May 17, 1955

CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. Nicholson:

The hon. member for Acadia said that is the parity price.

Topic:   FINAL PAYMENT, 1953-54
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

That is the parity selling price. It is not their cost of production. If you consider the heavy crop yields that we have had in western Canada during the past three years, I think that anybody who took the trouble to do a little bit of figuring would see that the cost of production per bushel to the farmers would be considerably below $1.81, which my hon. friend says would be the resultant of a two-price system today. Of course there would be a profit. My hon. friends in the C.C.F. do not like us to call that a profit. They want us to call it income. I do not wish to quibble about it. To me it is a profit. Any time anybody produces something at a certain cost and sells it at something above that cost, he is making a profit. It does not matter what quibbling goes on about it from other people. I merely wanted to point out these things, together with this. The hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue), who has become the ultra politico of his party, takes delight, I think, in going quite a long way, and certainly not in a restrained way, in attacking everybody in the house because they do not agree with him. Evidently he has set himself up as the authority on wheat and farming in the house. At least, that is the impression one gets in listening to him. I was quite disappointed at the intemperate attack he made on the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) yesterday-

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

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Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

-an attack which I think any of us should hesitate to make on the Prime Minister of this country.

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An hon. Member:

Uncalled for.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

I am afraid the hon. member is getting a wee bit beyond reason in some of the things he is saying. Perhaps he is puffed up with pride over some of his accomplishments. I do not know. At any rate, he has tried to place interpretations on other people's proposals that are unjustified, and I am going to try to set him right on something he has been saying in connection with our proposal of years gone by with respect to acceptance of some soft currencies in payment for surpluses of Canadian foods. Last year we moved an amendment to the speech from the throne which called for the acceptance of sterling in return for surplus food products shipped to Britain. My hon. friend takes the stand that we moved a trick motion and that is the reason why the C.C.F. voted against it.

I know he takes that position. He does not sit very far from me and it is easy to hear

what he says. In fact, he tried to get one of his colleagues to get up and say it this afternoon, but his colleague was not quite prepared for it and of course he did not do so. I am just putting a spoke in his wheel before it is said by some other irresponsible person. The fact is that he has said he believes the only reason the C.C.F. voted against our amendment was that it was a trick motion. I want to read from Hansard what his leader said, not about a trick motion at all but about the acceptance of sterling.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. Castleden:

I know the hon. member wants to be fair. Will he read the amendment in full?

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Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

Yes, indeed; certainly. The amendment was quoted at page 594 of Hansard of December, 1953, by the leader of the C.C.F. party, and it reads:

We respectfully represent to Your Excellency that the welfare of Canada is dependent upon private enterprise: and that the prosperity and security of all Canadians will be advanced by government policies which will restore markets for primary products and generally promote a high volume of international trade by the acceptance of sterling in payment therefor.

When the leader of the C.C.F. party spoke and repeated the whole amendment he referred first to private enterprise and indicated he could not vote for the amendment.

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CCF

Alfred Claude Ellis

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

Mr. Ellis:

That is the most important part of the amendment.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

Perhaps so, but if my hon. friend would just restrain himself for a moment I will make my explanation.

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CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. McCullough (Moose Mountain):

Your explanation.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

He explained in the first part of his speech that he could not support our amendment because the phrase "private enterprise" is even more objectionable to the C.C.F. than the phrase "free competition". He went on to say that therefore he could not support the amendment, and at page 595 continued with these words:

The second reason concerns the question of the acceptance of sterling without limitation.

I pause there for a moment. I want the members of the house to note those words- "the acceptance of sterling without limitation." At no time have we suggested acceptance of sterling without limitation. From the very proposal itself it must be obvious to hon. members who think it through that what we were proposing was the acceptance from Britain of their own currency in payment of their unfavourable balance of trade with us.

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CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. Caslleden:

That was not in your

amendment.

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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

That is what anybody thinking the matter through or even giving it the most cursory examination would say. In trade with any country you are exchanging a certain amount of goods and services with them on what you hope will be a mutually satisfactory basis. At the end of a cycle or period of time when it comes to settlement one or the other is going to have a balance, and it is the settlement of the balance that is referred to in the acceptance of soft currency or sterling. That was made abundantly clear in the speeches we made supporting the amendment.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

Would the hon. member permit a question?

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

Was it not also in order to stimulate and increase our trade with England? Was that not represented as a means whereby it could be increased?

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An hon. Member:

The new coalition.

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Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

But the settlement would certainly be at the end of a year or cycle, and between the two countries the acceptance of sterling would simply involve the amount of the unbalance of trade. Certainly, as the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Macdonnell) has said, it was proposed to the house as a means to help to stimulate trade with Great Britain and to restore Canada's place as a great natural market of Great Britain. Therefore anybody who tries to interpret what we propose as the acceptance of sterling without limitation simply shows he has not thought the matter through and is trying to place some sort of interpretation on it which might make it possible, in a strained manner, for the C.C.F. to say that the reason we could not accept it was it was proposed without limitation.

Let me set the hon. member straight. If the matter has not been set straight thus far, let me make it clear that what we have proposed with relation to the acceptance of soft currencies in settlement of our balances is not without limitation. In the first place, it is limited to the amount which we would be prepared to accept in return for our surpluses. Second, it would be limited, without our doing anything about it, by the amount of the balance that would be due us from the other country after we had balanced off the exchange of goods and services. That is the story and it should be perfectly clear. So far as some explanation of the reason why they voted against the acceptance of sterling

Wheat

is concerned, the leader of the C.C.F. has made it clear that they did not even accept the second suggestion because, on the occasion to which I have referred, he went on to say:

I quite agree with the Leader of the Opposition when he says he does not think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Great Britain would accept a proposition of this description.

If you read what the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew) said, he explained that Great Britain would not be prepared to accept a proposition of that kind because, he said, they had had some experiences in India and other countries that were unfavourable. Shortly after that time I had a chance to have a chat with the private secretary to then Prime Minister Churchill, his own son-in-law, here in the city of Ottawa. He said to me then that he saw no reason whatsoever why that policy could not be adopted if acceptance of sterling was to be limited within the amount of the unfavourable balance that Britain had with Canada. He said he saw no reason why we could not adopt that policy, and that they were interested in it. That was the position he took.

It seems to me we have missed a very valuable chance to stimulate the kind of trade we ought to be having with a number of countries, such as I suggested yesterday, for instance, with Israel, Sweden, Japan and the other countries with whom we have to do business or want to do business. It could be financed internally, without any tremendous expansion of currency, as the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Philpott) suggested. We do not advocate an unlimited or uncontrolled expansion of currency at all. We want it strictly limited to what we can absorb internally. I thought I should make that clear, Mr. Speaker, and I hope I have succeeded.

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May 17, 1955