February 3, 1938 (18th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Eric Joseph Poole

Social Credit

Mr. E. J. POOLE (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, before we adjourned last night I endeavoured to point out to the government the vagueness of the government policy as represented by the speech from the throne. I also dealt briefly with living conditions, as well as the discrimination shown against the province of Alberta. In view of the remarks of the hon. member for Huron North (Mr. Deaehman) I should like to make a few observations. May I say to him that Alberta never failed. The question between that province and the dominion government is a constitutional one. I have clearly in mind, however, the words of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), uttered some two or three years ago, when he said that his policy would be "Hands off Alberta." Since that time, however, beyond all question we have seen evidence of discrimination. Only two years ago the dominion government refused to meet the maturing obligations of the province of Alberta, while at the same time it met the obligations of the other provinces. Recently it disallowed acts of the Alberta legislature, but it has not seen fit to disallow the so-called padlock law of the province of Quebec.

The question I asked last night, and which I emphasize today, is this: Is the government going to disallow a measure brought down in the Alberta house, a measure which definitely forms part of the mandate given to the Alberta government in 1935, and which they are entitled to carry out, and on the other hand allow Quebec to get away with the padlock law, which deprives sections of Canadian citizens of the right to express themselves?
While in the house I have heard much talk about democracy. What kind of democracy have they in Quebec? While we are on this question I should like to place on Hansard a few extracts from The Instructor, a magazine published in Quebec, which deal with the same question in a different way. I quote from the speech of Sir Edward Beatty, one of our foremost businessmen, delivered at Vancouver, in which he says:
The leadership we need in this country is not that of outstanding national figures making resounding speeches. It is the leadership of ordinary men and women in their own small spheres.
The article goes on to make this comment:
That sounds like the right note; but is it as good as it sounds? Will any man or woman in the employ of the Canadian Pacific Railway, or in the employ of any of the companies under the control of the financial group of which Sir Edward is an important member, venture to make a move in any direction until Sir Edward leads the way?
It is not so long since an eminent scholar, Arthur E. Morgan, left the position he held as principal of McGill University under the chancellorship of Sir Edward. The reason was not made public but rumour persists that Principal Morgan had to leave because he permitted and defended free speech on the part of his staff. Did Sir Edward support him? Or did he let him go? He went.
Mr. Morgan went. The Toronto Globe and Mail takes up the question in an editorial in which comment is made upon the speech of Sir Edward made at Queen's university when at that institution of learning a few weeks ago he was given an honorary degree. The editorial offers the following challenge to Sir Edward:
Certainly no professor should be silenced merely because his words are likely to offend wealthy university benefactors, or because he has departed from the beaten path of hitherto accepted theories.
I contend that there is too great an effort in Canada to silence the views held by some people. We want free access to information,

The Address-Mr. Poole
and further we want free speech. The government should move with the greatest rapidity to disallow the padlock law of Quebec.
Yesterday I spoke briefly about living conditions. Today I was handed a list of figures which I find most interesting. They relate not to the standard of living of people in western Canada, but to that of people living within a few hundred yards of this chamber, in the capital city of Canada. The following table sets out the monthly relief ratio for the city of Ottawa:
For a family of two. . .$21.77 plus $10 rentFor a family of three. .$26.32 plus $11 rentFor a family of four. ..$30.77 plus $12 rentFor a family of five. . .$36.07 plus $13 rentFor a family of six. . .$40.41 plus $14 rentFor a family of seven. .$44.63 plus $15 rent
Out of that meagre sum people have been trying to exist for the past six or seven years. These men are endeavouring to support the democratic system. Is this the kind of freedom we are to have in Canada? Is this the kind of freedom and the kind of democracy I am asked to support? The kind of freedom and democracy I support is the one which will reflect happiness in the lives of all the people.
The instructor sets out another set of interesting figures, and, when compared with the figures applying to the most destitute of our race, they are astonishing. I find that the president of an insurance company in Canada receives 8200,000 per year, while the lowest paid vice-president-and there are several of them-receives 8160,000 per year.
In Canada we have heard a cry raised against people who are classed as radicals or communists. May I point out to hon. gentlemen on the ministerial benches and to the private members of the -house that while they are in the city of Ottawa they ought to visit the soup kitchens in this vicinity. Go into the homes of the people who are dependent upon help. We must -conclude that when these people have n-o freedom, all this talk about freedom and democracy is stupid. Their freedom is limited by the distances they can walk, because they have no money to go anywhere else. They are denied the recreation which men and women should have, and yet they are just as worthy of consideration as presidents of insurance companies and other big business executives.
When I said the speech from the throne was vague I meant just that; it contains nothing. I have spoken briefly about financial reform. Let me once more place upon Hansard the views stated at one time by the Prime Minister, because while I am a member of the house he will never be permitted to 51953-9
forget the promises he made. I read from a pamphlet issued by the Liberal party which, under the heading "Mr. Mackenzie King,"
The right hon. W. L. Mackenzie King, leader of the Liberal opposition in the house, in
opposing the Bank of Canada bill clearly enunciated the policy of the Liberal party upon the issue and control of national currency and national credit. Condemning the Bennett Bank of Canada bill, Mr. King said:
"I want to take very strong exception to what the government is doing. They are declaring for a privately owned and privately controlled bank.
This is going to an extreme . . . which will be found to be very much against the public interest."
With that I agree. I quote:
Repeating the policy enunciated by him on February 27, 1933, he said:
"The Liberal party believes that credit is a public matter, not of interest to bankers only but to direct concern to the average citizen.
It stands for the immediate establishment of a properly constituted national bank to perform the functions of rediscount and the control of currency issue considered in terms of public need."
That means relief needs, giving to these people a chance to live. That is what the Liberal government was elected for. Platitudes concerning democracy or expressions of contempt and hate for radicalism will not change by one iota the conditions that exist. This is a job that should be done this session, not the next. The people of Canada will become tired of promises; they will soon weary of listening to high sounding phrases just before -an election. They are beginning to question the sincerity of the government. The very foundations of the things we love so well are apt to be destroyed. If you want to stamp out radicalism and communism you will have to go to the breeding grounds. You will have to go to the soup kitchens and visit the poor families in western Canada who are shackled down with debt.
There are many ways in which our national credit can be used without inflation. It is not necessary to have a rise in prices over and above the volume of goods. We have sufficient national wealth to enable us to build highways and carry out the necessary housing schemes. We should be able to reduce the debt of the farmer and give him a chance to live. Some consideration should be given to the men who have homesteaded and pioneered in this country.
The first step the government should take should be to abolish all kinds of relief. There should be a program of national development, which could be carried out through the use

The Address-Mr. Poole

of the credit which the bankers have always used. We could use our own credit and our own national resources. We should try to develop the youth of our country to make their lives happier and richer. If we do that, communism and radicalism will disappear like the mist before the morning sun.
I am surprised that any hon. member who sits on the government benches should question what is being done in Alberta. If we fail in Alberta it will be because the Liberal government did not keep its promise to keep its hands off Alberta. We know what we are about.
Another condition that has developed during the past six or seven years is the lack of training of our youth. In the last few years at least four new trades have developed. Diesel engineering and refrigeration are only two of the newer trades. If we were to use our national credit to-morrow and bring about a real prosperity, if we were to do all the things that should be done, we would find that there was not a sufficient number of trained men available.
We speak of money credits, but the greatest credit we could have is the intellectual and physical resources of the nation. The youth of the country is our greatest asset, but their development has been neglected in the last few years. Let us call a halt to this befogging of issues; let us get down to causes and not effects. Let us carry out the principles which we have been sent here to carry out. Let us act in the interests of all people, not only of some. When we issue credit, let it be to all the public, not to just a part.
Many Liberal members have advocated monetary reform, but they have been very quiet since they have been in power. Now is the time to do it. They will never be able to do it in opposition. All they will be able to do then will be to point out what should be done to those in power, as I am doing now. We cannot wish our national problems out of existence. They cannot be remedies by platitudes or fine speeches. What is needed is the necessary legislation to make these things possible and the first thing that should be done is the issue of national credit. This credit should be used to build up national assets. When this is being done consideration must be given to the question of prices. The necessary machinery must be provided to keep prices down to reasonable levels. We should increase the value of the dollar and increase the volume of goods produced.
So on behalf, not only of the people of western Canada but of the other poor people in this country who have been ignored and who are defenceless against those who are

criticizing them for their radical tendencies, I make this appeal to the Liberal government: For God's sake show some leadership. Any legislation brought down for monetary reform will be supported by hon. members in this corner. We are ready to support any program which will provide work for the people, which will build up again the morale of our youth. If you want to maintain democratic institutions, I suggest that you act in a democratic way and carry out the mandate of the people. You should give these people a hope of a new life and of greater security than they have ever known before. It is quite possible to provide a standard of living commensurate with our ability to produce.

Full View