January 25, 1962

PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Then, we can set this matter straight. I hope to have it before the conclusion of my remarks.

The next thing to which the hon. member for Laurier referred and which I want to correct, was that portion of his remarks dealing with the Columbia river treaty. The hon. gentleman said in that respect that we had concluded a treaty with the United States without even arriving at any understanding with British Columbia. Everyone knows, Mr. 26207-1-131

The Address-Mr. Fulton Speaker, that this is not correct. Everyone knows that we had the most complete understanding with British Columbia. Everyone knows that we had the agreement and the consent of the British Columbia government to sign the treaty in Washington on January 17 last year. All these facts have been put on the record. The correspondence establishing these facts has been quoted in the house. Everyone knows, except apparently the hon. member for Laurier, that what has happened has been that British Columbia has changed its position. It is, therefore, completely inaccurate and reveals a prodigious lack of knowledge of the circumstances, to say what he did say, that we signed a treaty without having any understanding with British Columbia.

Now, sir, I must presume that possibly the hon. gentleman knew as little about the St. Lawrence seaway as he apparently knows about the Columbia river. This then would, of course, explain why my colleague, the Minister of Transport (Mr. Balcer) had such a mess to inherit, a mess that is still being cleared up, in terms of contract claims miscalculated and similar matters. Indeed, perhaps, it explains also why there was such a mess with respect to tolls on the Jacques Cartier bridge.

This, in turn, Mr. Speaker, brings me to the remarks of the hon. member for Laurier in which he referred to changes in this government under the present Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker). Of course, the hon. gentleman must himself have poignant recollections with regard to cabinets and those who leave them as well as those who enter them, poignant recollections of the days when he came back, hat in hand, to see if he could gain readmission to a cabinet which, on an earlier occasion, he had left. However, perhaps we can overlook those things and, as I say, put them down to over-enthusiasm generated by the atmosphere in which the hon. gentleman is now living.

There was one portion of his remarks which I do not think can be overlooked and that was his direct attack on the Prime Minister with respect to Canadian unity. It was a grossly wrong thing for the hon. gentleman to do, to suggest that the Prime Minister would do anything to disrupt Canadian unity. This kind of attack is the measure of the desperation of my hon. friends opposite, for it is well known that no man in the-

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Made in the House of Commons, not outside.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

-no man in the history of Canada has devoted himself-

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LIB

Hédard-J. Robichaud

Liberal

Mr. Robichaud:

What attack?

The Address-Mr. Fulton

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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order; the minister has the floor.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

-no man has devoted himself or his whole life to the cause of unity in Canada to a greater extent than has the present Prime Minister. If my hon. friends need reminding of that fact I would point out that in 1958, in recognition of the services of this Prime Minister to the cause of Canadian unity, the Canadian people from coast to coast caused to be sent to this House of Commons in support of that Prime Minister, the largest group of members from any party in the history of this country, including the largest group of members from the province of Quebec. Certainly, it was the largest group from Quebec ever supporting this party, if not the largest group in the history of Canada supporting any party. Not all the skilful efforts of which the hon. member is capable will serve the purpose which he has in mind, that of creating a schism between the Conservative party and the province of Quebec.

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

It is there now.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

In general, as I listened to what I shall call the self-starting wrath, the sharp words and the shrill tones of the hon. member for Laurier, my mind was cast back to one of the quotations from Robbie Burns. It applies, of course, equally to all of those speeches we have heard from all members of the opposition, and will indeed hear probably more frequently in passing days. This self-cultivated wrath reminds me of the quotation from Tam O'Shanter:

Where sits our sulky sullen dame Gathering her brows like gathering storm Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

Then, I come to the speech delivered by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Pearson) in which he has himself admitted he uttered one statement which would be generally regarded as being accurate. This was the statement he made to the effect the next election will be fought on the record of the present government, a record which I regret to say he then proceeded to distort.

Indeed, I was conscious, as I am sure you were, sir, of more than passing expressions of dismay crossing the countenances of those who sit behind him when they realized the position they were being placed in, that it was going to be fought upon the record of the government; because the record of this government under our Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) is a record of greater accomplishments in more fields than in any similar period in Canadian history.

In order to see this record in proper perspective it is necessary to set it against the

background of the situation which this government and its Prime Minister inherited in 1957. Here I can do no better than refer to words taken from the Montreal Gazette outlining the situation, as follows:

They reached the treasury benches, after 22 years in opposition, at an awkward moment. The national economy... was already beginning to sputter. A downturn in employment, already apparent, was to get much worse before it changed for the better. The rate of economic expansion was slowing down almost to a crawl. They inherited a trade deficit of enormous proportions. Despite the slowdown, inflationary pressures remained disconcertingly strong . . .

This then, sir, was the situation when we assumed office. It is against that background that the record of the government under the Prime Minister has to be assessed. And that record, against that background, is outstanding. It is a record of recession halted, of recovery initiated, of expansion under way, of developments undertaken and of promises fulfilled.

When we come to compare that record with the record of our predecessors in office, and when we come to analyse that record as compared with the situation that we inherited, then indeed I can understand the embarrassment of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Pearson) when he is reminded of that old gang with whom he used to sit in office, with many of whom he has surrounded himself again-that same old gang. No wonder he was embarrassed the other day when the Prime Minister made some reference to the gathering at Kingston where the old gang reappeared.

Again, sir, I was reminded inescapably, in thinking of the embarrassment of the Leader of the Opposition and those who sit behind him, of another quotation from Robbie Bums, taken from "Ae Fond Kiss".

Had we never loved sae kindly,

Had we never loved sae blindly.

Never met-or never parted.

We had ne'er been broken hearted.

Here they are, as the Prime Minister pointed out, the same old gang and it is no wonder that there is embarrassment on the other side of the chamber when those personalities and that record are compared with those of the present government. But one thing must always be borne in mind in discussing a record of accomplishments: that results are only accomplished as a result of hard work and planning. They only come about as a result of team work. There is a team in the present cabinet, and a good team that works together.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Pulling in four directions.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fullon:

It is a team that is proud to work under a great leader such as our Prime Minister. Even our friends who jeer and scoff would not, I think, deny the fact that good results do not come about by accident. Heaven knows, they claimed enough credit for the circumstances and happenings in the years they were in office, and I can hardly think they would be unwilling to admit that these things have not ceased to come about except by hard work and planning.

The record which I want briefly to analyse today has come about as a result of intensive planning and constructive work in a number of fields. I wish to refer to a few particularly. I think for first of all of the trade and economic field where the greatest credit, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, is due to the constructive planning of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming), the former minister of trade and commerce, now the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Churchill), and his successor, the present minister. I should like to mention just a few things that form part of this record.

First of all there were the initial steps. We did not let the grass grow under our feet. We called a commonwealth trade conference within a few months of taking office in 1957, and more recently there has been what has been described as the most successful trade conference in Canada's history, when all the trade commissioners of our missions abroad came back and met in conference some 1,300 Canadian businessmen. In the past year seven trade missions have been abroad and there are 20 to go within the next 12 months. The results are already beginning to become apparent in terms of our increasing trade.

Then there was a further measure in the extension of export credits. Under this government new facilities for the financing of export from Canada have been made available to the extent of $200 million, and a further increase is forecast for this year in the speech from the throne.

As a result of these efforts we can see the following as typical accomplishments. It has been made possible for Canadian firms to accept orders to supply a newsprint mill in Chile. Orders have been accepted in Canada for the production and export of 70 diesel electric engines for the Argentine, 56 diesel engines for Brazil, rails to Mexico and projects in eight other countries, for a total of $82 million, are now under consideration; and five others, for a total of $214 million, are to receive immediate study.

Other measures in this general field of the expansion of our export trade include, of course, that bold and courageous measure of the devaluation of the Canadian dollar

The Address-Mr. Fulton announced by the Minister of Finance in his budget last June. I do not suppose that anybody anywhere, even in this house, on whatever side he sits, would not readily admit that this has been one of the most helpful measures in stimulating production and export from Canada.

What have been the results? The most obvious result, of course, is the reflection in the record that at the present time production is at an all time high; employment is at an all time high, and our trade deficit has been transformed from an enormous deficit into a respectable surplus.

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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

What about our balance of payments?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

There are forecasts made in newspapers and by economists of all shades of political opinion or leaning that in the current year Canada's gross national product will reach a level of $40 billion, an increase of 7J per cent over last year.

My hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition boasted in the course of his speech about the average increase in the g.n.p. of 4| per cent during the years 1945 to 1957. It would have been a miracle if they had been able to avoid an increase in the gross national product at a time when Canada, with her economy undamaged, was in a position to enjoy almost unrestricted access to the markets of Europe, not only in the provision of consumer goods but even in terms of producer goods while those shattered economies were being reconstructed.

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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Have you ever heard of exchange controls?

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Those conditions were totally different from those we have faced since 1957. I should have thought therefore that the Leader of the Opposition, who claimed some desire to state matters accurately and with a sense of proportion, would have given due credit to this government for this great increase in the gross national product which is forecast for this year, bearing in mind the fact that there have been the economic difficulties, which we have shared, incidentally, with even so strong an economy as that of the United States.

Other manifestations of the success of this planning in the export field are found in the fact that a trade deficit of $713 million which we inherited in 1957 has been transformed into a modest but respectable surplus.

Turning from this brief summary of the measures taken with respect to export trade and production, may I emphasize that the government has not neglected the domestic economy. It will be appreciated that measures dealing with export credit facilities and so

The Address-Mr. Fulton on of the kind to which I have been referring are of primary interest to large manufacturing concerns engaged in the export field. But we have been conscious of our responsibility to find constructive measures to look after the needs of small and medium sized businesses as well.

Important and far reaching measures in this field have been taken under the initiative of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming)- measures such as the Small Businesses Loans Act. For the first time in our history loans under government sponsorship are available to small business to a maximum amount of $25,000. As a result of the legislation it is estimated that 90 per cent of the whole field of those engaged in small business are eligible for loans of this type. The success of the measure and its soundness can be seen when we find that since the inception of this legislation no fewer than 2,737 loans to a total dollar value of $23 million had been made up to November 30, 1961.

Also in this field must be placed the changes in the Industrial Development Bank Act. As a result of the amendment which we introduced, the financial resources of that bank have been increased from $150 million to $400 million. The coverage has been extended so that instead of the facilities of the bank being available to very restricted fields of business they are now available to the whole field. Again, the results can be seen in the statistics. Comparing the number of loans made last year with the loans made in the last full year of the former administration, we find that they have risen from 232 in 1956 to 1,070 in 1961, an increase of nearly 500 per cent, and that the total of loans made up to the time the Liberals were dismissed from office was only 349 as against 1,364, the present total, representing an increase in total loans of almost 300 per cent. In terms of the annual value of loans up to 1956, the figure was $17 million. At the end of 1961 it was $71 million. We find, finally, that the total of the loans made in the 17 years of the bank's activities amounts to $320 million of which $206 million have been lent in the last four years. In other words, 55 per cent of the loans have been made in the last four years.

Mr. Speaker, that is a very brief summary of the record in this sphere of production and export and of the measures taken to provide economic stimulus. As the house and the country know, this record is matched in the field of our direct development programs where prodigious progress has been made. Time is limited and the story of our development program is too well known for it to be necessary for me to deal with it

here. I should like, therefore, to pass to another phase of our record in this attempt to present a complete and rounded picture.

I wish to emphasize that, reflecting the humanitarian views of the Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) our efforts have not been limited to the field of production and physical resources. We have cultivated also, as is the duty of government, the field of social justice and of the conservation and protection of human resources. We are, therefore, able to point to a record unequalled in a similar period of Canadian history-an unequalled record of measures for reforms and improvements in the field of social justice. The years of this administration have so far seen the inauguration of a scheme of hospital insurance, an increase in every field of welfare payments both to veterans and civilians, and a tremendous record under my colleague the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Walker) in house building, urban redevelopment and slum clearance-a program which, of course, serves a dual purpose, providing as it does for the long term welfare of our citizens as well as a tremendous economic stimulus in its immediate aspects.

Of course, we do not claim that we have solved all the problems. We have never made any such claim. What we do say is that the record is one of creditable performance, and particularly creditable performance with respect to promises made. We also claim that the success of our plans and efforts is reflected in vastly improved conditions of labour and employment. Particularly is this remarkable as compared with the labour and employment situation which we inherited.

A great deal has been made and will, of course, continue to be made by members of the opposition of the unemployment situation today. Heaven knows, we do not claim to have found all the answers or to have finally solved this problem. We recognize and accept our responsibility to continue our efforts and even to increase them as forecast in the speech from the throne. But I do think it is essential that we should invite the country to view this matter in a proper perspective. In particular it is fitting that we should remind the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Pearson) that our record with respect to unemployment in four years compares very creditably with that of the Liberal government.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Marlin (Essex East):

Not at all.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulion:

That low growling bespeaks uncertainty. There is a muted and uncertain voice coming from Essex East. It will become more muted and uncertain still when the figures are placed on record.

If we take the last four years for which the opposition was responsible-it is true

I include the year 1957, because I hardly think they will claim a total lack of responsibility for the last few months of that year-we find that unemployment rose by 116,000 over that four year period 1953-1957. It is true that unemployment has risen by a few thousand more from 1957 to 1961; the total is 122,000 based on the mid-December figure of 400,000 unemployed. But when one considers the vast increase in the labour force which has taken place since 1957, and when one considers the complications of the economic recession which we inherited, we are entitled to suggest to hon. members opposite that there is scarcely cause for pride on their part-scarcely cause for the gloating in which they have been indulging when discussing the increases in unemployment since 1957. They find it convenient to forget the recession of 1954-55-a recession in the midst of prosperity-but it is healthy that they should be reminded of these things occasionally, because they are the ones who say: "Put us back in office." This same old gang which did so marvellously before is saying "Put us back in", but I think the people will remember their record too well.

The results of the measures taken in this field by the government generally and by my colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Starr) in particular have been that there were 65,000 more people employed in mid-December than a year ago. The unemployment rate is the lowest in any year since the year 1956, while labour income is at an all-time high.

It might be interesting in analysing these forecasts of doom and gloom to have a look at the statistics of labour income. Hon. members will find that in the last complete year when the Liberals were in office, the year 1956, labour income per man employed stood at the level of $2,666 whereas in October 1961, the last month for which I have official figures, it was at a level of $3,174. In terms of total labour income this had increased from $14,890,000,000 in 1956 to $19,642,000,000 by October 1961.

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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I am sorry to interrupt the minister but he has gone beyond his time. I allowed him a little latitude because I was rather remiss with the hon. member for Laurier when he was speaking, as a result of which he had a few minutes extra.

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LIB

Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Liberal

Mr. Alan Macnaughton (Mouni Royal):

The Address-Mr. T. M. Bell

I fear that this present session of parliament is going to deteriorate into nerve wracking waiting until the approaching election. In this atmosphere the spirit required cannot be generated. I think it is imperative that we have the election as soon as is humanly possible so that we can begin to put this country back in the main stream of world affairs.

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January 25, 1962