William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)
I think I gave the hon. member for Vaneouver-Burrard (Mr. McGeer) a reply to that question a moment ago. The reason for cutting down the subsidy for the service to China and Japan was, as I said, in the interests of economy. My good friend the Minister of Finance, to whom reference has been made by the leader of the opposition, was rather insistent that we should get our estimates down. He had no particular influence, I might say for his benefit, in regard to these estimates, but the general principle was that the main estimates were to be reduced all along the line; we had to cut here, there and in the other place, and this was one item that was cut for that reason. So far as I am concerned, if this is of any interest to the committee, I am opposed to subsidies. I do not like the idea of subsidies at all, but we have to adopt ourselves to conditions as we find them. I would like to compliment the leader of the opposition upon the assistance he gave and the clarity with which he expressed his view on the question of subsidies. I agree with him. That of course does not mean that the principle of subsidies is particularly sound, but if it is necessary, as it-is, to maintain our trade routes and all the rest of it, we have to adapt ourselves to conditions as they are. For my part I do not desire to go into the granting of subsidies to any greater extent than is absolutely necessary, and from that it follows that any action that might be taken will be in the direction of cutting down subsidies, if that is at all possible, having regard to the service necessary for the Canadian people. I make that observation just by the way. My inclination would be, in the language of the street, to
let every tub stand on its own bottom. After all, these are private businesses conducted for a profit, although in most cases these companies are not making any profit; in fact they are suffering losses. But in a general way I should like to save the treasury just as much as possible on subsidies.