April 2, 1952

CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

I understand that quite well, but we provided exports for only some $10 million of the $25 million program. The program of technical assistance covered such things as have been mentioned already, such as farm machinery, irrigation and power development projects and so on.

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LIB

Jean Lesage (Parliamentary Assistant to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

That is capital development.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

I am making my speech. I have had a great number of interruptions from the hon. member. I do not mind them but-

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LIB

Jean Lesage (Parliamentary Assistant to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

Every time the hon. member gives a figure he has looked at me for approval. I am just saying that there was $25 million for capital development and $400,000 for technical assistance.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

I do not have to look to the hon. member for proof; I have proof in my hand.

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LIB

Joseph-Alfred Dion (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The hon. member who has the floor should not be interrupted without his consent.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

I said that I did not mind interruptions, but when they come in the middle of every sentence it is just a little too frequent. The parliamentary assistant pointed out that there was provision for technical assistance, but that the only way in which technical assistance had yet been provided in any substantial quantity was for India to take $10 million worth of wheat and then establish a counter-fund which was to be used in the way of technical assistance and the providing of technical improvements in that country.

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LIB

Jean Lesage (Parliamentary Assistant to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

I rise on a question of privilege at this time because the hon. member is not quoting me correctly. I said that there was $25 million voted last year under the Colombo plan for capital development in India and Pakistan, and that $400,000 was voted for technical assistance under the Colombo plan, which is quite different. The $25 million has either been spent or allocated for capital development, but out of the $400,000 for technical assistance, a little less than $300,000 has been expended.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

I have the hon. member's words right here and I shall read them. I quote from page 760 of Hansard of March 25 as follows:

At the request of the government of India the Canadian government agreed to allot $10 million for the provision of wheat to India under the Colombo plan. This wheat was urgently needed, as hon. members know, to help prevent starvation in certain districts in India. Except for a negligible amount, all the wheat has now been shipped from Canadian west coast ports.

In order that the grant of wheat might be directly related to the economic development objectives of the Colombo plan, the Indian government agreed to establish a special counterpart fund equal in rupees to the $10 million paid for the wheat by the Canadian government.

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LIB

Jean Lesage (Parliamentary Assistant to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

That is not technical assistance, that is economic development.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Economic development objectives.

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LIB

Jean Lesage (Parliamentary Assistant to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

It is not technical assistance.

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

I read the hon. member's speech and it is impossible to tell just what it is, but he does refer to economic development objectives. I am saying that in order to achieve some economic development the government provided wheat to the extent of $10 million. I contend that if we want to provide significant economic development and greater technical assistance we should do much more. We have lots of wheat, we have cattle that we scarcely know what to do with, we have a lot of hogs that are glutting the market, forcing prices down, and we have all kinds of cheese. I suggest that these food products should be made available to foreign countries.

External Affairs

If the government wants to make sure that the value of these export products is used for technical assistance and economic development, then all it has to do is to see that the countries receiving this assistance set up counter-funds in order to carry on proper development in those countries. So I say there is no excuse for the government not doing more by way of economic assistance of all kinds. We have plenty of food. The government has worked out a technique with India whereby the value of the food provided may be used as a counter-fund for economic objectives. The Prime Minister has told the people of Canada there is a close relationship between food and peace. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) has said the provision of food to needy countries of the world will do more than anything else to achieve peace. All I am saying is that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture should translate their words into action.

We have been fortunate in this country in the last two years in that we have had very large harvests of grain. The wheat board and elevator companies are now carrying over 200 million bushels of wheat. That is the visible supply of wheat in Canada, and that is ten or twenty million bushels higher than a year ago. We all know that possibly another 150 million bushels more grain will be harvested this spring, so we have the prospect of a huge surplus of wheat. The carry-over at the end of next July, together with the grain held on the farms, may be in the neighbourhood of 200 million bushels.

I suggest that the government should make available to countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and countries of Asia and southeast Asia, 100 million bushels of Canadian wheat. We made roughly 5 million bushels available to India at a cost of $10 million. Let us make 100 million bushels available now to India and to other countries. Canadian farmers would be glad indeed if the government would make provision for the export to foreign countries of 100 million pounds of pork, which is now in surplus supply and forcing down the market. Last year Canada exported to the United States in the form of live animals and meat some 500,000 head of cattle. We hope to get back into that market soon, but it will not be for some months. The chances are that the embargo will remain for at least the greater part of 1952. So I say we have 200,000 head of cattle that could be shipped to the peoples of Europe, Asia and southeast Asia. That is only 40 per cent of the supplies that went to the United States market last year. Because Great Britain is carrying such a heavy defence program; because she is the banker

External Affairs

for the sterling countries; because her balance of payments is in jeopardy, recently she was forced to suspend the purchase of cheese in Canada. The president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Dr. H. H. Hannam, has said that some 30 million pounds of cheese are on the shelves in Canada, with the new production season just coming on. The cheese producers in Canada would be glad indeed if this government would provide the United Kingdom with at least 25 million pounds of cheese; and I can see no better way of doing it than under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

We have large surpluses of food. I say we could easily ship $200 million worth of wheat, $40 million worth of pork, $50 million worth of cattle and $10 million worth of cheese, a total of $300,000,000 worth of food and we would still have sizeable surpluses to cope with. The Prime Minister has said food is important for peace. The Minister of Agriculture has agreed. I believe the people of Canada are prepared to have their government provide economic assistance at this time, particularly in the form of food supplies to the needy countries of the world. I suggest that if the government inaugurated such a program they would receive the wholehearted support of the Canadian people and in that way all Canadians would make a real and valuable contribution toward peace in the world.

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PC

A. Earl Catherwood

Progressive Conservative

Mr. A. Earl Caiherwood (Haldimand):

Mr. Speaker, it would be highly improper for an ordinary member like myself to make any extended remarks at this late stage of the debate. A number of very interesting and instructive points of view have been brought before the house during the course of this discussion, and I feel that the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) has found the debate very helpful.

I want to refer to only one matter, and I shall be very brief. That is aid to India and Pakistan, which was mentioned this afternoon by the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) and the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue). On March 25 of this year the parliamentary assistant to the minister of external affairs gave a very comprehensive survey of the economic problems of the Far East, and generally speaking I think most of us can agree with what he had to say as to Canada's part in that theatre of operations. I am particularly interested and somewhat concerned over Canada's participation in the Colombo plan, under which aid is to be given India and Pakistan. As the hon. member for Lake Centre pointed out this afternoon, I think we can all agree on the value of the assistance that is to be extended to these countries

to help them build cement plants, establish and equip experimental stations, undertake geographic and other surveys and so on. These matters are of great importance; but I feel that of even greater importance is the provision of food for India. This matter was brought very forcibly to the attention of the house by the minister of external affairs and others, and not long ago we read in the press of the terrible famine and distress conditions that now exist in the great state of Madras in southern India, where more than ten million people are bordering on starvation. I do feel that it is up to the members of the United Nations to alleviate their distress in every possible way. Owing to crop deterioration and drought, they find themselves in this unfortunate position. The other projects that have been mentioned are important and desirable, and will be beneficial; but the fact remains that the urgent need is food.

On March 25 the parliamentary assistant stated that the entire $25 million voted by parliament for the current year had been earmarked, though only $10 million worth of food had been shipped out. In effect this means that during the coming year the balance of this year's program will have to be carried out, along with the program to be instituted for 1952-53. I trust and urge that the government will make use of the balance of this $25 million for foodstuffs, particularly wheat, flour, meats and dairy products and also that the full amount for 1952-53 will be utilized for the purpose I have just mentioned.

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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. H. W. Herridge (Kootenay West):

I rise to speak very briefly because I realize that this debate is drawing towards its final moments. Briefly, I support this amendment, and support the arguments that have been placed before the house for greater economic aid to the needy countries, especially the Asiatic countries. I might say, Mr. Speaker, that I cannot agree with the suggestions that because a member of this group moved an amendment that may cause a division of the house, he is thereby doing something against the unity of our purpose. Why, Mr. Speaker, to suggest such a thing is to speak against the very genius of democracy. Because we support legislation in principle, that does not mean that opposition groups should remain silent if they see the administration of that legislation is not as they had expected or as they had intended. It is with that purpose that the member for Melfort (Mr. Wright) moved this amendment.

The Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) made reference to the fact that this group had, I think at the last

session of parliament, supported an amendment that would indicate satisfaction with the government's actions concerning NATO aid. I might say that this group, while it has stressed from session to session the need for greater economic assistance, has been fair. This group has waited since 1949 before moving this amendment in order to bring this question into focus, and create some division as to our opinions on this matter.

In the few moments I intend to speak, I should like to deal with a few of the figures given to the house by the minister yesterday. I listened to his address with great interest. We obtained some concrete information. I was interested in hearing the military objectives of NATO, and we were interested in hearing of the commitments made by Canada. I believe that information was given yesterday in clearer form than ever before, and we appreciate it. When the minister was answering the hon. member for Melfort's argument with respect to economic aid, I thought he drew a somewhat misleading picture as to what Canada has done to date. On page 1014 of Hansard for April 1, the minister had this to say:

I believe, on the contrary, that Canada has done its full and proper share in rebuilding, consolidating and assisting the post-war free world.

The hon. member for Melfort (Mr. Wright) asks, "What has Canada done to establish economic stability in Europe to date?"-and then he answers his own question, that she "has made no real sacrifice to obtain greater security by paying some of the premium of insurance."

That is the basis of our argument. We claim that to date Canada has made no real sacrifice with respect to economic aid. We believe that, in view of the spirit of the Canadian people and their understanding of the need for this aid, and in view of the surpluses mentioned by the member for Assini-boia (Mr. Argue), the people of Canada will unanimously contribute economic aid sufficient ,to make Canada's contribution satisfactory as a whole.

The minister mentioned the fact that Canada, as part of the implementation of economic assistance, had granted a loan to Britain of $1,250 million in 1946. That is correct, but to suggest that was given in the form of charity or as economic assistance is, I believe, entirely wrong. I should like to quote from page 772 of Hansard for April 11, 1946, where Mr. Ilsley had this to say when speaking in the debate in connection with the loan to the United Kingdom:

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I wish to say just this. The United Kingdom has always been Canada's largest and most reliable market. Upon the continuation of this market the employment and welfare of millions of Canadians depend.

External Affairs

Then at another point he went on to say:

It is not in any sense an act of charity, it is an investment in the future of Canadian trade.

It was an investment in economic assistance to the Canadian people in order to make certain that our surpluses of wheat, lumber, fish and other commodities are sold in the years ahead. I remember quite well the newspapers of this country hailing this loan with satisfaction, and mentioning in one form or another the fact that, as a result of this loan, industry would continue to operate and there would be markets for lumber, for fish, for fruit and for Canadian wheat. There is no question about the general approach to that loan, because I find Mr. Bracken, then leader of the Progressive Conservatives, saying at page 929 of Hansard for April 16, 1946:

We support this bill, Mr. Chairman, chiefly for two reasons. The first is that in our judgment it is essential to the preservation of the Canadian economy as we see it today.

There is no question of mutual aid. There is no question of economic assistance. It is a straight, hard-boiled deal, and we supported the government in that deal. But I do not like the minister to suggest that it was a form of mutual aid or a form of charity. In one debate dealing with the situation we had one minister saying it is not charity but is for the benefit of the Canadian people; in fact, it is a good business deal. Five years later, we have another minister placing the same loan before the house as if it were a form of charity or economic aid.

We made loans to other countries, as the minister mentioned yesterday, totalling some $503 million, under the Export Credits Insurance Act. Those loans were made on exactly the same basis. Anyone who wishes to peruse Hansard in connection with the discussion of those loans in this house will find that the minister presenting the bills and the members in this house supported them because they were good business for Canada. There was not any suggestion we were making these loans in a spirit of charity or anything of that nature. The minister mentioned military relief of $95 million. What is that? It went to the NATO countries, and we agreed with it. There was $95 million worth of obsolete military equipment that would now have been on the scrap heaps of Canada if the necessity of the times had not demanded its use by the NATO countries.

Then again the minister mentioned United Nations relief programs totalling $203 million. We in this group consider that a genuine contribution to relief. The Colombo plan was mentioned by the member for Assiniboia, and that amounted to $25 million, of which we understand only $10 million has been spent to date. I was pleased to hear that

External Affairs

allocations had been made for the balance. Then there was the gift of wheat to Greece amounting to $830,000. We recognize that as part of the total, but it is peanuts when you come to consider the huge Canadian wheat surplus and the needs of the world today. In giving surplus wheat to these people we would make an infinitesimal sacrifice.

Then, we come to the mutual aid and this total of $324 million that is set against military equipment, equipment that was bought and paid for as a result of the work and toil of Canadians during the war years-largely obsolete equipment, as far as we understand it, not a sacrifice of today, not a contribution from the Canadian people directly today but a contribution made by the Canadian people in the years 1939 to 1945. I think it is safe to say, Mr. Speaker, that the average gross national product in Canada since the war has been about $15 billion. When we analyse the situation objectively, we find that actually we have made little sacrifice in connection with article 2 of the Atlantic pact and economic aid or economic assistance. The greater part of this assistance has been either a businesslike loan or military equipment. As best I can analyse the figures, since 1945 the amount has averaged $35 million per year. Actually $35 million per year is the average of what can be called economic aid or economic assistance, as outright gifts to needy countries and to needy people. Would any member in this house say that that average is satisfactory under present circumstances, in view of our understanding of the fact that poverty, is, one of the great allies of communism-an average of $35 million a year out of an average gross total product of $15 billion? Surely, Mr. Speaker, you cannot consider that sufficient insurance or a satisfactory contribution. I am sure that the Secretary of State for External Affairs would not rise in this house and say that he considers that Canada had made a satisfactory contribution to date so far as economic assistance is concerned.

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LIB

Arthur Laing

Liberal

Mr. Laing:

Can the hon. member suggest a satisfactory figure?

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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that we can give to the needy people of the world all that can be given-and it would be a large sum-without reducing the Canadian standard of living.

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LIB

James Sinclair (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

What about taxes?

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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

I know that the NATO people ask somewhere between $100 million and $200 million. Surely no hon. member on the government side of the house would suggest that the Canadian people, who profess to be Christians, would object to the giving of

between $100 and $200 million of economic aid to the needy peoples of the world. I am sure they would not.

Because we believe that economic aid is a long-run defence against totalitarianism and because we in this group believe that to date Canada has not made a satisfactory contribution, the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. Wright) moved this amendment; and I intend to support it.

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LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Beaudoin):

Is the

house ready for the question?

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April 2, 1952