January 21, 1957

CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

He travelled to such an extent that his expenses were twice as high as those [DOT]of any other cabinet minister. With all this travelling I do not know where he went because he seemed to spend nearly all his time in Ottawa or the province of Saskatchewan. However, in spite of his travelling apparently he has failed to discover that Canada's agricultural policies are among the poorest of any nation anywhere in the world. Only Canada fails to provide a system of adequate support prices. Where was the Minister of Agriculture last fall? I do not think he was in Ottawa too often.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

In Alberta.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

In Alberta, yes, and in Saskatchewan, tramping around western Canada.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
SC

Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. Hansell:

Mending fences.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

Mending broken Liberal fences, and there are lots of them. They are breaking down all over western Canada. The minister was out there lining up the old Jimmy Gardiner political machine. It is pretty rusty and in a bad state of repair in many places, but the minister says it is good for one more run and he is going to make the best use of it he can. If a stranger had come to Saskatchewan last fall not knowing who the Minister of Agriculture was, I am sure that from looking at the Leader-Post and other daily newspapers he would have thought that the minister was a paid organizer for the Saskatchewan Liberal party and had never been east of Fort William.

The minister said a lot of things about agricultural problems. When he was asked what the farmers should do about the tremendous surplus that some of them had on their farms, his general attitude was: Do not worry, fellows; I have been through the United States and they have got a big drought down there. Apparently he has taken to sun-gazing because he has been saying that sooner or later a drought is going to come to western Canada. His attitude to the surplus grain problem is this. He says to the farmers: Do not worry; I know you are broke because you have got too much wheat but sooner or later there will be a couple of dry years and you will sell your wheat and you will then be broke because you no longer have any wheat. In the meantime he goes along, as I say, oiling up his defunct and discredited political machine.

I have in my hand the very excellent brief presented by the interprovincial farm union council and the Canadian Labour Congress to the government of Canada on December 5, 1956 expressing coneem at the state of the

The Address-Mr. Argue

agricultural industry and the substantial unemployment in the farm implement industry. I think this brief demonstrates that farm organizations and labour organizations can co-operate with each other and that they should do so; that their interests are not opposed one to the other but rather that they have a common interest in securing a decent standard of living for the working people of this nation, whether they work on the farms or in the industries.

We had some extremely interesting information given to us about this conference. It was given to the hon. member for Hum-boldt-Melfort (Mr. Bryson), the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Nicholson) and me by Chris. Hansen, the president of the Saskatchewan Farmers Union. He told of the interview they had had with the cabinet when they were presenting this brief. It was a committee of the cabinet meeting the Canadian Labour Congress and the Interprovincial Farm Union Council. The meeting was presided over by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) in the chair. Mr. Hansen informed us that they had had what they felt was a very good hearing, that the hearing seemed to be about over and that the Minister of Trade and Commerce was about ready to adjourn the meeting when the Minister of Agriculture pipes up and says, "Well, I heard a lot this afternoon about falling farm income, but I have just come back from western Canada and I saw no sign out there of a falling in farm income". He said, "I had no complaint from any farmer in the west about a drop in farm income except from one who said his income had now fallen off to the point that he had to sell his aeroplane". That from the Minister of Agriculture! The Minister of Agriculture makes such a ridiculous statement to a conference discussing an extremely important matter.

We have heard a great deal in this house about the western farmers going to Florida and California for the winter. If one or two per cent should get there, why not? It seems to me that the Liberals opposite think it is a crime if a farmer should ever get the chance to take a holiday. They like to create the impression in eastern Canada, apparently, that the farmers out west all leave the farm in the winter. The Minister of Agriculture now is determined to create the impression that at the present time the farmers in the west have lots of money, that they are hopping around from one piece of land to another in an aeroplane. In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, that illustration shows just how low this government has fallen in its attitude toward the farmers of this nation.

82715-30i

I was invited to take part in a panel discussion that was to take place at the Saskatchewan Farmers Union convention in Saskatoon in mid-December last. There was to be representation from each political party. I was glad to accept. However, a few days after I had accepted the invitation, I received a telegram from the president saying that the panel was off and that he would send me a letter of explanation which would follow. I have the letter here. I am not going to read all of it but it says in part as follows:

However, in order for the panel to be of value it was necessary that we have a representation from the Liberal party present to speak on behalf of the present government. Since originally contacting you we have made several attempts to have a representative of the government take part in the panel but in each case they have refused.

I suggest that the Minister of Agriculture no longer has the courage to confront a meeting sponsored by a bona fide farm organization in western Canada to discuss in public, with representatives of other political parties, his discredited agricultural program. Apparently he does not dare to come to such a meeting. I should be quite happy, Mr. Speaker, to discuss with the Minister of Agriculture on a public platform anywhere in this nation, at a meeting sponsored by a farm organization, the way his policies and those of his government are undermining and destroying the agricultural industry of this nation and forcing thousands of farmers to leave their homes in discouragement because they are unable to make ends meet.

The Minister of Agriculture was in Saskatchewan. He did not spend all his time in his home constituency. He came down into Assiniboia constituency and to other constituencies in western Canada. The Jimmy Gardiner political machine was prepared to go into Assiniboia and to take things over in an important way, because the Minister of Agriculture was quite happy to come to a convention where they chose as their political candidate somebody who has acquired a reputation for transferring from one political party to another. I would not call him a second-hand candidate. He has become a third-hand political candidate. Prior to that convention there was a great deal of speculation as to where the hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre (Mr. Thatcher) would run. Many constituencies in this country were mentioned as possibilities. But I notice there seemed to be unanimous agreement of opinion that there was one constituency in this country above all others that hon. member would never contest, namely his own constituency

The Address-Mr. Argue of Moose Jaw-Lake Centre. Rather than stand there for election, he would leave that constituency.

If the Liberal party think, as they may, that they have found a new recruit who has embraced Liberal principles, they should never forget the timing of his leaving the independent group and going across the floor. It was not during or before the last Saskatchewan provincial election. It was after the election. It was after the political demise of the independent provincial candidate, one Dick Lillicoe in the constituency of Moose Jaw. He was not able to make the grade and so the hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre felt that there was no hope in that constituency as an independent and that therefore he would be obliged to look elsewhere. Apparently the Social Credit party had taken such a shellacking in that election that he found it impossible to adopt their principles. So he has gone into the Liberal party.

He has made a speech in this house already this session. In it did he deal with the things about which the Liberals are talking in this house at this time such as improvement in social security legislation? Did he ask for measures to help the farmers of western Canada and the people of Saskatchewan? No; he did not do that. He said that anybody who has not enough money now, in this inflationary time, to make a substantial payment when he is getting something on credit should be forced to pay at least one-quarter or one-third down. Then he said that if the Minister of Finance should decide on a tax reduction for the people of this country, they should not be given it now; in other words, they should be given a glance at the carrot and perhaps a little whiff of the aroma but in order to taste the carrot he would force them to wait a three-year or a five-year period, presumably so that the carrot could be used all over again for the same purpose in another election. I do not believe the people of Canada will fall for that political bait.

I notice that the hon. member was out to Vancouver not too long ago. He made a speech out there or at least he had a press interview, parts of which he has denied subsequently; but I am not going to refer to any of the parts that have been amended and changed. According to the press report he had this to say about the Prime Minister:

Mr. Thatcher predicted Prime Minister St. Laurent will "ride the election and retire six months after" . . .

There we have, from a Liberal member, a statement that the Prime Minister is going into this election under what are patently false colours, that his intentions are

camouflaged and that he is hiding from the people of Canada his intention to resign as leader of the Liberal party within six months after the election.

I do not believe that the Prime Minister has those intentions. I believe if he heads the Liberal party in this election that in his own mind he will sincerely intend to stay in office a sufficient length of time to see the proposals which he makes placed in legislative form. But according to the member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre the Prime Minister of this country will face the Canadian people in an act of deceit and deception. The hon. member can explain that.

Then the article goes on to state that the hon. member predicted after the Prime Minister retires he will leave the government in the hands of the Minister of Finance or the Minister of Fisheries. Then listen to this: ". . . whom he described as the most brilliant man in the house." Well, now apparently the Prime Minister is a second rater and is playing second fiddle to the most brilliant member in the House of Commons, the Minister of Fisheries. We have heard nothing previously about his ability from the government side of the house, but according to the hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre the most brilliant man is now sitting in the second row.

Then as to the leadership of the Liberal party, the hon. member says that the Minister of Fisheries will be the Prime Minister within 10 years anyway. I know the Minister of National Health and Welfare probably has aspirations in that direction. The name of the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) has been mentioned in that connection as one who might make a suitable Prime Minister. The name of the Minister of Finance has been mentioned often by those who say he is an excellent political strategist. The name of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration used to be mentioned but I have not heard it mentioned lately. However, I have not seen the name of the Minister of Fisheries mentioned at all, but according to the hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre if the Minister of Finance should become leader of the Liberal party, and some day the prime minister, he will not hold the position long because the Minister of Fisheries will be breathing on his neck and it will not be long until he becomes prime minister and takes over from the Minister of Finance.

Then, to further ridicule in a somewhat indirect way the Prime Minister and government of this country, the hon. member had this to say in relation to Premier Bennett of British Columbia. He said that he had met Mr. Bennett twice and was impressed with his obvious ability. The hon. member said

Premier Bennett struck him as being a pretty able Canadian. He said that in British Columbia the Social Credit have been doing some rather sensible things and seemed to be giving a good business government. Every time the hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre stands up in this house he tries to tell us why this government is not following good business practices. He has found a good business government in British Columbia but not here. I wonder why he has been cuddling up to Social Credit out in British Columbia. He says he has been offered the leadership of the Social Credit party in Saskatchewan on a number of occasions. I have heard conflicting reports about that. Apparently he wants to remain in the good graces of the Social Credit party so that if he needs another escape route at any time he will have it open and he can apply for admission to the Social Credit party.

In order to show that no Social Credit member would be fooled by these reports the leader of the Social Credit group, the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low), had to set the record straight. In a report in the Western Producer dated October 25, 1956 the leader of the Social Credit group said that the Social Credit leadership in Saskatchewan never was offered to Ross Thatcher, Moose Jaw M.P.

I noticed that the Prime Minister, in his speech at the opening of the house, defended the government's support price under butter. I have often said, and I repeat, that I believe the government support price on butter is one of the best pieces of agricultural legislation the government has in effect and the only support price that works adequately. There is one person in this house, however, who does not like the support price on butter. Only one member of parliament has ever said that the farmers who milk cows, who ship cream to get a few dollars to pay the grocery bills, to send the children to school, to buy clothing for the family, are getting too much for a can of cream. The hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre said on February 10 last as recorded at page 1076 of Hansard:

I think the government's butter policy Is shortsighted and economically unwise.

I am pleased that the Prime Minister has defended this policy against someone who now sits with his own party. I am afraid that from the record the hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre is just as much a misfit today as he has ever been, that his ideas are just about as far removed from those of Liberalism as the ox cart is from the atomic age.

The Address-Mr. Argue

I believe that agriculture needs legislation at this time to improve its position. I suggest that this is the time, at this session, for the government to introduce a system of parity prices for agricultural products; and the interim and final payments on the 1955 crop should be announced at a very early date. I suggest that advance payments and farm storage for grain should be made part of the permanent legislation of this country, and that the government should inaugurate a system of crop insurance for agriculture. The prairie farm assistance maximum payment of $500 in 1939 is today worth only about $200 because of inflation. Now is the time to at least double the prairie farm assistance.

I suggest that in the field of social security payments the government should increase old age pensions to at least $65 to everyone reaching the age of 65; that family allowances should be increased to at least the point of restoring their 1944 value which would require an increase of 60 per cent. I believe the government should announce naw a health program which can be implemented by all those provinces presently willing to adopt such a program. I suggest further that in order to alleviate the position of the municipalities the government should change its financial policy and its credit restrictions to enable the municipality to borrow money to finance essential works, and at a rate not greater than 4 per cent. The government should provide assistance for an adequate road program in this country.

These are some of the things Canadians need. We can afford them. Our wealth production is 2J times that of 1946. Instead of being content with the social security program and a farm program which is much worse than it was in 1946, I suggest that legislation should be advanced to improve the position even beyond the level of 1946. I suggest that at this time Canada should be doing more in international affairs to help the underprivileged of the world. I think we are in an excellent position to promote democracy and to help stem the advancing tide of communism by providing a greater number of technicians to underdeveloped countries; by providing more support for the Colombo plan and the United Nations organization; by at times taking whatever quantity of food may be necessary from our great surplus to prevent famine in the countries of Asia and Africa and other distressed areas of the world. I suggest the people of Canada are generous and that they are prepared to play a more important part in providing assistance to the underprivileged people of the world. I suggest that Canadians generally would agree with the statement, which

The Address-Mr. Weselak I paraphrase, made by the C.C.F. national convention in 1956, namely, that we will not rest content until every person in this land and in all other lands is able to enjoy equality and freedom, a sense of human dignity and an opportunity to live a rich and meaningful life as a citizen of a free and peaceful world. I suggest that is an objective for 1957 to which every Canadian might direct his energy and ability.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Anton Bernard Weselak

Liberal

Mr. A. B. Weselak (Springfield):

Mr. Speaker, may I, like those hon. members who have preceded me in this debate, extend my heartiest congratulations to the mover of the address in reply to the speech from the throne, the hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona (Mr. Hanna), and to the seconder, the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Robichaud) for the splendid and capable manner in which they discharged the respective duties assigned to them. May I also extend my heartiest congratulations to the hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker) on his elevation to the position of leader of the official opposition. We in western Canada take pride in that one of our number has been selected to fill this high post.

The speech from the throne reflects the conditions under which parliament met for this current session. Serious problems faced the world in the international sphere, and at home we were in the midst of a serious railway strike which had thrown 67,000 people out of work and had tied up thousands of miles of railway track.

The greater part of the constituency of Springfield, which I have the honour to represent, is served by the Canadian Pacific Railway; and while alternative service is generally available by trucks and buses, nevertheless the strike did result in the complete stoppage of grain deliveries to elevators which now are practically always filled. It probably would not have been so serious to us if the farmers in that particular area had had reasonably good crops over the last three years, and if they had received a reasonable amount of cash over that period. This, however, was not the case. The financial position of these farmers can be readily appreciated when it is noted that the average yield in my immediate area for the 1954-55 crop year was 91 bushels per acre as compared with a long-term average yield of 19.7 bushels.

In the crop year 1955-56, on a quota of 3 bushels to an acre, practically all the grain in the district was cleared out. This year a reasonably good crop was harvested, though considerable difficulty was experienced in gathering it in due to wet weather and frost,

which resulted in increased expense, loss of yield and also deterioration of grade due to moisture and frost; therefore the prospect of a lengthy tie-up of rail facilities did not appeal to the people in that area.

I think we all appreciate the struggle labour has had in the past century to achieve the right to organize and also to obtain the right to strike, which is its most effective weapon when all other mediums fail. If one has this appreciation it is difficult to state that this right which has been earned through suffering and privation should be arbitrarily taken away from any group in our labour force. On the other hand the right to strike, particularly when the strike is of the nature of the recent railway strike, must be exercised with responsibility by the leaders of union groups and by the rank and file and therefore, as I have said, it must be carefully exercised. Abuse of this right could very well result in public opinion becoming such that in certain spheres of activity within the country the right would be restricted or in fact taken away, as it has been in some jurisdictions, in the public interest. We certainly hope this will never be necessary in relation to the railroads, and it will not be necessary if organized labour continues to face up to its responsibility.

Management, too, has an overriding responsibility to the public to negotiate in good faith, particularly since where railways are involved there exists the responsibility to take into consideration the public interest and welfare. We in western Canada are particularly affected when events such as the recent strike occur. We are dependent solely upon rail transportation in many areas; and even in areas with alternative service we depend upon rail transportation for manufactured goods from the industrial areas of the east to meet our needs and we depend almost wholly upon rail transportation for the export of our production both of grain and of animals.

Our farmers and local businessmen are having a difficult enough time at present without being subjected to the further losses which naturally flow from such an event. It was therefore reasonable to expect that farm and political leaders of western Canada did not take kindly to the strike and expressed opinions which were critical of it. The people of western Canada, however, were not prepared to settle this matter and have trains operating at any price. Since 1945, according to the Gordon report, the railways have been granted permission to introduce horizontal increases in freight rates on eight separate occasions in order to offset increases in their operating costs. The adjustments which have

been allowed total an increase of somewhat more than 100 per cent over the rates prevailing in 1945.

It is common knowledge that these increases do not affect Ontario and Quebec, where alternative transportation facilities exist, to the extent that they affect the economies of the maritimes and the western provinces. Any increase in freight rates increases the cost of production and the cost of living on the prairies, since prairie consumers must pay the freight on incoming goods. Increases in freight rates also reduce the gross income of western producers, since the cost of freight on produce shipped to eastern markets or ports of export are also deducted from the prices paid to producers for their product. The net result is that costs are increased, revenues reduced and net incomes seriously affected.

Representatives of farm organizations and of provincial governments appearing before the board of transport commissioners in freight rate hearings have insisted on economies in railway operation, and have insisted upon proof from the railway in justification of increased costs. Therefore the attitude of many people in western Canada is that if economies can be effected without prejudice to the general public, the railways should be required and permitted to effect such economies.

As we all know, the issue over which the strike was called was the question of whether firemen should be retained in yard and freight diesels. The railways contended that on diesel engines firemen were not required for their operation, and therefore their services should be dispensed with in all except passenger locomotives. The union on the other hand contended that firemen in the cabs of these engines were essential to public safety. The matter of public safety is one in which the general public of Canada has a definite interest; therefore there appeared to be some merit in the firemen's case.

If firemen are not needed for these purposes it would be ridiculous for the railways to keep these men in the cab. On the other hand, if the safety of the public is endangered the price to be paid for this safety factor is inconsequential compared to the possible loss of life, equipment and freight. The issue had to be resolved, and resolved it was, through the mediation and untiring efforts of the right hon. Prime Minister, who was able to bring the parties together and bring them to common ground, where finally both parties agreed to submit the issue to an investigating body for analysis and determination. The findings of this board should determine the matter as between the parties, and should remove from

The Address-Mr. Weselak the public mind the doubt which exists there as to whether, from a safety point of view, firemen should be removed from the cabs of these locomotives or retained.

The Conservative amendment accuses the government of indifference, inertia and lack of leadership. The settlement of this strike by the right hon. Prime Minister in my view, and I think in the view of most Canadians, refutes this charge and shows that the leader of this government is not indifferent to the welfare of the people of Canada; shows not inertia but aggressiveness; not lack of leadership but outstanding leadership in times of considerable difficulty.

Before leaving the question of railways and freight rates I should like to make one more point. The preliminary report of the royal commission on Canada's economic prospects, commonly known as the Gordon report, suggests among other things that additional revenues to meet rising costs of railway operation might be obtained in the future by increasing the statutory rates on grain.

Obviously the reference is to the Crows-nest pass agreement of 1897, in which the C.P.R. agreed, in return for a cash subsidy of $3,404,702 and a grant by the British Columbia government of 3,602,000 acres of land, to reduce the rate on grain and flour by 3 cents per hundredweight from the prairies to the head of the lakes. Subsequently, in 1927, this rate was extended to Pacific coast ports. As an alternative the Gordon report suggests that the railways be paid a subsidy in lieu of increased rates on grain being transported to the lakehead or Pacific coast ports.

There is no suggestion by the government that it has any intention of repealing the legislation which incorporates the Crowsnest pass agreement rates; nevertheless there seems to be some public support for this as the result of certain statements made in the past by railway officials and others that these rates are responsible for some of the financial difficulties experienced by the railways. The mere fact that these rates were set approximately 60 years ago does not necessarily imply that they are not still profitable, and there is plenty of reliable evidence to show that these rates are profitable to the railways.

We have only to go to the report of the Turgeon royal commission of 1950-51, where a detailed study was made of these rates, to find authoritative evidence in support of the statement that they are profitable. The report of the commission reads in part:

Much time has been taken to consider whether it has been established that the Crowsnest pass rates hitherto exempt from the burden of general freight rate increases, should now be made subject to them. As above stated the removal of this exemption is asked for principally on the ground

The Address-Mr. Weselak that it casts an unfair burden on shippers of other commodities. This argument seems plausible in theory but an examination of all the facts involved shows that it is not well founded. There is really not much to be said against these rates in respect of their effect upon the railways.

We must remember that when the agreement was entered into, production of grain on the prairie provinces was about 35 million bushels per year. Today it is about one billion bushels, and naturally the unit cost of transportation falls with increased volume. In addition, technical advances in railroading since 1897 have resulted in an increase in the capacity of box cars from 60,000 to 120,000 pounds; handling of cars is automatic; trains are longer and motive power much more efficient, all resulting in lower cost of operation per unit bushel transported.

Apart from the Turgeon report we have only to go to the C.P.R. itself for further evidence, for early in 1956 in sworn testimony given before the board of transport commissioners Mr. Kenneth H. Brink, research officer of the C.P.R. stated "normally we depend on a good grain year for good net earnings". If a good grain year contributes to good net earnings, obviously such grains are not hauled at a loss but at a good profit under the Crowsnest rates; therefore no change in rates or subsidy in lieu thereof is justified.

If one examines the accounts of the C.P.R. as contained in their annual report he finds under the heading of land surplus account a cumulative surplus of $101,685,263, and finds that in the year 1954 net revenues from this account amounted to $9,406,406. In its recent campaign for higher freight rates and the abrogation of the Crowsnest pass agreement the C.P.R. has constantly sought to withhold from the railway end of its business the other income and land surplus accounts, and contrary to the statutes creating and endowing the C.P.R. it has arbitrarily divided its accounts in this manner since 1946.

When the railway was built through western Canada, by an agreement in December of 1880 the C.P.R. was given a cash grant of $25 million and 25 million acres of land fairly fit for settlement. The money in the land surplus account of the C.P.R., in violation of the statute, is kept apart by the railway from its operating accounts. This money is income derived in one form or another from land given to the C.P.R. by this parliament and the province of British Columbia. The purpose for which the land was given, as stated in the law, is to complete, equip, maintain and operate the railway in perpetuity.

To summarize, all available evidence indicates that the Crowsnest rates are profitable; that increasing, substantial revenues are received by the railway from lands granted in

western Canada, and therefore charges that these rates undermine the operations of the railway are unfounded and unfair and should be ignored. The railways feel that if they could abrogate this agreement and raise the rates on grain and flour by 100 per cent as they have been raised on many other commodities they would gain from $70 million to $80 million a year at the expense of the western farmer.

Members from other parts of Canada may wonder at the strong and determined resistance of the west towards any change in these rates. This resistance is fully justified, and I hope my remarks here today will contribute toward a better understanding of this problem. The Canadian Pacific Railway through its propaganda has confused the thinking of many Canadians in this respect, and one has only to read the editorials of many leading eastern papers to see the extent to which it has succeeded. The Canadian National Railways to my knowledge have never complained of any losses accruing to them as a result of the Crowsnest pass rates.

The hon. member for Brandon-Souris (Mr. Dinsdale) almost wholly embraces and speaks with general approval of the Gordon commission's recommendations.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
PC

Walter Gilbert Dinsdale

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dinsdale:

Mr. Speaker, on a question of personal privilege, if the hon. member will read my speech he will see that there were five specific topics only, so let there be no sweeping generalizations, please.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Anton Bernard Weselak

Liberal

Mr. Weselak:

In April of 1954 his party colleague, the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre (Mr. Churchill), spoke strongly in this house in favour of Crowsnest pass rates on grain and flour, and the Winnipeg Free Press on April 14, 1954, had this to say editorially regarding the remarks of the Winnipeg member:

Mr. Churchill's unqualified commitment in favour of Crowsnest rates is welcome. However he should realize that in so speaking he was in so far as the Liberal party is concerned preaching to the converted.

Only one political party has opposed Crowsnest pass rates and presented itself to the electorate on a policy of repealing the statute and nullifying the agreement. That party is Mr. Churchill's party- the Conservative party. The Conservative party did so in 1925 and 1926. Mr. Meighen, then Conservative leader, declared that the Crowsnest pass agreement is a "special privilege". Likewise under Conservative direction an attempt was made to abolish Crowsnest pass rates at the 1919 special session called to deal with railway legislation.

In 1919, the Crowsnest pass agreement was saved by the Liberal party through the instrumentality of the late Senator Robert "Bob" Watson of Portage la Prairie. In 1925 and 1926 the electorate at large saved the Crowsnest pass rates by rejecting the Conservative party and electing the Liberal party.

Mr. Churchill will make a real contribution if he undertakes missionary work in behalf of the agreement in his own party.

I submit, Mr. Speaker, that the Gordon commission's suggestion that statutory rates on grain could be increased, or that the government could provide in lieu thereof a form of subsidy, can only be based upon an assumption, which in fact does not exist, that the statutory rates are not profitable to the railways, when in fact they are, as shown not only by the findings of the Turgeon commission but by the evidence of one of their own research officers.

I hope I have made it clear that the existence of these rates does not constitute a hand-out to the western grain growers at the expense of other sectors of the economy. In this respect grain growers are paying their own way and in fact providing a profitable source of revenue to the railways.

A substantial part of the speech from the throne is devoted to Canada's participation in international affairs. This is as it should be, for while the official opposition may state that the government is not entitled to the confidence of the Canadian people by reason of its indifference, inertia and lack of leadership in serious international problems, the record of the government shows that the contrary is true in actual fact. We have only to examine the work done since the last war in connection with the formation and promotion of NATO by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for External Affairs to find an excellent example of co-operation and leadership in international matters. Is it likely that Canada's foreign minister would have been selected as one of the "three wise men" of NATO, to review its policies, if Canada had not in the past shown leadership in these matters?

In the sphere of international trade Canada has been a staunch supporter of the principles of GATT, and has constantly led in the fight toward the reduction and removal of trade barriers.

I had the privilege, Mr. Speaker, of attending the pre-Christmas session of the United Nations, and as a result of my experience I can certainly agree with Grant Dexter who, writing from New York on November 26, 1956, to the Winnipeg Free Press, states that his first impression on coming to United Nations headquarters and mixing with peoples of all nationalities was one of surprise and pleasure, and that Canada is almost a magic word at the United Nations. He reports that Canadian prestige is very high there because of the part Canada had played in halting the fighting in the Middle East and in creating a United Nations police force.

He goes on to point out that there is more to it than just this; that this was not Canada's

The Address-Mr. Weselak first major contribution; that over the past 11 years Canada has made innumerable outstanding contributions to the constitution and development of the United Nations. He cites as examples the fact that three Canadians-Norman Robertson, presently high commissioner at London; Louis Rasminsky, now of the Bank of Canada, and the late Hume Wrong, for some years Canadian ambassador at Washington, rewrote the economic sections of the United Nations charter at San Francisco at the time the charter was born.

He further mentions that in 1947 and 1948, when Israel was created and the first conflict with the Arab states broke out, the Canadian government was one of the leading peacemakers. The present Secretary of State for External Affairs, then undersecretary of state, was on the committee which brought about the settlement which endured until just recently. It was partly in recognition of his outstanding service in this regard that Mr. Pearson became president of the United Nations, after becoming minister for external affairs.

He also cites the fact that last year the Minister of National Health and Welfare, as head of the Canadian delegation while the minister for external affairs was engaged on NATO business succeeded in breaking down the antagonism which had prevented admission of new members to the United Nations. As a result of his efforts 16 new members, including Ireland and Italy, were added. Four new members were accepted this year, proving that once broken the old rigidity is unlikely to return.

Mr. Dexter goes on to point out, Mr. Speaker, that veteran delegates to the United Nations said there have been few such occasions in the history of that organization as that when our minister reversed the headlong course of the Middle East debate, turning it from destructive to constructive purposes; and he adds that when President Eisenhower took the time on election day to telephone the Prime Minister at Ottawa to thank him for what Canada had done at the United Nations he was reflecting the feelings of all United Nations members outside the Soviet bloc.

It is true, Mr. Speaker, that Canada's resolution has not solved the basic problems which caused the Middle East explosion, but it helped to stem the deterioration of a highly dangerous situation, brought about a cessation of hostilities and created a more favourable atmosphere in which to set in motion the peacemaking powers of the United Nations.

Apart from Canada's leadership in and contribution to NATO and the United Nations,

The Address-Mr. Weselak the Prime Minister during the life of this parliament made a world tour in an effort to create a better understanding of Canada among the nations of the world. This has been followed by the recent commonwealth tour of the Minister of National Health and Welfare, which will also contribute a great deal toward a better understanding of one another by the commonwealth peoples.

Reports indicate, Mr. Speaker, that there are now 8,500 Hungarian refugees in Canada; that by the end of February this number will be increased to 14,000, and that in the spring when employment opportunities are better another 10,000 will arrive in this country. In this humanitarian work Canada has a creditable record, and a great deal of credit is to be given to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for his personal attention and concern in this regard when he himself went to Austria to supervise the removal of these unfortunate people and the simplification of immigration processes.

It is encouraging to note that estimates of immigration for the year 1956 will exceed the 1955 figure, and that a very substantial rise in immigration is forecast for 1957. It is my opinion, and the opinion of many people in this country, that immigration should be encouraged; therefore the expected rise in these projected figures is welcome.

The speech from the throne makes reference to the excellent progress which is being made in our national development and this, sir, is not an exaggeration. I am pleased to say that we in Manitoba have shared in this development. Preliminary reports indicate that Manitoba manufacturers in 1956 produced a record of $625 million, as compared with $527 million in 1955. Retail sales increased by 7 to 10 per cent; carload-ings in the western division by 37.7 per cent; mineral and oil production from $61 million to $65 million, and farm cash income for the first nine months of the year from $120 million in 1954 and 1955 to $143 million in 1956, attributable in great part to increased loadings of wheat.

One of the most dramatic events in the developing economy of Manitoba has been the decision of the International Nickel Company to start on the $175 million nickel project in the Mystery lake and Moak lake areas of Northern Manitoba. This mine is scheduled to go into production in 1960 and will be the world's second largest nickel operation, second only to International Nickel's operations in the Sudbury area. This project brings along with it development of the Grand Rapids power site, which will add to the energy sources of the province. In my own constituency the Lithium Corporation of Canada has begun operation of a

lithium mine in the Cat lake area, and has plans for a mill in the vicinity. In the same area a copper mine is also in the early phases of development.

In connection with the Moak and Mystery lakes development, I wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the government of Manitoba for their part in bringing this matter to a favourable conclusion, and in particular to the premier of Manitoba, the minister of mines and the former provincial treasurer, Mr. R. D. Turner. These men worked unceasingly with officials of the company in the interests of the province to make this project become a reality.

We are pleased, Mr. Speaker, in my province to see developments such as I have described both provincially and nationally, but our pleasure is dampened when we recognize that a certain sector of our economy which, while recently showing some improvement, is not fully sharing the prosperity of the country. I refer to the agricultural people of Canada.

The speech from the throne recognizes this problem, and recognizes the need for longterm planning and bold imaginative measures to establish Canadian agriculture on a sound economic basis. The establishment of a committee to consider what should be done to make better use of land for agriculture in the light of the benefits we have obtained from the operation of the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Act is a welcome step in this direction and should contribute toward a solution of the problem.

This, however, is not the complete answer, and unfortunately the Gordon report does not contribute a great deal toward a solution of the problem.

The solution certainly does not lie in curbing and discouraging production. It does not lie, as suggested in the Gordon report, in a negative approach such as the curtailment of prairie farm assistance payments to discourage use of lands where there has been a high record of crop failure, an indirect way of squeezing farmers off farms. It lies in a positive approach to the problem as suggested in the speech from the throne, through such things as relocation of farm population from submarginal lands with government assistance, encouraged diversification of farm production, extension of farm credit for capital purposes, and a more extended use of the Agricultural Prices Support Act to guarantee the farmer a reasonable return pricewise for the goods he produces. The recommendations in the report are worthy of study, but should be scrutinized very carefully before any attempt is made to implement some of them.

I should like to say a few words about the reference in the speech from the throne to continuation of the Canadian wheat board as the sole marketing agency for western wheat, oats and barley. As stated in the Gordon report, this method of marketing wheat and coarse grains is generally accepted by the grain growers of western Canada, and its establishment was the result of many years of consistent effort on the part of the farmers to obtain orderly and stable marketing of their grains. This system of marketing, not surprisingly, has been the subject of some attack by certain groups in western Canada, and this can be expected when periods of congestion exist such as we have recently experienced. In 1955 the Canadian Chamber of Commerce went so far as to pass a resolution condemning agricultural marketing through government agencies. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that such a resolution is not in accord with a great weight of farm thinking, particularly in so far as the marketing of wheat, oats and barley is concerned.

The continuance of this legislation is a must. Its importance can best be illustrated by the fact that economists estimate that if today marketing of wheat were to be taken from the jurisdiction of the wheat board and turned over to the trade the market price of No. 1 Northern would not be $1.69 at Fort William and $1.71 at Vancouver, but likely somewhere between 80 and 90 cents per bushel. It is true that the grain trade would take the grain off the farms, but at half its present price. This legislation should be continued, and no doubt will receive the unanimous support of the house.

A great deal has been said recently in the house and in the press regarding the needs of our senior citizens, who in times of difficulty and hardship did so much to make this country what it is today. My concern, Mr. Speaker, is not so much for those who have other sources of income or for those whose financial position is such that with the present pension they can get along quite well. My concern is for those who for a variety of reasons, many beyond their own control, find themselves, particularly in our towns and cities, trying to maintain themselves on $40 per month. It would be a very nice thing to give an across the board increase to all pensioners, but if this is not feasible or practical I would certainly urge the government, either with or without the assistance of the provinces, to make further allowances at least to our old age and blind pensioners who need such assistance.

It is hardly necessary to point out that with the increased cost of living in Canada the present pensions, in those cases where

The Address-Mr. Patterson individuals are solely dependent upon them, are inadequate and do not meet present day needs. In this respect I might also point out that the regulations governing disability pensions should be reviewed by federal and provincial authorities, as there is considerable doubt in my mind whether these regulations reflect the intention and the mood of parliament at the time the act was passed.

The proposal contained in the speech from the throne to authorize the payment of grants in lieu of taxes on federal property in all municipalities where such property receives normal municipal services will be most welcome to municipal councils, and will help to relieve some of the financial difficulties in municipalities affected.

In this house last session I urged the Minister of Finance to give consideration to removal of the sales tax on repairs and replacements for heavy equipment used by municipalities. These expenditures by municipalities run into substantial sums. I hope he is keeping this matter in mind as he works on his present budget.

The establishment of the Canada Council is in keeping with the growth of Canada, and more extended assistance to university students and to the universities themselves through increased grants will help fill a need which is seriously felt at the present time by all universities.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, one has only to compare statements made by the leader of the official opposition in and out of the house in recent days with those of members of the government on current issues, both national and international to determine whether the allegations of indifference, inertia and lack of leadership apply to the government or to the official opposition. In my opinion these words neatly describe the official opposition, and my vote on the amendment will so indicate.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
SC

Alexander Bell Patterson

Social Credit

Mr. A. B. Patterson (Fraser Valley):

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon I find myself in the position of having to choose a few subjects from a rather lengthy list of what I consider to be very important issues now before us. The fact that I direct attention to these specific problems does not necessarily mean that the others are of a lesser importance, nor does it imply that they will be neglected. It is my hope that we will have the opportunity in other debates to make observations in connection with these problems that are facing various parts of our country and various groups of our Canadian citizens.

Last month I received a very kind invitation to attend the annual Christmas dinner of one of the senior citizens' associations in

The Address-Mr. Patterson my riding. There were possibly 200 people in attendance, representing a considerable part of our population, a group that has given of its strength and abilities in the building of our great nation. As I looked at the audience on that occasion I thought of the sacrifices that had been made as they endeavoured to make their contribution to this country. I thought of the labours performed, the hardships that had been endured, the tears and the sorrows and the joys which had been theirs as they paved the way for succeeding generations. Then I thought of the conditions under which many of those whom they represented are required to live, and I must confess that I felt ashamed.

In the speech from the throne there is a very interesting paragraph which I should like to read. It is in these words:

Indeed our economic expansion has been so rapid that it has put a serious strain upon the supply of various types of labour and materials needed for the many projects which are being put in hand. The corresponding competition to borrow savings to finance all these projects has brought about an increase in interest rates. Increases in the volume of money and credit have had to be carefully limited in order to check inflationary tendencies and the financial policies of my government have also been directed to counteract these same tendencies.

The previous paragraph refers as well to the expansion of our economy and to the prosperity we are enjoying at the present time. But I wonder whether we should not ask the recipients of old age pensions whether they are in agreement with the statement in the speech from the throne which I have just read. When they are required to live as they are on a very meagre pittance, I do not think they would be overly impressed with statements regarding the wonderful expansion of our economy and the high degree of prosperity that the Canadian people are enjoying.

Nor do I think the recipients of the war veterans allowance would be overly impressed with that same statement when they as well, especially those who have not the opportunity of supplementing their income in any other way, are required to live on the present rates that obtain in this particular category.

I would ask the blind citizens of Canada whether' they can appreciate the splendid development that is taking place in our economy and the high degree of prosperity we enjoy. I would ask them if they are sharing in it. I think they would be in a position in which they would be forced to say that they did not know anything about it, that they hardly knew what we were talking about in this particular instance.

We think of the disabled. Yes, we even think of the man who was once considered to be in the middle income brackets. No

matter which of these people we might talk to, I think they would all join in saying they could not appreciate statements such as those, because they themselves were not able to enjoy these good things that should be provided for every citizen of this great country of ours.

In his speech in this debate my leader, the hon. member for Peace River, gave the definition of inflation as too many dollars chasing too few goods. If we asked these people whether they had too many dollars I think they would be constrained to say that, as far as they were concerned, they did not have enough dollars to buy even the necessities of life, let alone those things which possibly would contribute to their welfare and bring a more abundant and easier life for them.

Is $40 per month the best we can do for the senior citizens of Canada? I do not think it is necessary to remind ourselves in this house of the constantly increasing costs of living. That reminder has been given. It should not be necessary to refer to the decreased value of the dollar in terms of purchasing power. That fact as well has been brought to the attention of the house. Yet with the increased national production, the increasing wages and salaries, these people to whom I have referred remain on an extremely low plane as far as living is concerned. They are not privileged to enjoy these things that others are able to secure.

I should like to refer to a resolution that, was passed at the annual British Columbia Social Credit convention in regard to this particular matter, namely the old age pension. The resolution is as follows.

Whereas the national government has implemented an old age pension plan that pays $40 monthly to all Canadians at age seventy years; and

Whereas the present pension payments are inadequate and provincial governments are compelled to augment these payments;

Therefore be it resolved that the national pensions be increased by at least $20 per month.

In advocating the increase in pensions, Mr. Speaker, I understand that the provincial government of British Columbia has also indicated its willingness and readiness to continue with the supplementary payments it has been making to the recipients of old age pension and to others in that category.

When we consider these representations and also the voices that have been raised in this house-not only those of opposition members but of government supporters as well-I think this government should give immediate consideration to increasing the pensions in order to bring them more into line with the present cost of living. As I say, with all the government supporters calling so loudly, and with

the publicity that is being given to their requests, I think possibly the government should be ready to accede to these requests and demands even though it may be that, as some have said, the matter could become one of political expediency because of the forthcoming election.

I wonder whether as many government supporters as have done so would have spoken on this matter and would have made those recommendations if they had not, somehow, had an idea or an inkling that something would be forthcoming before the conclusion of this session. Over the week end the Prime Minister was reported over the radio as saying that the government supporters had not been tipped off at all in connection with anything along this line. Be that as it may, I would suggest that they would hardly all go in opposition to government policy, in view of the fact that the Minister of Trade and Commerce warned them all to toe the party line and said that if they were willing to do so the Liberal party would be in power for a good many years to come. We hope the government will give consideration to these requests that have been made.

The amendment proposed by the hon. member for Red Deer puts before us a motion of censure of this government for its unwillingness to meet the challenge and bring in legislation which would take care of many of these important matters. I should like to speak on other matters in connection with health and welfare and these other problems, but I just mention them now; then later on we shall have the opportunity of referring to them more adequately.

The brief presented to the government by the Canadian Legion again calls attention to some of those problems that are very real to the veterans of Canada. Among the recommendations we find those dealing with war veterans allowance and pensions. Right now I should like to express my wholehearted support of those recommendations, and the support of this group in connection with these matters that are so vital to the veterans of Canada. I think the government should deal with them. I think they should stop this process of procrastination and should take a realistic look at these matters and bring them into line with the demands of the present day.

I am also reminded of requests that have been made on behalf of the blind citizens of Canada for a special allowance, free of means test, to pay for those services which are essential for the blind such as guiding services, etc. These matters have been brought to the attention of the government and the minister in other days. I trust they

The Address-Mr. Patterson will be receiving the sympathetic consideration of the department. What I say for those I could say for the others, such as those who are on superannuation and whose income at the present time is far less than that which is necessary to maintain a respectable standard of living.

I should now like to turn to the matter of agriculture. The problems of the farmers in central and eastern Canada can best be discussed, I believe, by the representatives of those sectors. I have the privilege of representing one of the main agricultural areas in British Columbia. Because of that fact I intend to concern myself in this discussion with problems peculiar to hay own province. I think they are problems to which this government is giving scant attention, if any. However, along with what I say with regard to the agricultural problems of British Columbia, I should also like to emphasize the need for agricultural policies generally applicable to all parts of Canada, wherever the need may arise. I suggest that this government have failed to appreciate the necessity for such a program of agricultural policies. They seem to be content with more or less a piecemeal set-up. I would suggest today that a policy should be drafted which would be applicable right across this nation of ours.

We have made a request for the extension of the P.F.R.A. benefits to the province of British Columbia. I believe it was last year that my colleague the hon. member for Okanagan-Revelstoke recommended that it be changed from the prairie farm rehabilitation program to the national farm rehabilitation program. I believe if that were to be done it would increase the scope and expand the benefits of this program so it would be of assistance to farmers right across the country.

The government of the province of British Columbia has sought to obtain from the government consideration of these problems on a national scale. Farm organizations have called for such a program. However, the Minister of Agriculture still insists that this cannot be expanded, that it cannot be changed into a national rehabilitation program, but that if we have projects which we believe are worthy of consideration they should be submitted individually and judged on their own merits. Here again I would suggest that rather than have a piecemeal proposition we should have an over-all program which could be applied in any part of the country where such need arose. The extension of the P.F.R.A. to include British Columbia would be of incalculable value to the farmers of that province.

The Address-Mr. Patterson

I would also like to call attention to the matter of river bank erosion. This to me seems to be a very serious problem. It is a problem which is always with us in the Fraser valley because conditions are not improving very much. This is a problem which is continuing to be of very serious concern to those who live in Fraser valley. We think of the great Fraser river and its tremendous importance to the economy of British Columbia. Besides being of special value in connection with the fishing industry, being the greatest salmon river on the continent, it is designed to be a major factor in the development of industry all the way from Hope to the sea. In addition, if ways and means can be found to protect the salmon industry, the Fraser could also be a vast source of power.

This same mighty Fraser is a source of concern as well, for not only has the Fraser valley suffered serious floods but in addition hundreds of acres of the very best agricultural land have been lost through the process of erosion. I have in my hand the interim report of the investigation into measures for flood control in the Fraser river basin. This report makes reference to this particular situation, but I do not think it presents a very full picture. On page 60 of this interim report we find these words:

There are considerable areas of river bank throughout the lower Fraser valley which are subject to erosion. Some of these areas have been protected in part by rock riprap. The channel of the Fraser river from Hope to the sea is unstable and the main thread of the stream changes position from time to time.

In addition bank erosion is aggravated by navigation in certain reaches of the river particularly where small high-powered craft travel close to the banks. Further study of bank erosion is warranted.

I say that does not do justice to the problems, because they are of greater magnitude than would be indicated by a reading of this report. There was, however, one matter in which I was interested; that is the reference to bank erosion being aggravated by navigation. I remember in other days when I was dealing with this matter, and brought it to the attention of the minister, the report of the engineers was to the effect that this did not enter into the picture at all. However, it is being recognized in this interim report.

Until approximately 25 years ago the federal government apparently assumed full responsibility in this particular matter. During that period they diked the slough mouths, did river clearance and rocked the river banks. However, following that period they began to pay one-third of the cost of similar works together with the province of British Columbia, the municipality, or the district in which the work was done. It was

being shared equally. Following the disastrous flood in 1948, due to an agreement between the federal and provincial governments, after completion of work done by the Fraser valley diking board and dissolution of the board in 1950 the federal government would not share any additional cost for any section of the diking and rock work which had been done by the Fraser valley diking board.

Now we are in the position where the federal Department of Public Works have made it clear that they will not be prepared to contribute anything to the maintenance of work which has already been done. They will still give consideration to new work, but I believe this is a shortsighted policy because we have here an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars; I suppose actually it would run into several millions. Now the federal government is not going to contribute anything to the maintenance of that work, thereby jeopardizing the entire investment in river bank protection. Here again I think a national policy is essential.

If the farmers of these areas are to go forward with their work with confidence they are going to have to be assured that some assistance will be given in these circumstances. In order to assist in a plan for this type of work I believe it is essential that the provincial and municipal governments know exactly what the federal government is willing to do in the way of assistance. It might be possible that the P.F.R.A. could be expanded to include this type of operation. Here again all attempts on the part of the provincial authorities to obtain any commitment have failed.

I would suggest, in view of the jurisdiction granted the federal government under the terms of the Navigable Waters Protection Act and Fisheries Act, it seems only reasonable that the responsibility in connection with these problems should be fully recognized and accepted by this government. It has been suggested, and I think this suggestion is fair, that this kind of work should be shared possibly on a 60-30-10 basis, 60 per cent being paid by the federal government, 30 per cent by the provincial authorities and 10 per cent by the district or municipality involved. I think this is a major problem to our farmers, and one of those problems which has been plaguing those who seek to produce the food for the nation.

I realize, Mr. Speaker, that there are many other problems involving the farming communities of our province. Possibly I could mention some of them to indicate that there is still a great deal to be done in the matter

of legislation which will assist our farmers in facing their great problems.

Let us consider the matter of continually rising freight rates. We all know that during the past several months interim increases have been granted to the railways, and these seriously affect those who have to obtain feed grains in my province. We all remember that freight rate assistance was reduced by approximately 50 per cent, bringing it down to about $5.50 per ton. With increasing freight rates the farmers of my area and other districts are being faced with problems and obstacles that appear almost insurmountable.

A resolution was passed by the British Columbia federation of agriculture at their twenty-third annual convention held in November, 1956. This has to do with feed freight assistance, and I would like to direct the attention of the Minister of Agriculture to this resolution just in case he has any idea in mind of further reducing freight assistance. The resolution is as follows:

Whereas the freight assistance policy of the government of Canada amounting to $5.50 per ton basis Vancouver, New Westminster points is of great value to the stock and poultry feeders of British Columbia and eastern Canada; and

Whereas the livestock feeding industry needs to procure its feed requirements at the lowest possible cost, and

Whereas the livestock feeders in the prairie provinces are able to procure their feed grains at a much lower price than the feeders in British Columbia or eastern Canada due to the abundance of grain that moves outside of the Canadian wheat board;

Therefore be it resolved that this 23rd annual convention of the British Columbia federation of agriculture petition the Canadian Federation of Agriculture to request the freight assistance policy of the government of Canada be continued and made permanent.

This was the recommendation of the British Columbia federation of agriculture, and I trust it will be kept in mind by the Minister of Agriculture in the event that he has any thought of further reducing freight assistance. There is also the problem posed by the lopsided tariff structure that we have at the present time. I am not going to deal with this matter at length, except to point out that it is high time the government took a serious look at this particular situation which is most unfair to the producers in my province and other provinces as well. The matter of dressed poultry and the matter of the tariff on potatoes are problems which the government should review thoroughly with a view to bringing in measures that are more in keeping with what is right and fair for Canadian producers.

On a number of occasions requests have been made for parity prices for agricultural products. I would like to refer just briefly to a resolution which was passed at the second annual convention of the farmers'

The Address-Mr. Patterson union of British Columbia. This convention was held in Mission City late last fall. In the preamble the resolution calls attention to the fact that prices for Canadian industry generally have been protected for a great many years, whereas the agricultural industry has never had price protection. The resolution then goes on to state:

. . . the farm unions are taking the stand that as long as industry has price protection, farmers are justified in expecting the same treatment and are asking the government of Canada to implement the following proposals to gain equality for farmers:

(1) To institute a price support program for agricultural products, as has been done in many other countries, and thus establish a fair or parity relationship between farm prices and other prices, and eliminate the existing economic inequality between unprotected agriculture and protected industry;

(2) That such parity price system apply to all farm products sold on the home market, and the portion that has to be exported should be protected by floor prices and sold at world prices;

(3) That such a price support program for agriculture be established by raising the price of farm products to a parity level through federal government deficiency payments, rather than by raising tariffs on imported products;

Those are three of the recommendations contained in this particular resolution. I am not going to take time to read the others, but I would just like to call attention to these and to state that I give my support to them on behalf of the agricultural industry. British Columbia agriculture has been completely neglected as far as this government is concerned, and the amendment to the amendment presented by the hon. member for Red Deer calls attention to this glaring inconsistency. I would say that this amendment should receive the wholehearted support of this house.

I have a very few minutes left at my disposal, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to make a few observations with regard to external affairs. As has been pointed out, this subject received considerable attention in the speech from the throne. There are many aspects of Canada's foreign policy with which I would like to deal, but of course time will not permit my doing so. Although some may agree with the policies followed by the government, there are many who are greatly perturbed at the course of international events over the past several months, especially with regard to the recent crisis in the United Nations and the question as to the adequacy of the United Nations to courageously and impartially deal with the various situations confronting it.

The Suez situation has been rather fully discussed during the course of this debate. The stand taken by the British and French has been criticized by some and supported by other hon members, while others have taken what might be described as a middle of the

The Address-Mr. Patterson road position; but it would seem to me the more light that is shed on this particular matter the greater will be our understanding of the British and French position.

I have in my hand reports of speeches that have been made by different individuals which support the British and French stand, and state that the action taken by the British and French governments in relation to the Suez -canal will be thoroughly vindicated by historians in the future.

I have here the report of a speech by James Cromwell, former United States ambassador to Canada, who referred to the British-French intervention. He said that by so doing they blocked Russia's program for conquest in the Middle East, and also revealed to the world Russia's plans to gain control in the east. Many other statements have been made, but I have not time to place them all on the record.

We now find that even though the United States took the stand it did, at the present time it is stating that it is prepared to take almost the identical position in case of certain eventualities in the future. I know that was denied by the Secretary of State for External Affairs, who said they were prepared to move only when they had been requested by the nations concerned. The January 14 issue of Newsweek, dealing with policy briefing in the United States, stated that Mr. Dulles went on to make certain points, one being:

That if such an outbreak threatened, the administration would go to the United Nations, but that Mr. Eisenhower wants "freedom to act unilaterally if necessary".

That would indicate that the United States is prepared to take the very same action in certain eventualities as the British and French took back in the critical days of last fall. The statement has been made that the Canadian people are much in favour of the stand taken by this federal government and by our own delegation to the United Nations, indicating that public opinion is in opposition to the position taken by the British and French governments. The same issue of Newsweek contains this paragraph:

The American people overwhelmingly support President Eisenhower's request that congress immediately vote him stand-by powers to send U.S. troops into the Middle East. For Americans believe, in the main, that such a big stick policy will help preserve peace by putting Russia on notice that the U.S. will tolerate no red expansion into the Arab states.

So we find that in the United States there is the recognition of a certain situation which may arise, when action comparable to that taken by the British and French would be advisable on the part of their own government.

Much has been said about Canadian action at the United Nations relative to this particular matter, and it has been stated that the position of the Canadian delegation was that they wanted to save the commonwealth. In view of certain statements which were made in this house not too long ago by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for External Affairs, one wonders to what extent they are desirous of saving the commonwealth. It will be noticed that they do not refer very often to the British commonwealth, possibly following the course set by Madam Pandit when she said that they do not refer to the British commonwealth but to the commonwealth. Perhaps that is the concept of this government in regard to this matter at the present time.

The over-all situation has brought me to a position where I must back up, as it were, from the position I took some time ago when I commended the Secretary of State for External Affairs and the Minister of National Health and Welfare for their work at the United Nations. I must register a protest now, which will somehow take the edge off the complimentary remarks I made on a previous occasion.

I do not believe the people of Canada can go along with the position taken by our delegation at the United Nations on some of these very serious matters. Therefore I would suggest that our foreign policy be reviewed in the light of these situations. Underneath our whole foreign policy there must be not only a recognition of exterior influences, there must be a recognition of underlying principles. I would suggest that we must press for the adoption of these basic principles in international affairs, that each nation must be recognized as sovereign within its own territory, and must be ready to respect the sovereignty of all other nations. There must also be organized international co-operation to enforce these obligations. We believe that Canada can make its most effective contribution toward the implementation of that principle while within the British commonwealth of nations. We should resist any and all efforts to weaken or sever those ties.

We believe as well in the concept of foreign trade. Canada should be ready to trade with all nations of the world on the basis of a mutually satisfactory exchange of goods and services, provided each nation will open up its ports to export-import traders and provided that in those countries where all production is under government monopoly the foreign importer shall be allowed to buy any product on the same terms as the government concerned.

In conclusion, we would encourage a worldwide program of tariff reduction, and urge that Canada work with all other nations for the achievement of convertibility of currencies by each nation stabilizing its own currency, so that at all times there may be a balance between effective purchasing power and the aggregate of prices and goods available for sale; and that the volume of money in each country be expanded only at the rate at which production and trade expand. I submit these observations for the consideration of the house. There are other observations I wanted to make, but I shall have to reserve them for another occasion.

(Translation):

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Georges Villeneuve

Liberal

Mr. Georges Villeneuve (Roberval):

Mr. Speaker, in the first place I wish to congratulate the mover and the seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne, the hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona (Mr. Hanna) and the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Robichaud). Not only did they deal in a masterly way with the problems of our times, and present a realistic picture of their respective constituencies, one in Alberta and the other in New Brunswick, but they did not fail to speak in support of national unity, in accordance with Liberal party policy, and as had been done by great leaders such as Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the Right Hon. Mackenzie King and the Right Hon. Louis St. Laurent. I was proud to hear my good friend, the hon. member from Edmonton-Strathcona, speak French because, as he sits beside me in this house, I have often had the opportunity to help him practise that language which he now speaks with an ease worthy of the efforts he made. I have no doubt that the electors of Edmonton-Strathcona are proud to be so well represented by their member.

The Prime Minister was particularly fortunate in his choice of a true Acadian as seconder of the address in reply. Here we have a member of that race which "knows not how to die" because it remains conscious of its role in a greater and more varied Canada, moulded in mutual respect based on mutual understanding, a perfect factor of national unity.

Mr. Speaker, as did many other hon. members, I would now like to speak of social security and more particularly of family allowances. These are so welcome to the large families of my constituency that I have been asked to make representations to have the basic rate increased. I would like however, before I do so, to go back

The Address-Mr. Villeneuve for a moment on the history of the legislation enacted in this regard, originating from the statutes of 1944-1945, chapter 40, entitled "an act to provide for family allowances", providing for the paying of allowances for each child residing in Canada as follows: from birth to 6 years of age: $5.00 a month; from 6 to 10 years: $6.00 a month; from 10 to 13 years: $7.00 a month; from 13 to 16 years: $8.00 a month.

The above-mentioned act, which was passed during the 1944-45 session contained, however, under clause 3, a reservation to the effect that the allowance rate be reduced by $1 for the fifth child; by $2 for the sixth and seventh, and by $3 for the eighth and every following child. This proviso which was prejudicial to large families was probably the result of the insidious and unfair campaign launched by a group of people who, over the years, have dwindled to nothing and who, at that time, referred to family allowances as the "Quebec baby bonus". Future events were to show those people that they were behind the times in their social thinking for, in 1957, we find that Ontario is the province with the greatest number of children eligible for family allowances and that, due allowance being made for the population of the different provinces, Newfoundland is the province with the highest amount in family allowances.

In its 1949 legislation, chapter 17 of the statutes for that year, this government amended the act in repealing the proviso I mentioned, which had the effect of putting on an equal footing all Canadian children, whether they were from families of five children or of fifteen children. The large family had won its case. If the Liberal government of 1944-45, under the leadership of the Right Hon. Mackenzie King, can take credit for initiating family allowances, that great social legislation, in the highest sense of the word, the Liberal government of 1949, under the leadership of the present Prime Minister, deserves the congratulations of the Canadian people for dealing fairly with the large family. With regard to this point, I do not think that quantity is prejudicial to quality, otherwise the member now speaking could not be proud to be the tenth of a family of twelve, several of whom are now efficiently pursuing the object pursued by their old mother now 72 years old, who is still living in the contentment of duty done with regard to her country, the greatest asset of which always remains its human capital.

The budget for the fiscal year 1945 appropriated for family allowances the large amount of $190 million. It was the first time

The Address

Mr. Villeneuve in the history of this country that the Canadian mother was getting these allowances. In the fiscal year 1949, which saw the repeal of that proviso and of the decreasing rate, the amount of $284 million was set aside in the budget for family allowances. In the budget of the current 1956 fiscal year the amount of $399,240,000 is set aside for that purpose. Those who claim that family allowances have remained what they were in 1945 do not take into account the adjustment made in 1949 with the repeal of the proviso which was in the 1944-45 act nor the above figures which show the increase in the amount paid under family allowances, with due allowance for the increase in the Canadian population.

In the light of actual facts, I think the subamendment introduced on January 17 by the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Shaw) moving a vote of non-confidence with regard to the Government, mainly in respect of social security legislation, is hardly logical, especially so when I think that during the 1944-45 session at the opening of which the Liberal government of the day had announced the institution of family allowances in the speech from the throne, his political group voted against this very government. In fact, the speech from the throne read by His Excellency the Earl of Athlone, then governor general of Canada, on January 29, 1944, contained as can be seen on page 2 of Hansard the following passage:

The family and the home are the foundation of national life. To aid in ensuring a minimum of well-being to the children of the nation and to help gain for them a closer approach to equality of opportunity in the battle of life, you will be asked to approve the establishment of a measure introducing family allowances.

On January 28, 1944, the then hon. member for Dorchester, Mr. Leonard Tremblay, moved the adoption of the address which contained the aforementioned paragraph about family allowances. On February 10, 1954, Mr. Tremblay's motion on the address was put to a vote and, among the 21 members who then voted against that motion, I find, at page 380 of Hansard, the name of the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Shaw) alongside the names of the other members of his political party who joined hands, for the occasion, with the members of the C.C.F. party, these same good Samaritans who would like today to wrest from the Liberal party the credit for being the first to advocate family allowances.

I see in the subamendment a sign of that habit of plagiarism prevalent among many members of the opposition who, frustrated by their failure to understand the needs of the

population as early as the many Liberal governments which have been in power since confederation and especially since the advent of social security for Canadians of all ages and all classes, indulge in barren criticisms and take no account of the various aspects of that question. For a long time Canadians from all parts of this country have shown that they reject the tenets of an abject socialism or those of a retrograde and backward conservatism. They look upon the Liberal party as a middle-of-the-road party, having regard to the anticipated results of those various tendencies and that is why they have given that party their confidence, and rightly so, and will do so again, I hope, at the next opportunity.

I have always said and, I go on saying to my electors, especially to those who have a tendency to minimize the achievements of the Liberal administration in the field of social security that it was the Liberal party which enacted our social security legislation in Canada, which later improved that legislation and will continue to do so when the time comes and the opportunity arises.

Mr. Speaker, I believe, as do my electors of Roberval constituency, that the time has come, in 1957, to appropriate more money for social security benefits, particularly in the matter of family allowances. Twelve years have gone by since the enactment of that legislation and eight years since the last adjustment in 1949. Since then the cost of living has constantly increased so that family allowance benefits have correspondingly suffered a loss in buying power. I would therefore humbly ask the government to give the matter particular attention. I will be so bold as to express the hope that it will see to it that family allowance benefits be revised upward to as high a figure as possible. I am expecting a pleasant surprise in this regard when the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Harris) brings down his budget following a special recommendation from the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin).

Mr. Speaker, before going on to another matter, I would like to ask the government to set at $400, instead of $150 as is the case at present, the income tax exemption provided for in the case of each child receiving family allowances. In so doing the government would put everybody in the same position, from the point of view of income tax and once again would prove the very great importance it attaches to human capital, the most valuable form of our wealth, the greatest of all,

that which, providing it is accompanied by a modicum of material goods, has made Canada a country where life is particularly pleasant because of the security it provides.

I would not like to conclude, Mr. Speaker, without putting to the government a suggestion which it might find far-fetched but which, in my humble opinion, would be of very great assistance to the future development of this country. This suggestion relates to the personal income tax.

Income tax has meant tapping hitherto unused savings. The economy of this country has benefited from this use of hitherto unproductive money, money which is now at the service of progress, thanks to the distribution which is carried out by the government throughout Canada, to mention only that aspect of the matter.

Canadians who, formerly approved the selfish principle of holding back while hoping to receive, have now learned to give something in order to get something. The transition between those two states of mind was achieved in the course of fifteen years, so that now Canadians agree at least to consider the income tax as a necessary evil. Since 1940, the year when this federal tax was restored, many citizens did not file any income tax reports and many now have to perpetuate the errors, originally made in their favor, which now prevents them from expanding their undertakings as they should. That has given rise to secret hoarding of money which does not contribute to the economy of the country and which prevents the establishment of many undertakings. This initial tax evasion, besides causing worries and giving rise to other frauds in order to justify the first one, affects a great number of Canadians who would like to make a better contribution to the development of their country. Add to that the fear of income tax investigators, unnecessary borrowings at the bank for the sole purpose of better concealing the facts-which has the effect of paralysing the credit of many Canadians who would greatly need it to maintain their business, or to expand it, or to set up new business undertakings, and you have an idea of the problem caused by the haunting obsession of the original false return. Thus, the economy of the country is partly paralysed, because I do not think I am wrong in stating that the gross figure of the national business would be increased by 2 billion a year if the government declared a general amnesty for all Canadians who have filed income tax reports prior to 1957. In this way, everyone would begin from scratch without worrying about the past, but they would feel the need of

The Address-Mr. Harkness making their reports in the future knowing what the consequences could be. I think that in so doing the government would lose on current claims but would gain very much in the future in revenue accruing from personal income tax.

There is a "maquis", a secret resistance movement against income tax. This movement undermines our national economy and is a major obstacle in the way of capital formation for small industries which would be likely to develop our smaller communities, and even our rural communities. Highly satisfactory manpower can be found there, but at the present time there are few openings save for common labourers who live from day to day since in their community there are no small industries capable of absorbing them.

A general amnesty of this type, by freeing so much hidden or unproductive capital, might prove the starting point of wide development of small industries in our smaller communities and, especially in semirural districts, would ensure progress and prosperity. This thawing out of capital in these areas will bring about a development which will make for decentralization of industry and population in this country. I am convinced, being in the confidence of a large number of business men, that such an amnesty would touch off a general economic expansion in every part of this country.

(Text):

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. D. S. Harkness (Calgary North):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to add my congratulations to the many which have already been preferred to the mover (Mr. Hanna) and the seconder (Mr. Robichaud) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I am particularly pleased to do this as the mover, the hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona, comes from my own province and took advantage of his opportunity to say something about the great developments taking place in the province of Alberta.

I was very relieved when the firemen's strike on the C.P.R. ended during the first week end of the present session. The dislocation and the economic loss caused by the strike were particularly evident in southern Alberta, and in that area there was almost universal indignation that the strike had been allowed to take place. It is a matter of astonishment to me that the government did not take the action it eventually did some 10 days before, and stop the strike before it began. It could have taken such action just as well before January 2 as 10 days later, and thus have saved railway and

The Address-Mr. Harkness other workers millions in lost wages and the C.P.R. and the general economy a great many more millions.

The only reasons I can see why the government did not take action before the strike started were irresolution, weakness and timidity. The government failed to face up to its responsibility to ensure that a large part of this country should continue to have vital transportation facilities. Instead of leading the country, as is its responsibility, it quite evidently waited to follow public opinion, and follow it at a great distance. Thus I think the government is directly responsible for the loss which has taken place as a result of the strike.

On several occasions in past years I have made a plea in the house for the blind people of Canada. I have said and would like to repeat that of all our social security measures, those to help the blind are the most niggardly, considering the magnitude of the disability from which these people suffer. This year the Canadian council of the blind and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind have a one-point program for improved legislation. It is for a special allowance free of the means test to help cover the day to day cost of blindness. I urge the government most strongly to institute such an allowance at the present session.

The need for such an allowance is selfevident. There are unavoidable expenses accompanying blindness, expenses for guiding, for taxis to and from work and anywhere else that a blind person may have to go. All this places the blind person at a great disadvantage economically compared with his sighted fellow citizen. That, of course, is apart altogether from the fact that the blind person's disability bars him from employment in most fields of activity.

The matter to which I wish to devote most of my time is that of the expulsion of Indians from their reserves. I spoke at some length on it last year when amendments to the Indian Act were under consideration. At that time the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration denied that any Indians were being expelled from their reserves. He said that if anyone was being expelled he was not an Indian and thus had no right to be on the reserve. His remarks are to be found at page 5178 of Hansard of June 17 of last year, when replying to some remarks I had made. I will not take the time of the house to read them.

This is nothing more than a form of evasion as far as this matter is concerned. The hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona asked some questions this morning in connection with a large expulsion now taking place in Alberta

at the Hobbema reserve. He asked this question: "Will the minister please explain to the house why over 100 persons who have lived all their lives on the Hobbema Indian reserve... have now been notified that they must leave that reservation?"

To that question the minister replied that everything that is being done is being done under the Indian Act, thereby apparently implying that he had no responsibility. Then he went on to say that an appeal to the courts is provided for, and that the government should not take any action until the appeal is heard. Once more this is evading the question and evading the responsibility of the government in connection with the matter.

As a matter of fact, for some considerable time past the minister has been referring to the act as an excuse for not taking any action with regard to this matter. He said he was not on the committee which considered this legislation, and that he was not a member of the parliament which passed it. He said those who were on the committee and were in that parliament are the ones responsible, thus seeking to give to the Indians and to the people of Canada as a whole the general idea that any responsibility there may be for the inhumane expulsions which are now taking place is not on his shoulders, at any rate, but is in fact on other people, presumably those of us in the opposition as well as the other members of the house. He does this in spite of the fact that many of us fought vigorously to prevent the sections being written into the act under which the Indians are being expelled from the reserves.

The Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys is doing the same thing, only I would say that he is doing this even more unfairly than is the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. I find that he was out in Alberta not very long ago and was questioned in connection with the expulsion of these Indians from their reserves. After following the same line as that which I have indicated, saying that everything was done under the act and blaming the Indians themselves, in fact, this is what he says as reported in the Calgary Herald of January 19:

"In the first place, the government is not forcing these 118 Indians off the reserve," said the minister.

That is the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys.

"The initiative was taken by a group of Indians themselves ..."

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has followed that same line, namely that if there is any responsibility it is on the Indians, that they are at fault and that the government is not at fault. He completely neglects to say that while the action may

have been started because of protests from Indians, to begin with, it is the government which carries it through, which brings the matter up before the registrar, which signs the order expelling them and so forth.

Then in this interview the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys went on to say this, as reported in the Calgary Herald:

The minister pointed out that from 1946 to 1948 the need for changes in the Indian Act and a clear definition of the term "Indian", was studied by a joint committee of the House of Commons and the Senate. Two of the Alberta members were J. H. Blackmore, Social Credit, Lethbridge, and D. S. Harkness, . . . Conservative, Calgary North.

In other words what the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys was trying to convey to the people of Alberta and the Indians was that if anybody was responsible, the hon. member for Lethbridge and myself were responsible for their plight. As I say, that is not only unfair but it is dishonest. I was going to say that I am surprised that the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys should be employing tactics of that kind, but I am not too much surprised at it because they are in keeping with the sort of tactics he has employed frequently in the past.

Som hon. Members: Oh, no.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, yes.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

So far from my having any responsibility for the present section of the Indian Act under which these expulsions from the reserves are taking place, as the Minister of Finance well knows-he was the minister of citizenship and immigration at the time-both in the committee and in the house I fought vigorously to prevent the insertion of the definition which is in the Indian Act defining Indians and the provision with regard to deletions from band lists. I would think that ministers of the crown could at least be a little bit more honest in their presentations than to try to ascribe the opposite to the members on this side of the house.

The hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona this morning went on to ask what would be done for these Indians if they left the reserve. He asked, "If they leave, what is being done to ensure that they will have homes to live in and incomes with which to sustain them in the future?" What is the answer of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to that question? He said it was a hypothetical question and that there was no call on him to answer hypothetical questions. In other words he apparently completely refuses to take any responsibility for the plight of these people, or to do anything to ensure that a great injustice is not done to them.

The Address-Mr. Harkness

This whole matter has become a question of wide public concern in Alberta. Numerous newspaper articles and editorials have been written, all of them condemning the action being taken, and the government for taking it, in extremely strong terms. The general public in Alberta does not like the sort of thing that is going on there with regard to this expulsion matter and it does not like the attitude the government has taken, the evasion, the refusal to take any action and so on.

Briefly the situation is this. There are 118 Indians on the Hobbema reserve, which is about 40 miles south of Edmonton, who have been ordered to leave that reserve on which they or their ancestors have lived for upwards of 60 years and in some cases longer. This action is being taken under the Indian Act of 1951, the act upon which the present Minister of Citizenship and Immigration places all the onus, if in his opinion there is any onus. The Indian Act of 1951 provides for an Indian register and that the names of all Indians entitled to receive treaty payments and so forth and to be looked upon as Indians must be on this register. It also provides for additions to and deletions from the register. There is a further provision that any 10 Indians may protest the inclusion of any person's name on their band list.

That is a bad provision, to begin with. Everyone knows how easy it is to get a petition signed. In the present case at the Hobbema reserve, where these 118 Indians are being excluded, one of the 10 Indians upon whose protest the government initiated that action was protesting against his own mother and therefore protesting against himself being a member of the band. The thing was just as ridiculous as that. He did not know what he was signing.

We had the same sort of thing in connection with another band, namely the Blackfoot band east of Calgary, where a petition of this sort was signed. Ten Indians signed it, and then they found that they were signing against themselves. Later 8 of the 10 insisted that their signatures be withdrawn, and they had a great deal of difficulty in getting the department to accept the fact that they had signed not knowing what they were signing, and so forth. But as I say, in this particular case you have a man apparently protesting against his own inclusion on the list. Of course he did not know what he was doing.

The propriety of instituting proceedings to expel Indians from a reserve under circumstances of that sort is questionable. I think it is quite apparent that such proceedings are not fair and are not just, considering the fact that the people are still largely

478 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Harkness illiterate, and frequently do not know what they are doing when they put their names to a piece of paper.

In addition to that, of course, this whole provision for having a certain number of Indians protest other Indians on the band list, thus starting the government to make moves to put those people off the band list, just invites difficulties and bad feeling of all kinds. It is a ready-made way of paying off grudges. If one Indian has a grudge against another he goes around with a petition and says, "Sign this, John" and "Sign this, Joe". He gets his petition signed, and then you have proceedings started to get rid of the particular Indian. It is a perfect way of causing trouble on a reserve, of dividing Indians one against another, and paying off grudges.

It is also a great way to encourage greed. In this particular case, on the Hobbema reserve oil was discovered. I think the estimated value of the oil in terms of the money which will come to the Indians is in the neighbourhood of $20 million; that is, the share of the 118 Indians would be upwards of $2 million. If the 118 are expelled there is $2 million more for the people remaining on the reserve, eventually to be divided up amongst them. At the present time they are receiving $25 a month each from oil revenue.

The act as it stands is an invitation for greedy people to try to force other people off the reserve and have more money for themselves. In other words it offends against what you might call real Christian ethics. The minister said, in answering these questions this morning, that this probably would be the last case. As a matter of fact it will be just the first of many cases. I am quite sure there is no provision in the act to make it the last case, and as a matter of fact the act lays down that any child born on the reserve can be protested for any period up to a year after its birth. There is also nothing to prevent any group of Indians protesting another group.

As far as this particular reserve is concerned, if this expulsion takes place the relatives of the people expelled will immediately protest against the persons who signed the petition and who got rid of their relatives on the reserve. Then you would have a sort of war of extermination on that reserve, and of course on other reserves, if a similar situation were to arise in which considerable assets were involved.

These provisions for deleting names from the band membership, taken in conjunction with the definition of an Indian found in sections 11 and 12 of the Indian Act, create

a situation of complete unfairness, inequity and inhumanity, and the government has to initiate action to put an end to that situation immediately. The act refuses to recognize as an Indian four general classes of people; first, any one who, or whose ancestors, took scrip; second, certain cases of alleged illegitimacy; third, certain cases of alleged white blood; and fourth, for other technical reasons concerning band membership.

As long as those provisions remain in the Indian Act you will not have the Indian population of this country satisfied. They will be in a situation where they may never know when they will be forced off the reserve, and you will not have the white population believing a square deal is being given the aboriginal population.

The Indians on the Hobbema reserve are being expelled because it is alleged that three common ancestors of the 118 took scrip. Scrip was issued to the half-breeds or metis at the end of the first Riel rebellion and following the second rebellion; it was a payment of $120 or 120 acres of land, whichever was wished, and the scrip could be exchanged for land. Very frequently if a white man wanted certain lands he would go to an Indian and say "If you would like a bottle of whiskey or $10, put your name here". Then he would go to the authorities with this man, knowing he was an Indian, half-breed or metis, and the scrip was issued. The white man immediately took it over and went and got the land. That is what happened in a large number of cases.

When Sir John A. Macdonald issued scrip following the first Riel rebellion and found what had happened to most of it, he authorized its issuance a second time to the people who had been given it in the first place because they had lost their scrip, land, or whatever it was. In this particular case there is no clear proof that these three men actually did take scrip to begin with. The records on the matter are extremely confused and mixed. Whilst the government says the action taken against these 118 persons is as a result of Indian protest, the great majority of the people in that band of around 1,100 or 1,200 and the chief, all except a very small number of people, do not want these 118 people expelled; they want to keep them there.

In addition to that it was the government that produced the alleged case that scrip was issued, and they produced it first of all in the form of a document with a certain name on it. But when the matter first came up in 1954 they were not able to establish that the name here was the name of one of the ancestors; they dropped it, and then the

government, not the Indians, revived it. They said they had found more proof, and brought this in the form of photostatic copies of documents showing the alleged issuance of scrip or certificates.

No matter how flimsy the evidence, once these actions are started the government- because it has a policy of decreasing the Indian population on the reserves by a policy of integration-proceeds to throw out as many Indians as it can from the reserves. As long as that policy is followed, and as long as the act exists in its present form, we are going to have these difficulties.

I have a good deal more to say on this subject. May I call it six o'clock?

At six o'clock the house took recess.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink

AFTER RECESS The house resumed at eight o'clock.


PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

Mr. Speaker, before the

dinner recess I had been dealing with the expulsion of Indians from reserves, and I referred in particular to the case of the threatened eviction of 118 Indians from the Hobbema reserve in Alberta. I had pointed out that these Indians are being expelled because it is alleged that three of their common ancestors took scrip, a certificate which entitled metis or halfbreeds in the period prior to 1900 to a money grant or in lieu of that to a grant of land. I had also pointed out that the business of scrip had proved to be a fiasco.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

Just a question, if I may. Does that apply to all those who are involved?

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

Yes, so I understand. The great majority of the lands which were granted to these people of mixed Indian blood found their way into the hands of white men chiefly for very small payments, whisky or something of that sort. As a result of the recognition of the fact that the idea of scrip. was a fiasco, an order in council was passed in 1901 which returned to Indian status any person whom the Indians of a particular band were willing to have back in the band, whether or not he had taken scrip.

That should have cleared the entire issue, and there should be no effort at this time to expel persons who have been on reservations since that time and have enjoyed Indian status. Their position should certainly be clear, but under the amendments made to the Indian Act in 1951 that is not the case. The action that was taken in 1901 to reinstate people with Indian status whether or not they had taken scrip is now being overturned

The Address-Mr. Harkness and negatived, by the amendments made to the act in 1951. As has been well said, the sins-if they were sins-of the father are being visited on the children even unto the third and fourth generation.

The whole matter of scrip is one which at the present time is practically incapable of proof. Not one in a thousand or ten thousand of these people could read and write; therefore the scrip certificates bore nothing more than an X and a man's name. Many of these people of mixed blood and many Indians had two or three Indian names; some of them were possibly known by two or three different names which various white settlers had given to them. Now at this stage of the game, some 60 years later, it is virtually impossible to prove definitely that a man whose name is Johnson had an ancestor by the name of Johnny Johnson who took scrip. Nevertheless on extremely flimsy ground and the allegation that their ancestors took scrip, these people are being expelled.

The minister said this morning when he was answering certain questions with regard to this matter that he hoped the people concerned would appeal. He did not say in what way he hoped the appeal would turn out, and I would be inclined to suspect that he would hope the appeal would go against them. Thus he would have the excuse of a court decision for not taking any action in connection with these Indians.

In any event I can assure him that an appeal will be lodged. As a matter of fact funds are now being raised among certain white people and various Indian bands in order to finance the cost of an appeal. One reason an appeal was not launched sooner, as I think the minister well knows, is that requests had been made to him to make government or Indian band funds available to finance this appeal. This request was refused, and as a result this general appeal for funds is now proceeding. As a result of this an appeal will be launched.

I might say, however, that in view of the amendments that were made to the Indian Act last year the position of this appeal becomes much more difficult than previously was the case. Last year section 9 of the Indian Act was amended. This section is the part of the act which defines what an Indian is, and it was amended by adding the following as subsection 6:

Where a decision of the registrar has been referred to a judge for review under this section, the burden of establishing that the decision of the registrar is erroneous is on the person who requested that the decision be so referred.

In other words the onus of proof is placed on the Indian, who has practically no means

The Address-Mr. Harkness at his disposal to refute the allegation. For example, how can an Indian prove that his grandfather was not a white man, or that he did not have some white blood in him? How can he prove that his grandfather did not accept scrip, when all this confusion exists concerning the matter? Instead of the onus being placed on the department to prove that the person concerned is not an Indian, this amendment to the act places that onus on the poor Indian, who has little or no means of determining the facts. The position of the person being expelled from the reserve is rendered that much more difficult, and it is practically impossible for him to establish his case when it is taken on appeal to the district court.

As I said earlier, a great deal of public concern and indignation has been stirred up over this Hobbema case in the province of Alberta. The Prime Minister, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and other members of the government have received numerous letters of protest and petitions signed by members of church groups, farm unions and other organizations requesting that immediate action be taken to amend the Indian Act by deleting the present section dealing with the definition of an Indian, and preventing this apparent injustice taking place.

As the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration indicated this morning, both he and his government have refused to take any action whatever. They seem content to continue following the so-called policy of integration, which apparently was decided on when the present Minister of Finance was the minister of this department. In effect it amounts to a policy of getting rid of as many people as possible from the Indian reserves, no matter what the consequences may be to the individuals concerned in terms of suffering and hardship.

The widespread indignation aroused by this particular case is reflected in many articles and editorials in the Calgary newspapers. The Calgary Herald during the past week has had a series of front page articles dealing with this matter, from one of which I have quoted. These have served to apprise the general public of what was happening, and as a result more and more letters are pouring in to me and I am sure to the government asking that we prevent this completely unjustified action from taking place.

In addition the Calgary Albertan, which has been a steady and strong supporter of the federal Liberal government and party ever since I can remember, had an extremely strong editorial on the matter in its issue of

Thursday, December 27, 1956. This was entitled "The Beam in Thine Own Eye" and reads:

Canadians are given to righteous condemnation of racial persecution, particularly of the negro, as it happens in the southern United States and in South Africa. They continually thank God that they are not as other people, given to discrimination against human beings because of accident of birth or colour of skin.

In this editorial we intend to show that Canadians in fact do discriminate, not only in their actions but in their laws, against a racial minority in their midst, and in a most brutal and unjustified manner which is different only in degree from that in South Africa.

This long editorial goes on to outline the apartheid policy in South Africa and points out that we have the same thing, perhaps to a lesser degree, in Canada as far as the treatment of Indians on reserves are concerned, particularly the Hobbema Indians. The editorial then continues:

Now look at Canada.

Late in the last century the Queen, through her Canadian government, entered into solemn treaty with the plains Indians. They surrendered their claims to this land, and in return she promised them that they and their heirs could live for all time on certain reserves and would receive certain annual benefits.

As in South Africa, there had been considerable mixing of the races, and there was a sizeable metis or mixed blood population. As usually happens, the proud whites tended to ostracize these halfbreeds but the Indians took them in.

They go on to point out that even if the ancestors of the people concerned were in this class, the people of Canada still have a responsibility toward them. Certainly as far as the treaties entered into with the Indians are concerned, they say those people shall be considered as Indians who have followed the Indian way of life. These people, even if they took scrip, whether or not they are of mixed blood, are entitled to be considered as Indians, and in fact have been considered as Indians for some 60 years. Now they are told they are not Indians and have to leave the only life they know, the only homes they have. They must give up the equity they have in their reserve which now amounts to a considerable figure. The editorial then ends up by saying:

The Queen has broken her word given in solemn treaty. The Canadian government, instead of implementing constructive policies for the gradual emancipation of the Indians so they can take an honourable place in Canadian society, has a policy only of inspecting their ancestors for traces of illegitimacy, "white blood" or scrip, and then visiting its punishment on the third and fourth generation.

Have Canadians a right to condemn what is going on in South Africa? Certainly they have, because it is wrong. Wrong should always be condemned, even at home.

It would be bad if the welfare of Canada's Indians became a subject of political controversy. Yet the Liberal government's brutal attitude, its

inability to appreciate and respect the public conscience in this matter, is one of those things which may incline some people to wonder whether it is not time for a change.

That is not a Conservative paper; that is a strong Liberal paper which speaks, I think very accurately, for the people of Alberta. They use the word "brutal" which I do not think is too strong a word to use; I think it is the right word. The treatment being given these people is brutal, it is inhuman, and it is the responsibility of the government to see that it is not continued. I call upon the government to cease immediately these expulsions and to provide amendments to the Indian Act at this present session to ensure that this state of affairs will end and that expulsions of this sort cannot and will not take place in the future.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Tom Goode

Liberal

Mr. T. H. Goode (Burnaby-Richmond):

Mr. Speaker, I intend to follow the tradition set by many of my colleagues and congratulate the mover (Mr. Hanna) and the seconder (Mr. Robichaud) of the address. I would add to those congratulations a fact that I know all hon. members realize, that these two young men are among the hardest working members of parliament.

I come from a place called Burnaby in British Columbia. Most of you have heard of it over the years, and you are going to continue to hear about it until the people I represent get what I have been asking for in this house over the years I have been here. Many times I have stood in my place and said to the government that the Burnaby area was the second largest area of population in my province. During those years I presented to this house one of the largest petitions ever brought to this House of Commons. Many of my people have written to the government and to members of parliament asking for the recognition which I think is their due. Each one of you knows that I am asking again for an independent television station in Burnaby.

On many occasions I have taken up the time of committees of this house in arguing against C.B.C. specialists and the chairman of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, with what little ability I have, in regard to this matter. I have continually been brought up against the argument that no satellite or independent station was to be built within the A-contour of a C.B.C. station until the government changed its policy. Actually it was not government policy at all; the government were following out the views of the experts of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. That is what they employ those experts for.

The Address-Mr. Goode

Mr. Dunton has said to me dozens and dozens of times that I could not obtain this television station for my people because Burnaby was within the perimeter of CBUT. Then immediately after leaving the last television committee Mr. Dunton advised the government, and I say this with all respect to my colleague the hon. member for Victoria, that an independent satellite station of C.B.C. would be constructed in Victoria. Again with all respect to my colleague I must say that there can be no comparison between the two places of Burnaby and Victoria. Today Burnaby has almost 90,000 people, and I would be distressed to give the population of Victoria.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

But it is so beautiful.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink
LIB

Tom Goode

Liberal

Mr. Goode:

We have the second largest area of population in my province. It seems hard for members from British Columbia-I include the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam, who has fought for me and with me on this matter-to convince civil servants in Ottawa that here are almost 90,000 people wanting something which they consider is their due. With the help of the chairman of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation we are met with excuses and more excuses. In conversation with the chairman in Vancouver I was told that we would have to wait for the Fowler commission report. How long did we wait for the Fowler commission report in regard to increasing the power of CKWX at the last meeting of the board of governors? How long did we wait for the Fowler commission report in regard to an independent television station in Victoria?

Of course we did not wait for it. It suited the C.B.C. at that time, as it would suit them at all times, to take these matters under their own consideration, disregarding the people of any province in doing things exactly in the way they wish to do them.

It is just about time, Mr. Speaker, that this great organization changed its policy. I do not argue with the organization itself and never have, or with the way in which they do business. I argue against their policy. Everything is not wrong with the

C.B.C.; they do a lot of good things. In this case, though, I again stand in my place and demand that the C.B.C. give permission for a number of companies who reside both in Vancouver and in Burnaby to be allowed to spend their own money-and by money I mean something over a million dollars-to put into operation a station which almost every person in my riding desires.

I hope I do not have to rise in my place again and mention this matter. The idea of waiting for the Fowler report goes out the

482 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Goode window, because the C.B.C. do everything they want to do except when somebody wants something they do not desire. Then and only then have we to wait for the Fowler report. In this case they say we must not have an independent station within the perimeter or A-contour of CBUT Vancouver, despite the fact that anyone with a television set on the lower mainland can watch channel 6 every night because it comes in just as strongly as CBUT.

If there was an effective reply to the argument I have tried to put up over the years, surely it is now going to fall down the drain, because the C.B.C. have been shown that the policy they have conducted over the years has turned against them. I have no argument with my colleague from Victoria, who has done so much to get a station for Victoria, but I in turn must speak up for my own people. We have put forward a petition in the house, as I have mentioned; I have stood on my feet in this place many times and asked for this station on behalf of my contituency. The hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam will support me, I am sure, when I say the majority of the people in Burnaby desire this service, and I ask the government once again if they will overrule this gentleman from the C.B.C. and allow Canadians to spend their own money in Canadian cities.

I have said many times-hon. members have heard me advance this argument on a dozen occasions-that if the C.B.C. service to the lower mainland were the only one we could get we could, I suppose, talk on the lines the hon. gentleman from Westmorland (Mr. Murphy) followed the other night, but we cannot argue in that way. In my own home in Burnaby I can receive sometimes three and often four stations from the United States and, as I have told this house so many times, Canadians in my province are going to KVOS in Bellingham and spending good Canadian money in order to impress the quality of Canadian goods upon Canadians. That is the situation, and there is no one either in this house or in C.B.C. who can argue against it.

In the last provincial election some gentlemen who were running for office spent many thousands of dollars buying time over KVOS, Bellingham, to explain their ideas to Canadians voting in a Canadian election, because they could not get time on CBUT. Perhaps it is proper that I should give notice, not only because I look terrible on television, but I give my word to this house now that I will never try to get a Canadian vote over a United States television station.

I do not want to prolong discussion of a subject which I have gone over so many times, but I would just say that the amount of Canadian money going into KVOS, Bellingham at the moment is something like $750,000 a year. That money would make rather a good profit for Canadian investors. There has been some talk at home-I think perhaps political talk.-that I have represented certain interests in setting out the contentions I have presented in this chamber. I say that now because I heard "Hear, hear" from the C.C.F. benches. I say now that all I want as far as my riding is concerned is the right to have a licence for an independent television station, and then the four or five companies who wish to put up the station can have the government decide who is going to finance the undertaking. I do not have any idea who should get the licence for the station, and never have.

Turning to another subject, Mr. Speaker, may I support some of my colleagues in this house who have asked the government to consider an increase in pensions for senior citizens. I have about 7,000 of them in my riding, and I do not think for a moment that this subject should be put on a political basis. I do not think I should go home and say that the Liberals were the only people who asked for an increase, and I do not think C.C.F. members should start an auction sale at home with the object of influencing senior citizens' votes. I do not think any party in this house can either take credit, or discredit any other party, in regard to what we think about the amount of money paid to senior citizens in this country. I will make a wager now that there is not one member in this house who will say they are getting a sufficient monthly income; and I hope, Mr. Speaker, that when the session is finished each of us can go home and say, "We put through a raise for old age pensions. All of us did it, not just a few."

It seems there are a number of members on both sides of the house who have also supported an increase in family allowances. I do not know exactly if, as some hon. gentlemen have suggested, we put through a national health insurance scheme across the country and if we are going to increase old age pensions in addition whether all these things can be done at the same time. I frankly do not know; but I hope, Mr. Speaker, that if the money is available one of the things we should study is an increase in the family allowance for the young people in our constituencies. I do not think any party has the right to take credit for an increase, if there is an increase, when

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Permalink

January 21, 1957