January 19, 1926 (15th Parliament, 1st Session)


Abraham Albert Heaps



If the hon. member wishes
to ask anything, I am quite willing that he should do so in the proper form. He says, what about myself? I am quite prepared to say something about myself if he wishes me to do so. In the last election I ran in North Winnipeg, and in North Winnipeg they created a new precedent. They sent me down to Ottawa in place of a Conservative or a Liberal. Both parties had candidates in the election. We were in rather a unique position in North Winnipeg. When the election was over I met my esteemed Conservative opponent in the constituency, and one of the first things he said to me was: "I am
glad of the result of the election, because you beat the Liberal." The following day I happened to meet the Liberal candidate, and he said: "I am glad you were elected because you beat the Conservative." Furthermore, the members of the party which I represent were also satisfied. So that we happen to be in the unique position in my constituency that we were all satisfied.
I have not been very particularly impressed with the figures which were quoted yesterday, either from the Liberal side or the Conservative side. I tried to make something out of the figures submitted by the right hon. leader of the opposition and the acting leader of this House (Mr. Lapointe) but I found some difficulty in understanding what they were tiying to arrive at. We were told there was a decrease of employment in one month last year compared with the same month in the year 1924. That may be perfectly true, but a mere bald statement of that character does not prove anything. This evening I intend to present figures which I have tried to work out myself on the question of unemployment in Canada, and I have tried to work them out on a slightly different basis from anything I have heard in this House during the time I have been here. We were given figures yesterday in connection with employment in the United States. I have not thought it well to go south of the line in order to find figures to make comparisons with conditions in Canada. I do not think it is always fair to compare conditions in the Dominion of Canada with those in the country to the south of the line. The people of the United States as a result of the war became enormously rich, but the same cannot be said of Canada and most of the allied countries. But when my hon. friend speaks of a greater volume of employment in the United States, I happen to have under my hand some figures in connection with the railroads of the United States 14011-18J
-and what applies to United States railroads,
I might say, applies equally to railroads, as well as to manufacturing industries, in this Dominion. What do I find in this article, which is taken from the official records of the United States Interstate Commerce Commission? It states:
There were 5,578 fewer workers on railroad pay rolls in October 1925 than in October 1924, although traffic was larger in October 1925 by nearly 1,000,000,000 net ton miles and by over 13,000,000 passenger car miles.
Thus we find that although there is more traffic, more passengers and more tonnage hauled on United States railroads, less men are employed to-day than were employed in the previous year, and a similar condition applies to the Dominion of Canada. Therefore, it is not always fair to give bald figures without at least trying to understand the meaning and significance of them.
I want to deal for a moment or two more with some figures regarding industry in Canada, because so much has been said during the past few days about bad and good trade. I have endeavoured to secure some kind of figures which would give me and, perhaps, other hon. members, a better understanding of this particular question, I find that the total value of manufactured products-and this might be a fair criterion in any case of the total wealth produced by manufacturing industries in this country-amounted in 1917 to $2,805,800,366. These are only manufactured products; they do not include agricultural products. In 1923 the amount was slightly less, namely, $2,781,165,514. I do not intend to weary hon. members with all the figures in the intervening years, but with the permission of the House I will place the statement on Hansard. The statement is as follows:
Value of products manufactured
1917 $2,805,800,366
1918 3,174,264,687
1919 3,170,842,586
1920 3,667,180,375
1921 2,516,977,811
1922 2,439,843,766
1923 2,781,165,514
It would hardly be fair for me to give these bald figures to the House without at least referring to the true significance of them. If I say that in 1917 the volume of production was so large,. I also ought to state what the purchasing power of the dollar was in that particular year. What do I find in that regard? If I take the index number of 1913 as 100, the index number in 1917 would stand at 200.1 and in 1923 at 168.9. In other words, there was a decrease of about 31 points in the index number. This
The Address-Mr. Heaps

taken on the basis of 168.9, would meanan increased purchasing power of 18.4 per cent. So if you are to get the actualvalue of the production in the year 1923 you will have to add to the figure I gave, 18.4 per cent, and this would mean that in 1923 the actual production in Canada was the greatest in our history. I am not trying to make party or political capitalfor either the Liberal or the Conservative
party. I am trying to arrive at a true basis of the facts so that we shall have a better understanding of the situation.
Let me go a little further with this brief analysis of the situation. The following is a statement showing the actual amount produced by every man employed in industry, that is, every man who works for wages:
wn $5,279
1918 6,131
1919 6,347
1920 7,296
1921 6,864
1922 6,293
1923 6,222
On the other hand we have again to follow the same form of arithmetic in arriving at a conclusion, because we find that in 1923 the value of the dollar was lower than in 1917, and in 1920 the index value of prices was 293.6, the highest in the history of the Dominion. Consequently if we are to arrive at a proper conclusion, we find that the actual amount produced in 1920 was relatively small. When we come to the year 1923, we find that on a basis of 1917 prices the actual amount produced by a person working for wages was $7,372. In other words, since the year 1917 there has been an increase in the individual output of the worker by approximately 40 per cent. That is a point I wish hon. members to notice when we are dealing with the question of employment and unemployment. The following is a statement of the number of men and' women engaged in manufacturing industries in this country:
1917 531,466
1918 517.704
1919 499,557
1920 502,627
1921 366,694
1922 387,689
1923 416,994
1921 was a- low year, but in 1922 the number had slightly increased, and in 1923 the number of those employed increased to 446,994. We find, as between the years 1917 and 1923, a large number of men who were not employed. Although the total production in Canada had increased by a very large ratio, the number of men employed in industry was becoming less and less. Another question

arises. If fewer men are being employed in industry .to-day and! production is higher, what is to be the remedy? Is it possible for the tariff to deal with a situation of that character? Personally, I do not think so. The question lies far deeper than the tariff. One question is: what does labour get out of that which it produces? I have in my hand a statement showing the amount of wages received by labour for various years, as follows:
Average yearly earnings .. $ 748
.. 862
.. 924
.. 1,098
.. 996
.. 937
.. 959
Although production by the individual had increased by approximately 40 per cent, the real wages, that is wages based' upon the purchasing power of the dollar, had increased by only about 11 per cent.

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