Alfred Claude Ellis
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)
And you had a Liberal government then, too?
Subtopic: WORLD CALENDAR
And you had a Liberal government then, too?
We had it in Saskatchewan, too. I remember the time when not only did we have no cash but in some areas of Saskatchewan we did not have enough to eat. Those were the days of real depression. At that time we were bankrupt because we owed about $600 million, our machines were worn out and our clothing was worn down. A great percentage of our women were using flour sacks for dresses. We had cod fish shipped in from Nova Scotia. The farmers were in distress. It is for that reason I tell the hon. member for Moose Mountain that we are not in that position today.
Now, what is the position? Perhaps at this point I should mention another member, the hon. member for Saskatoon (Mr. Knight), who stated he was very sympathetic toward me in connection with the largest protest meeting held in Saskatchewan. At that time I was speaking along with my distinguished friend the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue) and the Liberal leader in the province, Mr. McDonald. The hon. member for Saskatoon said he was sympathetic toward me, and I thank him very much for that. However, I had feelings of sympathy as well at that meeting. My feelings of sympathy were directed toward the facts. If you ever heard a manhandling of facts, I think that was the place they got it. At that meeting I tried to deal with the situation as we have it in Saskatchewan, and perhaps the hon. members might be interested, just briefly, in that discussion of the cash shortage, which I mentioned last year and which has been mentioned very often this year.
I pointed out that while this shortage was generally prevalent in Saskatchewan, that did not mean we were bankrupt as Saskatchewan farmers. After surveying the situation and having many discussions with many people, farmers, elevator men, businessmen and anyone with whom I could talk, I found that the difficulties arose largely from the fact we were not able to make the usual deliveries because of congestion in the storage facilities and box car difficulties.
Our farmers could be divided roughly into three groups; the hon. member for Assiniboia will remember I said that. There was a small percentage who were not in immediate need of cash and would not take it regardless of the form in which it was available, whether through elevators or banks. Then there were those people who for several years now had had their land flooded and had
The Address-Mr. Mang neither wheat nor credit. They were unable to cultivate their land to any extent last year. Those people were the ones who were really in great difficulties. Then there was this large group in between who, while not bankrupt, were short of cash.
This situation was presented at the Saskatchewan conference and was the outcome of the situation I just mentioned, the delivery situation. It was dealt with at Saskatoon but there was no unanimity in the presentation of the case to the government down here, and that is one of the reasons for cash being made available through the banks. It results from the lack of a positive recommendation in that regard.
When I spoke at the Regina meeting which I just mentioned I made reference to that; I pointed out that in the west we were divided into different factions in presenting our case. We were divided politically in the west. I need not mention it here, but the Social Credit is in control in Alberta, in Saskatchewan we have a socialist government, and in Manitoba we have a Liberal administration. Politically we were not united, and the united farmers and the wheat pool did not see eye to eye on a good many things. Then the delegation came here with that form of presentation. The government here had to decide for themselves the best and most immediate way to make cash available.
Do you agree with that policy?
Those were some of the things I stated. Of course the meeting had been called as a protest meeting. It was one of those protest and demand meetings. You know, we are often short of facts at those meetings. As I stated before, when I was invited to speak I had a set of these ready-made resolutions presented to me. They were presented to the other delegates, too. At that meeting there were some 900 or 1,000 people. As soon as the political actors were off the stage, including myself, there was about 25 per cent of the people left, and in the dying minutes of the meeting those resolutions were passed.
I say that because when you want to get something done, whether or not you get what you are after depends upon how you go at it. This attitude of trying to bulldoze this government into doing certain things through the medium of protest and demand simply does not work. I think perhaps I had just as much influence as all the protest and demand meetings that were held out there. During the middle of October I made a trip to Ottawa with regard to this matter of the
The Address-Mr. Mang western economy and had a very nice interview with the Prime Minister, with the Minister of Trade and Commerce, and with the Minister of Finance.
Did you ask for bank loans?
I wanted to get that on the record. What I asked for was that cash be made available in the most practical way and the speediest way possible. If those conditions are fulfilled by handing out cash through the elevators I will be quite satisfied. What we want is the fastest possible action.
Does the horn, member believe in the 5 per cent interest rate?
Is the hon. member satisfied with bank loans?
I have not taken out one yet; I may have to when I get back.
The hon. member is satisfied with the -policy?
As of now, yes. Now, go ahead and quote me in your next broadcast. Let me point out that in an emergency such as now exists-
We now know why we have the bank loan. The hon. member has given the answer.
No, .1 did not ask for bank loans. The hon. member for Assiniboia is a past master at mangling and mutilating facts. The hon. member-and I have heard him over and over again-belongs to that cult which believes that the only way you can get anything done is through protests and demands. During the past summer he did his level best to organize a mass march on Ottawa. One of his keenest disappointments was that he did not succeed. I heard him make that statement at the Regina meeting, and it was widely carried in the press. He did his level best to organize a mass march on the basis of protests and demands, and thereby force the issue. Probably he would have been chosen leader. I did not want to go into all these things, but since he has brought them up I thought I should refer to them.
I hold in my hand a clipping from a western paper which reads:
Mr. Argue was described as the farm expert among the federal C.C.F. group, but he was supported on the platform by Roy Knight, M.P. for Saskatoon; Hon. J. H. Sturdy and Arthur Stone, legislative members for Saskatoon: and Robert Walker, M.L.A. for Hanley.
The federal government's plan to guarantee bank loans to farmers in the present crisis was condemned by Mr. Argue. He said farmers would be called on to pay interest on their own money
and when they started to mortgage their income, they were finished. They would only get deeper into the economic morass.
I do not want to quote it all.
I do not want to take up the time. At the Regina meeting-
It is better than your own speech.
-the hon. member for Assiniboia said, "What is left now is a march on Ottawa." Those were some of the tactics used. Once the socialist government in Saskatchewan has nothing to protest about or no demands to make, socialism will disappear from the prairies. In every election out in the west thus far the socialists have attained power on the basis of protests, and the individuals from that party have obtained seats in this house in the same way.
Mr. McCullough (Moose Mountain):
Democracy cannot work in any other way.
I have been sidetracked.
You would have done better to stay with foreign affairs.