Mr. W. M. Howe (Wellinglon-Huron):
Mr. Speaker, I would like to join with the other
members of this house who have extended in no uncertain terms their heartiest congratulations to you on your election to your high office. As a new member feeling as I do, not too sure of myself, and having observed with what dexterity and diplomacy you have handled the many and varied problems which have presented themselves, I do appreciate the wisdom of this house in electing you to oversee its affairs.
I was rather taken aback yesterday, Mr. Speaker, when you called on the member for Weliington-Huron; but I was greatly relieved when the right hon. member for Port Arthur (Mr. Howe) arose in his place to speak.
After sitting in this house since the opening of parliament and hearing speeches by so many hon. members covering such diverse subjects as fishing in Newfoundland, the potato growers in Prince Edward Island, the shipping industry in New Brunswick, the textile industry in Quebec and Ontario, the grain growing industry in western Canada, the lumbering industry in British Columbia, and listening to the vivid portrayal of the difficulties confronting such industries, it is rather hard for me to co-ordinate these speeches with the glowing picture presented to this house by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) in his address yesterday. His statement that we are now in a buyers' market is only too true, with the result that the sellers are attempting by every means available to retain their sales volume to the extent that margins of profit are dropping to an alarmingly low level, with the result that the incidence of failures in business is increasing. Private enterprise is definitely not in the same position as the government who, I understand, are at present selling pork abroad at prices far below cost.
Last year at the time of the redistribution of ridings the hon. member for Huron (Mr. Cardiff) was highly incensed at the government, and at that time predicted that in spite of this jerrymandering he would bring back to Ottawa at least four members from his part of western Ontario. That is a wonderful district, populated by very intelligent people; and so the citizens of Welling-ton-Huron riding did their part to make his prediction come true.
As part of my riding lies in the valley of the Grand river, it was the scene of one of the first large-scale conservation projects in the Dominion of Canada, which has since been followed by similar projects in other parts of the country. As the question of conservation has been mentioned by some other hon. members of the house, namely the hon. member for Middlesex East (Mr. White)
The Address-Mr. W. M. Howe and the hon. member for Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt), I considered that it might be interesting for other members of this house if I enlarged on this subject, as I understand there are similar projects coming up from time to time in other parts of the dominion.
The necessity for this great project was brought about by the fact that years ago the early settlers of what was known as the Luther swamp, which is a huge bowl of impervious clay designed as a natural reservoir and of perennial and everlasting benefit to the people of the valley, decided to indiscriminately remove the trees, and later ditches were dug to draw off the standing water. The natural strata of the area was interfered with, the result being that in the spring this river becomes a raging torrent, overflowing the lower parts of the valley and causing millions of dollars of damage, then in summer dwindling down to a mere trickle of water. Due to the industrial and domestic increase in population along its lower reaches, it became an ineffectual malodorous sewer until fears were entertained for the health and sanitation of the public.
Mr. William H. Breithaupt of Berlin was the first to give serious thought to the problem, in 1905. But it was not until March, 1942, through the indefatigable work of such men as Dr. Hugh Templin of Fergus and Gordon Cockshutt of Brantford, that the first dam, the one called the Shand dam at Bell-wood, was completed. Since that time a further holding dam has been built in the Luther marsh itself; and as the hon. member for Waterloo South (Mr. White) intimated, there is to be a further dam built next year on the Conestogo river, a tributary of the Grand. This project was financed 37.) per cent by the federal government, 37-J per cent by the provincial government and 25 per cent by the municipalities involved.
I would now like to turn my remarks to the economic conditions existing in my riding. In this respect it should be divided into two segments, that of the towns and villages and that of the agricultural portion of the riding. First, I shall deal with the towns and villages; and in this respect I would like to refer to a matter which has been much discussed in this house, that of decentralization of industry.
During the second world war, when we read of the devastation of property and the tragic loss of lives in the great industrial regions of Great Britain and the continent, it was said that steps would be taken to see that we would not make the same mistake and that it should not happen here. But with the almost daily increase in the distance travelled
The Address-Mr. W. M. Howe by the great bombers of today and the tremendous advances made by science in the field of atomic and hydrogen bombs, as indicated by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) in his speech to this house last week, one shudders to think of what would happen to our great cities in the event of another world war. Last week when on an excursion promoted by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton), and looking down on that great city of Montreal which has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years, one could not help but think of the vulnerability of that great metropolis.
As I intimated, this matter has been discussed on many occasions in this house. On November 15, 1949, the then hon. member for Fraser Valley said, as reported at page 1812 of Hansard:
We have heard it said, and we presume that it was meant seriously, that it was the desire of our great leaders to decentralize industry and to build up the smaller communities where the labour situation is easier and the living costs are less.
On September 29, 1949, the then hon. member for Calgary East, speaking on the matter of civil defence, as reported at page 361 of Hansard of that year, said:
... I still am strongly ol the same opinion, that efforts should be made through the industrial development bank to bring about a dispersion of industry which would carry with it a dispersion of population because people will go where they can get work.
Then on September 13, 1950, the then hon. member for Lake Centre, as reported at page 679 of Hansard for that year, said:
According to the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) there is danger of atomic attack on our Industrial production. I have a report of a speech he delivered in Toronto, In which he pointed out that danger and indicated that he believed in the necessity of decentralization.
In my riding of Wellington-Huron there are several small towns and villages which could look after considerably more people, with the result that they would be able to lessen the property and business taxes necessary to maintain essential services, as well as give the workers advantages to be found in living in smaller centres where they are more contented and where there is a closer relationship between management and labour outside of working hours, something which leads to better relationships within the factories themselves. The factory worker also gets away from the congested living conditions which are to be found in the larger centres, with their tremendous traffic and parking problems.
Of course I realize there are arguments in favour of the large cities in respect of the establishment of new industries. They have
the advantage of greater numbers of floating labour and skilled artisans; they may have closer sources of raw products and materials which are necessary for the production and distribution of their manufactured products. However, against this argument we have the innumerable large and small industries which probably owe their success to the fact that they were primarily established in smaller centres.
In my own district I give you Beatty Brothers of Fergus, whose best known products are washing machines and stable equipment of all kinds; Fry and Blackhall's furniture factory at Wingham, and Lloyd's sash and door factory in the same town. In Mount Forest we have a successful overall and sportswear factory, and many others. In fact practically all these small communities support some industry, whether it be a creamery, flour mill, or poultry processing plant; and they are all quite successful in their own right.
It has been indicated from time to time that more and more foreign capital is looking for locations at which to establish new industry in our country. I therefore suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the government should give some direction in this respect so that industrialists may realize the advantages to be gained from settling in our smaller communities.
In the economy of my riding the second phase I wish to speak about is that of agriculture. I realize that the remarks I make are applicable to many of the other ridings in southern Ontario. I am particularly proud *of the fact that the two counties of Wellington and Huron, parts of which I have the honour to represent, are definitely outstanding in this respect. In the production of butter Wellington county ranked fourth in the province. It was first in the production of flax, fifth in the production of potatoes, fourth in the production of hay, seventh in the number of cattle on hand, fourth for the number of swine, and third for the value of poultry.
Huron county ranked third in the production of hay, third in the production of field crops, first for the number of cattle on hand, second for swine on hand and first for the value of poultry marketed. These figures are for the year 1952 within the province of Ontario. One thing that is encouraging in my riding is the number of junior farm organizations we have, particularly in the field of 4-H clubs. These clubs do a wonderful job of promoting interest on the farms among our younger rural population.
Estimated receipts in Ontario from the sale of all farm products declined by more than $76 million during the year 1952. Economically our farmers are in much the same position as those in the western provinces. The younger and less well-established farmer is finding it extremely difficult to show a profit and is not-as is the older, well established farmer-able to endure an economic crisis of any duration.
I have some rather interesting figures with regard to the distribution of capital necessary to operate a farm successfully. The well-established farm requires that 40 per cent of the capital should be in land and buildings, 30 per cent in livestock, 20 per cent in farm machinery and 10 per cent in feed and supplies. This is considered to be a sound basis for operation, particularly for those interested in the raising of beef. But some younger farmers are finding that their machinery is representing as much as 60 per cent of their capital investment. This is a situation which is apparently not getting any better, with the continued rise in the cost of farm machinery and the uncertainty among cattlemen caused by successive price drops from the purchase of feeder cattle to the finished product.
I feel, Mr. Speaker, that more definite steps should be taken to reopen and re-establish those overseas markets which for years maintained and provided perennial outlets for practically all our agricultural products so that this industry-and it is said that the economic stability of any country depends on the top six inches of the soil-may once again become economically sound.
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE