July 3, 1919 (13th Parliament, 2nd Session)


William Folger Nickle



I propose to continue this argument, as briefly as I can, until I reach my conclusion. I shall not be deterred in
the argument that I am trying to deduce simply because any hon. gentleman on either side of the House calls "Carried."
I do not often direct the attention of the House to questions of this character, and having taken the floor, I purpose continuing my argument to its end, even if this House does not adjourn on Saturday. As I said, inflation may be of two characters: You may have inflation because there are too many counters or because the counters are going about .too rapidly, and we had both of these conditions in Canada. The condition that existed in Canada was no different from the condition that existed in the United States. Very illuminating figures are given in the 1918 report of the Food Board in reference to the prices of commodities in the United States and Canada. This is the table:
Retail Prices of Staple Foods in Uanada and the United States, September, 15, 1918.
Tfhe following table of the cost of staple articles of food, averaged in sixty cities in Canada and forty cities in the United States, was compiled from data furnished toy the Labour Departments of both countries, and is revised to terms of quantities consumed by the average family in one week:-
Flour pounds.
Milk. quarts .
Cheese 2 pounds.
Eggs dozen .
Bacon pound .
Beef pounds.
Potatoes pecks .
Beans (dry) pound .
Kice . . . 2 pounds.Tea i pound .Coffee pound .Sugar 4 pounds.pounds.Prunes pound .
In the above comparison five items out of the seventeen are slightly lower in the United States than in Canada-lard, coffee, potatoes, sugar and prunes. Coffee, sugar and prunes are naturally lower in price in the United States than in Canada, which is further from the source of supply. The United States is one of the world's greatest producers of lard.
I give the figures only to show that prices in Canada for many of the things that go to make up the food of the people were, during the same period, slightly higher in the United States than in Canada, and if Ij-Nsmtlemen who are interested in this subject care to look at the returns for other ojpntries overseas they will see that prices trore there, in the main, higher than in Canada.
Canada U.S.
60 cities - 40 cities
$ 1.170 $ 1.4&5
6.80 680
1.486 1.776
744 1.029 (Imperial Measure).
643 720
1.065 1.172
511 562
1.363 1.42*6
403 461
707 702 (Imperial Measure)
169 169
238 274
* 303 332
114 076
472 384
740 672.
183 174
$10,991 $12,094
When you turn to the question of profits-and I might say, in passing, that I am thoroughly in favour of the measure that has been introduced to-night by the Acting Minister of Justice (Mr. Meighen)- you will have to define what you mean by your term. Does the term "reasonable profits" mean the percentage on the individual transactions, or does it mean reasonable profits in relation to the aggregate? In my opening remarks I endeavoured to show how there had been a centralization of capital and labour and machinery in our industries in Canada. Hon.t gentlemen who have read the milling report as prepared by Miss McKenna, will remember that it showed clearly that, while only

twenty-five cents was allowed by the Government on each barrel of flour turned out by the milling company, yet the turnover of the milling industry of this country was so tremendous during the war that their profits rose to fabulous sums.

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   BOARD OF COMMERCE ACT, 1919.
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