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

LAB

Humphrey Mitchell

Labour

Mr. MITCHELL:

Everything works on
paper, even the capitalist system. However, I want to put this point of view to the committee as one who believes in public ownership; you have to work out a technique to make it function. As to the issuing of bonds instead of allowing shareholders to take their risks as others do in industrial enterprises, I question whether the policy we have been advocating in connection with public ownership is sound. Even in Russia they had to alter their direction and insist upon various industries standing on their own feet. The necessity for this has been proved fully there. It has taken them seventeen years and cost possibly the lives of ten million people to prove it. Evan a communist will not lend money to the government unless interest is paid on it. They are not different from anyone else. Here you have the hydro undertaking guaranteed by the province of Ontario and the vast Canadian National railway system guaranteed by the people of Canada. I do not think that these undertakings should stand, in relation to the financial structure of the country, so far as their indebtedness is concerned, on any different footing from an ordinary company. They should stand on their own feet. When profits are earned by these undertakings those who have invested in them should reap those profits; but if profits are not earned, then the taxpayers of this country or of Ontario or the other provinces should not be expected to foot the bill, any more than they should be expected to foot the bill in connection with other private undertakings. We are fast coming to the point of state ownership whether we like it or not. An absolutely new policy must be worked out whereby these undertakings shall stand on their own feet and be worked on a sound economical basis as other private enterprises are.

Topic:   PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAM
Subtopic:   WORKS, 'UNDERTAKINGS AND GUARANTEE OP RAILWAY EQUIPMENT SECURITIES TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
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