Mr. Speaker, I would like to take part of the time allotted to me to recall to hon. members of this house an important event in Canadian history, which will be celebrated two years hence, that is in 1955, and to suggest to the government steps that could be taken in those circumstances. It is not too soon in fact to draw the attention of the Canadian government to certain measures that could and should be taken upon the celebration of the second centenary of the deportation of the Acadians. There is no question of reviving whatever ill-feeling may have resulted from an unfortunate period in our history, for which no Canadian of our generation holds any responsibility. It is rather a matter of showing in an official way, in a solemn way, the gratitude of the Canadian people towards the astonishing survival of an important group of our citizens, of the Acadians, that is of Canadians of Acadian origin. It would also be fitting for those in high places to underline the example-an example which is probably unique in the history of our country -offered by the reconciliation of the Acadian people with the various other ethnical elements which now make up this Canadian nation.
During the wars which led to the conquest of Canada, no other part of the then population of our country suffered more through the loss of their possessions, in their very flesh, in their hearts and their souls, than the Acadian people. Nevertheless, today, no other element of the Canadian people contributes more sincerely, more loyally and more actively to this sacred union which must exist between all Canadians from the Atlantic to the Pacific, whatever may be their origin, in spite of past rivalries and mistakes.
In 1755, more than 2,000 families, 15,000 people approximately, who were living in the territory represented today by the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, were cruelly affected
The Budget-Mr. Arsenault by a drastic measure which has come to be known as "le grand derangement"-the great disturbance.
More than half of these peaceful and Godfearing people, who had maintained themselves on Acadian soil for 150 years, that is from 1604 to 1755, were deported and dispersed during the fall and winter of 1755. Another group were hounded, seized or made prisoners between 1755 and 1758, while what was left of these unfortunate creatures spent the next ten years in constant wanderings, from forest to forest, from shore to shore.
There was not one of these families that was spared the death or disappearance of one or more of its members.
Nearly 5,000 of them were dispersed in small groups in the various British colonies of America. A large number took refuge in Canada-that is in that part of Canada which has become the province of Quebec-or in Louisiana. Others, numbering about 1,500, were taken into captivity in England, where they had to wait for seven years until the signature of the treaty of Paris, after which they were able to cross over to France, to settle there, especially in the southwestern part, more particularly in Poitou.
Hundreds of others had been shot down by their pursuers or had died of hardship. More than a thousand were engulfed by -the sea along with the old hulks which brought them into exile.
Without for a moment wishing to establish the responsibility for the tragedy, but for my purposes in this debate, I should like to put on record a few brief excerpts from certain official documents, practically unknown to the general public, the translation of which I found in L'Acadie by Edouard Richard, annotated by Henri d'Arles in its second edition.
First of all, a few excerpts from the deportation edict which was read by Winslow to the 418 men and children over 10 years of age, in the church of Grand Pre, on September 5, 1755:
The duty, said Winslow, which I must now perform, although imperative, is quite repugnant to my nature and my character, as it will be to you, who are somewhat like me. But I cannot oppose what I was ordered to do; I must obey orders. Therefore, I shall let you know immediately the orders and instructions of His Majesty, which are:
That your farms and your homes and your cattle and your herds of all kinds be confiscated to the crown, with all your other belongings, except your money and your household effects, and that you be taken, outside this province.
And here are a few excerpts from the account given by Governor Lawrence of Halifax himself to the right honourable Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations of England, under date of October 18, 1755, again according to Richard's translation, at page 28:
Since the last letter I had the honour of writing
to Your Lordships on July 18,-said Lawrence,____
the French representatives of various districts, have appeared before the council in order to formulate a final answer to the proposal which was submitted to them to take an oath of allegiance to His Majesty; they persisted in opposing to the said proposal a positive refusal. In spite of the fact that all possible means were tried in order to persuade to them that their real interests were at stake and that a sufficient delay would be granted to them so that they would be able to give due consideration to their decision, nothing could win their assent to any of the measures required by with regard to the honour due to His Majesty and to the security of the province.
Confronted with such an attitude, the council decided to force the representatives to leave the colony and considered immediately what might be the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to carry out this resolution.
We could easily foresee that to exile them by armed force and drive them to Canada or to Louisburg could not be done without great trouble; if such a move had met with success, it would have greatly strengthened the said establishments in- bringing to them men who had always been without exception the most inveterate enemies of our religion and government and who are now desperate owing to the loss of their possessions. The only way to prevent a counter-attack on their part or their reunion in a large body was to disperse them in the colonies', from Georgia to New England.
In conclusion, here is an excerpt from -the letter dated March 25, 1756, which was sent to Governor Lawrence by the Lords of Trade, that is after the dispersion and deportation of the Acadians; it completes this historical correspondence concerning the deportation of the Acadians, which I wanted to bring to the attention of the house. I quote:
We have placed before the Secretary of State of His Majesty that part of your letter dealing with the deportation of the French people and the methods you have used to bring this about; as you present this deportation as having been absolutely necessary to the security and protection of the province, in the present critical circumstances, we do not doubt that your conduct in the matter will meet with the approval of His Majesty.
There you are. Then followed, as we all know, the Seven Years' war, the battle of the plains of Abraham, the fall of Montreal and the treaty of Paris, surrendering Canada to England.
And during that decisive period in our history, the unfortunate Acadians, who had been expatriated, knew much more bitter hours than that of their arrest and deportation. Scattered in small groups along the shores of New England as far south as
Georgia, as may be seen from the texts I have just quoted, among a hostile people, whose racial origins, religion and language differed from theirs, poorly fed, already sick and weakened by their trip on the sail boats that carried them, death worked havoc in their ranks.
But their most sorrowful affliction, the one that was their greatest cause of despair, was the dispersal of families. For those exiled people, the loss of their property and of then-country was not the worst of their sufferings. Wives, left alone on foreign soil, separated from their husbands and children, husbands, thrown on distant shores without any hope of ever seeing their loved ones again, often died broken-hearted. They were killed by moral suffering. As Father Casgrain said, they were like uprooted plants; they could not take a new lease on life. They were dying of homesickness as much as of want and like the exile of bygone days, they died their eyes turned towards their homeland.
Philip H. Smith, an English author, said in his book, Acadia, A lost chapter of American History:
In the annals of the past, we find examples of countries devastated in time of war, and where inhabitants were found in possession of arms; but history mentions no case similar to that one; peaceful and defenceless people were never subjected to treatment such as was meted out to the neutral French population of Acadia.
John Clark Ridpath, a well-known American historian, makes the following comment:
Governor Lawrence and Admiral Boscawen, together with the Chief Justice of the province, Belcher, came to a horrible decision: the whole of these people must be banished. Their first move was to require of them an oath of allegiance so contrived as to make its acceptance impossible. Then the English accused the Acadians of treason and forced them to give up their firearms and their boats. These broken-hearted people also submitted to this order. They even went so far as to offer to take the oath, but Lawrence answered that they having once refused, they must needs suffer the consequences. The annals of civilized nations contain nothing that can be compared to this wanton and sacrilegious destruction of an inoffensive colony.
In any event it is much to the credit of English-speaking historians, among whom Longfellow ranks highly, as well as comforting for those who are of Acadian extraction, to note that most historians have had enough intellectual honesty and courage to stigmatize such barbarous conduct. In spite of these terrible hardships which have no precedent in the history of civilization, the Acadian nation is today stronger and more alive than ever.
The sons of the deported and dispersed of 1755, who managed to survive their misery, number today more than a million.
The Budget-Mr. Arsenault
There are today more than 80,000 people of Acadian descent in Nova Scotia, nearly 200,000, if not more in New Brunswick and in Prince Edward Island, more than 100,000 in New England, more than half a million in Louisiana and nearly 300,000 in the province of Quebec alone.
Bonaventure county, where my ancestor took refuge at the time of the dispersion, numbers alone more than 35,000 persons of Acadian origin. With faith in God, with confidence in Providence, these people have maintained the customs and traditions of old Acadia and the gentle tongue of the Acadian ancestors, of which you probably now hear a few accents.
They live in close harmony with some ten thousand descendants of Wolfe's or perhaps Lawrence's soldiers and of American loyalists to whom their ancestors' land in Acadia has been distributed.
From that point of view, Bonaventure county, and for that matter the entire Gaspe peninsula, sets for the rest of the country an unequalled example: the descendants of two races of different origin leading together a peaceful and fraternal life. Such an example could very well be followed in some other parts of the country, at Maillardville especially where, in the very middle of our twentieth century, the prejudices, the bigotry and the arrogance of the eighteenth century are still rampant and even inspire a form of persecution which, though subtle, is none the less disturbing.
Apart from the county of Bonaventure, there are numerous districts in the province of Quebec where a large section of the population is of Acadian origin: the Magdalen islands, the Saguenay and the Chicoutimi districts, the eastern townships, the districts of Beauce, St. Hyacinthe, Joliette, Nicolet, Three Rivers, Quebec, Montreal, and others.
It is that miraculous survival that will be celebrated, no doubt very brilliantly, in the various parts of the province of Quebec, in New Brunswick, in Nova Scotia, in Prince Edward Island, in the Magdalen islands, and in the New England states, as well as in Louisiana, upon the second centenary of the deportation of 1755.
As a descendant of that race that would not die and as representative in this house of Bonaventure county, where the great majority of the people are of Acadian ancestry, I suggest to the government of my country four ways in which it could solemnly and officially take part in the celebration of that second centenary:
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The Budget-Mr. Thomas First, by issuing a memorial stamp, similar to the one that was issued in 1928, at the time of the erection of Evangeline's monument at Grand Pre and of the opening of the memorial church, which has since become one of the most popular monuments in eastern Canada.
Second, the appointment, among the personnel of our public archives, of a Canadian of Acadian origin, whose exclusive responsibility would be to resume the work which the eminent Acadian genealogist, Placide Gaudet, interrupted in 1924 at the archives, regarding research and classification of historical documents pertaining to the Acadian history and genealogies. For more than 25 years, the great gap created by the departure from the archives of Placide Gaudet and his subsequent death unfortunately was never filled.
Third, the recovery, restoration and repatriation as far as possible of Acadian original registers and historical documents, a large number of which are scattered in France and England as well as in Louisiana and Nova Scotia. These are historical treasures of immense value and they should be entrusted to the custody of public archives for future generations.
And fourthly, Mr. Speaker, and last, the setting up of special scholarships, paid by the Canadian government, with the concurrence of the governments of Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and the representatives of the Societe nationale 1'Assomption for university students of Acadian origin whose ancestors lived in Acadia at the time of the dispersion. A permanent committee could be set up in order to determine the means of administering and distributing such scholarships, which would constitute a rather belated but at least symbolic gesture of reparation in compensation for the incalculable amount of material harm endured by their Acadian ancestors whose property was arbitrarily confiscated.
This is the form which the Canadian government's participation could take in 1955, on the occasion of the commemoration of the two hundredth anniversary of the deportation of the Acadians.
In all justice, it should be done, to my mind. It would redound to the honour of the government which would take the initiative in the matter.
Topic: CANADIAN TARIFF CHANGES ON AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY
Mr. Speaker, when speaking in this debate on February
24 my leader had some very interesting things to say with regard to corporations. I should like to enlarge on his remarks in this connection, because I feel that the Canadian people will be quite anxious to have as much of the truth as possible so they may be able to render a proper judgment on the action of this government in this respect.
The hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low) said his calculations showed that Canadian corporations in the ten-year period from 1940 to 1950 accumulated undistributed profits of $4,952 million in round figures, and that was after paying all their costs, all their taxes, setting aside depreciation allowances of $6,338 million and paying shareholder dividends of $4,276 million. Doubtless the total of undistributed profits accumulated by the end of 1952 by Canadian corporations reached the $6,000 million mark. As my leader said, the figures are not yet available, but I believe that the $6,000 million estimate will be found to be very close to the actual figure.
Let us remember that the tax relief granted to corporations by the budget now before us dates from January 1 last, while the reductions provided for individual Canadians are not effective until July 1. No one can possibly say that the corporations have not been given preferential treatment over the ordinary citizens. No one can claim, either, that this government has not been aware of the high level of corporation profits for quite a number of years. Those profits have been taken out of the pockets of the consumer in the form of prices.
Against this background of fact we in the opposition feel that we are perfectly justified in making the claim that this is indeed a rich man's budget, and that it offers nothing to the Canadian people in the lower income brackets. Most certainly the people of Canada will now know who the government favours, and they will know perfectly well that it is not the ordinary man.
My leader mentioned in his speech on February 24 that there was no good reason why the sales tax should not have been abolished several years ago. Let us take a look at the figures for a moment to see whether or not that claim is justified. Suppose the government made a levy of only one-eleventh part of the undistributed profits of corporations; what would be the result? Remember that at the end of 1950 these corporations had paid their way, had distributed handsome dividends of $4,276 million, had set aside total depreciation allowances of over $6,000 million, and had left undistributed profits amounting to $4,952 million.
Those undistributed profits represent $353.48 for every man, woman and child in Canada. An eleventh part of those undistributed profits would be $450,181,818, which is more than the total revenue which the government gets from the sales tax. With that amount taken from their total undistributed profits the corporations would have left a residue of $4,501,818,182, and it would mean that the people of Canada would still be contributing to those profits at the rate of $321.34 per capita.
During the eleven years 1940 to 1950 inclusive, corporation shareholders, who of course are the privileged class in Canada, received cash dividends at the rate of $305.22 per capita of Canada's 1951 population. But the government has extended to this group more privileges in this budget by making it possible for them to escape taxation on their individual incomes until they reach the astounding figure of over $9,000 per year.
If the levy I have mentioned were made on undistributed profits of corporations it would be possible for the government to relieve the low bracket taxpayer of $32.14 in the way of taxes, and the government would be merely assisting the corporations to pay back to the taxpayers a small portion of the money the corporations had taken from them in profits, much of which was completely unjustified. This would be a form of profitsharing plan.
Such profit-sharing plans are being tried in various industries. I have here an article from the Globe and Mail of last week headed "Profit Sharing Helps Company Employees: Lush" which I should like to place on the record. It reads:
The lowest hourly rated female employee working for the full year 1952 at Supreme Aluminum Industries, Ltd., received a total from profits of $843-$335 in cash and the balance in retirement credits. This amounts to $16.22 per week for the entire year, or 37 cents per hour for 44 hours of 52 weeks.
The highest hourly rated male employee received during the same period $1,639 from profits. This is equal to $31.52 per week, or 72 cents per hour on the same basis. Of this total, $200 represented past service credits. Over a period of five years, this hourly employee has a balance in his retirement fund of more than $6,000, and in addition has received some $1,500 in cash.
Using these two illustrations to indicate the worth of profit sharing to the individual employee, H. V. Lush, president, told guests at the profitsharing dinner at the Royal York last night that since Supreme Aluminum began its profit-sharing scheme five years ago, employees have received $513,781 in cash and retirement fund credits from profits. During the same period, the company increased its working capital by 80 per cent and its net worth by 63 per cent.
"This enviable record has been largely the result of increased efficiency," he declared. "In our fabricating division, production per wage dollar in 1951 increased by almost 10 per cent over 1950.
The Budget-Mr. Thomas And last year, this same department increased its output per wage dollar by a full 10 per cent over 1951."
There you have an outstanding example of what corporations can do under present circumstances. Remember that Supreme Aluminum paid taxes to this government on the high level which this government has been exacting. But in spite of that they have been able to increase their working capital by 80 per cent and their net worth by 63 per cent, while at the same time passing back to the employees very large benefits in the form of cash bonuses and retirement allowances. Supreme Aluminum Industries Limited are to be congratulated on a remarkable achievement. What they have done sets a pattern of what other corporations could do if they had the will to be fair and just rather than merely to become powerful.
It is quite apparent that these corporations do not need the reductions given in this budget nearly as badly as do the wage earners. We say that very little assistance has been given to the wage earners, and practically nothing has been given to the western farmers. Of course there are some things for the western farmers. I am sure they will all be glad and thankful to the minister for taking the tariff off plow bolts. I am sure the wives of farmers will be able to make good use of the straight pin that will be saved in that way during the coming years. That is just about all that they will get.
As for the income tax reduction of 11 per cent, this is effective on July 1 and the actual reduction for the year is only 5-5 per cent. If the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) had wanted to give the people of Canada a reduction of 11 per cent, why did he not make it effective on January 1 as he did with the corporation tax, instead of July 1? This way of putting forward income tax reductions is much the same as the method adopted by loan sharks in attempting to fool prospective borrowers. When they say the rates are only $5 a month it does not sound nearly as big as 60 per cent a year. That is exactly what the minister tried to do but in reverse, of course. He says it is 11 per cent but he makes it effective for only half a year, and he knows very well that a new budget will be introduced within a year and that the 11 per cent will not carry on beyond that time.
Speaking of taxes, I cannot help but protest again, as I did on an earlier occasion during this session, against the gestapo methods employed by some of the investigators of the Department of National Revenue. The investigators of the department seem to be picking on the farmers, particularly in my riding, more than on anyone
2774 HOUSE OF
The Budget-Mr. Thomas else. Their high-handed attitude has certainly antagonized a good many people in my constituency. It is very much like one farmer expressed it to me when I was home. He said: As low as the Canadian dollar
can fall, it will never stoop as low as government officials will go in order to get it. I am inclined to agree with him. The taxpayers of Canada are putting up with this type of collection method, with exorbitant taxes and no relief in sight merely to pay for the waste, extravagance and inefficiency of the government.
The investigation into the army works services is a good example. I know that government members will say oh well, that is a very small branch of only one service of the armed forces. But let us remember that that is the only branch of government that has been investigated for a good many years, and as far as we know this waste, extravagance and inefficiency may be spread throughout the whole field of government operations. Only a change in government will tell us that. On that point I am going to have to agree and also disagree with the hon. member for Eglinton (Mr. Fleming) who on February 26, at page 2431 of Hansard, had this to say:
If they cannot do anything about it, then let them make way for a government that will do something about it.
Then someone interjected "C.C.F.". The hon. member for Eglinton went on to say:
No, it will not be C.C.F. Whatever may be said for my hon. friend, the fact of the matter is that there is only one place for the people of the country to turn to in this situation if they want an end to this extravagance, this waste, an end to these scandalous irregularities, if they want an end to this extortionate burden of taxation, if they want an end to these attempts to fool the people on the eve of elections.
As far as that part of his statement is concerned, I can agree with the hon. member for Eglinton. However, he goes on to say:
There is only one place for them to go and that is to go to the Progressive Conservative party, and go to that party they will at the next election.
Apparently the hon. member for Eglinton has not dug very deeply into the history of Conservative governments in this country. As a matter of fact, it will not take me long to go through the entire history of Conservative power in the House of Commons. I am not going to say in this respect, as has been said by many hon. members opposite, that the Conservative government of 1930 to 1935 caused the depression of the thirties. Far be it from me to say that, because the policies of the prior Liberal government were directly responsible for that depression. But the Conservatives did absolutely nothing to stop us from sinking into the mire of the depression. Neither, as a matter of fact, did the Liberals
when they came into power in 1936. It was not until the war came along that we found ourselves solvent again as a nation.
Topic: CANADIAN TARIFF CHANGES ON AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY
That is right. We will not worry about what agreements were made. We saw the results, and that is all we are interested in. It is quite apparent too that some newspapers have the same idea I have. I have here an article from the Victoria Times which was reprinted in some of the weekly newspapers. It reads as follows:
The Conservatives have never erected a clear, understandable and Conservative policy which the people as a whole could grasp and accept.
In Alberta and British Columbia at least, Social Credit has done this.
As things stand, the only chance he-
The reference is to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew).
-offers them is to vote for the Conservative brand of socialism.
I do not believe the people of this country want that any more than they want the sort of government we have had in the past few years. I listened to Conservative speeches during the last parliament and I heard them criticize one piece of legislation after another, but never once have I ever heard them put forward a single policy which would rectify any of the blunders made . by the Liberal government, and there have been plenty of them. Of course the Leader of the Opposition has been pounding on the fact for quite a long time that the Liberal government believes in order in council government. I should like to read an extract from Hansard for January 21, 1935. The leader of the opposition at that time, Mr. Mackenzie King, had this to say as found at page 33:
I shall continue to look with a great deal of care, not upon the alleged but upon the real purpose lying back of each and every measure as disclosed by some of its provisions. That has been the occasion of such opposition as the Prime Minister has had in this house to any measures he has introduced. The opposition has not been to what was good in any measure; it has been to what there has been of stealthy alienation of the authority and control of parliament over many aspects of public affairs.
At page 55 Mr. King had this to say:
To this end it would repeal the legislation enacted by the present administration, which deprives parliament of its control over expenditures and taxation, and invests the executive with unwarranted arbitrary powers, as for example:
(1) legislation permitting the executive to enact measure by order in council for peace, order and good government, and
(2) legislation providing the executive with a "blank cheque" for expenditures of any kind.
It is quite apparent that in that respect there is no difference whatsoever between the two old-line parties. They both like to do it while they are in power and they each criticize the other when the other is in power for doing the same thing they would do themselves. On February 24 the hon. member for Athabaska (Mr. Dechene) had this to say when speaking in this debate, as found at page 2373 of Hansard. He was referring to the meeting between the Alberta and British Columbia premiers.
As I was saying, the two premiers met together and amongst other propositions they suggested a western outlet through one pass which is not the one that should be used anyway, but they suggested it.
That statement, Mr. Speaker, is absolutely false. It is untrue. The premiers did meet and they did discuss a railway outlet from the Peace river district to the west coast, but at no time did they ever suggest any route. Apparently the hon. member for Athabaska allowed his political ardour to run away with him when he made that statement.
I have one more point to mention, Mr. Speaker. The other day I received an answer to a question I placed on the order paper concerning the sale of certain Canadian National property in the city of Edmonton. I was amazed when I found no tenders had been called. The Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys (Mr. Prudham) purchased that property through direct negotiations. The minister says he paid more than anyone else would pay. Well, that may be true; I do not know. I have not seen the property. If he had been so sure no one else wanted to pay that much, then he should not have objected to tenders being called; that is the way the sale should have been handled.
The press reported that one of the cabinet ministers-no name was mentioned in the article-stated that whether or not the minister had received any special consideration hinged on the price. The price might be fair, as I said before; I do not know. The question is, who else wanted the property? Did anyone else want it? In my opinion the price itself does not enter into it too much. It is the propriety of the whole thing. The minister may be within his legal right; I do not know because I am not a lawyer. In a statement to the press the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys said he had been trying since 1946 to obtain this property. It is quite apparent from that that the Canadian National did not want to get rid of it, because
The Budget-Mr. Ward he had been trying to obtain it for four years before he became a cabinet minister. I think it is a strange state of affairs when a minister of the crown can negotiate directly with a crown corporation to buy property without benefit of bidding. In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys has no alternative whatever except to hand in his resignation effective immediately.
Topic: CANADIAN TARIFF CHANGES ON AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY
Will the hon. member permit a question? I am interested in this subject too. I do not know whether he has been particularly fair in his summation of this case. If you wanted to buy a piece of property from the Canadian National Railways, which you may have occasion to do in the course of your normal business, would you not approach the land department of that railway by private negotiation with them rather than by open tender? Is that not the way you would buy the piece of property?
Topic: CANADIAN TARIFF CHANGES ON AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY
I certainly would if I were a private citizen, but I see no reason why a minister of the crown should be able to enter into direct negotiations with a crown corporation. In my opinion, if he had done what was right he would have resigned his interest in his various business enterprises when he became a minister, the same as the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) did in 1935 when he became a minister in this government.
Topic: CANADIAN TARIFF CHANGES ON AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY
That may be true. If that happened to be true, we would have very great difficulty getting men of the calibre we require for the public service of Canada, if they had to divest themselves of any business interests they might have.
Topic: CANADIAN TARIFF CHANGES ON AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY
I do not often take part in the debates in this house, Mr. Speaker. When I came here 32 years ago, I, like many other young fellows, did a lot of talking. I quickly discovered that any comments made by the other young fellows of my age, and young women too, were mainly for propaganda purposes. I decided that I could make my own speeches outside of this house just as well as I could inside, so of late years I have not made many speeches in this house. I would not be speaking tonight were it not for the speech delivered by the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Macdonnell). I happened to be visiting my home when his speech was delivered, but on my return, as I usually do, I carefully read
2776 HOUSE OF
The Budget-Mr. Ward Hansard to see what the boys had been doing in my absence. I found some statements made by the hon. member for Greenwood which, according to my memory, were completely at variance with the facts.
I have a very high regard for the hon. member for Greenwood, and for his integrity. I was sure he had not looked up the history of the Canada-United States trade agreement of 1935, or he would not have made some of the statements he did make.
Before going on with that, Mr. Speaker, I thought perhaps the house might be indulgent enough to afford me the privilege of saying a word about the district I represent.
Topic: CANADIAN TARIFF CHANGES ON AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY
I only do this because I do represent a very famous district. A team of curlers from my home town has just won the Brier cup. We are all very, very proud of our champions.
The district I represent happens to be one that was traversed by the white man perhaps a hundred years before there was an Ottawa. Count La Verendrye and his three sons, who were the first white men to traverse what is now the prairie provinces, built a fort, Fort Dauphin, somewhere around 1741. In the district that has maintained the name of Dauphin and the lake has also remained Dauphin lake, many of our societies are called La Verendrye and we do revere the name of La Verendrye. We feel our district has been honoured by these people who came there in the early part of the eighteenth century, and for many years maintained a fort in that district.
However, to come back to the hon. member for Greenwood, in referring to the Canada-United States trade agreement he had this to say-and it is going to be necessary, Mr. Speaker, for me to read what the hon. member said, and then read what the then leader of the Conservative party, Mr. Bennett, said in this house on February 10, 1936. The hon. member for Greenwood had this to say as recorded at page 2345 of Hansard for February 24, 1953:
It is in these circumstances, and in this atmosphere, that R. B. Bennett made his proposal to the British' and all other governments of the empire. These resulted in providing Canada at the time with a sheltered market, especially in Britain. But Mr. Bennett did not stop there. He made a definite proposal for a trade agreement with the United States, and in his proposal he included what Mr. Fielding would not include in 1911, an offer of the intermediate tariff. Up to this time, no Canadian leader or other statesman had dreamt of offering the intermediate tariff to the United States. This resulted in a trade agreement made between Canada and the United States in November, 1935, thirteen days after the King government was returned to power.
Now, listen to this:
What they really did was to sign on the dotted line the agreement that had been on the point of being signed while Bennett was still in office.
Farther down the hon. member continues:
It is true that in 1930 the Bennett government had made substantial increases in the Canadian tariff right across the board.
I should like to remind the house that I was very active in political affairs at the time. Most of these tariffs were around 80 per cent, let that be remembered. On textiles and many of the necessities of life the tariff was 80 per cent or more, and some tariffs ran above 100 per cent. They were nearly all around 80 per cent. Then the hon. member goes on:
Rightly or wrongly, he did what practically all countries in the world were doing, including Britain, for the first time in nearly three-quarters of a century, that is, taking measures to protect the national economy against the devastating fall in world prices and shrinkage in world trade.
Mr. Bennett did not do much by his threatened blasting into the markets of the world. I pause here to say this. I recall that in the election campaign of 1930-I was a candidate and was defeated in that election-Mr. Bennett, in speaking throughout the west and his lieutenant who spoke in Dauphin, Dr. Manion, at that time said that if Mr. Bennett was returned to office he would reduce the imports coming into Canada by at least half a billion dollars.
Shortly after that I happened to be addressing a meeting in the same town and T made these remarks or predictions. I said if Mr. Bennett is returned to office and does the things he says he is going to do, this is what will happen; and I warned them that I had every confidence that Mr. Bennett would do exactly as he said he was going to do. Some of my Conservative friends said, "Oh, that is just political talk." But I knew Mr. Bennett well enough-I had sat in this house with him long enough to know that he meant what he said.
I predicted that if Mr. Bennett was elected and did the things he said he was going to do, this would be the result. I said to my farmer friends: You will sell your good wheat that is now worth a dollar for 25 cents per bushel. Your good two-year old or two and a half-year old steers for which you are now getting $45, you will sell for $15. Your good bacon hogs for which you are getting 11 cents per pound on their feet you will sell for 2J cents per pound.
The morning after that meeting a good friend and a good Liberal came to me and said, "What was the matter with you last night?" I said, "I never felt better in my life. What do you mean?" He said, "I am talking
about those crazy predictions you made." "Well," I said, "if you will just be patient and just tuck it away in the back of your memory; then when it happens, come and tell me."
Mr. Bennett was elected; and two years and four months almost to the day from that morning, this same man rushed into my office with his hands over his head and said, "My God, it has all happened." It had all happened. Why did it happen? Because of the very same things that this party of which I was once a member-I am an exConservative; I escaped in time, though
are now advocating such as tariffs on sugar, protection for this and protection for that.
If we do not buy, we will not sell. That is the reason we are selling today, and the reason our good friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe), who is the greatest salesman to ever breathe the air of Canada, has been able to sell 650 million bushels of the crop of wheat threshed last year. I wonder how long it would have taken our Conservative friends to sell 650 million bushels of wheat under the policy that was not only advocated but practised during the last years of their term in office.
I now want to turn to something else. I have read what the hon. member for Greenwood said about that agreement. I want to turn now and read what Right Hon. R. B. Bennett said of that agreement on February 10, 1936, as reported at page 56 of Hansard:
Now what is the case today? Today an agreement has been made that in my judgment-I may be wrong; I never undertake to speak with any sense of certainty in these days-
Topic: CANADIAN TARIFF CHANGES ON AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY
I have never undertaken during the last five years of flux and change to speak with any degree of absolute certainty about anything connected with trade, for the situation has changed from day to day and from night to night. I can recall an order taken by a firm in Canada to be shipped to the United States; the goods were packed and when they reached Windsor to go across, the rate of duty owing to another classification had been so increased that it made it impossible to ship them without losing thousands of dollars. These things happen from day to day. I can only say that if we have adopted, as apparently we have, the principles laid down in the papers tabled today-
That was the agreement.
-we shall find it to be a very sorry day indeed for this Dominion of Canada. For I assure you, sir, that at any time before October it would have been possible to arrive at that arrangement, but I would not make it. I stand here tonight and say that I condemn it. I believe it to be bad and I am as certain as one can be in this changing world that the agreement which has been consummated will bring disaster to Canada.
That was the Conservative party's view in 1935. The strange thing about it, Mr. Speaker, is that it is still their view after the
The Budget-Mr. Ward five years of the most terrible conditions which this country has ever known and which I hope to God it will never know again. Some time later in the same debate Mr. King, then prime minister, was speaking; and as reported at page 86 he said:
There are only two other subjects to which I will refer before I conclude; they are the two which I imagine are uppermost in the minds of hon. members. The first is the Canada-United States trade agreement. That agreement will come up for very full discussion in the course of another few days. There is at the present time on the order paper a notice of motion which I have given asking the house to approve of the agreement. There will subsequently be introduced bills which will provide the necessary legislation for giving effect to all of its provisions. In due course, therefore, we shall have ample time to discuss the merits of this agreement.
What I wish to touch upon this afternoon is the impression which my right hon. friend sought last night to convey, that this agreement, so far as Canada is concerned, was the result of-
And I would ask hon. members to listen to this.
-hasty and possibly immature action. He resented very strongly the fact that the government should have concluded, in something less than a month after its return to office, an agreement so far-reaching in its nature. He began by referring to the negotiations having extended over a period of weeks. He then reduced the period to days, and finally got down to the point where the agreement had been arrived at in an hour or two. If my right hon. friend had been aware of the facts, he would have known that in those three weeks no government ever worked harder on any measure than did the present administration with respect to this particular agreement.
A little farther down Mr. King went on to say:
If I have been able, in connection with the negotiation of this particular agreement, to play a part that has been helpful, I attribute it above all else to the fact that it was known, when I went to Washington, that for nearly seventeen years I had had the loyal and wholehearted support of the Liberal party-a party which from one end of Canada to the other had advocated a reciprocal agreement with the United States-and that at no time had the leader of any other government in this dominion behind him such a following as I had at the time I began the negotiation of the agreement. In other words, there was a guarantee at once that we were in earnest; that we meant business, and that we were in a position to carry nut effectively what we might undertake to do.
And a little further on Mr. King, speaking of Mr. Bennett, said this:
He knows that since confederation up to 1911 an effort had been made on the part of both political parties to get a reciprocal agreement with the United States. He knows that under one Liberal administration, that of the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie, an agreement was negotiated but was defeated by the senate of the United States. He knows also that under another Liberal government, the great administration of the Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, a splendid agreement was negotiated with the United States; and he knows, better than anyone else, that no one in Canada worked harder to defeat that agreement than he himself.
The Budget-Mr. Ward
Topic: CANADIAN TARIFF CHANGES ON AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY