May 27, 1935 (17th Parliament, 6th Session)


William Daum Euler



I should like to see labour saving machinery invented and used to the greatest degree possible, but I should also like to see labour get the full benefit of the invention and use of such machinery. Desperate diseases they say require desperate remedies, and if this money must be expended to give employment and relief one cannot say a great deal, because every member agrees that we cannot allow any person in this country to suffer want and distress. But I do feel disposed at this moment-perhaps I shall be stepping on the toes of some of .my friends not only opposite but on this side-to challenge the propriety of continually, if not subsidizing at any rate financing private industry in business. We have had a good deal of that and I am afraid that this sort of thing is leading the national government almost to the brink of bankruptcy, if I may throw out so alarming a suggestion. We have guaranteed large sums of money of all kinds for private interests. For example, we have guaranteed all the wheat pools of western Canada, and perhaps my hon. friends from the west will disapprove of what I say. This concerns Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. We have
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speculated in wheat to the extent almost of hundreds of millions of dollars and we do not know how much we shall lose-possibly twenty, thirty, forty or fifty millions. We have guaranteed the debt of the Canadian Pacific Railway to the extent of 860,000,000. We guaranteed 815,000,000 on account of Beau-harnois, for power which is now apparently not required. We have guaranteed or set aside $90,000,000 for the relief of debt mostly in western Canada. It is possible that this government will set aside the sum of $40,000,000 or $50,000,000 to promote housing, which may be a good scheme. And we are now again setting aside the comparatively insignificant sum of $15,000,000 for the purposes of this bill. Where is this sort of thing going to end? As an hon. member here said a few moments ago, there are many other lines of private business that are in distress, needing assistance. There are many industries in the country whose wheels have not turned once in the last three or four years and whose employees are out of work. The principle is thoroughly wrong, that we should go out and finance these private industries and play our favourites, if you like to put it that way. I say to the members of this committee that if the government continues in that way, if it continues to finance private industry, we shall very rapidly reach that point which would be approved of by my hon. friend and we shall have socialism sooner than you think. This country is now in debt to the extent of $4,500,000,000, over $3,000,000,000 on ordinary government account, consolidated debt of Canada, and $1,250,000,000 on account of the Canadian National Railways.
I assume I shall be criticized for what I have said to-night, though it does not matter a great deal. But it is my conviction, and I think the conviction of a good many citizens of this country, that neither this government nor any other can continue indefinitely and increasingly to finance and guarantee the debts and commitments of private interests. In this particular instance it seems doubtful that the $15,000,000 should be given in view of the fact that there appears to be no real demand for it, certainly not so far as the Canadian National Railways are concerned; and in all that I have said I do not want to try to convey the impression that I am not absolutely in favour of doing everything that can be done to relieve unemployment and distress.

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