January 22, 1957

CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

Does the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre feel that if Canada were to place the United Nations at the bottom of the list that that would be an effective way of making the United Nations a more effective instrument in the achievement of world peace?

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

Gordon Minto Churchill

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

Perhaps I have used an inappropriate term in speaking of the bottom of the list. I should have said that every attention should be given to the United Nations. However, it is a question of emphasis; and in our anxiety to make the United Nations an effective force in the world we should not neglect our connection with the commonwealth, the effectiveness of the military NATO alliance and our close relation with the United States.

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

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Would my hon. friend permit a question? Would he not agree that perhaps none, in any case certainly few others, have worked harder for the strength and the usefulness of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization than my colleague the Secretary of State for External Affairs?

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

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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

Gordon Minto Churchill

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

The Secretary of State for External Affairs may have worked to the

The Address-Mr. Breton limit of his ability for NATO. I was not suggesting that he had not. I was suggesting that our propaganda machinery was emphasizing more the work of the Secretary of State for External Affairs and, on occasion, of the Minister of National Health and Welfare at the United Nations, and neglecting to give us information with regard to NATO.

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

Maurice Breton

Liberal

Mr. Maurice Breton (Jolieile-L'Assomplion-Monicalm):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to join hon. members of the house in congratulating the mover (Mr. Hanna) and the seconder (Mr. Robichaud) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I do not intend to be very long, because my conviction is that Liberal legislation is very good.

Such testimony from a Liberal member will not surprise anyone, but if I mention it I do so because of the obvious approval of the official opposition, the Progressive Conservative party. Indeed, I have read carefully the program of the Conservative party at its last convention, and I have found that as a whole it constitutes the best appraisement of Liberal legislation in this country. The biggest difference is that the Progressive Conservative party will need about $7 billion or $8 billion to realize their program, instead of $5 billion which is the present budget. One may hope that by 1965 or before the Liberal party will be able to fulfil such an ideal social program.

As there is nothing very controversial in present politics, I should like to say a few words on a subject that should appeal to all members of the house without regard to party lines. I refer to the project of simultaneous translation of speeches in the House of Commons in both official languages of this country. I am sure of finding a sympathetic reception for such a proposal which will please greatly nearly one-third of the members of the house and as many as 5 million people of French descent in this country. We all know that at the United Nations and in many private organizations simultaneous translation is widely used. On May 22, 1956, the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Canada, embracing almost 25,000 members, presented a brief to the Speaker of this house recommending such a system for the House of Commons.

May I add that on the east side of the Ottawa river 4 million people speak French, and the great majority of them are unable to follow the debates of the house when they come here to visit us. Two years ago, Mr. Speaker, I received in Ottawa 200 farmers and their wives from my constituency, and I was sorry that they were unable to follow the debates from their seats in the galleries. My conviction is that the most important

way to promote national unity is to permit a good understanding of the other language. The United Nations organization would have been impossible without simultaneous translation, and all French Canadians going to New York to attend the United Nations meetings come back with the idea that such a system should be in use in the House of Commons.

We should admit that the present system of acoustics is far from being perfect. It is maintained at great cost but it could be replaced with better results so far as hearing is concerned by one system of individual earphones. These earphones could be utilized for both acoustics and simultaneous translation purposes. Here are a few figures on the cost of the present sound system in the

chamber:

Original cost of installation .... $33,529

Annual rental of equipment 7,500

Operation and maintenance yearly .. 20,000

The wiring was done by public works personnel, and the cost is. not readily available. In the brief of the Canadian Junior Chamber of Commerce already mentioned I see that the cost of installation of a simultaneous translation system in the House of Commons is estimated at $6,272. This means that the installation and operating cost of such a system would be less than for the one we already have and it would give much better results and satisfaction to members in general as well as to the public.

I have in my hand some information about the cost of earphones for public seats at the United Nations. It is approximately $15 per seat. As there are 626 seats in the galleries of this chamber, the total cost for earphones for all the public seats would be $9,390. I might say, Mr. Speaker, that I know this parliament is very sensitive to the prerogatives and rights of parliament. I personally feel that parliament is right in defending those rights, because parliament is the means by which good democracy may function. But I think the first condition for a good parliament is that all speakers be understood in their own language when it is possible. I think it is not very good for a parliament that a third of the members speak for the ceilings, for the walls, or just for the press. I believe it should be the right of everyone to be understood in his own language and to hear and speak in his own language.

We feel here that when we speak French this house is not interested. I do not think I will be disagreeable to my English speaking colleagues when I say this. If the situation were reversed and they were in our position, with a third of this house speaking English and we, two-thirds, speaking only

French, I feel sure that the third you would represent would ask strongly for simultaneous translation.

One day I heard a minister say that the members from the province of Quebec did not seem much interested in the legislation of this country outside the province of Quebec. I admit that there seems to be some truth in that observation. However, I think one of the main reasons is the fact that 75 members are obliged to follow the speeches in another language. As we live in a democracy, under a democratic system in which we believe, and which we want to defend, with a parliament that we want to protect, I believe we should have a system that permits everybody to hear and to speak in his own language and not be obliged to speak just for the walls, for the ceilings or for the press. I think we have a right to have that opportunity. When I say that I assure you that it is not from a nationalistic point of view; it is simply on the basis of a democratic system which we want to preserve and which we cherish.

This year I intend to present a resolution on this matter. If I speak on this question in the debate on the speech from the throne it is simply because I want to direct the minds of hon. members to this question which, for us, is extremely important. I have heard the comments made by French speaking members of this house. If you want to be fair to this important minority, I think something should be done. Actually 25 or 30 years after the invention of this system of sound reproduction and simultaneous translation which was used at the first United Nations meetings, I think it is time something should be done in this house. I was told that the actual system of sound reproduction could be installed at small cost, and could be so organized that it would provide simultaneous translation.

On the day I come back with a resolution on simultaneous translation in this house I hope I shall receive approval and sympathy from all sides of this house. Starting from the principle that varied cultures constitute a national enrichment, I think there is no better place than the House of Commons to demonstrate the value of such a principle.

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

Hugh Alexander Bryson

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

Mr. H. A. Bryson (Humboldt-Melforl):

Mr. Speaker, as this debate progresses it becomes increasingly more diflicult to discuss a problem that has not already had some degree of consideration. But because I come from a part of the country which is almost solely dependent on agriculture, and also because I am interested in and concerned about the general agricultural picture in this country, I feel that at this time I have no alternative

The Address-Mr. Bryson but to take this opportunity to bring before this house and this government once again, as I have attempted to do on previous occasions, the serious situation and the unfortunate position in which Canadian agriculture and in particular western agriculture finds itself at the moment, even at the risk of repeating many of the arguments that have already been made.

Certainly since I have been in this house, Mr. Speaker, and for many years prior to my coming here, innumerable speeches have been made by members of this party and others not only in pointing out to the government the serious deterioration that is steadily taking place in this unfortunate industry, but repeatedly warning this government of the inevitable and serious consequences that will result unless the government accepts its share of the responsibility for bringing about a solution of this extremely distressing problem. As a matter of fact, agricultural producers in the part of the country from which I come are suspicious that, because of the inaction on the part of the government to implement an agricultural policy, this government has in effect abandoned agriculture, that they have written it off as being something that is unnecessary in so far as the economic welfare of this country is concerned.

I say that in all seriousness. We have the refusal of the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Trade and Commerce to attend meetings of western farm organizations called especially to discuss current agricultural problems, after special requests had been made of these two responsible members of the government to attend. The fact that they refused to attend and, as a matter of fact, on one occasion refused to allow any other responsible member of this government to attend and speak on behalf of Liberal agricultural policies in this country, only strengthens and adds to that suspicion. I suggest that the government has some responsibility in respect to the over-all agriculture policy of this country, and I am going to say quite frankly that the farmers are not blameless. In all fairness I must say that the farmers themselves also have some responsibility for trying to bring about a solution of their own problems.

I want to say to this house, and to this government in particular, that we must bear this point in mind. Farmers are unable to discharge their responsibilities outside of the framework of a comprehensive and realistic federal agriculture policy. I think the time is long overdue for the government to take a realistic view of this whole situation. They have to get down and grapple with this situation. The time is overdue when they can

The Address-Mr. Bryson pass the buck, as they have done over the past number of years. The time is past when they are able to say to the farmer that the reason he is not getting his fair share of the national income is that he has failed to accept his responsibility for the situation in which he finds himself today.

I hope, before I am finished, to be able to shed a little light on this subject and discredit a few of the fallacious arguments this government has been able to sell to Canadian agriculture. In spite of the government's pronouncements to the contrary; in spite of the very optimistic and irresponsible speeches that have been made throughout the country, especially in western Canada, by the Minister of Agriculture, to the effect that agriculture is not experiencing any distress, agriculture is declining at an alarming rate.

It is not my intention on this occasion to repeat all the arguments proving that contention, but I should like to draw the attention of the government to a statement made on January 2 last by Mr. Jack Wesson, president of the Saskatchewan wheat pool, and a man whom I am sure has the confidence not only of everyone in this house but of everyone connected with western agriculture. He said the farmer had reached the point, because of the so-called cost-price squeeze, where he is placed in an impossible position. Then again I should like to quote very briefly from a publication of the Searle Grain Company, a publication which by no stretch of the imagination could be considered a friend of the farmer. They had this to say in an issue of last fall, at a time when they were talking about the farmers' position regarding the disparity between his cost of production and the price which he receives for the products he markets:

... it now costs the prairie farmer $2.31.3 to buy what one dollar would buy in 1935-39. This means, therefore, that the $1.40 initial wheat payment is worth only 60.5 cents in 1935-39 value of money, basis No. 1 Northern Fort William, or at the average country elevator point it is worth approximately 521 cents a bushel.

I am not going to belabour the house with more statistics, but I should like to produce one more bit of significant evidence in regard to the position of agriculture in the west. It is a statement of tax accounts in a larger school unit in the constituency which I have the honour to represent. I can say without boasting that I represent possibly one of the best agricultural areas in western Canada in so far as agricultural revenue is concerned. I feel it is a deplorable state of affairs that out of the total tax levy in that school unit, amounting to some $368,000, some $246,000 was still outstanding as of December 31.

Here again we have a clear indication of the economic stress that is being imposed on

agriculture producers in that area because of the shortcomings of federal agricultural policy. What I have quoted is indeed significant, because it is a well known fact that farmers will pay their taxes if at all possible since they know they cannot put off indefinitely the day of retribution if these taxes are not paid.

Yet rather than recognize the seriousness of the situation by facing the fact that the Canadian economy is composed of one large unit, and all phases must be geared to the general welfare and prosperity of the whole economy, the best the government can do is advocate a do nothing policy. They carelessly disregard the distress, both economic and social, that results from such an attitude. The best they can do is say if the farmer cannot make a go of it on the farm, let him quit and move to town. It seems to me the best that could be said for the present agricultural policy of this government is that it is a series of unintelligent ad hoc pieces of mumbo-jumbo designed to avert, from week to week, chaos in the agriculture industry. In other words, they believe in the survival of the fittest to the extent that they would sacrifice the farmer, and possibly more important they would sacrifice the family farm, to a system of centrally-owned corporate farms. It is a rather cold and heartless approach, because as I said a moment ago it disregards completely not only the economic implications but, equally important, the social and moral implications of the matter.

Rather than attempt to get at the root of the problem; rather than attempt to take some responsibility for the situation, they simply say that the farmer is unable to maintain his position because of several very obvious reasons. I think, by and large the farmers are getting sick and tired of being told by this government that the reason they cannot make good on the land is that they are inefficient; that they must operate a more economic unit, that they must diversify their agricultural operations. Then, when these arguments have been exhausted, the farmer is told he is unable to maintain his position in the industry because labour is asking for too much money, and the wages which labour is receiving in those industries on which the farmer depends for his production needs are driving up the costs of production beyond all reasonable levels.

Then, Mr. Speaker, in order to clinch the argument once and for all, in the face of the clamour from agriculture for a system of parity prices that would give agriculture a parity income with other groups in this country, the government then says that people

would never agree because a higher support price, or a parity price, would only victimize the consumer; and so the government does nothing.

I think we should take a look at some of these fallacious arguments that are being put forward as the reasons the farmer finds himself in his present position. I should like to ask the house this question. Is it true that the farmer is inefficient? What do you mean by "efficiency"? In 1950 the agricultural industry of this country received 11 per cent of the national income. Since 1950, in the span of six short years, we in the agricultural industry have lost 150,000 farm operators. But in the last six years the farmers of Canada have been condemned for producing surpluses. Apparently, if you carry this argument to its logical conclusion, the more efficient agriculture becomes the poorer it becomes, because in 1956, in spite of the fact that agriculture had lost 150,000 workers, the farmers received only 6 per cent of the national income. Therefore I think we have to look farther than the question of efficiency to find the answer to the farmer's problem.

On the other hand, it is a question of what is meant by efficiency. There is not too much inefficiency in the manner and the methods by which farmers are carrying on their operations today, but I think efficiency means something else. I think an agricultural program can be more efficient if it is diversified. If we are to solve our problems in this country it is right and proper for farmers to diversify their operations, especially in western Canada. There is no question about it, Mr. Speaker; the people of this country and elsewhere eat things other than wheat. Therefore I am sure most farmers will agree that it would be advantageous to them if they did undertake a greater degree of diversification in their agricultural operations.

What is this government doing to further diversification and to help the farmer to diversify? Recently and over the years we in Saskatchewan have been clamouring for the building of the South Saskatchewan river dam. If this government really wants to see the farmers diversify their operations, if the government really thinks it is a desirable goal to be reached, I can think of nothing it could do that would assist that diversification in a very large sector of Saskatchewan than the building of the South Saskatchewan river dam, or giving assistance to the building of it.

We have the Minister of Agriculture again stating that the best he can do is to warn this government and the people of Saskatchewan that there is going to be a series of

The Address-Mr. Bryson drought years. At the same time when there is something concrete this government could do, namely build the South Saskatchewan river dam that would irrigate a large area, nothing is done. In other words, apparently they would like to see the farmers suffer as they did back in the 1930's rather than assist them to combat those disastrous conditions. That is why we in this party have advocated a system of parity prices to enable the farmers to enter into a program of capital expenditure leading to diversification.

To diversify means that you must spend a great deal of money, not only in capital expansion but in costly operational changes. Therefore we are asking the government to implement a system of parity prices so that if diversification takes place necessitating a shift in the methods of farming, at least the cost of production will bear a fair relationship to the returns farmers get for the things they offer for sale, and in addition the farmer would be assured that his capital expenditure would not be in jeopardy. No other industry in this country would think of going into any kind of business unless it was assured that its capital investment was going to be protected.

Certainly we were all quite amazed at the submission of the Canadian Pacific Railway, this greatest of all advocates of free enterprise, which admitted publicly that there is no longer any place in our economy for risk. They said in effect that they honestly believed the taxpayers of Canada should underwrite the capital expenditure of that company. Not only should the people of this country guarantee the company a minimum return on their capital investment, but they also want the people of this country to guarantee a return of 4.71 per cent on their investment. Therefore we in the agricultural industry now feel more justified than ever in making the modest request that all we want is to be assured that we will get back only our costs of production.

May I say something about the argument put forward that the consumer would be victimized by a system of parity prices. Again I am going to quote Mr. Jack Wesson and other wheat pool officials, who told this country that if today the farmers of Canada gave their wheat to the millers of this country for nothing it would decrease the price of bread by only 3 cents a loaf. I do not think anybody can seriously contend that by giving the farmer a fair return on what he produces it would unduly victimize the consumer.

Possibly something should be said about the argument that high wages in industry is one of the reasons the farmers are being

The Address-Mr. Bryson deprived of a fair standard of living. I am not going to stand here and say that labour is blameless. I will be one of the first to admit that possibly labour has rather limited objectives because of misunderstandings in many instances and in other instances because of circumstances. I think it is shameful, Mr. Speaker, that this government should use the misunderstandings that exist between labour and the farmer as a wedge to drive these two segments of our population farther and farther apart, when there is no foundation for those tactics.

I would like to place on record a few figures which I have in connection with labour's part in pushing up the prices of farm machinery. In 1946 the value of farm machinery produced in Canada was $65 million. In that same year labour received for the production of that machinery $25 million. I admit that in 1955, nine or ten years later, the labour bill had jumped to $50 million from $25 million, but in that same year the production which came off the end of the assembly lines, for which labour received $50 million, had jumped from $65 million to $171 million. In other words, in 1946 labour received 40 per cent of the value of the machinery produced, while in 1955 it only received 29.4 per cent.

Let me put it this way. In 1946 one worker in a given time produced one combine, but in 1955 the same labourer in the same period of time was able to produce one and a half combines. In really simple terms it means that for making one combine in 1946 he received $1,456, and in 1955 for making one and a half combines he only received $1,740, when in reality, equated against what he received in 1946, he should have received $2,176.

There is another aspect to this question which I should like to bring to the attention of the house. Just recently we were told that farm machinery had gone up in price because steel had gone up $5 a ton. I have made a few calculations as to how many tons of steel are in an ordinary combine. There are about three or three and a half tons of steel. You do not have to be much of a mathematician to multiply three by five; it comes to $15. When a farmer buys the machine after the increase of $5 a ton for steel he pays for it at a rate of increase of 7 per cent. If you calculate 7 per cent of $6,000, which is the price of the combine, it does not come to $15; it comes to $420. Let no one say that the wage earner is responsible for the distress in which we find the agricultural industry today.

Well, then, what is the trouble? Certainly it is not because we are not selling wheat, because over and over again in the last year the Minister of Trade and Commerce informed everybody in this country that we

are selling more wheat than we have ever sold in recent years. Therefore the farmer cannot place the blame for his position on the fact that we are not selling grain. I will have to agree that we are selling more grain. As a matter of fact last year we sold 85 million bushels more wheat than we did in any of the last 35 years, with the exception of five years.

No; that is not the problem which is causing the farmer such distress. Then we must ask ourselves what is the problem. The problem seems to be this, that there is a wide disparity between the farmer's cost of production on the one hand and the price he receives for what he produces on the other. This is what is commonly known as the cost-price squeeze. There is no other answer.

I think I have pointed out, in quoting the story about the combine, one of the reasons for this cost-price squeeze. The latest statistics available show that the^25 companies on whom farmers depend for their production needs have had their profits increased in the last seven years by over 400 per cent. Profits go up and up and the farmer's income goes down and down. That is why we have asked for parity prices. I was rather amazed, as were also a great many people in my part of the country, to read the account of the speech made by the Minister of Agriculture just before Christmas at the Liberal convention in the city of Regina. He said at that convention, if you mean by parity a fair relationship between production costs and what you receive for the products you grow, then we already have it. He started in to compute his kind of parity on the basis of 65 per cent to 85 per cent.

I wonder what the Minister of Agriculture is trying to tell the farmers. Is he trying to tell them that they are not deserving of 100 per cent parity? He is in effect saying that they are second-class citizens; that they do not deserve anything better than 65 per cent of justice. I would not be very much surprised if before long we in Saskatchewan or in western Canada find ourselves walking into a restaurant and being told to go to the back, where we will find a sign "Authorized by the Minister of Agriculture" and stating "This room reserved for farmers, who are to receive just 65 per cent of what everybody else is served out in front." I expect that some day the minister will be advocating that they put a car on the back of the train with another sign saying "For farmers only; 65 per cent service."

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

An hon. Member:

Oh, oh.

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

Hugh Alexander Bryson

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

Mr. Bryson:

I should like to tell the hon. member who is interjecting that those are the kind of statements that prompted a great

many people to walk out of the convention of the Liberal party in the city of Regina in absolute disgust at what the minister had told them.

I am glad there is one responsible member of the government who seems to take a different view of this question of agriculture. I hold in my hand a statement made by none other than the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. McCubbin), speaking to a farmers' union meeting in the province of Ontario last November 8. From the article it would appear that the farmers at that meeting had the parliamentary assistant on the griddle, because he admitted that while he had not voted for the parity price resolution presented in this house last year, if it ever was presented again he would vote for it. Then to make those farmers really feel good he volunteered the information that if anybody moved a motion to increase the premium on grade A hogs to $4 he would support that as well. I would suggest to the Prime Minister that he should immediately replace the Minister of Agriculture by handing over that portfolio to the parliamentary assistant.

For a few moments I should like to direct the attention of this house to another conspiracy this government is carrying on against the western farmer. I refer of course to the increase in the interest rates that we find occurring all across the country. In the handling of grain and the marketing of grain the elevator companies are obliged to borrow tremendous sums of money. Now, because of the increase in interest rates, it is going to cost many more millions of dollars in handling charges than it did last year. Those handling charges are going to be paid by the wheat board and, in turn, they will be handed back to the farmer to pay; there is no one else to whom they can be passed.

I cannot understand, Mr. Speaker, how the Minister of Finance can believe that raising the interest charges on money borrowed for the production of new wealth in this country necessarily lends itself to inflation. The other day the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Mang) was very anxious to inform this house about all the things the government had done for farmers, and he mentioned in particular the large amount of money the government had paid on behalf of the farmers by way of storage charges. But he did not tell this house that though they paid the farmers several million dollars in lieu of storage charges, they immediately increased interest rates and took most of the money away from them.

Mr. Speaker, I had intended to say something about box car allocation, because that

The Address-Mr. H. B. McCulloch issue has become so confused of late that no one really knows what is the situation, but I am going to leave that subject until another occasion. In conclusion I would just like to say this. It is going to take more than dry weather to solve the farmers' problems, and the quicker the government gets that kind of thinking out of its head the better. I implore this government to immediately accept its duties and responsibilities toward agriculture in this country, and I can give the assurance that if that is done it will have the wholehearted support of every farmer in Canada.

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:

I think I understood the hon. member to say that having granted a subsidy -around $33 million, I believe it was-for the storage of grain at a certain time of the year the government "turned round and took it away". Would the hon. member please tell me in what manner we did that?

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

Hugh Alexander Bryson

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

Mr. Bryson:

Mr. Speaker, I was making reference to the raising of the interest rates.

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:

It costs the wheat board more money to finance the crop.

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:

What rates are raised to the western farmer?

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

Hugh Alexander Bryson

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

Mr. Bryson:

The interest rates are raised, which means that the grain handling companies in western Canada have to pay more in interest on the money they have to borrow to handle and market farmers' grain.

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:

And the farmer gets less per bushel for his wheat.

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:

When was that raise effective?

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:

During this crop season.

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

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

You are doing it all the time.

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

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order.

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

Henry Byron McCulloch

Liberal

Mr. H. B. McCulloch (Pictou):

Mr. Speaker, the town of Westville, in Pictou county, Nova Scotia, was incorporated in 1894. It has a population of 4,300 as shown in the last census. Since its founding by miners of Scottish and Irish descent who were the forefathers of its present people the town was built and developed, and is solely dependent on the operation of its mines to maintain and stabilize its economy.

The miners of Westville have long been noted for many sterling qualities, the main one being that throughout the years Westville mines have consistently operated without strikes or tie-ups. The highest production was maintained consistent with operating conditions, and labour relations between management and the men was always of the highest order. These desirable features do not just happen, and the very valid reason

The Address-Mr. H. B. McCulloch for them is the stability of the men, the thriftiness of their families, pride in the ownership of their own homes and active participation in church and community life in general, all of which qualities have been handed down to them from past generations. It is a known fact that the percentage of miners who own their homes in the town of Westville exceeds 80 per cent, which is probably double or more than that of any other mining town in eastern Canada.

Today, with the mines closed except for minor operations of removing pillars from existing slopes, these people who saved their money and built their own homes, primarily without government assistance of any kind, now find their town bankrupt because they have no work and they are unable to pay their taxes. They are faced with the closing of their schools, which will result in uneducated children, the deterioration of their water, impaired sanitary facilities and other services, and the loss of their homes and churches.

The town of Westville has underneath its limits a proven quantity of at least eight million tons of the best coal in Pictou county, if not in the province of Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, to mine this deposit economically requires an estimated expenditure of approximately $2,500,000. If such an expenditure were made, not only would a highly mechanized and modern mine be available if required for a national emergency, but also the Canadian citizens of Westville could look forward to the future feeling secure that they could maintain their homes and town.

In view of world conditions today it is felt that development of this mine is necessary to help guarantee the full use of our production facilities should a major war break out. This in itself would warrant government action now. In addition, it is a known fact that two other Pictou county mines, now active in a small way, will be depleted and closed within the next three years. A new mine development would absorb these men when their present jobs are closed out.

It is presently contemplated to double the size of the existing power plant at Trenton and, in fact, materials have been ordered for this purpose. When this installation is completed its daily coal requirements will exceed the entire output of the only remaining mine in the county which can carry on operations for an indefinite period. This alone would warrant a new development now to ensure our other plants of continued operations.

On behalf of the people of Westville I urge the government of Nova Scotia to assist in the opening of a new mine in that town. I feel that the government of Canada should

be prepared to assist, too, if so requested by the operating company and the government of Nova Scotia. Money made available for this purpose would not be a gift or donation; it would be a sound investment in the good people of Westville for the benefit of all Canada.

Furthermore, my request is substantiated by the Gordon commission report, which states that only modern mechanized mines can hope to remain in operation, and that government assistance to maritime industry is most essential. In view of these facts, and the bankrupt position of the town of Westville today, I urge that immediate action be taken to assure these people that their present position is of a temporary nature, and that the governments of Nova Scotia and bf Canada are prepared to lend temporary aid as I have just suggested.

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

January 22, 1957