A lot of remarks are being made, Mr. Speaker, and I did not get them so I could not answer them. If I had heard them I would certainly have answered them.
The hon. member for Battle River (Mr. Fair), when speaking in the house the other day, put on Hansard some very revealing figures. I am going to mention one or two of them. There was the loss suffered by the farmers under the British wheat agreement in the crop years 1946 to 1949. The loss in those years was $366 million odd.
The loss suffered by farmers as a result of subsidizing Canadian consumers during the 1946-1949 crop years was almost $137 million, making a total of $503 million. Now, we have heard a lot in this house about the farmers getting $65 million from the federal government.
The Budget-Mr. Wylie worried, and rightly so-as most farmers are worried today-about dropping prices, not only in this country but also in the United States. The Medicine Hat News of February 16, 1953, has this to say:
President Eisenhower as well as Canada's agriculture minister, James G. Gardiner, has expressed concern over the slow, irregular decline of farm prices. In his "state of the union" message, the U.S. president pointed out that the decline has been going on for almost two years, "at a time when most non-farm prices and farm costs of production are extraordinarily high."
Well, we know that prices of farm products have been declining for two years while everything the farmer buys has been going up.
Yesterday we heard a speech by the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore) on sugar, and it was a good speech. We know what is happening in the sugar market; and I might say to hon. members of this house that with the extension of irrigation in southern Alberta, sugar beets are one crop we can grow, and it is the best crop for irrigated land. I know something about irrigated land. We know that sugar beets are a hoed crop. You have an opportunity to keep the land clean, and it is the only crop we can grow profitably at the present time that will keep the land clean.
Alberta produces most of the sugar beets in this country, and we realize what irrigation means to the southern part of Alberta-and the government realizes it. The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) speaking in Lethbridge as far back as October 18, 1946, had this to say:
Any analysis of the benefits of irrigation must make it apparent that its benefits accrue to the state-
So when someone says it is only for the benefit of the district they just really don't know what they are talking about.
-and to the community serving the irrigated area, perhaps to a greater degree than to the individual farmer. Greater density of farming population benefits the municipality that serves the area, and greater volume and greater value of crop production benefits both the province and the dominion. Few persons will deny that an irrigated area producing gross revenue of $50, even though it costs $45 to produce it, contributes far more in value to the community and to the nation than a dry land acre producing $5 gross and costing $4 to produce it, even though the dry land farmer may be as well off individually as his neighbour who uses the ditch. In other words, the benefits of irrigation do not accrue in large measure to the irrigation farmer. He may be able to do as well at dry land farming. The benefits accrue in the increased carrying capacity of the land for human population, and are distributed through the increased ability of that population to buy and sell and pay taxes.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, may I say that irrigation in the southern part of Alberta, particularly the southeastern part as well as
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The Budget-Mr. Henderson in Saskatchewan, will mean a lot not only to the provinces and to the individual farmers but to Canada as a whole. When we have these irrigation projects completed there is one crop we must grow, and that is sugar beets. The other day the hon. member for Saint John-Albert (Mr. Riley) mentioned the agreements with Cuba, and rather criticized the west for our sugar beet policy. May I tell him that what is good for one part of Canada is good for another. After all, we in Alberta only raise 10 per cent of our sugar consumption. Let us have more irrigation, and more sugar beets.
Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the fine speech delivered tonight by the hon. member for Medicine Hat (Mr. Wylie). I might say that it will probably be read with a great deal of interest by my father, who was one of the original homesteaders in that constituency. It is probably just as well that my father moved away from there; otherwise, after listening to the predictions of my hon. friend tonight, I am quite sure we would not have the same cordial associations that we have today.
I feel that -the soundness and acceptability of this budget justifies me in taking part in this debate. Indeed, I should like to begin by congratulating the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) on his fine presentation and the content of this budget. We are indeed fortunate to have a Minister of Finance who is as able as he is pleasant. I expect that this is possibly the deep opinion of some of my good friends in the opposition.
I should like to associate myself with the minister and others in this house in the fine tribute they paid to the late Dr. W. C. Clark. Dr. Clark had many associations with my constituency, with Queen's university, with his residence there and the residence of his family. On behalf of my constituents I think it is proper that I should pay tribute to this great Canadian and public servant.
I presume that the two main divisions in any budget are revenues and expenditures. I should first like to say something about expenditures. I have studied the public accounts and the proposed expenditures for the next fiscal year. What do they show? They show this significant fact; that if you eliminate all expenditures on defence, war and social security payments, you find that federal expenditures have been fairly constant for the past few years. This has taken place in .a period of rising prices and expanding incomes. I submit to this house that you would have to search hard among the many governments in this country, provincial and
municipal, to find another record equal to that. I believe that is sufficient to take care of the alleged extravagance so parroted by the opposition.
No one in this house is going to reduce social security payments. In fact I will
wager that if any discussion concerning them should come up in this house tonight, we would have many in the opposition who would outdo each other in shouting for larger expenditures. The opposition resembles that typical American congressman who never voted for a tax or against an appropriation.
Our defence expenditures are necessary and certainly could not be smaller under the circumstances, and with such a large scale war preparation. I am going to say that the defence expenditures, in my opinion, are generally carefully and efficiently made. I should like to pay tribute here to the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) for the ability, energy and time which he has given to the department. I have military establishments in my riding, and I know something of the work being done. No one who has any personal knowledge of that work, from the minister to the newest private, could take seriously the opposition attempt to blow minor and local malpractices into major and general ones. I believe the Department of National Defence has a good and able minister. I know that the army personnel of all ranks in my area are among the best. I am glad to have them in my riding. They are in many cases the children of my neighbours and constituents, and I repudiate any attempt at a blanket condemnation of the defence establishments at any level.
Turning now to the revenue side of the budget which, in the main, is tax revenue, may I say that it is commonplace that you cannot have public expenditures without taxes. If we are to have defence expenditures, social security payments, ordinary government services, taxes must be levied. No legislator wants to levy taxes or to have them higher than they need be. This budget levies the taxes as fairly as can be, and as lightly as possible under the circumstances. The Canadian system of taxation is one in which various forms of taxes are blended to make a consistent whole. Income taxes, corporation taxes, commodity taxes and duties are all used and used well. The tax system of Canada is a credit to this country.
I believe that the tax reductions made last year and again this year are sound and acceptable. Of course we would like greater reductions, but who wouldn't? The present reductions give every class of taxpayer some
relief and do not concentrate it all in one place. At this point I might say that the elimination of the radio licence, which was approved by all, was the elimination of the nuisance of all nuisance taxes. The really fine thing about the reductions is that they are based on a growing national productivity in an atmosphere of good government.
I am not an expert in these matters, but I do know that the fine calculations which the minister has to make are based on future judgments and can be very easily thrown out of line. Some of the critics seem to think, judging from the comments, that the minister knows as much about the future as they do about the past. I think, in view of the variables with which he is dealing, that he has done a remarkable job of budgeting during the years he has been in charge of this department.
We have heard the Conservatives cry about overtaxation. Why? Because the national debt has been reduced. What do they expect? What is their policy? Do they not pay off their debts? The Conservative government in Ontario compels the municipalities to pay off their debts. Is this a good policy for Ontario and a bad one for Canada? If you do not pay off your debts when you are prosperous, when do you pay them off? I take it that the opposition would never pay off their debts. It would be a matter of going from peak to peak. The cry of overtaxation is a plain matter of party partisanship and with no sound grounds. In my opinion the financial policies of the Liberal government since 1935 have been soundly conceived and well carried out.
Canada has received and deserved the commendation of the outside world on its realistic and forward-looking policies. In our own country the royal commission on prices had this to say in 1949 about the fiscal policies of our government. I quote from page 168, volume II, of that commission's report:
. . . the government did not hesitate to pursue a vigorous fiscal policy. It made a determined effort to pay for a high proportion of the war out of taxes and to finance the remaining deficit by methods calculated to reduce the volume of spending. There are no absolute standards against which to measure achievements; we can only record our view that the policies followed by the government indicated a true appreciation of the principles of war finance and that more was done than most people thought possible to translate these principles into practice.
These men who knew the principles of war finance know the principles of peacetime finance equally well, as is shown in this budget.
They are the men who bring to us these policies which I for one endorse.
The Budget-Mr. Henderson
There are two further remarks which I should like to make, one to the Department of National Revenue and one to the Department of Veterans Affairs. I should first like to deal with the Department of National Revenue and suggest that they have better public relations as far as the collection of taxes are concerned. By that I do not mean as to personnel. I mean, applying it locally, as to the facilities of offices to which the taxpayer goes to pay his taxes. I think they could take a good lesson from the banks, which make it as easy as possible for their customers to come in and discuss their problems with them.
As it is locally in Kingston if a taxpayer wishes to go in and pay his taxes or have an interview, he goes to the office building, and goes up one flight of stairs which I think are the most awkward that man has ever climbed. Then he goes up a further flight of stairs if he has not reached the right place, and down again; and by the time he meets the person whom he wishes to interview he is irritated, frustrated, sweating and in bad humour. I suggest it is unfair to the personnel to meet people under those circumstances. I submit that the tax collection office should be on the main floor. I submit further that if that is not possible, there should be a system of elevators to carry the taxpayers to the national revenue offices.
I should like to make one other remark in relation to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and more particularly the district administration of the Veterans Land Act in the constituency of Kingston. They have done an excellent job in the past and have administered the Veterans Land Act excellently. Every lot of space they have purchased has now been taken up by one veteran or another. As we are aware, Kingston is a fast-growing city industrially and otherwise. I think the time has come when the Department of Veterans Affairs, through their Veterans Land Act administrators, should undertake to purchase a larger section of land in order to further Veterans Land Act development for the veterans of that district.
I should like to point out that there are many veterans who were not formerly financially in a position to buy their own homes, and that they should have this opportunity of purchasing a lot in close proximity to the city in order that they may have the same privileges as persons who have already purchased land there. I might point out that these boys were not in that locality at a time when they could purchase reasonably-priced houses during the war or immediately after the war.
The Budget-Mr. Catherwood for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank) made the statement that he would like some members of Her Majesty's loyal opposition to make some remarks with regard to the dairy industry, so I am very happy to do so.
I realize that the problems of the dairy industry are principally under provincial jurisdiction. However, there is a national significance attached to it that 1 think we might well discuss for a few moments this evening. I think it was Carlyle who once said that it is not our business to see that which lies dimly at a distance, but it is our business to see that which lies clearly at hand. There is a matter of great importance that lies closely at hand, and that is the future of the dairy industry in Canada. I feel that it is endangered as it has never been endangered before. I think it is of concern to all the members of this House of Commons that we study seriously the problems of this great segment of agriculture in Canada.
I wish to make reference to the effect the continually increasing use of dairy substitutes is having on our production of butter, cheese, milk and other products that are derived from the dairy industry. It is becoming apparent, as was pointed out by the hon. member for Fraser Valley, that margarine is being generally accepted in this country in its many and different forms, as eight out of ten provinces in Canada today are accepting it and are allowing its use and its manufacture. But the matter that we as members of parliament I feel should meet is the rapid growth in production of the many synthetic dairy products that are beginning to threaten the entire industry which on the surface may be welcomed by many people who see in these commodities an opportunity of purchasing a substitute for dairy products at a lower price, and which is ordinarily a good buying practice. Nevertheless there is another factor that we must consider, and it is a very disturbing factor indeed. That is when we stop to consider that today we have ice cream made entirely out of vegetable oils; we have so-called whipping cream composed of ingredients that contain no milk content whatever; and recent experiments have proven that practically all milk products, including milk itself, can be replaced by substitutes made entirely from oils of one kind or another.
What will all this eventually lead to, Mr. Speaker? What can the result be? I think it can indicate beyond any question of doubt that it will eventually eliminate the dairy cow from our Canadian farms.
Those of us who are associated in agricultural production-and there are a good number of us in this House of Commons-
view with grave and growing concern the possibilities that face us if this situation develops. We have no assurance that such will not be the case. When that day arrives it may very well be the beginning of the deterioration of the high health standards which we have endeavoured to build up through the years in this country.
It was well pointed out in the speech made by the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Blair) on April 16, 1951-
. . . that no type of food is more important to health and good nutrition than milk products, and that no type of food will receive greater emphasis in the future of Canada and the rest of the world. Milk is regarded as the perfect food.
With that statement I think we can all agree. The question we have to ask ourselves is this. Are we going to accept this growing danger to this important phase of our agricultural economy and to our health standards with nonchalant complacency, or are we not? I know and realize, as I mentioned previously, that this is a matter that is primarily under provincial jurisdiction; but I think it has developed to the point when it has become national in scope and I believe it has become national in its implications.
I ask hon. members in this house how many realize how much we depend upon our cattle population in order to maintain the fertility of the top six inches of soil. I also ask hon. members how many realize the extent to which our very existence as a people and our very existence as a nation depends upon the maintenance of that fertility. It is all very well to say that if the dairy cow disappears from the Canadian scene as a result of these synthetic products, the fertility of the soil will be sustained by the application of commercial fertilizers such as potash, nitrogen, lime, phosphate and so on. In order to maintain soil fertility any good practical farmer-and I think our agricultural economists will agree-will say in no uncertain terms that the fertilizers that are available from the dairy stables in this country contain the essentials which we need for high productivity of our agricultural lands. We should also know that continual cropping year by year without supplementing the land with the necessary substances which the dairy herds supply will mine the soil of those essential vitamins and mineral content upon which our health as a nation depends.
That, Mr. Speaker, is one of the reasons we as members of this house should be concerned with this matter. It is the reason all hon. members should be aware of these facts. I agree that if the health of our people means anything to us, and I think it does, then we should consider seriously all these things if our health standards are to be maintained.
That is the situation that we have to view, consider and ponder very seriously before we go all out in endorsing and welcoming these substitutes which could quite conceivably mean the end of the dairy industry in Canada.
I would ask hon. members to bear with me for a moment while we consider this matter from another angle, namely the welfare of those associated with the dairy industry as a whole. We have over 1,820,000 persons engaged in the dairy industry. That includes our farmers and those employed in the dairy industry, in the dairies and in other associated industries across the country. This ranks as the third highest industry in Canada, involving one-sixth of our total population. Last year this industry was confronted with a lost market and diminishing returns on the one hand, and increasing costs on the other. It has been estimated that last year the average price on all farm milk fell by over 10 per cent. The price of calves and cows sold for meat fell 36 per cent, while the cost of production based on the index of goods and services increased almost 6 per cent. As a result of those conditions the purchasing power of these people was impaired to the extent of over $50 million.
In 1951 the cash income for milk sold from farms totalled $373,611,000; the cash income from calves and cows, breeding stock and meat sold on farms totalled $475 million, making a total of $848,611,000. That is a great purchasing power in the hands of the farmers of this country, and that purchasing power does mean so much to other industries across this land. The milk sold for creamery butter production has been estimated at 36 per cent of the total, and it experienced a price drop of 10-3 per cent. The milk consumed in the production of cheese amounted to 7 per cent of the total sales, and it slumped 17 per cent in price last year. In other words the dairy industry, which sells 84 per cent of its total, 16 per cent being used on the farms, last year experienced a falling off in returns ranging from 5-6 per cent to as high as 34-7 per cent, while the over-all cost of production increased by 6 per cent. A situation like this cannot continue indefinitely. Those employed in this industry will eventually be greatly affected, and the welfare and the whole economy of our country will certainly be affected as well.
These facts simply mean, sir, that our governments of necessity must give greater consideration and attach greater importance to the regaining of these markets which I say are lost markets, but which the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) said were not lost
The Budget-Mr. Catherwood when he made his speech last evening in this House of Commons. Many of the farmers feel that these markets are lost, as they indicate to us when we visit the various farms in our constituencies. It takes only a small undisposable surplus on the markets in the case of perishable agricultural products to upset the whole price structure.
In the speech of the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Blair) on April 16, 1951, he referred to the close association between dairying and conservation. What he said is as true today as it was at the time he made his speech. How sound his observations were has been borne out many times since by speeches from economic leaders across this country, and I should like to quote a recent statement made by Dr. G. E. Hall, president of the University of Western Ontario, as follows:
Livestock is the only agricultural agency available to us for converting rough feeds into food for human consumption. The dairy cow does this with, great efficiency.
He goes on to say:
And besides the growing of pasture, grasses and hay crops the natural food for the dairy cow' is one of the approved practices for preventing soil erosion.
That to me is very important. So we have the three points from the national interest. First we have to approach this from the angle of the health standards of our people; we have to approach it from the fact that 1,800,000 people are affected by the dairy industry, and we have to consider it particularly from the angle of the conservation and improvement that the dairy population means to our soil. The government must of necessity give considerable thought to this matter for the ultimate good not only of the farmers but of the people of Canada as a whole.
I conscientiously believe that a complete review of every aspect of this situation, which has so many ramifications, is necessary at the present time. I would suggest that our agriculture committee be convened, and that we should study this matter. We should get certain factual information which will be most helpful, and bring it to the attention of that committee. Much valuable information could be secured from our agricultural leaders across Canada, and perhaps it would be very interesting to have the views of competent United States authorities on this matter. If this were done I feel that we would be at least in a position to determine what would be the best course to pursue from a national standpoint.
I do not want to be classed as an alarmist on these matters, but I have felt that one
2720 HOUSE OF
The Budget-Mr. Catherwood phase of agriculture is being seriously affected. We do not enjoy having to refer to these matters, but it is our responsibility and our duty as members to do so. That is what parliament is for.
I have found that our urban friends are very tolerant when we bring these matters to their attention. They are very broadminded people, and they do not resent having these facts brought clearly before them, because after all they do affect their welfare. It may not affect them directly but it does affect them indirectly, and they appreciate knowing some of these factors. One of the things I have learned since coming to parliament is the appreciation and understanding that our people have generally for those engaged in other occupations. I can assure the government that every effort they make toward aiding or improving the welfare of those engaged in occupations or industries across the country will be acclaimed by the people of Canada.
I regret that no marked reference was made either in the speech from the throne or in the budget speech the other evening which would indicate that recognition has been accorded the primary producer of this country. No reference was made in either one of those presentations to the house as to the action that might be taken to regain some of the markets that would give farmers some assurance for the future. I do say very earnestly that the farmers are concerned. That is the main concern of our agricultural industry today. They are worried about the uncertainty of the future so far as their markets are concerned.
The Minister of Agriculture tried to be very optimistic in his very stirring speech last night. He put on the record some very interesting statements. He put on a table giving a comparison of the average farm price, the average annual volume of production and the average farm values for the two three-year periods 1943-45 and 1949-51 for selected commodities. The facts that the minister put on the record are quite accurate, but at the same time the farmers of Canada are not so concerned about these figures, which are very buoyant, it is true. They are concerned with the fact that rising costs have more than taken the profits they would otherwise have had. When we see that the cost of production is rising and the farmer is receiving a decreased income we see a situation which is very serious indeed.
We also listened with a great deal of interest to the speech of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) on his return from the Latin American countries. We also trust that much good will come as
a result of the contacts he made on that trip with the company that he had with him.
I am sure that is the wish of all in this house, and particularly those connected with agriculture. We also had hoped that some encouragement would come from the prime ministers' conference held in London, which was attended by our Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent). We thought something would be done toward paving the way to iron out the difficulties we have in the matter of dollar and sterling exchange, that would mean so much to us.
In all these things, which we trust may still have possibilities, we have not seen the concrete evidence we have been looking for that would eliminate the doubt and uncertainty that without question exist in the minds of those of us who are engaged in agriculture today.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak for a few moments, not so much concerning the contents of the budget but more particularly about some aspects of the operations of the Department of National Revenue, the Department of Transport and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
I, in company with other members of the House of Commons and those from the other place, listened today with close attention to Lord Ismay, Secretary General of NATO. He made some pertinent statements of which I took note and, while some of his observations are discussed in this evening's press, they are not all there. He also pointed to the fact that we of the free world should not be discouraged by the progress of NATO because, as he indicated, it was some two years plus, following the formation of the confederacy in the United States, before it began to function in anything like a satisfactory manner. He pointed out that if this was applicable-as indeed it was-to the United States, a sovereign nation in itself, then how much more patient the 14 member nations of NATO ought to be concerning the affairs of that organization, when we must work with 13 other sovereign nations.
I know the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) is a very busy man. On November 25 I referred to what I then considered and still consider to be the duty of this parliament, namely that of stating in unequivocal terms our stand with respect to NATO. I believe there is a great measure of misunderstanding through the length and breadth of Canada as to what NATO actually means. I should like very much to have seen by this time a debate on a national scale, in which leaders of all the various groups in the house would have participated.
I am sorry the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chcvrier) is not in his seat this evening because on November 25, when I spoke last in the house, I dealt with some matters affecting the Canadian National Railways particularly, pointing out what I considered a lack of service and consequently a lack of income to those railways. There is another aspect of the same question with which I wish to deal tonight. I am not blaming any of the staff of the Canadian National Railways, because they are a fine group of people. The fact remains, however, that in my opinion they are using a most inadequate system with respect to reservations. It is one that in my opinion should be cleared up immediately.
When one goes in for a reservation, instead of utilizing his name a code number is used in place of it. The sleeping car conductors on the Canadian National Railways tell me that it nearly drives them crazy. If that is true-and I am inclined to believe that it is-then it is time to make a correction in the system, not only with respect to the elimination of the code system but also with respect to the method of making reservations. And this is where I think we are losing our greatest amount of income, so far as the passenger service of the Canadian National Railways is concerned.
What is happening with respect to reservations? The fact is that, for one man, they may be made on two or three occasions for the same train. It may develop that perhaps an hour or so before the departure of the train the weather may turn out particularly pleasant, with the result that the potential passenger leaves by air, and two or three reservations are left vacant.
To give one specific instance, upon going home last summer I was informed by the office of the Canadian National Railways that it was impossible to secure a reservation, that I would have to wait for at least two weeks. They were good enough, however, to meet the additional demand for reservations by making an extra car available at Montreal. And I might say, in passing, that I am sure that must have been the car in which Sir John A. Macdonald travelled.
The heat in the car was atrocious. It was a hot night; the air conditioning unit was completely inadequate, and when the ticket conductor came through I asked if he would move me to a day coach. He told me there was no occasion for that, that a room was available in the next car. Had it not been for the fact that I was permitted to occupy that room in the next car, 68108-1734
The Budget-Mr. MacDougall it would have remained vacant from Montreal right through to Edmonton, because I did not have to leave it until I reached that city. At that point I had to transfer to another car. Surely there is some way of improving this situation respecting reservations. We saw the same thing happening with Trans-Canada Air Lines some years ago, when cancellation of reservations was permitted. Now one has to validate his ticket three hours before departure.
I would suggest that the minister draw these facts to the attention of the management of the railways, in order to prevent the abuses which have taken place in the past, and are continuing today. My suggestion would be that at the time one makes a reservation he should pay at least 50 per cent of its cost. Then if he does not take it, it is just too bad for him; and the Canadian National Railways has received at least 50 per cent of the cost of the reservation.
I shall now refer to running time. This is-an important matter because, so far as the Canadian National Railways operating out of Vancouver are concerned, the competition is not with the Canadian Pacific, the privately-owned company, but with the United States railroads, that cut the time from Vancouver to Chicago by 12 to 14 hours. As far as the Canadian Pacific is concerned, it is most unfortunate that their gradients are a little more difficult than those of the Canadian National. But with the great number of diesel engines which the Canadian Pacific now have I see no reason why they could not speed up their service. Certainly the Canadian National could do it quite easily. I submit that this question should be given to the board of transport commissioners for consideration.
If 12 or 14 hours could be cut off the time between Vancouver and Chicago or Vancouver and Toronto it would create greater revenue for the Canadian National Railways, and for the Canadian Pacific as well if they would make greater use of diesels. I am old-fashioned enough to believe that charity begins at home. If the services on both our' railroads can be improved and more revenue-obtained from Canadians who travel across the country, then those railways will be providing better service for the Canadian taxpayer.
I should like to deal for a few moments with war veterans allowances. Along with other hon. members, I was a member of the war veterans' committee which sat last year. We thought we had in Bill No. 181 a slight improvement in war veterans allowances. To me any improvement is worth while regardless of whether it is great, moderate or
2722 HOUSE OF
The Budget-Mr. MacDougall small. We have a peculiar condition on the Pacific coast in connection with the recipients of war veterans allowances, in that we have from 26 to 28 per cent of the total number in Canada residing on the lower mainland in and around Vancouver.
I supported the bill along with many other hon. members of the committee. We certainly were not given to understand that that was the end of advantageous war veterans' allowance legislation. Whether it was imagination or whether it was a desire in our own hearts, we felt that the legislation could still be improved. I reiterate tonight that that legislation ought to be improved immediately.
True enough the Canadian Legion across Canada, particularly from the Rocky mountains eastward, is not too concerned about the situation as it now exists. Scattered throughout the other nine provinces of Canada are less than 75 per cent of the total number of war veterans allowance recipients. As I say, British Columbia has the great preponderance of recipients residing there. At this time I should like to make a definite and specific plea to the government, in all sincerity and humility, to reconsider its stand with respect to war veterans allowances and give these recipients an increase of not less than $10 per month.
I think all hon. members will agree with me when I say that the greatest test of patriotism for citizens in any country is to step into the breach against aggression. That to me is the quintessence of patriotism which is recognized by all governments. It is true that conditions are a great deal better today than they were after the first world war, but are they good enough for these people who, even though they may have no pensionable disabilities, have been aged at least ten years. That is verified by all recognized authorities in Canada. In my humble opinion anything that we can do for the recipients of war veterans allowances is a tribute to the nationhood of the Dominion of Canada.
I am going to speak for a moment or two about pensions for the blind. I speak rather feelingly on this matter because one year in the early days on the prairies when I was running a binder as a boy we had a terrific amount of rust in the wheat. During the course of reaping the grain one could not help but get a lot of rust impregnated into every pore of his body. That was true in my case; but I also got it into my eyes. We did not have the modern drugs we have now, and as a result of that infection I went around with my eyes covered for pretty close to three weeks. When the covers and bandages were removed and I could see again I felt like
those in the Bible of old who had seen a new heaven and a new world.
I do not think there is a man in this house whose vocabulary is sufficiently adequate to describe what the return of sight would mean to a person thought to be permanently blinded. It would mean more than a new heaven and a new world. It would mean life revitalized, it would mean life accelerated to an extent which you and I in the ordinary course of our lives would be unable to appreciate. The humanitarian aspect involved in the removal of the means test in connection with this category of pensions was in my opinion a great forward step for the Canadian people to have taken. It is not only a great forward step for the Canadian people, but it would be a great credit to every member of this parliament if he or she had an opportunity of sharing in the consummation of that great Canadian endeavour.
So, sir, I ask the government in all seriousness, and in humility, to give this problem their very earnest consideration. Surely, with the expenditures of billions of dollars which the taxpayers of Canada are called upon to make, we can find a few millions to make a great deal happier the men in the category to which I have just referred, and the recipients of war veterans allowance across the length and breadth of this dominion of ours.
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, that the minister who has under his wing the administration of radio and television is not in his place because we, on the Pacific coast, have a very definite problem in connection with the present policy of the administration here. We are today sending $120,000 a week in advertising from Vancouver to Bellingham, a small town only 40 miles south of Vancouver. Take the daily papers in Vancouver, and you see block advertisements every day asking for salesmen to sell to potential buyers in Vancouver T.V. programs which will be piped in from Bellingham.
In the city of Vancouver we have what is commonly known as the southern slope; and radio or T.V. reception on the southern slope, at its crest or toward the south, is extremely good. It is not so good further north in the city. In the ridings of Vancouver South, Vancouver-Quadra, some portions of the riding of my hon. friend from Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) and my own riding of Vancouver-Burrard there are more than
25,000 T.V. receiving sets. Where are they getting their programs? They are getting their programs, as I said, piped in from Bellingham. True, the government has taken the very forward step of securing the site
for the erection of a T.V. tower for Vancouver, but when that will be in operation I am not prepared to say.
Sir, on the 2nd of June you are going to attend one of the world's greatest festivities, the crowning of our sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, God bless her. As staunch and loyal Canadians we in Vancouver would like to see that coronation ceremony. Not being fortunate enough to be one of those who have been selected by the government to go over to London, and not being sufficiently well heeled with folding money to go over on my own, I would like to see that coronation on a T.V. set over the C.B.C. even if I had to go and sit in with some of my neighbours. However, unless some type of temporary tower is erected in Vancouver, with all those T.V. sets there to receive, what is going to be the result? The result will be that we Canadians, members of the commonwealth, heirs to the British heritage, on such a stupendous occasion as the coronation of our Queen are going to have to view it from a source originating in a foreign country.
Now, Mr. Speaker, to be quite candid and frank about this matter, I understand that the city of Ottawa will possibly have a T.V. tower for the coronation. I do not know how true that is; but if they do, what are they going to use for T.V. receiving sets? I am sure they have not very many here now. The likelihood is that they won't know whether or not they are going to have a temporary tower to receive possibly from Toronto or Montreal a telecast of the coronation on the 2nd of June.
I say, sir, that it is a matter of national pride, not a matter of politics at all but a matter of national pride, that every Canadian who loves his country, who loves his queen and the history and heritage behind him and behind her, demands that we have a better type of service than some foreign T.V. coming in from the city of Bellingham. I hope due notice will be taken of my remarks tonight by the three absent ministers to whom I have directed them, because my remarks particularly affect their departments.
I would like to close by saying that I am not one who is gifted in giving praise. I never expect it myself, and never earn it; but when I do see a job well done I am not backward in paying tribute to the doer. Though we have had many macerations of the budget with respect to all the details-we have brushed it, we have curried it and we have fine-combed it-we still have a budget that is generally accepted, I think across Canada, as not a sunshine budget but a
The Budget-Mr. Wood budget that is fair to the general run of taxpayers in the Dominion of Canada.
In conclusion, sir, I wish to pay my full tribute of confidence in the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott)-
Mr. Speaker, in taking part in this discussion, first of all I may say that I am very pleased with this budget. It does not show favouritism to any particular group but, at the same time, every taxpayer benefits. It is a summing up and forecast of a business run in a highly efficient manner; and I was not surprised that our Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) was dubbed "the wizard of Ottawa" by New York papers.
The finance minister is the key man in the production of this budget, but every member of the cabinet is responsible to a degree for the successful operation of this business. There is one man in particular to whom I wish to refer tonight, and that is the Minister of Trade and Commerce, Right Hon. C. D. Howe. This man is responsible for our trade policy and is providing the inspiration for our economic development. He has been procuring markets for us which provide employment for everyone across Canada.
Speaking of employment, I saw an article in the Ottawa Citizen of February 26, under the heading "Employment at a high level," which said that in the week ending January 24 there were 4,533,000 persons who worked a full week. I think this is a record of which we should be very proud. Our trade policies are all conducive to increasing our business. This year, through the good efforts of our minister and his staff, a crop of one and a half billion bushels of grain is being satisfactorily marketed. We have a steady outlet for our cattle, and the best market in the world takes care of our surplus stock. This is a stabilized market. Following the outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease in Saskatchewan last fall, this market was closed to our Canadian livestock producers. It was opened again on Monday, March 2, so we now have trade connections with the United States in that line.
We are allowed to ship 400,000 head of cattle, weighing 700 pounds and over, to the United States market each year. In addition to that we are allowed to ship 200,000 head of veal calves, weighing up to 200 pounds each, per year. The duty, which was 3 cents per pound in the early thirties, is now
2724 HOUSE OF
The Budget-Mr. Wood li cents a pound. Because of these markets, industry in Canada is quite healthy. Overall production has increased year by year, and this continual increase in production is the direct result of the atmosphere created by our government leaders under the guiding hand of our wise and kind Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent). As a result of this favourable atmosphere, people are working harder and producing more year by year. Our country is the envy of all countries throughout the world.
The tariff structure today is only a shadow of what it was under the last Conservative government. I can remember that in the election campaign back in 1929, one Conservative campaigner came into a hall in our district and placed on the table a cream can and a cow-bell. He commenced his speech by ringing the cow-bell; then he would ask the farmers if they were satisfied with the price of 28 cents a pound for butter and 22 cents a dozen for eggs. Of course the farmers were not satisfied, and today the farmers across Canada are not satisfied with the prices they are getting for their products. I do not blame them. It is Liberal policy to always strive to get better prices.
After the Conservatives won the election in 1930, we find that in 1933 and 1934 butter prices dropped to 14 cents a pound and eggs to 7 cents a dozen. The prices of other farm products dropped to rock bottom. I saw carloads and carloads of reasonably good cattle being processed by the packing houses in the city of Winnipeg at a price of half a cent a pound. They were disposing of their surplus stock, and canning it. In 1933 wheat dropped to an all-time Canadian low of 39 cents a bushel f.o.b. Fort William. This happened in spite of the fact that we had all the brokers in the grain exchange in Winnipeg seeking markets, as well as the then leader of the government, the late R. B. Bennett, with his professed blasting formula which failed to get any markets for our wheat.
There are hon. members in this house who will say that conditions were the same all over the world, and that is true. In those days countries were trying to be self-sufficient, just as Canada wished to be self-sufficient. I should like to point out here, however, that two wrongs do not make a right. Certainly our Conservative government, during their term of office, failed to get us any markets. Even when the United States government passed a resolution in 1934 authorizing trade agreements, our Conservative government failed to make an effort to deal with them for some of our surplus goods.