Mr. A. B. HYNDMAN (Carleton):
Mr. Speaker, as a new member, and one who for the first time is addressing this assembly,
The Budget-Mr. Hyndman
I should like to avail myself of the privilege of congratulating you upon your elevation to the chair as Speaker of this house. I think all hon. members will agree that you are not insensible to the duties of your high office, and I am confident that you will carry out those duties with distinction and honour.
Since some other hon. members have described the constituencies from wihioh they come perhaps it would be well for me to describe my own constituency. I represent one of the oldest constituencies in the dominion, that of Carleton county, which borders on the city of Ottawa. Carleton may not boast the distinction of quintuplets, as the hon. member for Parry Sound (Mr. Slaght) boasted of his constituency, but I venture to say that given time we may have that honour also. I noticed that the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon) said his was one of the best counties in the dominion. I would go one step further and say that my constituency of Carleton is the best constituency in Canada. It has two of the great rivers of the dominion flowing through it, the Ottawa and the Rideau. We have a large hydro-electric power plant, one of the units of the provincial hydro system. We have the central experimental farm; one of the best tubercular hospitals in Ontario is located in this constituency, and last but not least we have the town of Richmond. If the Duke of Richmond had not been bitten by the fox we, as members of this House of Commons, might easily have been meeting in the town of Richmond, as the capital city of the dominion.
My constituency, Mr. Speaker, is made up of urban and rural sections; therefore I am interested in two classes of people, the urban and the rural residents. Those living in the urban sections of the riding are mainly civil servants. Bordering the urban sections there are a number of market gardeners, and then we have the rural sections where the farmers carry on mixed farming. They are not farmers of the type we know in the west; they engage in mixed farming, shipping their milk to the cheese factories and the dairies and buying and selling cattle in the spring and fall of the year. These are the people in whom I am interested, and these are the citizens of whom I wish to speak this afternoon.
First of all, Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a brief reference to the civil servants in my constituency. I want to make the clear statement now that I was absolutely against any cut in the salaries of .civil servants receiving less than S3,000, and I feel that the deduction of five per cent should be restored to civil servants who have been receiving and are now receiving less than that amount. In
connection with salaries of more than $3,000 I believe the cut should continue.
I am not going to make any particular comment with regard to the market gardeners in my constituency. Their position has been described in this house on other occasions, and I do not think it necessary or desirable to make any further comments in that connection. Suffice it to say that I 'believe our markets in the various cities should be retained, to the greatest extent possible, for the market gardeners located in close proximity thereto.
Now we come to the farmers of Carleton county, and what I have to say will apply equally to the farmers of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and the maritime provinces, those who do not go in for the growing of wheat to any large extent but who really specialize in the raising of dairy cattle and the shipping of milk to cheese factories and dairies. Before proceeding to discuss this matter, however, I should like to compliment the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) on the splendid budget speech he made in the house the other day. I think his speech was very flattering to the late administration; he outlined clearly the finances of the country and told us exactly where we stand as far as the dominion government is concerned. I do not agree with the minister when he says that our national debt amounts to something over three billion dollars; I think it is a great deal more than that, but I shall discuss that point a little later in the course of my remarks.
A moment ago I said that in my opinion the budget speech praised the administration of the Conservative government for the last five years. Several passages from that speech have been quoted during this debate, but I should like to read a few short extracts to support my contention. At page 2362 of Hansard the minister said:
Nevertheless, one cannot view the picture broadly without realizing that improvement
however gradual-is real and steady, and that the general undertone is one of definite strength.
Again on the next page the minister said:
For the first three months of this calendar year, 1936, manufacturing of all kinds showed an average expansion of 8'5 per cent over the first quarter of 1935.
The forestry group of industries showed marked expansion in 1935.
One of the most important signs of a more healthy business condition is that industrial and commercial earnings are continuing to show improvement. An analysis of the record of earnings of 241 leading Canadian corpora-
The Budget-Mr. Hyndman
tions discloses that net earnings are about eight per cent greater for the latest fiscal year than for the previous fiscal period.
In another section he says:
A very interesting feature of our Canadian economy is the remarkable degree of stability in the price level during the last two years.
Then I come to what impressed me as the most striking statement of the minister, the one which interests me most:
Unfortunately, our most important primary industry cannot boast such results. Agriculture has again suffered from climatic hazards, restricted markets and low prices.
Not only are these statements of the Minister of Finance a tribute to the last administration, but I think the minister therein puts his finger on the crux of this whole situation. In other words, agriculture has not progressed as it should in the past five years. We have to do something for the agricultural class in this country. I do not mean the farmers of the west; in my opinion, as I will show later, the farmers of the west have been getting too much. It is true, as the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Spence) stated in this house, that the western farmers have been spoon-fed long enough. Go over the budgets of the past, as far back as you like, and if you can show me-one instance in which the farmers of Ontario, Quebec or the maritimes were helped in any shape or form, outside of the small bonus on cheese given last fall by the late Conservative government, I shall be very much surprised. I can take you back over the budgets of the last number of years and show you where millions and millions have been passed out to the western farmer. I have every sympathy with the farmers of the west, but, I say it with all sincerity, the farmers of the west have absolutely no one to blame but themselves. Some twenty years ago I graduated from college, and when I came home the big cry was, "Go west, young man; go west"! I did not go west; I stayed here in the east and practised my profession. For the next few years my friends were coming home from the west spending money like drunken sailors; they were prosperous and chaffed me about staying here in the east. But I stayed in the east and got along without any help, and that is what the farmers of Ontario and Quebec have been doing. They have not been complaining much; they have not asked for much, and they have been getting no help. But in the west it is a different story; the farmers there are continually coming to this government and asking for bonuses on wheat-we have heard so much here about wheat since this house opened that it is disheartening to the members of this house from Ontario
and Quebec and the maritime provinces. True, as I said, I have every sympathy with the farmers in the west, but let them buckle down themselves and suffer a little bit. I fully realize that I am going to be followed this afternoon by a number of members from the west and I know I shall be roasted for that statement. That is quite all right. I want them to go over the budgets and the estimates of the last number of years and if they can show where the eastern farmer has received anything, then I will retract my statement.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE