May 7, 1918 (13th Parliament, 1st Session)

UNION

Fred Langdon Davis

Unionist

Mr. F. L. DAVIS (Neepawa):

tions. We should restrict non-essential industries. I am told that a piano company in Ontario, which, before the war, was putting out six pianos per day, is, at the present time, producing and' selling fifteen pianos per day. That is an absolutely nonessential industry, and that is hut an instance. Pianolas, grafanolas and victrolas are being sold throughout the 11 p.m. country. Even automobiles are in the same class, and we must in some way reduce the Output of those nonessential industries if we are going to get the men to carry on our essential industries. The reason I have raised: this point is that I believe, by a proper system of taxation, we would be doing something to limit the production of non-essential goods. But now I see that we must attack the question in another way, and the only way I can see is by limiting the production or, in other words, bringing about by artificial means that condition which a depression of business will bring about. At a time of depression the factories close or they reduce their output, and men are thrown out of employment and are bound, under changed economic conditions, to seek new employment. We must create tho.se conditions. We have yet, it seems to me, in the consideration of the problems of thie Dominion, to look to. the future after the war is over, to the time of readjustment, to that period of dislocation which will follow when war ceases and all war industries are cut off. We have to look to the amount of money which we shall then have to raise tc pay interest and sinking fund upon those large debts which we .are now piling up. It seems to me that we can do much to prevent that dislocation creating a panicky condition, if we but recognize what are just and proper ways of raising the money the state requires. Finally,. lest I should he misunderstood, because I have spent most of my time in urging that our taxation should be greater, I know that must be made conditional, in some measure, upon similar operations of surrounding states, but I should like to see our Government setting a lead in the measures by which it levies this taxation.
Mr. J. F. FA.FART) (LTslat) (translation): Mr. Speaker, the discussion anent the budget statement presented by the Government for the fiscal year of 1918-19 has already brought forth-not 'always light- but often enough, suggestions of a judicious and practical character. On the whole the Government cannot help being grateful for the good advieq given, and taking advantage

of it. However, in order that the results should go hand in hand with the wisdom of certain observations, too much selfinterest, too much narrow-mindedness should not paralyze, on the part of my hon. colleagues on the other side of this Chamber, the execution of what has been suggested to the Government.
As the representative of a purely agricultural county I feel it my duty to express my, opinion in a special way on certain features of the present Budget. !So I shall leave to more experienced political minds the task off exploring the vast domains of political economy. Following my custom, as a surveyor, I shall go, in straight line, and with the shortest possible delay, to the goal I wish to reach. All of which means that I intend making a few brief remarks on the important question of agriculture. My last words will have to do with the loyal attitude of the province of Quebec-and that of the immense majority of its representatives-with regard to the help given to carry on this struggle for the cause of civilization and mankind.
Now, a few words about agriculture. On the one hand, Mr. Speaker, the Government is preaching a policy of increased production. Every day, in all the newspapers of the country the Government is appealing to the population asking for an increase in our yield. We hear repeated every other moment that Canada's increased production will .save Europe from starvation, consequently that this increased production will save the Allies. " Produce more," cries the Government to the farmers, " Raise cattle; *concentrate on your dairy industry; preserve your perishable products by building cold storage chambers; hold big fairs to learn to perfect your methods of cultivation; see that your stock is always healthy; improve their strain finally, intensify production. Victory against Germany demands these things."
That, Mr. Speaker, is the tone of the Government talk, on the one hand. But, on the other, this same Government reduces, by $528,348.40, the appropriations that we were to vote for the furthering of agriculture and increased production. The farmers are told to produce more and then over half a million dollars of appropriations are taken away from them, in comparison with what they were allowed in the Budget of 1917-18. Out of the reductions of $2,015,378.28 that the Government announces in the administrative expenses of the different departments, the Department of Agriculture alone has suffered a decrease of $528,348.40. So that more than one-quarter of

these reductions were knocked off the appropriations meant to promote farming.
And when they have taken over half a million away from the farmers the Government, far from being abashed, have the nerve to ask the farmers to toil from sunup till sun-down to insure increased production. It is not necessary to be a great logician, nor to have spent twenty years in this House in order to realize how very illogical such a policy decidely is. " Raise cattle," says the Government, and in the estimates for 1918-19 the tidy sum of $100,000 is taken away from cattle-raisers. " Give more attention to your dairy produce," says the Government .and, in t.hie year's Budget, grants not one sou more than last year. " Build cold storage plants " says the Government again, and with one sweep they knock $25,000 off the amount voted for this purpose in 1917-18; while in tire cold storage establishments they let over 350,000 pounds of meat and flsh go to rot. " Hold fairs; they will be a great help to you," .says the Government to the farmers, and then, in the present (Budget, we notice a reduction, of $25,000 from the sum voted last year. "Take every means to keep your cattle in good health," still the Government exhorts the farmer; but to make the thing a certainty the Government .subtracts $102,000 this year ifrom the amount voted to help the farmers in the sanitary supervision of their stock.
If this be the way, by reducing the help given to the farmers, that the Government claims to promote .increased production, you must admit, Mr. Speaker, that it is rather a strange policy. I say strange so as not to use the term guilty. Indeed, I would understand the curtailing of expenses in certain departments wheTe the work could very well wait till later on, after the war. But it appears that the Government has turned things upside down from the point of view of enlightened wisdom and the most elementary knowledge of economic factors. The estimates for civil government have been increased $356,555.04; $6,812.50 more to the .Dominion Police; $18,000 more .for penitentiaries!; $148,900 more for railways and canAls; $52,'172.14t more for ocean and lake shipping; $160,664.73 more to the Post Office Department; -and similar increases in other Government departments.
But when it comes to Agriculture $600,000 are struck off the estimates at one sweep, and then the farmers are asked to increase production. It is useless, Mr. Speaker, to pile up lengthy arguments in order to persuade this House of the utter injustice of such treatment, being meted out to our
very large class of farmers in this country. In the face of the figures which I have just quoted and which I extracted from the estimates submitted .by the Government itself, I hope the gentlemen on the Treasury Benches will give justice to whom justice is due and show themselves less reluctant to loosen their puree-strings to assist the farmers.
Before leaving this, subject I wish to call the attention of the House to an item of $21,091.58 under the head of the experimental farm at Spirit Lake, in the province of Quebec. I have .always understood that the institution at Spirit Lake was used a.s a detention camp, and I am quite positive it was utilised for that purpose, since I visited the place myself some two years ago when I was roaming up that way. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that such an item should properly *come under the expense column of the Department of Militia and Defence. Why should the Department of Agriculture pay the expenses of the Department of Militia and Defence? Besides, isn't it a rather queer procedure to open up, at such a place, and at such a critical period as that we are living in to-day, what is an experimental farm in name only? 'The other day the Hon. Minister of Justice answered me ini this House that the Government had spent $32,500 for the military organization of this so-called experimental farm, or rather of this internment camp. So to-day when I find another item of $21,091.58 for agricultural purposes at this same place I ami forced to conclude that the Government has spent the pretty husky sum of $53,591.58 for the satisfaction of having an experimental (farm together with an internment camp; where, moreover, there .seems, to have been produced not one single bushel of wheat, nor one single bushel of oats, and where not a single head of cattle was sold. All that this hermaphrodite establishment seems to have produced is pulp-wood, to the value of $15,946. You will admit, Mr. Speaker, that the experimental farm which produces only pulp-wood is some experimental farm. There were barely fifty families and 400 Indians there when work was begum/ on this undertaking. Who will dare tell us that these few people were) in need of an experimental farm? Was it for the Indians? If such were the intention of the Government, they were mistaken, very much mistaken, on the score* of the results which would accrue. When I passed through there I thought I was doing a favour to an Indian by supplying him with seed potatoes in the expectation that he would get a good crop the following autumn. Some days later I

ideals and with our innate respect for the great principles of the freedom which is the right of each .and every one of us?
In my calling, Mr. Speaker, which I am alone in representing here, it has often happened me to lose myself in the vast expanses of territory which I was traversing with my companions. And when I established' the direction of a meridian line, by the light of the polar star-whether I were in Alberta, in Saskatchewan or in the province of Quebec-I was always working towards the same goal. Mr. S'peaker, the polar star which guides us French Canadian members is patriotism- well-understood, patriotism without narrowness and without rancour, the patriotism of the noblest pages of our national history. And it is also on this good star of patriotism that is fixed the gaze of all those who lay claim to the great principles of Liberalism.
On the other hand, Mr. Speaker, I fear that those who -sit opposite us have taken the wrong road; that they are guided by a magnetic needle which has been unsettled by the constant attraction of power. However, let us hope that before long they will become better 'Magi, and' will find once more the star of patriotism-leaving behind forever the dark clouds of fanaticism and prejudice.
In this way we shall have a united couni try, and' we shall all contribute with onr utmost energy, to the great cause which is ours in common, and to the immortal achievement of victory.
Mr. WILLIAM A. CLARKE (North Wellington): Mr. Speaker, I feel I should be remiss in my duty to the constituents I have the honour to represent if I did not make a few remarks in this very important debate. I do not rise to criticise any of the taxation proposals of the Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. A. K. Maclean) but rather to congratulate him and the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) on having carried this Dominion so successfully through the most trying period we have ever experienced in our history. I am placed in a somewhat peculiar position. Of course, as a representative of the people in this House, I am no more responsible for the actions of the Union Government than they are responsible for my actions. Ever since I entered the House of 'Commons I have been a humble follower of the present Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) both in this and the last Parliament. I consider him the greatest statesman in the Dominion, and I have been proud to vote
for every measure he has introduced. We had a most trying time last session and many troublesome questions arose; in fact, I think it was the most strenuous session vse have had since 'Confederation, and I think the Prime (Minister is to be congratulated on the 'splendid way in which he carried us through. On many occasions he met with severe criticism, which I think was carried to greater lengths than one might have expected under the present war conditions.
We have heard a great many splendid speeches from both sides of the House in this debate, but with many of the speeches from the Opposition side of the House I do not agree. I feel it my duty to make a few suggestions', rather than criticisms, in connection with the views of my constituents at the present time. When I go home after supporting every measure that the Prime (Minister has ever presented to Parliament-and it is my intention to support every measure he brings down in future, unless I change my mind or he acts in a very different way from what he has done in the past-I am confronted with the question, what is the Government doing to enforce the Military Service Act? Our county is practically denuded of all the young men who can go to the front.
I have supported every measure for keeping up our reinforcements, and I have done it gladly, 'but yet when I go homo my constituents want to know why the province of Quebec is not made to contribute men for the army in greater numbers. Every one who reads the newspapers1 knows that Quebec has not done her share. A few months ago it was1 stated that only seven thousand had been got from that province altogether. I d,o not (know whether that statement is. true or not, but it has been made on many occasions, and has never been contradicted, so I am inclined to believe it is true. When my constituents ask me why Quebec is not made to do its duty I have to give them some kind of an answer. I have to tell them that we have passed the Military Service Act. Then they want to know why it has not been put in operation, and that is the question I wish to put to hon. gentlemen sitting in the front benches of the Union Government tonight. The only suggestion I have heard is that the weak cog in the wheel in the operation of the Military Service Act is in the Department of Justice. Whether that be true or not I do not know, but I am not in a position to contradict it. If it be true I would suggest to the Prime Minister and

the other members of the Cabinet that some rearrangement be made. I have every respect for the Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty), but if he is the barrier in putting the Military Service Act into operation some rearrangement certainly should be made. We all knoiw he was tired after the recent campaign. He is getting to be an old gentleman, and he had to take a couple of months' rest to recuperate. I am glad he came back looking so well. But when he came back after a couple of months' rest, if the work was too much for him, or if he [DOT]was incompetent to transact it in the way the people of this country wanted it to be transacted, he should have been given assistance. But instead of that being done, I understand he has had the additional burden placed on his shoulders of administering the Post Office Department. The people of this country are wondering why the Government do not take action in connection with the Military Service Act. It would be an easy matter to rearrange the Cabinet. There are lots of good men supporting the Government, all good, loyal and true citizens, who would make good heads of any department, and I think it is high time something was done to fill the offices with the best men available on this side of the House. I would not go to the other side of the House, because we cannot expect anything from those who have always been in opposition to the Military Service Act and to Canada's taking her proper share in this war. I am not alone in this experience I have with my constituents; I have spoken to other hon. members and the same question is asked in practically every constituency from Prince Edward Island clean through to British Columbia. The people want to know why there is such laxity in enforcing the Act in the province of Quebec. It is all right for hon. members to stand up in the House and say they are doing this and are going to do that, but it is no use training a horse for a race after the race has been run, and possibly lost. Our boys overseas are calling out for reinforcements. In almost every letter from the front we hear that cry for reinforcements, and reinforcements at once, and the people of the rest of this Dominion want the major part of those reinforcements to come from the province of Quebec, and I say they are justified in asking that.

Topic:   TWO MILLION FOR DUTIES ON IMPLEMENTS.
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