I think so. They were pointing out that unless a market is obtained for grain a lot of farmers are likely to market increased quantities of grain through livestock. They are likely to increase their
numbers of livestock. As a matter of fact, that was the advice given by the Minister of Agriculture. He said: Produce more livestock, produce more poultry, and feed some of this huge surplus of grain. The delegates got up one at a time and said that might be very fine advice but where would they sell the beef, where would they sell the pork, the cheese, the butter and poultry-and there did not seem to be an answer to those questions.
Those present were given a number of papers prepared by the economics division of the Department of Agriculture, going over the probable future prices for main agricultural commodities. The reports said that beef prices for 1954 may average slightly lower than in 1953.
Beef, they said, will be down. Hogs, the report says, will suffer more than a seasonal decline in the last quarter of 1954. The reasoning for that was that farmers with huge surpluses of grain are likely to increase their production of hogs in 1954. With larger numbers of hogs coming on the market in 1954 the price of hogs next fall will likely suffer more than a seasonal decline.
The reports do not say very much about the price of dairy products. They just imply that prices for dairy products would be down as well. This is what they had to say: The dairy industry in 1954 would probably be as attractive as in 1953 because of the relationship of dairy products to beef prices.
In other words, a farmer will keep on milking a cow producing cream that is turned into butter so long as the price of butter does not fall faster than the price of beef. They said: Well, farmers will probably stay in the dairy industry next year to the same extent as they have in 1953 because dairying will not be any worse than producing beef.
I hope that markets and prices for wheat and other grains will be maintained in 1954, yes, increased in 1954, because an increase will be necessary if we are going to market anywhere near the quantity of grain in store in western Canada. The Minister of Trade and Commerce, speaking to the house on November 18, at the opening part of this session, dealt with the wheat situation. As the minister always does, he painted a very optimistic picture; but here and there throughout his speech there were references which I think suggest that all is not well with the wheat industry and our wheat markets. For example, he stated that sales during the present crop year down to November 4 amounted to 80-7 million bushels as compared with 103-7 million bushels in the same period
last year. In other words, our export clearances of wheat during that period are down 23 per cent. I made the statement a while ago that the price of wheat had gone down from the price commencing in this crop year of $2.05 to the present price of $1.89 per bushel-a drop of 16 cents.
There also has been a substantial drop in the price of No. 1 feed barley, a very important commodity to western farmers. The price last year naturally varied but ordinarily it was well above $1.10 per bushel. Now the price is down to a little over 90 cents a bushel. Those are the agricultural trends prevalent right now. The price of every single agricultural commodity right now is on the way down and the provincial departments and the provincial ministers of agriculture are aware of the situation. I heard two of them speak at the conference yesterday and I took notes of some of the things they said. Mr. Walsh, deputy minister of agriculture in the Nova Scotia government, a Liberal government, had this to say about agricultural conditions in Nova Scotia: Conditions in agriculture in Nova Scotia are the worst in the past nine years; are worse now than at any time since the dominion-provincial agricultural conferences were started back in 1944.
We listened to an address by Mr. Robertson, minister of agriculture for Manitoba, and he certainly did not paint a very optimistic picture of agricultural conditions in that province and the prospects for the Manitoba farmer. He said: The position of farmers in Canada appears to be getting rapidly worse; and he referred to the present state of affairs as "a very pessimistic looking situation." Those are the words of the minister of agriculture in a Manitoba Liberal government.
Here are these representatives of the agricultural industry meeting in Ottawa. They have one cabinet minister listening to the deliberations and they are saying time and again that the outlook for agriculture is not good. I suggest that those representatives should meet the whole cabinet before the conference is concluded and should present their own conclusions, after three days' deliberation, to the government of Canada in the hope that policies may be adopted to prevent a drastic recession in the agricultural industry.
I should now like to refer to some of the things that have been done with regard to the marketing of grain in western Canada over the last few months. I can say quite frankly that I really do not know why some of the policies have been adopted. When the election campaign was on, towards the end of July, the wheat quota was taken off all over western Canada. We saw the spectacle of
The Address-Mr. Argue some farmers trucking their grain 50 miles or 75 miles to a marketing point where there was some elevator space. The lifting of the quota in the dying weeks of the election campaign resulted in the plugging of almost every cubic foot of elevator space in western Canada; and when the new crop came on, and the election was over and the small quota of three bushels per acre came into effect, a great many farmers-in fact, the vast majority of them-could market little or none of their 1953 crop. The small farmer, with a small quota, found himself in a bad way economically.
I think it was a terrible mistake to remove that quota and to allow, as it did, certain farmers who happened to be in a preferred position to jam the elevators with 1952 wheat at the expense of orderly marketing for all farmers of the 1953 crop. What possible reason was there for taking off that quota? Did any agricultural organization in western Canada ask that the quota be taken off? None that I know of. However, it sounded good about that time of the year to be able to get up on a political platform and say, "The market is rosy. Everything will be fine. Look, the quota on wheat has just been taken off and you have the opportunity, if you can, to sell all the grain you have in storage on your farm." Another thing it did result in, however, is this. It resulted in filling elevator storage space in certain line elevator company houses that would not otherwise have been filled. It was a great boon to the line elevator companies to have the quota removed, and to have their elevator houses filled so that they could start collecting from the Canadian wheat board one cent per bushel per month for storage. It was a great thing for the line elevator companies but it has not assisted in the orderly marketing of the farmers' grain.
A somewhat similar thing took place not long ago. The car order book was removed, and the provision in the Canada Grain Act that made it possible for a farmer to order a car. That provision gave him some rights to order a car and to have it loaded with his wheat, something that the farmer had obtained fifty years ago and valued a great deal over the years. But the transport controller removed the car order book. He did not ask the farm organizations what they thought of it, because had he asked them I am sure that every single farm organization would have said, "Leave the car order book provision of the Canada Grain Act alone." The car order book provision was removed. The spotting of box cars now is in the hands of the transport controller on paper, but in practice it is in the hands of the railway
284 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. Argue companies. The railway companies and the line elevator companies seem to get along very nicely, and the line elevator companies often get a larger proportion of box cars than they would require if the farmers could market their grain at the elevator of their own choice. Once again something has been done that will add tens of thousands of dollars of profit to the line elevator companies.
Then we had the recent appointment to the Canadian wheat board of Mr. Earle Robertson. He was the assistant manager of the Federal Grain Company at Winnipeg. I do not know the gentleman. Mr. Robertson may be a valuable member of the board as time goes on, but I do not think the minister should have appointed to a government board, which is engaged in the orderly marketing of grain, any member from any company having opposed orderly marketing for so many years. If you want a government board to function successfully, you should have it comprised of members who believe in that type of marketing.
Then we have another provision-and it is a recent one-namely the alternate delivery point. I guess I am not as smart on some matters as I might have thought I was, because I ordinarily thought that an alternate delivery point meant that one farmer had a second delivery point and so that, instead of hauling grain to point A, he might haul it to point B. But that is not what the alternate delivery point means at all. It means this. When the city of Regina, for example, is declared an alternate delivery point, any farmer in western Canada can haul grain to Regina within his quota. Farmers in my constituency, some of them one hundred miles from Regina, hauled grain to the city of Regina, and sold it there. Apparently many box cars were coming to Regina but it was not possible to get box cars at small country elevator points. Instead of distributing a few more box cars to some of these out of the way places, the transport controller sent the box cars to Regina. The wheat board makes it an alternate delivery point and the farmers have to spend 10 or 15 cents a bushel to haul their grain to Regina, where it is placed in box cars and taken to Fort William. That is what is done instead of the transport controller sending a few box cars into their local elevator points.
In the past I have advocated that farmers be given an advance on farm-stored grain. The speech delivered by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) the other day was an argument against any provision for an advance payment on grain held on farms. Again I want to quote a statement
made by the minister of agriculture for Manitoba at that conference yesterday with regard to the financial position of farmers who have large stocks of grain on hand. These are his words: The farmers of Manitoba in many
districts are "suffering from a definite shortage of money".
Oh, we have heard it said that the farmers in western Canada have lots of money, that they have been getting interim payments, that they have been hauling substantial quantities of grain and that they do not need advance payments. But here we have a minister of agriculture who lives with the situation in Manitoba, and who knows it intimately; and who comes to a conference in Ottawa and says that something must be done to take care of this situation where the farmers are suffering from a definite shortage of money. The Minister of Trade and Commerce says that the experience which the government had two years ago, when they provided legislation for the advance of money to farmers through the banks, did not work out too well. He says, as a matter of fact, that it is too bad but there is over $40,000 still outstanding and that the Department of Finance had to pay losses to the banks in excess of $11,000.
I think that is painting a much darker picture than is warranted. The total amount of loans made under this act was $625,000 and a provision in the act made it possible for the government to pay the banks 25 per cent of the aggregate loans in case of loss. In other words, the government must have thought that there was a possibility that 25 per cent of these loans would go bad. How many went bad? One and a half per cent. The farmers did 1,600 per cent better in paying back their loans than must have been contemplated when the act was first introduced.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
point and dressed it all up to make it appear as though this scheme had been a terrible flop and that the farmers, by not repaying their loans, had cost the treasury a large sum of money. It was $11,000. Then the treasury had $1,588.75 paid to it from wheat board participation certificates. There has also been collected by banks from borrowers an additional $125, so the total loss to date on aggregate loans of $625,000 amounted to $9,664.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
happened in the house last session. I said to the minister that I thought there would be a carryover of grain in Canada at July 31 of at least 330 million bushels. The minister said that was nonsense. He said I was all wet and wanted to know where I got those figures. Well, the carryover was 360 million bushels. I was too conservative in my estimate. If the minister wants to dispute his own figures this time, as he did at an earlier session this year, he can get up at some future time and correct those figures. But I make the statement that, even though the provisions of such loans made it impossible for the vast majority of farmers in a reasonable financial position to get any money, even though it was provided that a man had to be almost a marginal or submarginal farmer to get a loan, even though the banks could only lend $1,000 and no more, even though the loans in the main were, and had to be, to marginal farmers, the plan was a great success because instead of costing the federal treasury 25 per cent it only cost it 1J per cent as of November 18, 1953, according to the statement of the Minister of Trade and Commerce.
I say the minister should not yet give a definite no to the proposition that there should be some advances to farmers for grain stored on farms. I should like to see the wheat board, through the elevator companies, buy grain in farmers' storage on the farms and make an advance payment on such purchases. 1 think that would be more sensible than some of the things that are being done now in western Canada. For instance, if an elevator company can find an old coal shed or any run-down building, jam a few grain doors in it to fill up the holes, and fill the old broken-down building with 50,000 bushels of wheat, it will collect $500 a month in storage charges from the Canadian wheat board. I say it would be far better if the farmers were able to store their own
The Address-Mr. Argue grain in proper storage on their farms and were entitled to advance payment on the sale of that grain to the wheat board.
I say that such legislative action is absolutely necessary now because western farmers are short of money, no matter what anybody may say. I notice that the Minister of Trade and Commerce quoted Mr. Marler, the president of the Alberta federation of agriculture, in his speech. As found at page 129 of Hansard for November 18, Mr. Marler is quoted by the minister as saying:
The answer I am giving to the uninformed public in this matter is that the farmer is in a strong position . . . He . . . has his granaries full and in some instances grain piled in the field. This cannot be reckoned as a calamity but can only be assumed to add up to a condition greatly enhancing his economic position.
Mr. Marler says that the economic position of the farmer is greatly enhanced. Then Mr. Marler comes to the agricultural conference, and what is his solution for the economic problems facing the farmers of Canada? He says that production of wheat is the whole trouble and the way to correct the situation is to have a 30 per cent reduction in acreage seeded to wheat next year. At one time he says there is no problem and that the farmers' economic position is greatly enhanced. Yet when he comes to Ottawa he says that, in order to salvage the wheat producers of Canada, acreage should be cut by 30 per cent next year.
I believe the Minister of Trade and Commerce will turn down that kind of suggestion. I believe the producers of Canada will turn down that type of suggestion because in my opinion it is the duty and the function of the agricultural producers of Canada, as well as of other nations, to produce the maximum quantity of food possible in keeping with good agricultural practice. Let us find markets for all the food products that Canada can produce instead of trying to reduce our production to the markets that we are told are available today. Hundreds of millions of people in the world are hungry. Canada has a great opportunity now to see that our food is sent to needy nations throughout the world. I think that food could play a very decisive role in the battle for peace in the world at this time. I trust, I hope and I believe that the government of Canada will turn down any suggestion that agricultural production should be reduced and that rather our government will encourage agricultural production, will establish fair prices both to the producer and the consumer, and will undertake new trade policies to see that Canada's food production is made available to needy nations throughout the world.
The Address-Mr. Legare (Translation):
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, as I am a new member in the house, you will surely permit me to tell you that I have been quite impressed by the atmosphere of dignity that prevails in this chamber. Debates are also marked with dignity, that same dignity that so well characterizes our people and their leader, the right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), all of which undoubtedly contributes to the great popularity enjoyed by Canada in all the countries of the world.
Mr. Speaker, you are a marvellous example of that dignity and I would be remiss in my duty if I failed to associate my humble voice with that of all those who have already congratulated you on your appointment and on the numerous qualities that have enabled you to accede to such a high and noble office.
I also extend my congratulations to the new members of the cabinet, to the new parliamentary assistants, as well as to the mover (Mr. Hollingworth) and the seconder (Mr. Villeneuve) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. These two gentlemen have made a promising start, while the new ministers and the new parliamentary assistants greatly deserve the honour that has been conferred upon them.
I was impressed by the atmosphere of the house, but I was also greatly touched by the warm welcome I received from several distinguished ministers on whose door I have knocked since the opening of this twenty-second parliament; I have no doubt that they will always honour me with their friendship although I have taken the liberty of disturbing them rather frequently in the interest of my constituency.
I have listened very carefully to the speech of Her Majesty's representative and I have found that once again the government of our marvellous country was giving due consideration to our problems in order to help all Canadians. I learned with great pleasure that the government intends to make loans easier for the building of houses. I now hope that the sponsors of that project and parliament itself will give it sufficient scope so that it may benefit not only city people but also those country people who wish to build new houses. Rural parishes should be progressing at the same pace as urban municipalities and it is in promoting the construction of new homes even in the smallest parishes that we will promote decentralization and relieve congestion in our larger cities. In giving our rural population as well as our
city workers the same opportunity to build their own homes, on favourable terms, this government will contribute to a great extent to the stability of our people.
Another of the numerous government measures referred to in the speech from the throne has given a new lease on life to thousands of Canadians. I am speaking of the disabled whose existence is a nightmare, aggravated by the fact that, unable to obtain financial assistance, they are not in a position to remunerate those who help them. I would like all members of this house to take an ever-increasing interest in them, even should a federal-provincial agreement lead to the granting of pensions to these people. I would like also to see all my fellow citizens more deeply moved by their misfortune and endeavour to make them forget, as much as possible, at least temporarily, their unfortunate physical condition.
This social and humanitarian legislation could have found no better sponsor than the Prime Minister. I congratulate him most heartily on it, as well as on his having been returned to power with his government. Surrounded by men of undisputed ability he will continue to give this country that magnificent forward impulse which will ensure its continued progress. He has shown himself to be a great exponent of peace and democracy and for this reason he enjoys not only on this continent, but everywhere in Europe, after only a few short years of public life, a reputation equalled by only a few statesmen.
Mr. Speaker, the constituency of Rimouski has no fault to find with the administration of this country in the past years. As a matter of fact it once more expressed its satisfaction on August 10 last. However this does not mean that it expects nothing more; on the contrary. I will, in any event, have occasion to express certain wishes in a moment or so.
May I nevertheless be allowed to say that in social security payments alone the Department of National Health and Welfare, in the past four years, has distributed, in my constituency, more than $10,000,000. During the financial year 1952-53, grants totalling $2,606,500 were distributed as follows: family allowances, $1,492,000; old age pensions to those over 70, $1,017,500; old age assistance to those under 70, $97,000, not to mention pensions to the blind, assistance to hospitals, etc.
Mr. Speaker, I should like also to congratulate the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. NOVEMBER 24, 1953
Pearson) for having appointed Mr. Jules Leger as ambassador to Mexico. I had the great honour of being his guest during the pre-inaugural trip of Trans-Canada Air Lines to Mexico and I was pleased to note that the Mexicans have the highest regard for him. On that same occasion, Canada had also another distinguished ambassador in the person of the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin). In brilliant addresses, for which he is particularly noted, he emphasized to public authorities in Mexico that their country's health would fare better if they intensified their commercial relations with Canada.
I would like to be allowed a few more minutes, Mr. Speaker, in order to say a word or two about my county. Everybody seems to know Rimouski, and more particularly so since the catastrophic conflagration which destroyed half the city. Since May 6, 1951, that part which had been laid waste has been rebuilt, thanks to gifts from various governments, and from numerous charitable souls, thanks also to the remarkable courage displayed by the victims. I seize this opportunity to thank the federal government for the two and a half million dollars they gave to those who suffered from the disaster, so that they might build themselves new homes. But one should not think mistakenly that this gift and the other gifts-no more than the various insurances-have made good the losses. In fact, these losses have exceeded $25,000,000, while the relief assistance was no more than about half that sum. The conflagration may have made Rimouski famous abroad, but we must not forget that this publicity has cost the victims an over-all sum of about $12,000,000.
The county of Rimouski, which lies halfway between Quebec and Gaspe, comprises three cities: Trois Pistoles, Rimouski and Mont Joli and includes, besides, several lovely agricultural parishes. Mont Joli is endowed with a splendid airport which, during the last war, was used for the training of airmen from all over the commonwealth and which, since then, has been used mostly by civil aviation. This airport built by the government in my county is today one of the reasons for the growth of the city of Mont Joli. It seems to me that I would be remiss in my duty if I did not bring this fact to the attention of the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) and the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton).
In case of another war, I could not object if the Canadian air force were to be based
The Address-Mr. Legare there, but I would think it my duty to ask that civil aviation continue to use that airport. So, if the Minister of National Defence were to contemplate the possibility of having to mobilize completely the Mont Joli airport, in case of international complications or even for the peacetime training of airmen, I would ask him to so inform the Department of Transport for, as I say, it is necessary for the economy of Mont Joli that landing strips remain available to civil aviation.
Rimouski also has its own airport, though it is not quite so large, and I want to thank the Minister of Transport who is having a landing strip built there. Both Mont Joli and Rimouski airports are now widely used by commercial aviation, with many daily flights between the two shores. These two airports will also be used to maintain a daily service between Gaspe and Montreal, via New Brunswick and Maine, if the board of transport commissioners will grant a permit to the Quebec Air company for the operation of that service. Incidentally, Quebec Air's application meets with opposition on the part of Canadian Pacific Air Lines, the very same company that wanted to establish a freight service in competition with Trans-Canada Air Lines.
Rimouski also has an important sea harbour which is largely used by coastal and transatlantic craft. Seafaring activities are progressing every year, and that is why I would need the co-operation of the Department of Public Works for the expansion of navigational facilities. I also am counting on the help of that department in developing the shipyard which is now being built at Rimouski and which is doubtlessly needed in the whole eastern part of Quebec.
I also would like to draw the attention of the Public Works Department to the necessity of developing other harbours or seaports in my county. The harbour of Trois Pistoles in particular would need to be planned in such a way as to be able to receive vessels of higher tonnage; the one at Pointe-au-Pere has urgent need of a shelter where ferries may be accommodated in gales and stormy weather.
Mr. Speaker, the time that is granted me today does not allow me to mention the other parishes in my county and to underline their most pressing needs. I shall certainly have an opportunity to do so some other time. However, I would like to draw the attention of the department right now to the consequences which would follow the realization of a project which has been under study for a few years now and whose object
288 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. Legare would be to increase the potential power resources in a certain area of the province of New Brunswick, through the building of dams in Temiscouata. These dams would cause some flourishing agricultural parishes in my county to disappear, thus depriving my county of already too few arable tracts of land. In that case, whoever it may be that attempts to have this project realized I shall feel it my duty to protest and to object to its realization. As long as there remains so many other sources of water power in Quebec and in New Brunswick there should be no question of such a project which would have deplorable consequences. I would even add that the study of this project should be put aside without further delay, so that those who devote their energies to its study may direct their attention to other fields.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I shall express two other hopes, which are close to my heart and which deal with proposals already presented to the cabinet. The first concerns the increasing of the pensions paid to retired employees of the Canadian National Railways or to their widows. The intention the government has shown of increasing the remuneration of our civil servants and the veterans' pensions is already proof of the consideration given by the government to the welfare of the various classes in our society. Retired employees of our national railways are not getting a pension proportionate to the cost of living today. I know however that the Minister of Transport will lend an attentive ear to that request and that he will grant those employees, as has been done in the case of those other groups I mentioned, a higher remuneration.
My last request is for the construction without any delay of a railway on the north shore of the Gaspe peninsula. I do not wish to intrude into the field of action of my friend the member for Gaspe (Mr. Langlois) but I feel it would be in the interest of the entire country to give that district the benefit of railway service. The Gaspe peninsula will be the scene of gigantic development; mining operations are very active, new parishes are being established. However, that beautiful region, which is visited by thousands of tourists each year and which is perhaps the most beautiful part of Canada, has now reached the stage where the construction of a railway is necessary. It is now an economic necessity, and the growth of this district depends a great deal upon it. I therefore suppose that the Minister of Transport will give the matter further consideration without delay and will soon announce its realization.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, it appears to be customary, speaking in this debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne, to mention a wide range of subjects, and particularly for freshmen members to speak of their own ridings. In a moment or two I shall do this rather briefly. It is not my purpose to take up the time of the house in uttering a lot of platitudes; but there are certain achievements of the people in the county of Perth and some grave conditions now existing which I feel should be brought to the attention of hon. members.
Before making these observations however I should like to join previous speakers in passing on congratulations through you, sir, to Mr. Speaker. As a newcomer to the house, it is amazing to find how all the knowledge, experience and tact necessary for the proper fulfilment of the great responsibilities of that high office could be centred in one member. If it does not appear too brash on my part as a newcomer, I should like to say that I believe Mr. Speaker does possess those qualities.
And I would also congratulate you, sir, upon your elevation to your present position of Deputy Speaker. It was my good fortune to be associated with you during school days. Looking back I seem to recall that even then you displayed those qualities which now enable you to carry out your duties so admirably.
May I say just a word or two about my thoughts upon arriving here in Ottawa as the duly elected member in the House of Commons for the riding of Perth. I do not think any freshman at a university ever felt more like a freshman than I did on that particular morning. However, owing to the friendship, advice and suggestions offered by members on both sides of the house, I now feel somewhat more at home.
When I look at the map of this great Canada of ours and realize that I am one of the 265 persons sent here to govern the country, I feel very humble. I think we should all sit back and look at that map occasionally so that we may not lose that feeling of humility.
I should like to reiterate the sentiment expressed by the hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort (Mr. Bryson) last Friday when he said: jj (
This is a moment, Mr. Speaker, which I am not likely soon to forget, in rising for the first time to take part in a debate in the House of Commons.
And now a few words concerning my home city of Stratford and my riding of Perth. We are situated in the middle of the garden of
Canada. I think that, aside from our geographical location, this statement is borne out by the results of the recent elections. We are practically surrounded by ridings which saw fit either to return sitting members or to elect to the house new members who represent the party of which I am a supporter.
My constituency, which since the redistribution of 1933 has been known as Perth, formerly constituted two ridings, namely those of North Perth and South Perth. This county in the past has sent many illustrious members to Ottawa. It is my fervent hope that I shall be as faithful and industrious in fulfilling my duties as were my predecessors. Incidentally, I trust I may be excused for mentioning that my paternal grandfather represented North Perth in the House of Commons from 1873 to 1878. During that period, unfortunately, he also sat to the left of the Speaker. I am confident, sir, that, if I may use a slang expression, I shall enjoy going that gentleman one step better and having the experience of moving to the other side of the chamber.
We have in Stratford many manufacturing concerns. Time will not permit me to speak at length about all these business enterprises, of which we are justly proud. I should like however to say something to the house about our largest employer of labour, the Canadian National Railways. We have an investment by the C.N.R. in Stratford amounting to many millions of dollars, in the way of buildings and equipment provided for the repair of steam locomotives. I am greatly concerned about the future of these repair shops, and I do beseech consideration by the management of the Canadian National Railways by way of planning for the future use of these facilities. Since August 10 of this year there have been at least two and, if I am not mistaken, three separate lay-offs of employees. It has been intimated by the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) that these lay-offs are temporary; I can only trust that he is right.
This is serious for us. We feel that, because of the gradual dieselization of this system, unless planning for the future is begun now we are only going to suffer more and more lay-offs. As you may know, the Canadian Pacific Railway recently commenced a new fast diesel service between Toronto and Windsor. Will the present service which the Canadian National provides be able to compete successfully with this? I do not think so. This is a huge, continuously growing Canada and I suggest that the management of the Canadian National grow with the 83276-19
The Address-Mr. Monteith country. Let it develop new ideas to attract passenger revenue and improve freight service.
Surely in an expanding economy such as ours the Stratford Canadian National repair shops do not have to face a gradual reduction in employment simply because the system is becoming dieselized. As dieselization of the system progresses I urge the government to give early consideration to the use that will be made of the facilities provided by the Stratford shops, which facilities represent such a huge investment.
A particularly important attainment in the history of Stratford and of Canada materialized this past summer. I am speaking now of the Stratford Shakespearean festival. That festival was the greatest cultural achievement Canada has ever experienced. Unfortunately its production coincided somewhat with another interesting event in Canada this summer, in that it commenced early in July and ran through until after August 10. Most of us were, I think excusably so, very busy and probably could not find time to attend the festival. I believe it was on July 28 when the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) did squeeze in sufficient time to visit Stratford and incidentally the festival. I only hope he does not now feel that the time thus consumed was at all ill spent.
This festival originated in the mind of a Stratford young man by the name of Tom Patterson. He dreamed of such an undertaking for some time and finally convinced a number of the citizens of Stratford that he had something. This was a terrific decision to make, and I should like to congratulate particularly the promoter and those citizens who gave so unstintingly of their time and energy in the early stages of the production.
I should like to take a few moments of the time of this house to read a few of the objects of the Stratford Shakespearean festival foundation of Canada which was incorporated under the laws of the province of Ontario on October 31, 1952:
1. To promote interest in, and the study of, the arts generally and literature, drama and music in particular.
2. To advance knowledge and appreciation of and to stimulate interest in Shakespearean culture and tradition by theatrical performances and otherwise.
3. To provide for facilities for education and instruction in the arts of the theatre.
4. To provide improved opportunities for Canadian artistic talent.
5. To advance the development of the arts of the theatre in Canada.
The Address-Mr. Monteith
There is no doubt that the future of this festival is now assured. I feel that all culturally-minded people in Canada are grateful to those few in Stratford who had the foresight and initiative to make it possible.
I should like to present just a few statistics to show what effect this festival had upon the economy of Stratford and Canada as a whole. A total of 68,800 tickets were sold, 38 [DOT] 1 per cent being sold in the United States. Canadian National ticket sales from Toronto to Stratford were up 55 per cent during July and August, 1953 over the same period in 1952. Bank clearances were up over $3,850,000 during June, July and August, 1953 as compared with the corresponding period in 1952. It will be remembered that this is a city of approximately 19,000 people. Cars were parked in the festival parking lot from nine provinces in Canada and 35 states of the union to the south.
I trust that my words about this undertaking have not taken up too much of the time of the house. If we are through our business in time next summer I do hope every hon. member will avail himself of the opportunity of visiting Canada's greatest cultural achievement, the Stratford Shakespearean festival.
The other day the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Mclvor) mentioned in the house that his city possesses the finest water supply in Canada. I would respectfully take issue with that statement as undoubtedly the city of Stratford has that distinction. Our water comes from deep wells and possesses fluorine in exactly the correct quantities as they have been determined up to now. Comparisons have been made with other cities in Canada as to dental conditions, and I think the statistics resulting from those comparisons are favourable to my contention. I shall not burden hon. members with the details. A letter was written by the Department of National Health and Welfare to the medical officer of health of Stratford under date of April 29, 1949. One paragraph of this letter reads:
Stratford is to be congratulated upon its good fortune in having among its children what probably is the best dental condition of any city in Canada. The caries attack rate is more than two-thirds less than in the average Canadian city. It is believed that this is due to the fact that the Stratford water supply, as well as being excellent, contains from its natural sources, 1-3 PPM of flourine.
I feel that letter supports my view that Stratford possesses a quality of water beyond comparison.
I should like to mention that in Stratford as well as in other communities of Perth
county there are several depressed textile industries. These industries, along with dairy machinery manufacturers, appear to be suffering from unfair dumping on our markets from abroad. I expect there will be an opportunity later to discuss these matters.
I have not thus far made any mention of the wonderful farming country surrounding Stratford, nor of the towns and villages of Perth county. The welfare of those towns and villages, as well as the welfare of Stratford, depends to a large extent upon trade with the farming districts. May I point out that Perth county is in the midst of one of the best mixed farming districts in Canada. We have farmers concentrating on dairy cattle and dairy products, on beef cattle, on grains, on cash crops such as sugar beets, on poultry, on fur-bearing animals and on several other specialties. Many of these farmers have legitimate complaints which I feel should command our attention.
The drop in grain prices has been considerable, and this matter has been discussed at some length in this chamber. As a consequence I do not propose to enlarge on the subject. At some future date I may find it necessary to climb aboard with the hon. member for Lambton West (Mr. Murphy) and go for a ride on the sugar beet question.
I should like to bring to your attention the plight of the farmer who has been fattening beef cattle which he bought at say 29 cents a pound, who has been feeding them for several months and then has been forced to sell at say 19 cents per pound in order to meet bank loans. Such an operation cannot have any result other than financial ruin. Then there is the dairy farmer whose monthly milk cheque up until a comparatively short time ago was perhaps $350, but who is now receiving possibly $200. Such a man is in anything but a happy state of mind.
I should like to speak briefly concerning the cheese industry. The hon. member for Hastings South (Mr. Follwell) has claimed that the best cheese produced anywhere in Canada comes from his riding, but in my opinion Perth county has attained the position of producing cheese of a quality second to none. Reports concerning sediment in milk going into cheese production do, I am sure, bear out this contention.
Further, Mr. Speaker, I cannot share the hon. member's enthusiasm for the part the present government and the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) have played in the marketing of cheese. True, the Liberal government did buy 5J million pounds of cheese of last year's make; but was it not still
in Canada? Recent sales to Britain have left the whole industry in a much healthier condition. These sales have achieved the result of assuring the removal of 10 million pounds of cheese from the Canadian market. May I point out that these recent sales to Britain were made by the Ontario cheese marketing board without assistance from the federal government or the Minister of Agriculture. The cheese market has now firmed considerably, and the whole dairy industry will benefit from the fact that this deal was made in a straight businesslike manner without government interference.
May I conclude by stressing that many such benefits would accrue under an economy of free competition.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of this twenty-second parliament, I wish to make my first remarks in French, which is the language of the great majority of my electors.
In keeping with the established tradition, I congratulate you more particularly on your election to the high office of Speaker of the house, an office which you fill with so much dignity and impartiality. You have all the qualifications required of the Speaker of the House of Commons, as has been so often repeated in newspapers and magazines in the country. While congratulating you on having been chosen for this office, may I also say that the House of Commons is indeed happy to have a Speaker as talented and as competent as you are.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, I also offer you my sincere congratulations. We are confident that you will fill your office with the competence, the dignity and the impartiality which you have always shown as deputy chairman of the committees of the house.
As a member of the French-speaking minority of the house, I rejoice at the fact that the tradition of alternation has again been followed in electing as Speaker of the house a French-speaking member to succeed a member whose mother tongue was English.
I wish to congratulate the hon. member for York Centre (Mr. Hollingworth) on his very able speech proposing the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I read it with great interest, and found it fully up to the standard expected of a fellow barrister from Toronto.
I also wish to congratulate particularly the mover of the address in reply to the speech from the throne for having made some of 83276-19J
The Address-Mr. Cannon his comments in French. For those of us from the province of Quebec and whose mother tongue is French, it is always a pleasure to hear our colleagues from the other provinces express themselves in our language.
I also wish to extend my congratulations to the hon. member for Roberval (Mr. Villeneuve) on the excellent speech he made and more especially for bringing back to the Liberal fold the constituency of Roberval which, due to organization difficulties, had temporarily gone astray.
I cannot conclude my preliminary remarks without extending also my congratulations to the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) on his personal re-election and on having led our great Liberal party to a second consecutive victory. Even the most optimistic of prophets dared not forecast that Liberal members would be re-elected in such numbers. I am sure that all my colleagues will agree when I say that this great victory we have won is due to the personal prestige and reputation of the right hon. Prime Minister, without whom many of us would not be here.
As far as I am concerned, far from deceiving myself, I recognize that if I was elected m the past to represent the Iles-de-la-Madeleine and if I was re-elected this year, I owe this honour to the fact that I was one of the candidates of our beloved leader. (Text):
Mr. Speaker, the speech from the throne mentioned several important problems of national interest and indicated that legislation is to be introduced to cope with those problems. One of the most serious problems still facing the government today is housing. Although the government has done a lot to solve it in the past, the problem is still with us. I see in the speech from the throne a paragraph reading as follows:
While more houses are being built this year than ever before, the growing population of Canada requires a continued expansion of housing. You will be asked to consider measures to increase and broaden the supply of mortgage money so that more people with moderate incomes will be able to find facilities to assist them to build their own homes.
This will be done through an amendment to the National Housing Act to reduce to about 10 per cent the size of the down payment to be made by prospective home builders, and to increase facilities for borrowing on mortgage. The speech also mentions the revision of the Bank Act which has to be made every ten years according to law. This revision of the Bank Act will afford an opportunity to facilitate the supply of mortgage money for housing.
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As is well known to hon. members, our chartered banks, under the Bank Act as it now exists, cannot lend money on mortgages. That is to say, they cannot make a loan directly to a client on the security of a mortgage. They can, however, take a mortgage as additional security for a loan that has already been made. As a result of this disposition of our Bank Act the great pool of savings that exists in the chartered banks is not available for new housing, and nearly all mortgage money for new housing at present has to come from six or seven large insurance companies. In other countries this pool of savings is available because savings money is not deposited in commercial banks that do not lend on mortgages but is deposited in savings banks and in building and loan associations which are authorized to. and do lend on mortgages for new housing. .
I have been told on good authority that the government has decided to amend the Bank Act in order to permit the banks to draw on this great pool of savings and lend money on new houses to overcome the shortage of funds presently available for that purpose. Some people may think this is a startling innovation on the part of the government, to authorize the banks to lend money directly on mortgages, and I must confess that I was, myself, a little surprised when the project was first mentioned to me. I immediately thought of the old reason, given to us in law school, for forbidding banks to lend on mortgages. It was to keep their investments in a sufficiently liquid position that they might at any time liquidate them and meet their obligations.
However, if one takes into consideration the fact that the mortgages will be protected by insurance and that precautions will be taken to ensure regular payments of taxes as well as regular payments of insurance premiums, one sees that these loans will not carry any considerable risk. If the banks are obliged to realize on such investments I think they will have no difficulty in selling those mortgages to other banks or loan companies, so they will preserve their liquid position which is so necessary for them if they are to accomplish their functions as institutions making loans out of moneys deposited with them.
Two things are certain. The first is that the people of this country expect the government to see that additional funds are made available for new housing; and the second is that the insurance companies, and other loan agencies who have carried most of the burden so far, cannot be expected to carry it alone and cannot be expected, either, to provide the additional funds now required.
The alternative would be for the government to raise the money by additional taxation or by increasing the national debt, and to use this money by lending it out to people for the construction of new homes.
I am quite sure you will agree with me, Mr. Speaker, when I say that I do not think the taxpayers of this country are ready at this time to endorse either of those alternatives, namely either an increase in taxation or an increase in the national debt, particularly when a simple solution is available such as the one suggested by the government, which is to allow our chartered banks, under certain protective conditions, to make those loans for new housing.
I therefore come to the conclusion that the government's solution to the problem, which is to make available for the construction of new houses the great pool of savings deposited with our chartered banks, is not only acceptable but that the government is to be commended for its initiative under the circumstances.
In the speech from the throne we also find the following reference to free trade:
My ministers are convinced that nations can best achieve economic strength and security through more liberal trade and overseas investment policies and they are continuing their efforts to bring about the progressive reduction of trade restrictions.
This is a reaffirmation of the historical and traditional Liberal principle of free trade, or trade as free as possible. We are a great exporting nation, and for our customers to be able to purchase our goods, we must buy theirs. They in turn, to be able to import our products, must export some of their own to other nations. The key to the prosperity of the world is a reduction in trade restrictions. Our largest customer is our great neighbour to the south. The fact that the recent speech made in Ottawa by the President of the United States did not give us any new ground for hope must not prevent us from continuing to hope that they will not only refrain from increasing tariffs but that they will reduce tariffs in favour of greater international trade which, as I have said, is the key to prosperity and is also, after all, the best way to combat communism.
The subject of foreign trade is of particular interest to my constituents, as nearly all of the smoked fish, salt fish and fish meal which they produce has to be exported because the Canadian market cannot absorb all of those products. At the present time we have a serious problem which arises out of the fact that we have a carryover of bloaters from the 1952 pack. For the information of the uninitiated, bloaters are smoked herring. We also
have a large 1953 pack which is not moving to market in the usual way. There is a surplus of approximately 150,000 boxes that should be disposed of in order to bring the situation back to normal.
The great producers of bloaters are the Magdalen islands and the county of Westmorland in New Brunswick. While mentioning the county of Westmorland I wish to salute the new member for that county who has taken his place in this house, to congratulate him on his election and to wish him a long and productive career in parliament.
These bloaters are produced in the early spring and preparations for their production and packing must be made this fall. In the Magdalen islands we have no hardwood which is required to make the fires to smoke the herring, which has to be imported this fall before the close of navigation. Also, the boxes for packing the herring must be imported during the winter, in the months of January or February. The producers of these bloaters hesitate to go to the expense of buying this wood and these boxes without being sure there will be a market for their products next spring. If the producers decided not to continue in the production of bloaters next spring it would be an extremely serious thing for the Magdalen islands because not only the fishermen but also a great number of people who work in those plants where they produce the smoked herring would be out of work if such a thing should happen.
I have submitted the problem to the Department of Fisheries, and as a solution I have suggested that some of the funds that are available under the Colombo plan to buy food for undernourished countries be used to buy up this excess of 150,000 boxes of bloaters. I understand that the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Sinclair) is now on a tour of Asiatic countries who benefit from the Colombo plan, and I am looking forward with keen anticipation to his return because I hope to find him in the right frame of mind to look with favour on the suggestion I make, which is that these bloaters be used as part of our contribution to those countries where food is in short supply.
If the government do not accept my solution I hope they will find some other alternative solution, because there is no doubt that this problem of smoked herring is a serious one, and one that should be solved with the least possible delay.
The speech from the throne also contains a reference to the fishing industry reading as follows:
The scheme initiated during the last parliament for insuring boats and certain gear has recently been improved and is helping to meet the hazards
The Address-Mr. Cannon of the fishing industry. My government is giving particular attention to the development of markets for our fisheries and to the encouragement of more modern methods in the Atlantic coast fisheries, particularly in the province of Newfoundland where the methods are in the greatest need of improvement.
I thank the government for instituting this insurance scheme, which is a very good thing for the fisherman and enables them to insure their boats and some of their fishing gear. A representative of the Department of Fisheries has been in the Magdalen islands during the last few months educating the fishermen to the advantages of this scheme. I feel confident that, when the spring comes along, they will subscribe to it and will gladly pay the small premiums required in order to insure their boats and fishing gear.
In that connection I also wish to express the thanks of the fishermen to the government for the kind offer that was made this summer to advance 75 per cent of the losses sustained as the result of the destruction of lobster traps, if the province were to advance 25 per cent. My only regret is that the province of Quebec refused to co-operate with the federal government in this matter and refused to advance the 25 per cent. This has deprived the fishermen of my county of the 75 per cent which the federal government was willing to advance, and has placed them in a position of inferiority with regard to their neighbours in Prince Edward Island and the other maritime provinces which accepted this offer.
I have noted with pleasure that the government is giving particular attention to the development of markets for fisheries. I wish them every success in this venture because in a great many cases it is essential and vital not only to the prosperity but, I might say, even to the continued existence of our fisheries.
I also thank the government sincerely for the numerous public works that were carried out in my constituency during the last four years, particularly during the last year. I have no time to enumerate them, but I draw the attention of the new Minister of Public Works (Mr. Winters) and his advisers particularly to the project of harbour improvement at Portage du Cap in my constituency. Portage du Cap is a place where there is a natural basin which is made to order for the fishermen, but unfortunately the outlet from this basin to the ocean is constantly clogged up by sand and it is very important that work be done there to open up an outlet to permit the fishermen to circulate freely between the basin and the sea outside.
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In the estimates this year there was a sum of $75,000 as a preliminary amount for this work. Not all of this amount was spent. Some work was done, but it is essential that another amount be voted in the estimates this year so this very important work may be finished, as it will benefit a great number of the fishermen on Amherst island, the second most populous island of the Magdalen island group which I have the honour to represent.
At this point I wish to congratulate the new Minister of Public Works on being chosen for that post and to tell him that the member for Iles-de-la-Madeleine is looking forward to many years of close collaboration with him. I am sure I shall get along as well with the new minister as I did with his predecessor, who was-and I say this most sincerely-a real friend to the Magdalen islands and particularly to the fishermen there.
I note with pleasure the following paragraph in the speech from the throne:
As further steps in helping to improve social welfare, co-ordinated plans for rehabilitation of disabled persons are being worked out with the provinces and a measure to facilitate the establishment nation-wide of a federal-provincial assistance program for totally disabled persons will be submitted for your consideration.
The care of invalids has always been a problem in my constituency. There are quite a number of them, and as the people are not rich it is difficult for them to support these invalids and at the same time earn their own living. Every time the resolution proposed by the hon. member for Terrebonne (Mr. Bertrand), calling upon the government to do something about the problem of helping invalids, has come before the house I have supported it enthusiastically. I am therefore very pleased to see that the government has decided to do something about this problem. I note that it is proposed to give help only to totally disabled persons. I underline this and say I hope this is only the first step in the right direction, because I think that in justice all disabled persons having more than 40 or 50 per cent disability should get help from the government in proportion to the percentage of their disability.
I have three suggestions to make to the government with respect to fishermen. The first one concerns unemployment insurance. I have spoken at length on this matter on many occasions in the house. I have asked that an investigation be made into the possibility of obtaining unemployment insurance for fishermen. An investigation was made and a long report tabled. Unfortunately for me and my electors the conclusion was that the time was not yet ripe to introduce unemployment insurance for fishermen. But
in this new parliament I think in my first speech it is only right that I should repeat this request and point out that it is essential that fishermen be allowed to benefit from the unemployment insurance law.
The investigations that were made showed that in England and the United States fishermen do benefit from unemployment insurance laws, and I do not see why the fishermen of our country should not also receive these benefits. I have been told that to give them unemployment insurance would create great administrative problems; but administrative problems, however great they are, can always be surmounted. I have also been told it is difficult because fishing is only a seasonal industry in this country. Other seasonal industries such as the woodcutting industry have been given the benefit of unemployment insurance and I do not see why fishermen should not be given the same benefit.
In any case if it is impossible to extend the benefits of unemployment insurance to all our fishermen we should at least start with those fishermen who earn wages, those fishermen who are employees. These people are employees just the same as any other wage earners in Canada, and I respectfully submit that as employees it is not fair that they should be deprived of the benefits of the Unemployment Insurance Act from which all other employees in Canada benefit.
I ask the government to give this request serious consideration, and to make a first step in the right direction by extending the benefits of the Unemployment Insurance Act to fishermen helpers, fishermen who earn salaries. As hon. members know, there is a special provision in the Unemployment Insurance Act excepting all fishermen from the provisions of the act, and I have always felt that it was not fair that they should be deprived of this form of social security.
The second suggestion I wish to make is that a co-operative marketing act should be passed with the object of helping cooperatives market the products their members give them for sale. We have on our statutes the Agricultural Products Cooperative Marketing Act which was passed in 1939. Under that act the minister is authorized to guarantee co-operative associations the initial payment made by them to the primary producers of agricultural products. In other words the co-operative is sure of not losing any money on the initial payment it makes to its members. Of course the initial payment is not left entirely to the discretion of the co-operatives; it is settled by an agreement between the cooperative and the minister. However, it
permits them to make a higher initial payment to the members of the co-operative, and is a great advantage for the farmers who benefit by it. There is no reason in the world why fishermen should not have the same advantage.
Fishermen are primary producers just as farmers are, and I come back again with the same argument that I have developed in the house before and which I 'am going to continue to develop until I gain my point. Fishermen should be treated exactly on the same footing as farmers, and all our beneficial legislation in favour of farmers should be extended to fishermen. I say that the government should take the initiative in passing another co-operative marketing act which would be called the fisheries cooperative marketing act and which would permit fishermen's co-operatives to enjoy the same advantages.
The third suggestion I wish to make concerns the telephone service on the Magdalen islands. As hon. members know, that telephone service is operated by the Department of Transport. During the war we had twenty-four-hour telephone service, in other words telephone service at any hour of the day or night, something which the people in the rest of Canada take for granted. On the Magdalen islands we cannot take these things for granted. We had that service during the war, but after the war ended this advantage was taken away from us and telephone service ended every night.
I have asked time and again that we should get twenty-four-hour telephone service, and I am very glad to tell the house that the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) has granted my request in part. Twenty-four-hour telephone service was granted for Grindstone island, which is the largest and most populous of our islands, but it has been withheld from the other two exchanges we have, the exchange on Amherst island, which is the second most populous, and the exchange at Grosse Isle, at the east end of the islands.
Now, I continually receive requests and petitions from my county concerning this twenty-four-hour telephone service. Indeed one came this morning from the chamber of commerce of Amherst island. They point out, quite rightly, that Amherst island is the county seat of the islands. It is where the courthouse is, where the registry office is, and there is no reason in the world why they should not have telephone service twenty-four hours a day.
On that island of Amherst, which is the second most populous, there is no hospital. The hospital is on Grindstone island, over ten miles away. There is only one doctor on Amherst island, and when he is away or ill,
The Address-Mr. Cannon inhabitants have to depend on the three other doctors who all reside on Grindstone island. If the doctor on Amherst island should fall sick or be away, there is no telephone service at night and a very serious situation might arise. There might even be loss of life. Therefore I call again upon the Minister of Transport to give us twenty-four-hour telephone service, and I ask him to make a point of seeing that the estimates of his department this year contain the necessary funds to allow the employment of the additional help that will be required to give us twenty-four-hour service at Amherst and Grosse Isle.
Before resuming my seat, Mr. Speaker, I want to add a few words about a rumour- I do not know whether it is founded or not- to the effect that a system of simultaneous interpretation is to be introduced, so that French speeches may be translated into English and vice versa. I think this would be an excellent idea, for both languages are official and, theoretically, we should be able to speak in French or English whenever we want. Yet, everyone knows that only the hon. members from Quebec and a few from the other provinces understand what we are saying when we speak French, whereas the vast majority does not. That is why I, for my part, generally express myself in English, though I would prefer to speak French, because it is the language of my constituents. That system has been successfully applied at the United Nations, where many languages are spoken. If simultaneous interpretation has proved satisfactory to the great majority of delegates at the United Nations, I believe it would be easier to introduce this system here, where we only have two official languages.
Now, Mr. Speaker, there are many other members of this house who represent constituencies the majority of whose inhabitants earn their living as fishermen. I ask all those members to support me in the requests I have made of the government, with the exception of the requests concerning the Magdalen islands exclusively. These requests are for the benefit of all fishermen, and I underline particularly the solution of the problem of smoked herring, the bloaters, the extension of the benefits of the Unemployment Insurance Act to fishermen, and the passing of a fisheries products co-operative marketing act.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, being one of the new members in the House of Commons I feel that I should
The Address-Mr. Patterson first of all recognize my obligation to the electoral district of Fraser Valley and express my appreciation to the residents there for their confidence in electing me as their representative in this house. I recognize the fact that this is not a small honour that has been conferred upon me and I realize that as time goes on, I shall become increasingly conscious of the obligations that accompany the honour.
Hon. members have no doubt heard much about the beauties, the glories and the possibilities of the Fraser valley from the lips of those who have represented that riding in days gone by. It is a considerable riding, extending on the south side of the Fraser river from approximately Aldergrove up to a little beyond Boston Bar, a distance of perhaps 120 miles, and from the river to the international boundary. It includes as well the area along the north side of the Fraser river from Pitt Meadows to North Bend. It is an area that includes some of the very best agricultural land in the province, where small fruits, berries and vegetables are grown in abundance, and also where poultry raising and dairy farming engage the attention of many of the residents. Other industries include lumbering, fishing, mining, and some manufacturing.
For the benefit of some hon. members of the house who will no doubt wish to make their home in that area a little later on, I would like to just pinpoint several of the main areas in our community. In regard to Pitt Meadows, on the north side of the Fraser river, perhaps I should just quote briefly from the publication "The Lower Mainland Looks Ahead", published by the lower mainland regional planning board of British Columbia:
Pitt Meadows, because of soil quality, low elevation and unspoiled land is best suited for agriculture, and urban development should be discouraged. It contains potential industrial sites, however, which could be developed without harm to the surrounding arable land. Industries in these areas could help to provide employment for the Haney area, which in turn should act as the trade centre for Pitt Meadows.
Then the Haney area is dealt with in these words:
The Haney area seems very desirable for urban development. There are industrial sites within or close to it and proper development of Garibaldi park would bring trade to the area, as will the Dutch development in Pitt Meadows.
Then I should like to refer to the Abbotsford area, and I quote:
The Abbotsford area is the crossroads of the valley. It is also the trading centre of a considerable rural area, much of which is not yet developed (50 per cent of the usable land area is undeveloped in Matsqui and 20 per cent in Sumas).
For these reasons alone the Abbotsford area can expect to grow. But two other factors could also promote growth. First, there are suitable industrial sites alongside the railway north of the village. Second, the area would benefit if Sumas mountain were to be developed as a park.
Again, the Mission area is referred to in these words:
The Mission area is already established as a trading centre and also has some industry. There are excellent large industrial sites west of the village and it is not unlikely that industry will find these attractive as sites nearer the metropolitan area become scarcer.
Then as regards the Chilliwack area it has this to say:
The Chilliwack area is very attractive and flourishing. Its economy is mainly agricultural and it has attracted a considerable number of small holders . . . There are some excellent industrial sites nearby in Chilliwack, however, and it is not unlikely that industry might wish to establish there.
Then I would like to refer just briefly to the Harrison Hot Springs area:
By virtue of the natural beauty of Harrison lake and its attractive modern hotel, Harrison Hot Springs is now well established as a tourist centre.
I would also like to refer to Agassiz which is in one of the areas classed by the lower mainland regional planning board of British Columbia as being first-class agricultural land capable of producing a wide variety of crops with high yields.
Further up the valley we have Hope. The future of Hope hinges on regular commercial traffic. It is the only community of any size for many miles. Also it depends upon the tourist trade. Hope's main industry is that of lumbering. Farther up the valley, almost up the canyon, we have Boston Bar and North Bend, which are approximately 40 miles from Hope.
I have just given these few remarks about those areas in order to pinpoint some aspects in connection with the main sections of the constituency. The people of the Fraser valley are optimistic and industrious. Not only are they seeking a livelihood for today; they are building for tomorrow. They are people of vision; not only are they interested in themselves, but they are desirous of assisting in the building of a greater and better Canada. I count it a privilege to speak and to act on their behalf.
Problems of the constituency of Fraser Valley in many instances are those we share with others. Then again there are those which may be particularly our own. In his speech His Excellency made reference to the necessity for a continued expansion in housing. I feel, as do many other members in the house, that adequate housing must be provided to fill the needs and provide for the
enjoyment of our people. This continues to be one of the most insistent problems confronting us. I am sure we are all aware of the importance of housing. But may I say that at the present time houses are practically beyond the reach of a great many of our people in the middle and low income brackets. I am appalled when I see how some of our people are forced to live. I see people, good people, endeavouring to the very best of their ability to bring up their families, to give them advantages, to assist them in the development of character, to prepare them to face life and make a contribution to society; and I am disturbed when I see the conditions under which these people are trying to bring up their children. These housing conditions tend to impede the development of character and, I am afraid, in many cases contribute to juvenile delinquency.
I feel it is the responsibility of the dominion government not only to recognize this matter but, by providing for lower down payments and longer term loans, and by reducing interest rates on housing loans as well as by giving some assurance of continual employment, to make it possible for our people to build and own, or to buy, their own homes. Therefore we suggest that measures be taken to assist especially those families with limited means. In this way they will be greatly assisted in their endeavour to provide adequate and pleasant homes in which to live.
Another problem that has been called to the attention of the house by a number of other members is the plight of our senior citizens. Because of the temperate climate, and perhaps other considerations, we in British Columbia believe we have a larger concentration of Canada's senior citizens than have the other provinces of the dominion. These men and women are endeavouring to do their best with the limited means they have and the little they are receiving. But may I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that when we consider the hardship of the pioneering through which these, our senior citizens, have come, and when we endeavour to appraise the tremendous contribution they have made to the development of their, and our, country, then I suggest our appreciation should be shown in far greater measure than is the case at the present time.
I believe that at the present rate of assistance it is impossible for them to obtain board and room and personal incidentals or, on the other hand, to pay rent and board themselves. I would suggest that the government pay pensions to our senior citizens adequate to guarantee a decent standard of living. Actually 83276-20
The Address-Mr. Patterson these people are not better off than they were in 1939 when they were receiving $20 a month.
Another class of residents in my area who ask for consideration are the war veterans, especially those on war veterans allowances. As I have travelled across my constituency, and as I have conferred with those holding responsible positions in the Canadian Legion,
I have discovered that there is a strong and,
I believe, a justified feeling that, in view of the present cost of living, the basic rates should be raised. It is ridiculous to assume, it seems to me, that allowances of $50 and $90 respectively for single and married veterans are sufficient to provide the bare necessities of life, let alone to live in reasonable comfort, which is their due.
I should like to go on record as supporting their request for basic allowances of $60 and $120 respectively for single and married persons, with the elimination of the means test. I believe also that the permissible ceilings should be raised to $1,200 and $2,000 respectively for single and married persons, as they have requested.
This is not a request for a get-rich mandate, as some would suggest. I believe it is an expression of a sincere desire on the part of these men to engage in labour as their physical condition permits. Not only would this be beneficial to themselves, but it would make them feel they were making some contribution to the sum total of community effort and production. We recognize the fact, of course, that they have served their country well in time of war. Now they desire so far as possible to engage in some constructive effort without being penalized for that effort.
Therefore I wish to go on record in support of their request. I realize that a new provision released only recently has been inserted in the War Veterans Allowance Act, but I am told that the benefits of that section will assist only a limited number of war veterans allowance recipients. The majority are unable to take advantage of or obtain work under this particular section. Therefore they are forced to exist upon incomes entirely inadequate to procure the necessities of life. I would also urge, Mr. Speaker, that their request regarding the establishment of a permanent standing committee on veterans affairs receive the favourable consideration of the government at this time.
Permit me to state as well that I support wholeheartedly the proposal to give assistance to the disabled, as I do the request made by the Canadian National Institute for
298 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. Patterson the Blind and the Canadian Council of the Blind on behalf of our citizens who are handicapped by blindness.
A problem that may not concern other constituencies as it does Fraser Valley is the matter of river bank erosion. There are two particular sections in the Fraser Valley constituency that are particularly affected by this condition. In the Agassiz area I am told that throughout the past number of years several hundred acres of the very best farmland have been lost through erosion. In the Albion region, farther down the river, the problem has become so acute that some homes will have to be moved in the near future to save them from the waters of the Fraser. Albion is in the fishing area, and the wash from the fishing boats and also from the tugs that move up and down the river add constantly to the process of erosion.
We feel that this is a problem which cannot be dealt with locally or even provincially. It is one which should have the technical and financial assistance of the federal government. Unless the situation is dealt with and the problem solved the residents of this area envisage the time when the whole area will be threatened. Some of the people have lived there for a good number of years, and they are being forced to watch their lands being slowly swallowed up by the waters of the Fraser river.
There are several other matters I should like to refer to briefly, one being the danger of flooding from the Vedder river in the Chilliwack area. This needs remedial action. The situation is gradually worsening, and grave concern is felt in this district over the ever-increasing dangers that threaten the adjacent area.
There are some other matters to which I should like to direct attention and which concern the people of the Fraser valley very definitely. One is the high cost of feed grain.
I have already referred to the fact that poultry raising, dairying and so on are carried on in my area, and the high cost of feed grain is a matter of great concern to those engaged in these industries. I shall only mention this at the present time, but at a later date I shall refer to it more fully.
Then there is the problem of adequate markets for dairy products, poultry products, berries, small fruits, lumber, fish and other products. For the residents of my constituency to maintain a comparatively respectable standard of living it is necessary that we have continuing and expanding markets for the products of our various industries, and also that adequate purchasing power be maintained in the hands of our people.
I come from the province which has been labelled "wacky" by the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Applewhaite). If people are "wacky" just because they happen to disagree with or differ from the hon. member's particular political opinions and views, then the people of the Fraser valley are in that category. May I say that this federal constituency is represented in the British Columbia provincial legislature by three Social Credit M.L.A.'s, two of whom are cabinet ministers. I should like to assure the hon. member for Skeena that should he choose to visit us in our valley paradise he will find that the people there possess a fairly high, or may I say a very high degree of intelligence, comparable no doubt to that possessed by the residents of Skeena.
In conclusion I should like to refer to an article which appeared in a recent issue of a newspaper, which suggested that there might be a difference of opinion with regard to the basic principles and policies of Social Credit as between the men who have been in the house for a number of years and those of us who have just been elected, especially from British Columbia. I can understand that this thought would arise in the minds of some, but may I say emphatically that there is no foundation for such an assumption or such a statement.
We have aligned ourselves with the Social Credit movement as being the only satisfactory and acceptable alternative to the present system. We have been elected on the Social Credit ticket. May I assure this house that the Social Credit members who have been here for a number of years and we who have been recently elected stand as one in our adoption of and adherence to the principles and policies of the Social Credit movement.
I should like to enlarge further on this thought and say in those memorable words that we believe all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We believe that God in His goodness has provided sufficient of the necessities of life to house, feed and clothe all the people of the world.
We believe in a system of free individual enterprise with a program of monetary reform which will take the abuses out of the free enterprise system. We believe in international good will and the establishment of an international trade policy under which goods will be exchanged between nations on the basis of mutual advantage to all and
through which the production of the world will be made available to feed, clothe and house all the peoples of the world.
We may not all look as dapper as does our leader, the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low); we may not all appear as businesslike as the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Hansell); the lion-like expression on the countenance of the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore) may not characterize the rest of us, but may we say that we are united in the belief that the principles and policies of Social Credit are sound and are the foundation upon which a greater and better Canada can and eventually will be built.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. Speaker, on this my first time to address this House of Commons I shall at the outset join with those others who have extended congratulations to you upon your election to the high and responsible office which you now hold. I have not had any great opportunity as yet to see the Speaker of the house in vigorous action. I am told that this is the honeymoon period, but that after it has expired there will be occasions when a firm hand is necessary. I have no doubt that you have all the qualities necessary to handle any situation that may arise.
I should also like to compliment the mover and seconder of the resolution in respect of the speech from the throne upon the very excellent manner in which they carried out their duties. Finally, while I am in a complimentary mood, I cannot refrain from extending to my fellow Nova Scotian, the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Winters), my congratulations upon his appointment to that post. He is, I am told, the first professional engineer who has ever occupied it. It seems eminently clear that those duties would call for an engineer, and his appointment is a good precedent. I see that the minister is not in his seat, so possibly I should reverse the situation and compliment the government upon its foresight in appointing him.
I am informed, I heard it from the chair, and I could have judged it from the nature of the previous addresses, that hon. gentlemen who take part in this debate are entitled to a very wide choice of subjects; and I think under those circumstances, although I am not planning to exhaust my allowable time, I should like to take a moment or two to speak of the capital city, Ottawa.
Before I came here to attend this session of parliament my personal acquaintance with the city was slight. However, in the last two 83276-204
The Address-Mr. Lusby weeks I have had an opportunity to enlarge that acquaintance, and I am happy to say that I think the capital city is one of which any Canadian can be justly proud. Even at this season of the year, which I presume is not the most favourable, it is a city of beauty and distinction. One or two qualities I could wish might be added, qualities that appeal to a Nova Scotian. If there were a tang of salt in the air, a pleasant outcry of the sea upon the ear, then even a Nova Scotian would ask for nothing better. But that, I fear, is beyond the powers, constitutional or otherwise, of even the federal government. Besides, from what I hear, the mayor would have to be consulted.
I said that my previous personal acquaintance with the city of Ottawa was quite slight. My last visit here was in June of 1950, when I arrived here with a large delegation from the maritime provinces to press for the construction of the Chignecto canal. That delegation was very representative, and I think it was stated then that it was the largest ever to have reached Ottawa, but it did not achieve its purpose. Unfortunately the timing was very inopportune, as it was coincident with the outbreak of the Korean war. However, I should like to say that in my part of the country the Chignecto canal is still a very live issue. The people there believe that the feasibility and possible economic benefits of the canal have never been thoroughly investigated and that the only suitable medium for such an investigation is a special commission, qualified and independent, to be appointed by the government. They hold the belief that if such a commission were set up its decision would be favourable. Accordingly, Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to echo the words of the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Murphy) who said yesterday that the Chignecto canal must be built.
I have listened with keen interest, Mr. Speaker, to the various hon. members who have taken part in this debate. Inevitably a great deal of what has been said is of purely local or limited interest, but a newcomer is afforded an excellent opportunity to obtain a comprehensive grasp of regional and national problems and conditions. With many of the assertions that have been made I cannot, of course, agree; but I think this house may compliment itself upon the evident sincerity of all the speakers.
Representing as I do the fine old constituency of Cumberland, I take pride in recalling many sons of that county who have achieved high distinction in this parliament of Canada. I have heard some talk, and perhaps I should not call it boasting, about
The Address-Mr. Lusby the marvellous natural resources of other Constituencies, but if hon. members boast of those, then I think it is in order for Cumberland county to boast of its distinguished men. I speak of them without regard to party.
We may go back to the infancy of the dominion and I will name Sir Charles Tupper, a former prime minister. Then there were the Dickeys, very prominent politically in their time and whose name, I am glad to note, is now borne in this house with increasing credit by a descendant of one of them. In later times we have had Hon. E. N. Rhodes, a former Speaker of this house as well as a former premier of Nova Scotia; and more recently still we have had two men whom I consider great in every sense, Hon. Norman Rogers and Hon. J. L. Ralston. Both those men were, of course, personally known to a large number of hon. members. They both rendered outstanding service as ministers of national defence during the trying times of the second world war.
' All these men were natives of Cumberland county and all, or nearly all, were natives of my own town of Amherst. They are gone now, "townsmen of a stiller town"; but I venture to say that their names will be remembered in this house as long as our democratic institutions endure.
I think, Mr. Speaker, it is fitting, as this is the honeymoon period, that I should also mention at this time that very worthy and conscientious gentleman who represented Cumberland in this house from 1940 to 1953 although unfortunately, at least from some points of view, he was always in the opposition. In retiring from public life may I say that Mr. Percy C. Black carries with him the respect and esteem of everyone who knows him, regardless of their political affiliations.
However, Mr. Speaker, if Cumberland county has in its history some distinguished men of whom it may boast, it also has a number of economic problems of which it does not boast but which must be faced and overcome if we are to maintain and keep high our level of prosperity. The economy of the county is a mixed one. We have farming, mining, lumbering, manufacturing, fishing, and other occupations of lesser importance. I think it is fair to say that the problems of any one group are, in general, problems of similar groups elsewhere in the maritimes.
During this debate I have noted the great emphasis which has been placed upon the problems of the wheat farmer in the west. We in the east understand and sympathize. We realize that the wheat farmer has on his
hands a very serious problem of marketing. We hope and believe this government will play its full and just part in helping to solve that problem; but, Mr. Speaker, a proper perspective must be maintained. I should like to remind this house that the farmers of the maritime provinces, though perhaps not as numerous or as well organized or as vocal as their counterparts in the west, nonetheless constitute a very important segment of our agricultural economy. They too are entitled to a fair share of federal aid and co-operation. In the last election on August 10 the people 'of the maritimes, including the maritime farmers, put a very enthusiastic stamp of approval upon the policies of the government, and rightly so. However, that is not to say that these policies are to be considered as in any way being static, or that there is no room for further advance and progress.
For example, in the matter of assisting in the movement of feed grains from the west to the east, thereby enabling the maritime farmer to lower in some degree his high cost of production, this government has made a very good beginning, but in my opinion that program should be greatly expanded. It should be raised to the level of a settled national policy.
Again, the people of the maritime provinces acknowledge and appreciate the value of the vast marshland rehabilitation program which is being carried out in the maritimes. That work is being done efficiently and well. Yesterday I had the opportunity of speaking with the man in charge. It is expected that it will be completed, or at least substantially completed, well within the lifetime of this present parliament. But I submit that the federal government should take the lead in expanding research to determine new uses to which the reclaimed lands may be put.
Those lands cannot be used profitably again, as they once were, for growing only hay. I believe that research-and this is the day of scientific research-could discover many crops which could be profitably grown on those soils. In particular the feasibility of profitably raising beef cattle on a large scale on those marshes should be thoroughly explored. The experimental farm maintained by the federal government in the county of Cumberland, which farm lies on the very borders of the marshlands, is an ideal and natural centre for such research. A good deal of more or less preliminary investigation into these matters of which I speak has, I know, already been carried out but the work should be greatly intensified and expanded if any substantial results are to be available for the guidance of the marsh owners before the work of reclamation is completed. I should
like to commend the whole subject to the earnest attention of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner).
Like farming, coal mining is an important industry in Cumberland county as well as elsewhere in Nova Scotia. The other day in the course of the debate the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) devoted a considerable amount of time and attention to the problems of the Nova Scotia coal mining industry. Without subscribing to all or perhaps even to many of his views concerning cause and cure, I do agree that the outlook for coal mining in Nova Scotia is grave. If the coal industry is to survive and prosper, new markets must be found to offset those lost through increased competition from other forms of fuel.
Above and beyond the system of freight subventions this government should, in conjunction with the provincial government, initiate an exhaustive program of research- and again I say it is the day of scientific research-in order to determine all possible new uses for coal. I mean not merely new or expanded uses for it as fuel, such as its increased use for the production of electricity or in the coal-fired gas turbine engine, in the development of which the government has already assisted materially; I mean uses not yet commercially recognized. It may well be that the day will come when the importance of coal as a fuel will be secondary to its value as a storehouse and source of chemicals and other substances required for the many new processes of industry which are themselves so much the product of research.
When one thinks of the possible-and I think you may say the probable-fearful impact of atomic industrial power upon the use of coal as fuel, one is filled with foreboding. Should it not be the concern of this government, which played so large a part in atomic research, to initiate a program to determine new uses for the coal which may or almost certainly will be displaced in the market by atomic power when it becomes a reality? I submit that it should be the concern of government, and that that program should foe put into effect without delay.
A third important industry in my constituency is manufacturing. That industry is centred chiefly, though not entirely, in the town of Amherst. The maritime manufacturer, struggling against the handicaps of distance from large centres of population, rising freight rates and the resultant high costs of production, views the immediate future with some concern. In order to have a balanced national economy, I would urge
The Address-Mr. Lushy upon the government the need of encouraging industry in the maritimes; and more immediately I would urge the need of providing more contracts in the town of Amherst in order to keep the level of employment there, high. I would particularly urge the need-; in fact I think I may say the desirability-[DOT]. of utilizing to the full the modern aircraft repair facilities available in the new plant located in that town.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, if I may just have, a moment or two more, let me say this. There is a common and, I think, somewhat bitter saying down in the maritimes that,, compared with the rest of Canada, the maritimes are the tail of the dog. That is an expression which I have heard quite frequently. It is fostered, of course, by economic comparisons. I do not consider that it is a fortunate or desirable figure of speech. Of course, if you consider it broadly, it is very misleading. After all, no one ever heard of the best brains of the dog being located in its tail. But if we accept it just for the moment, and from an economic point of view only, I should like to say that the canine tail is usually a reliable expression of the well-being or otherwise of the whole canine body. To carry the analogy a little bit further, I say that you can have no stable or enduring national prosperity in Canada unless every part of the country has its fair share of that prosperity.
In the speech from the throne mention is made of the fact that some sectors of the Canadian economy have been facing difficulties. The maritimes are one such sector.' Those difficulties arise from various circumstances. They arise from our geographical position far from the centres of population, from the long rail haul and to some extent from scarcity of raw materials. They do not arise from the character of the people. As we face those difficulties with courage and determination, we ask the government to give us a reasonable measure of aid and cooperation in order to assist in overcoming the difficulties.
At six o'clock the house took recess.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY