our co-operatives and pools, and appreciated the necessity that drove our people to organize these pools and co-operatives. I know the terrible difficulties they had during the thirties to market their products. At the same time I have always deplored waste of any kind, especially when there are thousands of people needing and wanting what is being wasted.

I know that nature is prodigal in many years, especially in the production of fruits, and that sometimes vast surpluses of some of these fruits are produced which to many people appear to be unsaleable. I am aware that fruit surpluses are very perishable but there is no insurmountable obstacle, in my judgment, to getting them to people who will make good use of them. The co-operative efforts of such organizations as the B.C. Fruit Growers Association to prevent waste and to distribute efficiently are most commendable, and I have nothing but the highest praise for them. I think they have gone a long way, but their co-operation can only go so far. In addition to their own co-operative efforts, they require the co-operation of the provincial and federal governments through the departments of Agriculture and Finance to make world markets available. The group co-operatives will not prevent waste of good food. They will not achieve full and efficient distribution of the fruit unless the people of Canada have the purchasing power available with which to buy the fruits that are produced. Now, that is fundamental, and that

was the thing I stressed in my speech at Summerland. Here is where the federal government must take the responsibility, because they have the authority to see to it that sufficient purchasing power is distributed amongst the people of Canada so that they can buy all the fruit that is offered for sale.

The fact is that many thousands of our people would like to get more fruit, or even some fruit-I will put it that way. But in spite of this so-called buoyant period, the people have to spend what little they have for what they consider to be much more pressing needs. I believe it is clear to everybody in this house that if fruit and bread and butter are competing with one another for the meagre dollars people do have in their pockets, then fruit generally comes off second best. That is the difficulty: the people have not got the purchasing power for both. It is a fact also that we have never had a fruit crop which would not have been entirely bought up if the Canadian people had had the money to buy it. In the years when there were surplus apples, it would have required only a small increase in the per capita weekly consumption to cause the surplus to entirely disappear. One more box per family per year in Canada would have caused the disappearance of 3 [DOT] 5 million boxes. That is the point I was emphasizing in my address in British Columbia. We Social Crediters have a technique by which such a thing as increasing this per capita consumption sufficient to do away with any surplus can be accomplished. I refer to the consumer discount mechanism. It was this sort of thing that I placed before my Summerland meeting. I did not blame the British Columbia Fruit Growers Association. I did deplore some of the things they have to do under the present economic set-up, but I blamed then, as I blame now, the provincial and federal governments for allowing those conditions to exist and to persist; conditions which make necessary, in the interests of self-preservation, a lot of peculiar and illogical practices by fruit growers as well as other producers in this country.

That is all I am going to say about it, Mr. Speaker. I have placed my case before you in answer to the statements made the other night by the hon. member for Kootenay West. I do not bear him any ill will for bringing the matter to the attention of the house. I thank him, because it gives us an opportunity of getting this matter cleared away. I assure him again that I bear the B.C. Fruit Growers Association no ill will; I have no desire to hurt them or place any more obstacles in their path than they have. I only wish to be helpful and this is the spirit in which I spoke to the meeting at Summerland.

The Address-Mr. Low

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

May I ask the hon. member a question? In June, 1949, did he not say that the small fruits at Yarrow in the province of British Columbia were going to waste? I am quoting from memory, and I can be corrected if I am wrong. Did he not say that the fruit was rotting in the sun in barrels? I presume the hon. member did not know that those small fruits had already been purchased by the British government at a sacrifice, in so far as the price to the farmers was concerned. Did the hon. member make that statement at Abbotsford, Chilliwack and other places when, if he had inquired, he would have learned the facts? I know the hon. member, and I know he wants to be fair. I have every appreciation of his sincerity, but I believe he made that statement as recorded in the press in June, 1949. Is the hon. member not willing to admit-

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SC

William Duncan McKay Wylie

Social Credit

Mr. Wylie:

When you sit down.

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. Cruickshank:

Either the hon. member is in favour of the co-operative movement, the B.C. Tree Fruits and the Fraser Valley Co-operative Union which markets our small fruits, or he is not. Are you in favour or are you not?

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Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

Mr. Speaker, I certainly favour the co-operative efforts that are being made and that have been made through both my hon. friend's Fraser Valley constituency and my hon. friends for Kootenay West (Mr. Herridge) and Kootenay East (Mr. Byrne). I have never at any time criticized those activities, but I did-I am going to answer my hon. friend's first question-during the election campaign of 1949 draw the attention of the people of Canada to the fact that there were large hogsheads of berry pulp lying out under the sun at Abbotsford. I saw them with my own eyes. I was taken over by the manager of the co-operative plant there, a Mennonite plant, who showed me these surpluses and told me definitely that they could not be sold. Furthermore, he told me, Mr. Speaker, what I have heard the hon. member say in this house often- no one has said it more often than he-that fruits were allowed to go to waste, and that in his own constituency there were surpluses that had to be moved somehow.

At that time, Mr. Speaker, I claimed, as I claim now, that those surpluses that were lying out under the sun were not returning a single cent to the growers, and that something ought to be done to see that they were distributed amongst the Canadian people. I am told that it was not long after that that the federal government did something about it, so that the berry pulp was taken care of and was used. I am quite sure that what I

The Address-Mr. Ferguson said had the effect of causing some action on the part of the government that was locked in an election campaign.

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PC

Julian Harcourt Ferguson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. H. Ferguson (Simcoe North):

The

longer I sit here as a member of parliament, the more I am reminded of that very popular song "Cruising down the river on a Sunday afternoon." This government frequently reminds me of that picture, cruising down the river on a Sunday afternoon. So far as the vitally important things pertaining to this country are concerned, they are still cruising along. Let me remind you that last June there were four boatloads of these sailors who reached the open sea of public opinion, and they were badly wrecked. I believe when the next election comes along this government will find it is not cruising down the river on a Sunday afternoon, and it will be wrecked.

So far as a national government with national ideas is concerned, it certainly is an eye-opener to reflect upon the fact that this government has been in power since approximately 1935. They have simply steered away from a reef here and a reef there. They have not faced up to actual realities. Their whole desire is to stay in power at any price, irrespective of the suffering of the people, as long as they can blindfold the people to their suffering.

Today we find what? We find housing shortages, transportation lacking for wheat, armed forces not adequate or not equipped properly actually to meet the conditions that face Canada and the world today. Our armed forces and their equipment are sufficient to meet the viewpoint of this government as to requirements, but it is as plain as anything in the world that they are not sufficient to meet the unfortunate requirements that we find in the world today. This government are saying: We are doing all right; we are doing our fair share. They seem to be afraid to set an example, as they should, to the entire world, and to step out much further than they have in their contribution to world events and the progress toward peace.

Since 1935 this government has not shown, as it could have, a great national spirit, a great desire to develop a great country nationally. In the year 1951 we find ourselves puttering around with this government over the damming of a river, something which most people believe to be essential and absolutely necessary, in a great and glorious province called Saskatchewan. It is being pushed around as usual. In the matter of the irrigation of these farms, the development of the public utilities and the power projects of the province of Saskatchewan we are trying to leave that poor sister province of ours to

develop itself without the proper and necessary urgent aid that should have been given years ago. It is all right for us to talk as businessmen and say: We have another commission. We will see what this commission has to say. But I contend that a government composed of businessmen able to grasp the significance of the potentialities of the Dominion of Canada would have said to the people of Canada years ago either one of two things. They would have said: The damming of this South Saskatchewan river is not feasible; or they would have said: It should be gone ahead with at once. We have no assurance in the house today that this project is workable or desirable or, if it is, that it will be gone ahead with in one month, six months or five years. Every member of the House of Commons knows that he is in a quandary, with the probable exception of a few members of the cabinet. The rest of Canada, with a population of about 14 million people, are wondering what is going to be done with regard to a project which, if carried out, would result in tremendous benefits to Canada from coast to coast.

We in Ontario are interested in the development of every part of Canada from St. John's to Vancouver. We realize that the essential development of every province will be a great boon to Ontario, the province in which I live. Ontario cannot prosper unless all of Canada prospers. No province of Canada can prosper as it should without the development of this entire great dominion, supported by Canadians from coast to coast with one thought in mind, namely the development of a great country.

We talk about high taxes and the high cost of living. Both those conditions can be laid at the feet of this government. This is a wealthy country. This is not a poverty-stricken country which cannot produce the wherewithal to keep our people employed in developing the country from coast to coast. That is true of every single province, without exception. But what do we find? We find the cost of living increasing, not because we are short of the things that God gave to Canadians and not because we are short of the necessary monetary remuneration for effort. We find it increasing because we are short of labour, because we are short of planned immigration for this country. What did the minister of immigration do during the war period? He sat and drew his wages and did nothing. When the war was over, everybody wondered what the immigration development would be in the Dominion of Canada. We got the usual thing: procrastination from one minister after the other. Right to this minute-whether it is the fault of the present minister or whether it is a disease he has contracted from this

government since he has been minister-there is the same old lack of planned immigration.

We talk about the development of the great St. Lawrence waterway. If the word were given tonight to go ahead with it, you have not the necessary cement or materials and you have not the labour to produce all the necessary commodities. It is all poppycock. There is absolutely no common sense in anything this government tells the public today. They may as well face up to the facts.

Then when we come to our veterans allowances, what do we find? Imagine a country like the Dominion of Canada saying what has been said to one group-and it should have been any other group but that one-the war veterans, men drawing burnt-out pensions agreed on by this government and supported wholeheartedly by everybody in Canada; men who served in the first war and who lay in the mud every night in the first month on Salisbury plains, who had to move their blankets every day they were there for the first month; men who stood in the trenches without adequate reinforcements for days, and who spent half the time in the front lines with water up to their knees. It was felt and truthfully believed that these men had aged ten years already. The man who was thirty in 1914, thirty-five years later is sixty-five; the man who was verging on forty is seventy-six, which, plus the ten which this government agreed he had aged-and that was felt to be so by every honest and decent citizen in Canada- makes that man eighty-six now. That group of aged people have been selected by this government to be under control and to have rationed out to them an inadequate amount of money with which to keep themselves and to provide themselves in any slight degree with the comforts of life which they should be enjoying in the dimming days of their life on this earth.

Can any man in the House of Commons imagine a man who feels the ravages of his service, a man who although he is sixty-five feels he is seventy-five, having to go out and cut a lawn or shovel snow from in front of the home of a man who is a little bit more fortunate with respect to worldly possessions, or to tend a furnace, trudging through the snow early in the morning and late at night, and with the little pittance he may derive from this source to augment his meagre $40 a month on which he is now trying to eke out an existence? How can any member of this government face a veteran on the street, shivering with the cold this winter- as he will within the next few days, or certainly within the next few weeks-and say: I am a member of the government that is at

The Address-Mr. Ferguson fault with regard to contributing needed money to the burnt-out veteran. I am a member of the government but I never stood on my feet and said: These men cannot possibly live and keep body and soul together in their dying days, their days of need, they cannot do it on $50 a month. Try it.

If you men do not know the prices of food today, if your wives do all the buying, ask them what they pay for food. Can you pay your rent, buy your clothing and pay your necessary doctor's bills, more particularly at that age; can you buy your food on $50 a month? No, you cannot.

I believe that the government is responsible for the present high cost of food. That is all the more reason why, without any further procrastination or juggling of facts, this government should proceed immediately to try to erase the blight which is already on their characters by saying: "We will remember these men who have aged ten years over their actual age, and we will give to them the moneys that are rightly theirs and what they have earned as protectors of this Dominion of Canada." As an hon. member said today, these men without hesitation on August 4, 1914, and in the years following 1914, volunteered, and Canada was proud of her voluntary army. They stepped forward and they offered their lives. They did not hesitate. But in the year 1951, the government of the Dominion of Canada-may I ask the cabinet ministers to return to the cabinet room and consult each other. This is not the place to hold cabinet meetings. If they are not interested in what I have to say on behalf of the burnt-out veterans of the Dominion of Canada, then it is pretty near time they retired behind the curtains, because there are other hon. members, including hon. members of the Liberal party, who are interested in what I have to say. I am glad to say that many men in that party served, and honourably served, as soldiers. I know they know what I say is true. I know the members of the Liberal party in this House of Commons feel in their hearts that every word I am using is true. What I am saying is not simply a political plea. It is a plea for men who cannot plead for themselves. What I am saying on behalf of these men and of other men who served overseas, irrespective of party, is true, and I know that hon. members feel that the member for Simcoe North is telling the truth.

As I have said, Mr. Speaker, I lay this condition and the necessity for this kind of economy at the very feet of this government, but I pray that they do not start to practise their economy on the burnt-out veterans of the Dominion of Canada. Let them start

The Address-Mr. Ferguson anywhere else. Let them postpone the appointment of the two commissioners to the Vancouver harbour commission. Let them close up the Prime Minister's house for a while, take some of that money and give it to the burnt-out veterans, not next month but immediately. Let there be no delay. When the universal old age pension begins to be paid, let us say with pride that one group that was not held back was the men who offered to sacrifice their lives in the defence of this country. To every man, woman and child who listens I say that is my plea on behalf of the veterans.

I served with these men. Fortunately- and I thank God almost every day for it- I have no incapacitation from my service. I was fortunate in being able to provide a livelihood for myself and family. When I see what this government is trying to do with the burnt-out veterans today I thank God more than ever that I came out whole and hearty, and that I do not have to place myself on the generosity of this government.

There is another matter to which I should like to make reference. The government are trying to get out of a muddle. They are trying to sail down the river on a Sunday afternoon by taxing where taxation is not necessary. They have placed a tax on cigarettes. By doing so they have crippled considerably a very new, outstanding and necessary industry, namely, the tobacco industry. Up in my part of the country the people running these tobacco farms came mostly from Europe. They are men who came here with their families with practically nothing as far as worldly possessions were concerned. By the sweat of their brows they have developed an industry which means millions of dollars to this country. In the government's struggle to get out of the conditions into which they have placed themselves they said: "Oh, tobacco? That is almost the same as liquor. It is horrible that people smoke. Let us put a tax on it; let us increase the tax on every package of cigarettes up to 25 cents". What has been the result? The tobacco companies, which in my opinion are nothing but octopuses and trusts and should be investigated, said: "We cannot bear the tax. Our employees have asked for a rise in salary, and quite properly so. We have to give it to them but we will take it out of the hides of the tobacco producers this year." In my opinion that is exactly what was done. They could fall right back on the poor old producer, the farmer, the hewer of wood, and they said: "We will not pay you what you should receive because the federal government had added an unnecessary tax on tobacco". There is another crippling of

industry which has been brought about by this government's past nonsense and present lack of a sane and sensible course.

That should not take place in a country that has the resources that Canada has. When we leave school in Canada we leave a history book and a geography book about an inch or so thick. From then on practically all of us are educated by United States literature which is sold on the newsstands. The magazines are in glowing colours, and the advertising contained within them is put out by the greatest advertising agencies in the world. The net result is that most people in Canada have champagne appetites and beer incomes when one considers the way they are being educated by the newsstands. From the time they graduated or skipped out of school, either one or the other, they have been subjected to the same kind of education. We are trying to live beyond the incomes we have. Take railway engineers. Our railway engineers drive to the border, unhook a trainload of cars and drive their engines back into Canada. The cars are then taken on by an engineer from the United States who gets a much better salary than do our engineers, but yet they drive identical locomotives. We are separated from our neighbours by only an imaginary boundary, and yet the people of Canada have to pay higher prices for refrigerators. They see them advertised in United States literature, and they desire them, and rightly so. What this country must have is expansion to meet the necessary taxation to permit our people to live on a comparable basis with our neighbours to the south. What do we find? Here are some comparative figures. In Canada, because of the new regulations and taxation imposed by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott), the purchaser of an automobile is required to make a down payment of $1,363. That same car in the United States can be purchased with a down payment of $687. To finance that car in Canada costs $121 a month. In the United States they can finance with $84 a month. That is the champagne of it. But the beer end of it is that we cannot afford to pay $121 on the incomes we receive. The federal tax on a Canadian automobile is $474, while the federal tax on an American automobile is $70.

We have all the wherewithal with which to go forward. All we need is selective immigration from the British isles, sprinkled with Europeans of the right calibre. In my opinion immigration is one thing that should have been attracting the attention of this government for years, ever since 1935. There is no mystery about it.

We need the home market. If we have people here they will buy here. They will

construct buildings for one another and produce food for one another. In that way we would not be so dependent upon our foreign markets. We are down on our hands and knees today praying that Russia will not raise the iron curtain, and that Mr. Stalin will not put his arm around Mr. Churchill and say, "Nonsense; rearmament is over." Because, if he did that, what would happen? The English would be buying wheat from Russia, and other commodities from other places. In those circumstances what would happen in this country with its population of fourteen millions, and now keyed up to supply forty millions or fifty millions? All hon. members know what would happen. We would see one of the greatest slumps Canada has ever experienced. That is what would happen, and those are the facts.

There is ground for criticism when we see the government hesitating to pay the veterans that to which they are entitled, and when we see the government procrastinating about the building of a dam to which the people of Saskatchewan are entitled. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I say nothing could be more appropriate than to visualize and to hear that popular song, "Sailing down the river on a Sunday afternoon," because that is exactly what this government is doing.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. Coldwell (Roseiown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, rising to speak in the debate at this stage I wish first of all to say that we, too, support the subamendment moved by the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Quelch). We were disappointed when no legislation was foreshadowed in the speech from the throne which would give any hope to our veterans, their dependents and widows across the country at a time when the mounting cost of living makes it necessary to do something more than has been done for them.

So much has been said about it, and so many excellent and eloquent speeches have been made, that I intend merely to leave the matter there and to add that we are wholeheartedly in support of the subamendment and will vote for it, if it reaches a vote. I would hope however that the plea made this afternoon by the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low), that the government give an assurance to the house that this will be done now, would make the pressing of the subamendment unnecessary. That, I suggest, would be a most satisfactory outcome of the moving of the subamendment.

What I would say particularly this afternoon is this, that I think sometimes members in all parties are something less than generous to those who have preceded us in the

The Address-Mr. Coldwell house, and perhaps to members of other parties and groups in the house, when they attempt to take to themselves credit for the successful fruition of seed sown and projects suggested by persons other than themselves or their parties.

Last night I listened to the opening remarks of the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin). I did not hear all that he said, because I could not remain longer, but I did hear him give deserved credit to Senator King who piloted the first old age pension bill through this house after, indeed, the Senate had turned that legislation down at the beginning. But may I remind the hon. member that that legislation was promoted, not by the Liberal party, but rather by two hon. gentlemen who were elected by the citizens of Winnipeg to represent them in this house. They were a former member for Winnipeg North Centre, in the person of the late J. S. Woodsworth, and a former member for Winnipeg North, Mr. A. A. Heaps, who I am glad to say is alive and well.

Those of us who know the story, of how that bill was introduced because of the necessity of obtaining the votes of these gentlemen in 1926, know where some credit at least should be given by those who today take the credit for this legislation. I remember very distinctly myself in 1925 being a candidate for parliament and being defeated- yes, and indeed losing my deposit-in the city of Regina. At that time I was urging the bringing into effect of old age pension and unemployment insurance measures. As a matter of fact I had just returned from a visit to Britain, and I remember the extent to which it was said that I had picked up these ideas in Britain, and that Canada, a new country, had no need for this kind of social legislation which had originated in European countries.

And so I say that when we are thinking of this type of legislation we should remember not only those who finally had the opportunity, after long years of public pressure, of putting the legislation on the statute books of this country. Let us also remember the efforts of those who pioneered such legislation in days gone by.

On Monday evening I listened to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), who made this statement regarding the South Saskatchewan river scheme, in which some of us have been interested for the last thirty years or so:

The reason that I immediately agreed is because I have been the promoter, so to speak, of this project. Everyone admits that, both east and west.

The Address-Mr. Coldwell

Then, at page 937, and turning over to page 938, we find this:

I want to repeat that I was the promoter of the project from the time I came to Ottawa, and I will have something to say a little later, in dealing with one of the other questions, as to why I became the promoter of it at that early date.

I do not want to take any of the credit from the Minister of Agriculture that he may take to himself in this connection. I hope any efforts he has made over the last number of years will be successful, and that we shall have this great project completed within the next few years. I say "the next few years" because I am well aware of the fact that a project of this description cannot be completed within a year.

But I was in the house when this project was under discussion in the thirties, when we had that shocking state of drought across the prairies-and when there was little or no support in the house for any pleas that one made for this particular irrigation project. I remember that on February 11, 1937, for example, we were discussing P.F.R.A.-and may I say at once in passing that I will not take one jot or tittle of the credit away from those who promoted P.F.R.A. The original act, of course, was placed on the statute books in the dying days of the Bennett regime. It was amended in 1937, particularly, by the present Liberal administration in Canada and, from the point of view of our Canadian prairies, I think it has been one of the most beneficial policies ever undertaken. I remember that at that time some of us were interested in the larger scheme. The Minister of Agriculture was telling us about the P.F.R.A. and he informed us also about the changes in the committee that had been established under the old Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act and of the discussions that had occurred in that committee. The minister said:

Then, there were projects, such as the building of a dam on the Saskatchewan river, to the northwest of Moose Jaw. This dam would have involved a very heavy expenditure of money, and a further expense would have been involved in connection with pumping the water from the river to the banks. There would have been a further construction of works to carry irrigation to the south and east of the bow of the river.

That matter was discussed before the committee. I assume they got their information from exactly the same engineers as would give it to the department or any other body if it were investigating a matter of that kind. The decision was reached that such undertakings were too costly and perhaps would not bring the results expected from them. It was felt that an expenditure of money to that extent would be more or less uneconomical.

In stating that in the house, the minister did not state it with any disapproval as I remember, or as I can find from the records of the house.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

The question which is being discussed now is not the South Saskatchewan river project. That was a project that was voted on by the municipalities between the Saskatchewan river and Regina and turned down in 1918. It was a proposal under which water was to be supplied to Regina and Moose Jaw. There was very little discussion with regard to irrigation; it was only in connection with the points along the pipe line.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

This was not in 1918, it was not in 1920, it was not in 1926-this was in 1937. Back in those earlier years the water situation in Regina was most acute and once again this project was brought forcibly to the attention of the city. I remember it quite distinctly because at that time I happened to be a member of the city council.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Gardiner:

I was referring back to the other matter, when discussing it in 1937.

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November 14, 1951