Joseph-Arthur BRADETTE

BRADETTE, The Hon. Joseph-Arthur, B.A.

Personal Data

Cochrane (Ontario)
Birth Date
October 16, 1886
Deceased Date
September 12, 1961
farmer, merchant

Parliamentary Career

September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
  Timiskaming North (Ontario)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Timiskaming North (Ontario)
October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
  Cochrane (Ontario)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  Cochrane (Ontario)
  • Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons (February 25, 1943 - April 16, 1945)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Cochrane (Ontario)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  Cochrane (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 451)

April 9, 1951

Mr. Bradette:

I am sure the whip will

follow the same course on this occasion. We are here as free people and as members of a national party. We will vote according to our conscience and according to what we believe is best for the Canadian people as a whole and the people of our own constituencies. We enjoy the benefits of a free democracy in this country. Under such a way of living no doubt we reap wonderful benefits but at the same time there are also weaknesses in the system that must of necessity be overcome not only by the effort of the government, but also by every citizen. No government would be strong enough to overcome a situation like the present one by itself unless it has full co-operation by all. Every citizen of the country who is worthy of the name must make the necessary sacrifices in order that the system we cherish, our freedom and democracy, our parliamentary system, our right to free expression, may be preserved.

That does not mean regimentation. It means the free will of a free people to do

Cost of Living

things according to their conscience. It means the freedom of a member of parliament to vote according to his own conscience in the best interests of his friends, his constituency and the country as a whole. The easiest way for the government to settle the question of the high cost of living would be to impose controls all across the board. That would be the easiest way, but would it be a really democratic way? Would it really be a solution? Under the present circumstances will the Canadian people be ready and willing to accept such a method of governing the country and regulating the actions of our people at the present time? Personally I would say absolutely no, that it would not be acceptable to the Canadian people.

It is true that during time of stress, time of war, when our young men and women are willing and ready to make the greatest sacrifice that human beings are called upon to make, to give their lives for their country because of certain ideals, then the citizens as a whole are willing to make certain sacrifices, and controls will then work. However, some people must have short memories when they clamour for controls such as we had during the last war. How many times have I seen newspapers and periodicals cursing controls and criticizing Donald Gordon! How many times have I had private conversations with representatives of industry and others who were maligning the name of the man who administered controls and his personnel, although he made a marvellous job of it and was a fine Canadian. It was not always pleasant for him. How many times have I heard my own family, relatives and friends in my own constituency abusing the system and the government of the time although they were doing a magnificent job!

When we speak of controls let us be careful about it. Does anyone in the house want control now all across the board on all commodities, control that will affect our exports and imports? Certainly people are not ready for such a situation. I notice that the amendment moved this afternoon by the leader of the opposition is well guarded in its language. You heard it, and I will read it again. It is as follows:

This house is of the opinion that in view of the announcement made on Wednesday last of the greatest monthly increase in Canadian cost of living during the month of February to the disastrously high level of 179-7, immediate consideration should be given to the adoption of appropriate measures to hold down the cost of living and halt inflation.

There is no mention of control there. I can only see one primary reason why control is not mentioned. I refer to what the leader of the opposition said in the House of Commons on February 21, 1949. I will read

Cost of Living

his words in French because at the moment I only have the French copy of the speech that he made. He said:


Mechanism of a dictatorship:

I do again urge members, and particularly those on the government side, to read carefully these arbitrary powers, these orders in council carried forward by statutory enactment, and which we are asked again now, in 1949, four years after the termination of hostilities, to renew. There you will see the mechanism of dictatorship. There you will see power to exercise almost unlimited authority over agriculture, over industry and over the economy of our country. Wider powers could hardly be imagined. And those pokers are exercised, not under the direct authority of parliament, but under the executive power of the government itself, without any clear definition of their limitations or purpose.

I remember perfectly that during the last federal elections, my Conservative opponent went around my riding saying that the leader of the opposition . . .


During the last election the leader of the opposition was saying that controls should be abolished immediately. I do not know how the leader of the C.C.F. party could interpret the amendment moved this afternoon as involving absolute controls so far as Canada is concerned. It certainly is not there. If the amendment carried, there, would be no implication of such a scheme. If you read the amendment you will see that the word "control" is not even mentioned.

In this country the cost of living is affected in two different ways. We are a great exporting country, I believe the fifth in the world, and for that reason our national economy of necessity must be very sensitive to the export trade. We have to buy raw rubber from the United States, for instance. In January, 1950, rubber stood at 44; in December of 1950 it was 164. We have to buy raw wool from the United States, Australia and Britain.

Full View Permalink

April 9, 1951

Mr. Bradette:

I did not get that. Wool

stood at 157 in January of 1950. In December of 1950 it was 304. In the past we often heard our good friends of the C.C.F. party say that if only there were socialist governments in Europe and Britain there would be no possibility of any profiteering as far as production was concerned. Well, we have had socialist governments for the last four years or more in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain, and we have seen those three governments corner the wool market of the world. Did they do that for the benefit of the rest of the commonwealth or for the

good of the rest of the world? No; they did it to make a profit out of the sale of that wool. When the Canadian people buy wool, they have absolutely nothing to say as far as the price is concerned; they must pay what is asked for it.

These matters we must keep in mind in a discussion of this kind. Take cotton yarn and thread. In January, 1950, they were 164; in December they were 169. Take iron and steel billets, partly imported; they went from 187 to 207. Certainly we have no control over those prices. No matter what the Canadian government might do, no matter how hard we might try to get these things from Great Britain or the United States for less money, we have no power to bring about a reduction of any kind. Let us take some other items that enter into the cost of living. Who would dare to say we should stop Canadian farmers selling their beef in the United States market? I well remember the agitation some three years ago when the farmers wanted access to that market, and rightly so. That is one of the principal reasons for the high cost of beef at the present time, but who would dare to say the government should tell the farmers we are going to put an embargo on the export of beef? We all know what would be the reaction of farmers in this country from coast to coast.

These are things we must have in mind in discussing this question. Look at lumber. What would happen if we put an embargo on the export of lumber, and took away from our producers the markets they have in the United States and Britain? There would be a great hue and cry on the part of the lumber operators of this country, and rightly so. In my own constituency we have two newsprint mills and one sulphite mill, and every pound of that production goes to the United States. We all know what has happened to the price of newsprint in the last three years. It has increased by at least 200 per cent. Would it be practical or feasible for the government to say that the price of newsprint must be reduced to what it was three years ago? These are some of the things that we as parliamentarians must thoroughly consider if we are to deal with these matters logically, for these things make one realize how difficult it is for the government to please everyone.

We export many other things. Most of the copper from Noranda and from the big smelters in British Columbia goes to the United States market. We also export to that market zinc, some lead and other metals, and we are glad to have such a market. Is there anything we could do about those prices? Then there is nickel, one of the

biggest, yes the biggest, mining industries in Canada, employing thousands of people and adding so much to our national economy. All that production goes to the United States. Are we going to lower these prices even though our neighbours are willing and ready to pay them? I just bring these points to the attention of the house to help every hon. member realize how difficult it is to deal with a question of this kind at the present time and satisfy everyone.

I spoke to my own people only a few days ago and told them there were many ways in which the Canadian people could help. I am going to enumerate some of those ways. It is surprising that the cost of living should have increased so much during the month of February, but in large part that was due to the fact that during the course of last fall most of the raw material that had to be bought by the United States and Canada had increased in price tremendously. Now the cost of production of the finished article has almost caught up. In the United States, for example, the average price of goods at retail increased only 10 per cent in the nine months between March, 1950, and January, 1951. This is a small increase when compared with the increase in the cost of raw materials. But it is not likely that the gap will last much longer. As the raw materials which were bought at the higher prices get into the finished products, the cost of those products will go up also.

This is not a pleasant situation to face, but we must be realists and study it from all angles. Wishful thinking will not settle the problem. Obviously as long as the countries of the world are bidding against each other for basic raw materials such as wool, cotton, rubber, lumber and lumber products including newsprint, sulphite, wood pulp and so on, and base metals and farm products, Canada has to go along with them or do without. Are we going to do without cotton or without wool? Are we going to do without rubber? I just leave that thought with hon. members to answer for themselves and their constituents. That is why the United States, Britain and France are trying to get the main producing and consuming countries outside the Russian orbit together to devise ways of distributing scarce materials they all want. The whole world wants those scarce materials.

After the last war all nations shared the fear of a depression. They were afraid that what happened only a few years after world war I would recur with all the other disturbing factors that such an economic calamity brings with it. So government policies were formulated, with well prepared

Cost of Living

blueprints properly drawn, designed to bring about full industrial activity, fair prices for our agricultural production, almost full employment and plenty of production to meet the requirements of the consuming public. Under that planning it was hoped that there would be no inflationary or deflationary extremes. Of course practically all those high hopes were built upon the premise that after the complete defeat of the axis powers upon the battlefield we had every reason to expect that the whole world was going to enjoy a very long, if not a permanent, period of peace which would allow it to recover from the terrific loss of life, the tremendous destruction, the misery and despair which followed that war. We must carry that thought in our mind as well, because in part at least the present situation has resulted from the policies of Hitler and Mussolini from 1939 to 1945, and indeed from world war I. We are still feeling the effects of some legacies of both wars.

The organization of the united nations in San Francisco enhanced1 those hopes, which unfortunately did not come to fruition. Instead of unity and understanding among the nations the world found itself divided' into two camps, in fact into two worlds. In the other camp was Soviet Russia with all her might, her advantageous position, the well organized and ruthless tentacles of Moscow communism spreading into every part of the world and the so-called1 cold war. The destruction of human lives and material resources has had a devastating effect upon us. Most of the high cost of living of the present time must be traced to Joe Stalin, with his expansionist policies and the threats of war he is making all over the world. At the present time we know that pressure is being brought upon parliament to apply price controls at once. This measure could easily be passed by the government, but would it be the real solution? Will the Canadian people accept drastic controls under the conditions existing? They worked relatively well during the last war, but they were also highly criticized as I said a few moments ago. The people do not like to be pushed around by too many governmental restrictions, at least not the Canadian people, unless there is a national emergency.

I have no doubt there are many measures that could be applied which are within the power of our people, if they are willing to put them into practice. I know I shall be criticized for some of the statements I am going to make now, but I am speaking my mind sincerely and honestly as a Canadian citizen. There are certain measures which people may be willing to practise under dire circumstances which will perhaps prove to be

Cost of Living

a deterrent to the high cost of living. If labour, for instance, were willing to increase the length of the work week by ten per cent from forty to forty-four or forty-eight hours, and I say that deliberately, it would increase the national output by eight or twelve per cent. No matter what one may say about shorter hours with the same take-home pay, that does not increase national production.

Mention was made this afternoon of the high cost of farm implements. These implements do have a high cost but the farmer also has to pay about three times what he used to pay for hired help. Even during the haying season or the crop season most of the men who used to work on the farm will not work there unless they get the forty hour week. They will not work in the rain-I do not altogether blame them for that, but they will not work any more than eight hours no matter what the condition of the hay may be. They will not work after six o'clock either. All this has increased the farmers' cost of production. The labour unions would do well to think about this principle, too. Three years ago I was at a party in the home of one of our national labour leaders. It was mooted at the time that they might have a strike in the General Motors plant at Oshawa. Two prominent leaders were advancing an argument that even if the men did get an increase of fifteen per cent in their wages that would not increase the cost of production of those automobiles. I told them that I did not want to enter into a discussion, but even a labour leader could not make me believe that when wages are increased in an industry like the automotive industry or on the farm or in any other industry by fifteen per cent, the cost of production will not increase by that amount. You cannot get away from that simple principle of mathematics.

I am not against what labour has done. During the last war labour and its leaders did a magnificent job. We do not want to see the old days return. In my youth while working in the lumber camps in the province of Quebec I suffered from poor labour conditions. I do not want that to happen to my young brethren in the northern part of the province today. At the same time every citizen of Canada, including the labour union leaders, the farmers and the professional men, all have some duties to perform under present conditions. We need more consumer goods to absorb the increased purchasing power. Of course, economically speaking, the best results will be obtained from the workers producing more by working harder and more efficiently. They did that during the war, and they do that most of the time without any increase in pay. All

the extra people, all the extra hours that we can get to increase our productivity are going to help reduce the high cost of living; that applies to every citizen in this country. There are certain conditions which attach to this principle, the first being that the extra wages should not go straight into the spending stream. I could give some lists as to how we are spending at the present time. It is true that they have a right to do it, but so far as our economy is concerned it is not the principle our forefathers were practising. For instance, there is the attendance at movies. I go there myself, and I have no regret on that score. Take the man who is spending money on liquor or consider the amount that is being spent on tobacco. I just mention those facts so that the house will realize that, as the leader of the opposition and the other party leaders said this afternoon, those who are living on a pension or with set incomes are no doubt badly hit, but generally speaking our citizens are reasonably prosperous.

I was speaking to some lumbermen in my section during the Easter recess. During last winter some of them earned from $12 to $16 per day. They are spending money and they have the money to spend. Take the men who are working in the big mills in Kapuskasing. I believe they earn something like $2 per hour. They are not feeling the effects of the high cost of living to the same extent. We are not all in that fortunate position, and to that extent I agree with what has been said. The leader of the C.C.F. party mentioned one or two particular cases in which some people were in dire circumstances. When the leader of a party takes the trouble of citing one instance in which the family is suffering-I admit that should not be tolerated-I believe he is not being fair when he does not give the other side of the picture. I can give that picture. Since the last war many of the people in my constituency have started little grocery stores or restaurants, small enterprises like garages, et cetera, with small amounts of capital. Today they are out of the red and some of them are worth $10,000 or $20,000. This picture can be repeated from coast to coast. We realize that, as the leader of the C.C.F. party said this afternoon, there is some suffering. I could cite some very bad cases myself, but it is not the general situation. Perhaps it is not the fault of the father or the mother, but in some cases it may be the fault of one or the other. Generally speaking, people who are healthy and who have a good occupation are not feeling the pinch as they did in the period 1930-35, and they certainly do not want to go back to those times.

We want to increase the supply of goods so that production will increase more than the demand. Ta:xes will play a part in this, but they cannot be a cure-all and it is not a real remedy. Our good Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) has received a lot of publicity during the last few months about the terrible budget he is going to give this house tomorrow night. He is responsible for the finances of this country. Since I do not know that I shall have another opportunity, I am taking this occasion to compliment him for the good job he has done as Minister of Finance, a very difficult responsibility indeed.

It is recognized that there are drastic ways of curbing inflation, and that they are effective. There is practically no inflation in Russia, but do we want our government to copy the Russian method of deterring inflation? I well recall that only about three years ago we heard of an order given by the Russian government which meant a loss of forty to fifty per cent to the citizens in that country of all the bonds that they had bought during the war. We do not want that to happen in Canada. In Russia all the goods are rationed. They have very little butter. They have practically no meat, but they have many guns and aeroplanes. We know that, and we have to make some sacrifices to meet that threat. Surely, we do not want this parliament to copy the attitude or attempt the methods that Russia has adopted to deter inflation. Surely, we do not want that to happen here. What a marvellous gesture it would be for example

I speak only for myself in this case-if I forgot the interest on my bonds during the next four or five years. I hope I have the courage to do it, and if it was generalized no doubt it would be helpful in aiding in solving inflation.

What about management? Up to the present time our people have had confidence in the Liberal party because we believe in the free play of supply and demand. In the election of 1945 there were no faux-fuyants so far as our policies were concerned. We went to the Canadian people and told them we would gradually remove controls once the war was over. We have done that and the people voted for us in 1945. They voted for us again in 1949 because they had confidence in the principles of Liberalism. But at the same time, did all the manufacturers, did all the wholesalers or the retailers play fair with the government, or our present system and way of living? No doubt there have been some cases where there have been exorbitant profits that have not been warranted, that were unfair to their customers; and unless they mend their ways the government must of necessity to some extent step

Cost of Living

in and stop those activities and some of those excessive profits.

What about the wholesalers? If tomorrow they will say we will accept 10 per cent less gross profits, that would be a marvellous and helpful gesture. What about the retailers in the same way accepting 5 per cent or 10 per cent less, always having regard to the losses they may have in collection and general expense. These are matters we could explain, the same as I did in my own section, to make the people realize that they cannot expect the government to settle alone by itself the high cost of living at the present time but that we must all put our shoulders to the load. Even in peacetime we cannot completely rule out controls. There are limits to fiscal and monetary policy, and no democratic government can do more than is warranted by the active support of its people.

I was in my home town a few days ago and I saw one man buying twenty cases of sweet biscuits. That was hoarding. I know that some people bought sugar at the beginning of the war around 1940 and still have some left. That also was hoarding. I was told by a storekeeper in. the drygoods business, an excellent and alert businessman, that at the present time the retail trade is buying as much as they can because they are afraid the price of men's clothing and of women's clothing will go up after this coming budget. You read in the newspapers a few days ago-I do not know how true it is; I read it myself; that is all I can say about it-that in British Columbia some clubs there bought some liquor to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars because they feared that as a result of the budget tomorrow there would be an increase in the excise tax on liquor. These are examples of things that the Canadian, people do not want to see done generally at the present time or in fact at any time. It is not playing the game with our country. It is not playing the game with themselves either.

This is no time for any businessman to think that he should get all he can while the getting is good. It is no time for the labour union leader to think his union should get all that it can while the getting is good. In that leadership there are good men who realize the seriousness of the situation. I do not want to believe some of the headlines that I saw on Friday and Saturday when information came out from the bureau of statistics to the effect that the cost of living had increased by 4 points or more. They said that we were going to have some labour trouble in Canada. That is not the kind of leadership they have given us during the last seven or eight years. It was better leadership than that. If they have grievances, they should present them to

Cost of Living

the Canadian people, through their government, in a practical way, in order to be listened to by Canada as a whole.

This is no time for the man with money to think that he has the right to hoard and to bid for scarce goods, letting the devil take the hindmost. In doing so, they are all inviting inflation, inviting controls and, perhaps, unwittingly working for the communists. Again I repeat what I said before. There is no doubt that the high cost of living that we have at the present time is to some extent playing into the hands of Joe Stalin and into the hands of international communism, because they can point out what are faults in the economy of the capitalistic system and if unchecked may be conducive to bankruptcy. Again I repeat that the remedy lies with the government and also with every one of our citizens. We all have serious obligations to discharge on that score.

Our people are made of better fibre than that and, as in all times of crisis, they will rise as before to the occasion; and by the help and co-operation of all, they will surmount this difficulty in the same manner and in the same spirit as that they so readily demonstrated during the last two great wars, which gained for us the admiration of all the nations that were in a position to know of our accomplishments.

Again I repeat that we should always remember this. A country like Canada, which of necessity needs world markets for our great exports, cannot entirely control the cost of living. How many pounds of tea do we produce here in Canada? Tea is high in price at the present time, but we have nothing to do with the price of tea over the counter at the moment. How many pounds of coffee do we produce here in this country? Not a single pound. We have to buy it from South America and the South Americans will not accept dictation from Canadians with regard to the price of coffee, no matter how much they like us; we have to accept their quotations. These are matters of supply and demand, of interchange between countries of the world in which one trader cannot dictate to the other in the matter of prices. The same thing applies as forcibly as I mentioned a few minutes ago to the sales that we make to all the nations of the world, for which we get much higher prices than we did six, seven or eight years ago. We cannot and will not put embargoes on our exports at the present time. We still need United States dollars. We want the export markets to be wide open to us. We need to keep our balance of trade. These are necessities, and the leaders of this country must recognize them, and to interfere with them would prove disastrous.

I appreciate this opportunity which has been given to me to make these statements. I made them sincerely and I spoke from the heart. I know that in some sections what I have said will not be popular, but I believe it is my implicit duty to give expression to these thoughts, which I believe are shared by the people I represent at the moment.

I always very much admired the great artistry-I believe that is the proper expression-of the Canadian parliamentary system which is based almost entirely upon the British parliamentary system, with all its common sense and safeguards. Today, on the motion to go into committee of supply, opportunity was given to hon. members to speak on an important problem on which no doubt we shall spend quite a few hours. Buit I believe this is the time and place to compliment the previous speakers-the leader of the opposition and the leaders of the other parties-for expressing their opinions in a clear-cut and forceful way, although you could tell that they all realized the seriousness of the situation. The leader of the opposition was not entirely drastic in his request for controls. He did not make any such plea. We do not want absolute controls that will cut all across the economy. He does not want that because he knows it is not practical. From 1930 to 1935 I sat on the opposition benches and I saw from there the efforts of a fine man, the late Lord Bennett, who was caught in a situation that no human being no matter how gifted he might be, no parliament or no nation could have solved1. I refer to the depression. For five solid years that man must have worked an average of sixteen hours a day. He did the best he could under the circumstances. But sometimes there are certain problems that are outside, bigger and beyond the orbit of a parliament or of a nation.

Today I do not believe that many Canadian people think that we can, as the leader of the C.C.F. said, roll back the high cost of living. You cannot roll back the high cost of living at the present time as you roll back a 20-foot log. You cannot do it in that way, unless you take some drastic measures which the Canadian people will resent for the next decades to come. You must use the system that you have at the present time, try to comprehend the mentality of the Canadian people and in close co-operation with them try to do what is best for them and1 the nation as a whole. We all realize that unchecked! inflation would be calamitous for this country. It is a dangerous issue. The leader of the C.C.F. party made it quite clear from the history of what happened to Germany and what happened to other nations.

We do not want that to happen to Canada. We must always remember this. The government does not deserve to be criticized if they are looking closely at what is happening in the United States, and at their experience with control, under present conditions. Perhaps it is not working as they would like to see it work, but I have no doubt it is doing some good. Already the government, through the good offices of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe), has looked after some control of commodities in short supply. He has done a good job on that score. Let us take, for example, the buying of automobiles: there are some restrictions today; you have to pay 50 per cent of the purchase price. That is also a step in the right direction. With all these matters up for discussion in the house, I believe it is our implicit duty to tell every one of our constituents that parliament is fully alive to this situation but that it is also fully aware of the legacy which has been imposed upon us and which we are not asking for and which is certainly not of our own making. If the great hopes we had in San Francisco had been fulfilled, if at the present time there were no two worlds, if we had communication as we have between businessmen and had friendly diplomatic relations with Soviet Russia and her satellites, how different the situation would be at the present time- undoubtedly fruitful it would be to allin offering amendments to the motion to go into supply I sometimes think that hon. members go too far. I believe it was only two years ago that the leader of the C.C.F. party offered an amendment to the motion for supply in which he deplored the unemployment situation at that time. We realize that there were signs of unemployment, but most of it was of a seasonal nature. At the same time the discussion was a good one. Hon. members will recall the dire calamities the hon. member suggested would fall upon the Canadian people. He talked blue ruin at the time. In my view that was not the proper way to discuss unemployment.

I must say that this afternoon the discussion was somewhat more elevating. Hon. members who spoke seemed to be trying to suggest ways and means whereby a solution would be found-because it must be kept in mind that no party, no matter what it happens to be, could take the credit to itself for getting a solution which would be reasonably satisfactory in settling to a certain extent the condition of inflation and the high cost of living now prevailing.

Cost of Living

Full View Permalink

April 9, 1951

Mr. J. A. Bradette (Cochrane):

Mr. Speaker, I am taking this opportunity to present in these precincts some of the reactions that I received from my constituents during the Easter recess. Every member of parliament, no doubt every senator, and certainly the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) and every member of the cabinet are fully aware of the high cost of living at the present time. They have felt it themselves and they were told by their constituents. Everyone now listening to me no doubt has received since the beginning of the session a nice white square card on which there are words to the effect that members of parliament should see to it that the cost of living is drastically reduced. I am going to speak my mind openly as I always have, and I believe I will be expressing the sentiments of the people whom I have the honour to represent. However, even a member of parliament has to be guarded at times, and the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) this afternoon, and also the leader of the C.C.F. party and the leader of the Social Credit party, were guarded to some extent in the statements they made on this very important subject.

I qualify my remarks by stating that during the last war I was a member and vicechairman of the war expenditures committee. At one of its sittings-and I knew that goods were being rationed and there was control on the commodities of life-very innocently I had the audacity to state that I thought there was too much advertising in the press of the country, not only of the commodities of life but also of some of the luxuries. I also mentioned the fact that large catalogues of hundreds of pages were still being issued, and the housewife would only get an average of about one article out of six when she ordered. You should have seen the kind of press I received and the kind of unfavourable publicity my remarks gained1 for me in every section of Canada.

I do not know why it should not be possible for a member of parliament to try to represent his riding sincerely and honestly and to speak the truth as he sees it. Before I proceed any further 1 must make one point very clear. There are three newsprint and sulphite industries in my constituency and I know that the government is now going to carry out some kind of control on the export price of

that production. If we are going to have controls on commodities we must have control of wages also. You cannot separate the one from the other. Any man who knows anything about elementary mathematics should realize that two and two make four and nothing else, no matter what some leaders may say.

I was astonished this afternoon when the leader of the C.C.F. party, for whom I have a high personal regard and respect, kept away from that situation. Again let me make the situation very clear to parliament and to the people whom I represent at the moment. You cannot have price control unless you also have wage control. I make that statement very deliberately indeed because there is no other way to deal in a practical and logical manner with the problem that is agitating the minds of the people of Canada at the moment. The leader of the C.C.F. party made a special appeal at the end of his speech to the Liberal representatives in the house. I am going to vote against the amendment. I am going to vote with my party, and I am not ashamed of doing so. I am proud of it.

I must tell the leader of the C.C.F. party that there must be very rigid controls so far as their whip is concerned. I have been a member of parliament for many years, and I have not heard a single word from any of the Liberal whips who have served over those many years as to the way that I should vote. I was never told how to vote on any question.

Full View Permalink

April 6, 1951

Mr. J. A. Bradeiie (Cochrane):

Mr. Speaker, before I proceed to my main remarks, which are going to be fairly brief, may I say that I believe it is my duty and obligation to say a few words on this very important resolution, the primary reason being that for twenty-three years of my public life I have had the great honour of representing one of the greatest gold-producing regions of our country, the Porcupine section. In that occupation I have always pursued a middle course between producers and labour. I have always had the respect and attention of both parties, and from that experience I have an idea of the importance of gold mining to the national economy of Canada. I want to compliment the present Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys (Mr. Prudham) on the resolution, and also on his appointment as minister. I know he will follow in the footsteps of his predecessors of the Conservative and Liberal parties. Whoever they were they always made a point to come on the ground and study the situation that existed in the gold mining sections of Canada.

A few weeks prior to the appointment of the present minister we had the pleasure and the good fortune of having a visit from the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. McCann), who at that time also held the mines portfolio, to the northern section of the province of Quebec and the Kirkland Lake and Porcupine regions. As had been done on other occasions by previous ministers, he showed by the speeches he made, and at the meetings he

had with management and labour and the public, that he was fully familiar with the existing situation and the dire necessity of maintaining some assistance so far as the gold mining industry of Canada was concerned. I listened very attentively to the speech of the hon. member for Eglinton (Mr. Fleming). As usual he was eloquent; he presented some good arguments; I know he was sincere, and I compliment him on his remarks. I am not going to try to follow the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore), who spoke almost entirely on the Bretton Woods agreement. All I want to say at this point is that the agreement did give us a yardstick based on gold standard; that is why gold is mentioned in the agreement.

I do not entirely agree with the statement of the hon. member for Eglinton that the present government has done almost everything possible to be disagreeable to the gold mining industry. After all, the situation confronting the gold mining industry in Canada was not created by the government. I remember vividly when Mr. Ilsley, then minister of finance, announced to parliament and the country that the Canadian dollar would be placed on a par with the United States dollar. I knew the gold mining industry of this country was going to be hit. That very night, while I was still listening to the minister of finance, I received phone calls from some people vitally interested in that industry. I told them there was no doubt they were going to be hit, but that personally I felt that in bringing the Canadian dollar to parity with the United States dollar the government was doing a good thing for the country as a whole and that some remedies would be found. I believe I was right in what I said at that time, and the Canadian people have agreed with me. That evening I also received three telephone calls from high officials of large newsprint and sulphite industries in my constituency, asking what was going to happen to them. I told them not to worry, because the prices of newsprint and sulphite were flexible and could go up or down as required, following world prices. I was much more worried about the gold mining industry, in which the price was standardized and is still standardized at $35 an ounce, than I was worried about the newsprint industry. As it has turned out I was absolutely right. We all know what happened to newsprint, pulp, sulphite, lumber and almost everything else. Lumber, for example, has gone up from 200 to 400 per cent since those days.

The Canadian parliament, and more particularly those hon. members in whose ridings gold mining was a very important factor, knew the situation was serious. I remember

that my dear colleague from Timiskaming spoke to me the same night, saying, "Joe, what are we going to do?" I replied that there was only one thing to do; we would go back to our respective constituencies and tell them the exact situation. They were reasonable people; they were good Canadians, and they would understand the situation. If it was a good thing for Canada as a whole to bring the Canadian dollar to parity I was sure our people would accept it, though it might seriously affect the gold mining industry. That is what we did. Within two weeks we visited our section of the country and explained the situation. Our people understood, though naturally they expected that the matter would receive the attention it deserved from the federal treasury, and to a large degree these hopes have been fulfilled. I agree with the hon. member for Eglinton that we should not necessarily be completely satisfied with this legislation. We want more. We are something like the western farmers, the eastern industrialists and all the others; the more we get the better we are pleased, though at the same time we are very practical in our requests.

I believe this is a good measure. The hon. member for Eglinton asked for permanent legislation but I must say that at the present time it is absolutely impossible to have permanent legislation as far as gold production is concerned. The hon. member made another statement with which I do not agree when he said that government officials and perhaps other people in Canada thought that if we increased the price of gold here it would have an inflationary effect. I have never heard one Canadian express the opinion that a higher price for gold would be inflationary. That statement has always come from the United States.

Full View Permalink

April 6, 1951

Mr. Bradefle:

I am glad to accept that

statement, because I do not know of any Canadian who would argue that an increase in the price of gold in Canada would be inflationary. Three years ago I visited Washington where I had some discussion and argument with some high officials of the government. They told us very definitely that it was impossible for the United States to increase the price of gold. At the time we thought we might have a chance to get some $10 to $15 more an ounce. I argued

Gold Mining

until I was blue in the face trying to show them that an increase in the price could not possibly be inflationary. I tried to point out that the United States was the greatest holder of gold bullion in the world, and that if the price was increased by their own volition it would only be beneficial to that great country. However, that feeling still prevails among the higher officials of the United States, and I believe it is one of the things on which the president is absolutely convinced.

Now I am going to say a few words about the Bretton Woods agreement, because in several places it mentions the necessity for at least a 25 per cent gold backing for that fund. I do not entirely agree with the opinion of the hon. member for Lethbridge. In my opinion the Bretton Woods agreement was a wonderful thing, not only for Canada, but for the whole of the civilized world. When that agreement was drawn up mentioning gold it showed that there was a reason for that metal; it showed there was a need for such a yardstick for our own monetary system and that of practically every other country. That is the first point in favour of gold production. Then there is a demand for gold by artists and craftsmen, in dentistry, and for many other things for which people would gladly buy gold if it were available. For instance, I believe that if tomorrow our mint should issue say $50 million in $5 and $10 gold pieces, they would be distributed within two or three weeks at the most. People want something tangible in their monetary system which they feel they do not have at the present time. They are right, of course, in that feeling, but I am just giving the opinion of the people in my own constituency. Only last evening at the reception at the French embassy I was told by a Frenchman from North Africa that practically the only currency which was accepted during the war in North Africa, Spanish Morocco, Sicily and southern Italy was the $5 and $10 gold pieces carrying the United States eagle. He told me, and I believe it to be true, that those gold pieces had saved the lives of hundreds, yes thousands of young Americans, Canadians and allied troops.

So there is a meaning for gold in our monetary system; and if there is a meaning and acceptance of it there is no reason why it should not be dealt with at least to some extent as other mining like base metals and other production is dealt with. We all know what has happened to steel, copper, lead, zinc and all the other metals. Mind you, gold is one of the most difficult metals to extract from the entrails of the earth. There is no placer gold in northern Ontario. At

Gold Mining

the present time there is only a little placer gold in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. There is no placer gold in northern Quebec or the Kirkland Lake section. It comes from solid rock, and many of the mines are operating today only by the skin of their teeth. The Hollinger mine, for instance, has always been working some very low grade ore, on which they pay very small dividends indeed. It is only because of the ingenuity of the men running these mines, their good management and the fine miners working in them that they have been able to keep in operation. What has happened to the base metals? What has happened even to silver? What has happened to cobalt and to aluminum?

The prices of those products have increased by twenty per cent, forty per cent, sixty per cent and in some cases by three hundred per cent. Gold production has remained absolutely stationary. This is a situation which cannot be tolerated much longer because gold production looms large in our national economy, as the member for Eglinton said so well a few moments ago. It has its beneficial effect in all streams of our Canadian life. It affects, beneficially, the cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, regardless of what the member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Gibson) states. In our section we buy a lot of lumber from the hon. member's province, and we pay a great deal more for it than we used to pay. We are not complaining about that. The hon. member ought to realize what gold has meant to all sections of Canada, even the Yukon Territory, in the past, what it may mean in the future.

I have at least established this argument that gold is a metal which is not only being used as the yardstick for the monetary systems of most of the nations of the world, but it is a metal that the people generally throughout the world will accept, whether it be minted or in any other form. I recall that my grandfather had one of those heavy gold chains. I believe it was almost pure gold, twenty-four carat. It was an heirloom and he cherished it. If you try to buy one of those gold chains today, you will not be able to get it. Only a few days ago I was in one of the large jewelry shops in Ottawa. I was told by a responsible man in that shop that if they were allowed to buy gold and use it as they liked in jewelry they would buy hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of gold. There is a reason for gold; there is a necessity for gold; there is a demand for gold. If there is a demand, it should follow the trend of other metals.

If there is no necessity for that yardstick in our monetary system, if the people do not request it, let us close the mines and forget about it. Then, you will have an immediate reaction because gold will always be a metal that not only carries glamour but has general acceptability. To illustrate to the Canadian people what it is worth in international transactions, I shall read a few sections of the Bretton Woods Agreements Act. Article IV, par values of currencies, section 8 dealing with maintenance of gold value of the fund's assets, reads:

The gold value of the fund's assets shall be maintained notwithstanding changes in the par or foreign exchange value of the currency of any member.

There, you see the thread of my argument. I am not speaking as a theorist because I participated in the discussion. A member of the Social Credit party was in attendance, and when that paragraph was mentioned it was agreed to by the member for Acadia (Mr. Quelch). I always listen to him with attention because he is well versed in the monetary systems, not only of Canada but of the world. Then, subsection (b) reads:

Whenever the par value of a member's currency is reduced, or the foreign exchange value of a member's currency has, in the opinion of the fund, depreciated to a significant extent within that member's territories, the member shall pay to the fund within a reasonable time an amount of its own currency equal to the reduction in the gold value of its currency held by the fund.

Again there is mention of gold there. It never disappears from that act.

Subsection (c) reads:

Whenever the par value of a member's currency is increased, the fund shall return to such member within a reasonable time an amount in its currency equal to the increase in the gold value of its currency held by the fund.

I shall not read at length, but I should like to cite one other section to show how important gold is considered. Article V, transactions with the fund, section 6, page 9 of the act reads:

Any member desiring to obtain, directly or indirectly, the currency of another member for gold shall, provided that it can do so with equal advantage, acquire it by the sale of gold to the fund.

Subsection (b) reads:

Nothing in this section shall be deemed to preclude any member from selling in any market gold newly produced from mines located within its territories.

Now, the terms of this subsection might seem to be ambiguous, but at the same time there is a good reason for it. This is not the time or place to discuss the reasons. I believe that these sections will prove to parliament that there is a necessity for maintaining the solidarity of something so basic

so far as the Bretton Woods fund is concerned, regardless of what some members say on that score. I agree with the member for Eglinton (Mr. Fleming) when he says that in the world of today gold should at least be twenty-five per cent of the currency used. There is no reason in the world why we should be denied a good price for gold because of this act. We are in a very difficult position so far as gold is concerned. I am no prophet, but I believe that if gold mining played as important a part in the economy of the United States as it does in Canada, the price of gold would have been increased quite a few years ago. South Africa and Canada are to a large extent dependent on gold and the largest producers, excluding Russia-we have no access there at the present time, although they have found it possible to unload a very large amount in recent years on the money markets of the world.

It should be within the orbit of the government, and within the power of this parliament, to tell the Bretton Woods management that it is unfair to Canada so far as the price of gold is concerned to have it pegged at the present price. I am not going to argue that point at any greater length. I believe I have shown parliament the necessity of getting a good price for our gold. I do not like subsidies. I believe I was interrupted by a C.C.F. member a year or two ago when I said I have always been against subsidies. What else can one do under circumstances of this nature? You are dealing with a metal which is, in certain circumstances, a commodity. It is used as the yardstick for the monetary systems of the world, but the price of gold has remained stationary, it has remained pegged. What would the western farmers say today if the price of wheat were the same as during the depression years? What would the lumber operators say if the price were the same as it was sixteen years ago? I would be the first one to get on my feet, under those circumstances, and speak in favour of the lumber industry and the farmers. The gold mining section of Canada is not prejudiced; we always take a national viewpoint. When I was home during the Easter recess I heard no criticism of the bonus that was paid to the western farmers. In fact, some said that we should have given them a little more.

I am making this plea because I know this situation. No one wants to see fine centres of population like Timmins closed up. I know that a large number of members have visited that section of the country. No one wants to see centres like Schumacher and

Gold Mining

South Porcupine closed and many towns in northern Quebec. The gold mining industry has established them and has established schools, good hospitals, and all the up-to-date necessary utility services. These centres have a fine, healthy, prosperous population- not so prosperous today, but it has been, and hopes to be again. *

Members may recall a few years ago there was a certain amount of colonization attempted in northern Quebec. When I was a young man going to school around 1900, I recall when the Canadian Pacific was built to North Bay. At that time it was thought that it was the extreme limit at which white people could live, according to the belief at that time. Today we are living four hundred miles from North Bay. In Hearst alone we have hundreds of people establishing themselves from year to year. You go into northern Quebec and you will find one of the finest colonization schemes. And how was it made possible? It was made possible not only because of the land and the forest, but because of the mines, copper and gold. No one wants to see that industry closed down. I know of the speeches that have been made here by the member for Lethbridge. Today the hon. member never said a word against gold, and I give him credit for that. He speaks as a Canadian. The leader of the party has been in our section, and he knows what a great factor gold mining is in our national economy. I also want to pay my compliments to the hon. member for Eglinton. I know that in his criticism he did not want to be unfair. He wanted to be constructive, because he also realizes the great importance that the gold mining industry is to Canada as a whole, and no one would want anything to happen to it. It is possible of solution. I do not believe in the open market.

No matter what we say, it is not only Bretton Woods that will stop us from selling on the open market. We must remember this. At the present time we may say that the United States is unfair to us; but when they increased the price of gold from $25 an ounce to $35 an ounce it was a marvellous thing for Canada. Every ounce of gold production was sent to the United States and paid for with United States dollars that we always needed. The same principle applies just as forcibly today. Every ounce of gold that is produced in Canada today finds its way to the United States, and there it helps us to balance Canadian dollars with United States dollars. Those are facts which we cannot forget in this country. To me it seems-I may be wrong-that you cannot bootleg against the United States treasury.

Gold Mining

We hear a lot of talk about South Africa selling their gold. I have several articles saying that in some places they get $62 an ounce for it. I think it is said that they get $62 an ounce in Calcutta, and at Hong Kong they get as much as $43.75 an ounce, and that in some sections of Europe they are getting $42.75 an ounce, and at other places they get $40 an ounce. But is that a steady market? Is that a permanent market? What kind of money will you receive in payment for that gold bullion, and who will do the collecting?

If we had an open market for gold I would not want the government to assume the role of collector. They have enough to collect at the present time. Who would try to collect for that gold? All these are things that we must be very careful of when we mention an increased price for gold.

We do not kowtow to the United States but it is fortunate for us to be their neighbour. How fortunate it is for Canada to have as a neighbour that great big friendly nation to the south of us. They have their faults, the same as we have. I have no doubt in my mind that when we present our case logically and justly we shall have as always a good listening ear and they will listen to what we have to say. I have no doubt they are beginning to realize at the present time- I think it may come in the very near future

that the price of gold must of necessity be increased. But until that is performed by the United States treasury then it is the duty of parliament to pass some legislation that will allow that fine industry to survive. I use the word "survive" deliberately, because anyone with any business acumen will readily understand the precarious position that that industry finds itself in at the present time when all metal production and all other production, whether of the farm, of the soil or of the forest, has increased in price, and we are in agreement with it, while the price of gold has been stabilized. The thing of necessity must receive the attention of the government on that score alone.

I come again to the Bretton Woods agreement, and I agree with the hon. member for Eglinton, although I know that as a member of the United Nations and as a signatory to the Bretton Woods agreement we must give up in some instances some of our national sovereignty. But I do not believe it was ever meant that sovereignty would be conducive to this, that this agreement would compel the gold producers of Canada to accept an arbitrary price at the dictation of the Bretton Woods agreement.

[Mr. Bradette.l

Again I repeat, if an increase in gold is needed under that monetary fund, then gold, being a metal, of necessity must follow the prices, or the trends of other metals. If it were a thing that you could find by the pocketful in some creek or a thing of that kind it would be different. No doubt the hon. member for Villeneuve (Mr. Dumas) will speak after me and will give the house some statistics as to the great efforts the gold mining industry this country has put forth, the inventiveness and the genius that they have employed to survive. We sometimes hear that we have some rich gold mines. There are some very high-grade gold mines in Canada. AVe have one or two of them in the Timmins section, like McIntyre, and there are one or two in the Kirkland Lake section. None of them is in the Quebec section, and none in the northwestern section of northern Ontario. The same applies to the Northwest Territories and to Canada as a whole. There is no bonanza anywhere so far as gold is concerned. They are able to exploit those mines now by ingenuity, by modern inventiveness, and by doing all that they possibly can they have been able to survive, hoping that they will have a better day, hoping that some day in the not too far distant future the nations will realize, the United States and no doubt the Bretton Woods agreement will realize, that if they want to maintain the fund as sound as they wish it to be they will have to increase the price of gold.

I should like some of the hon. members to visit some of the newer mines in northern Quebec, for instance, where they will see much machinery on the second floor of the buildings. They will hear its continual buzzing, purring and whirring, you may say. They will see those tremendous and great machines crushing enormous amounts of solid rock. They will ask themselves: Where is the manpower? They may see one, two, three men managing one whole floor. These mines have been able to survive because they have kept up to date; otherwise, they would have been buried under their own weight two or three years ago.

I have an appeal to make at the present time first of all to the national treasury, asking them to use all their influence to assist the gold mines, because the yardstick of gold must of necessity be maintained, and so that the Bretton Woods agreement will not have the right to dictate to our country what the price of gold should be.

Personally, I do not think that even in the United States an increase in the price of gold would be inflationary because my information is that the gold bullion that the United States had five, six or seven years ago is almost depleted at the present time, and there is no

doubt also that they will continue to buy it owing to the necessity and the urgency of maintaining their supply.

Some people may ask, why does the Canadian government not buy gold at $35 or $40 or more an ounce and issue their own currency. I believed, and I still believe it, when Mr. Ilsley announced in the House of Commons that the Canadian dollar would be placed on a parity with the United States dollar, that the Canadian dollar was the belle of the ball; it was the soundest money in the world. Whether it is possible for the government to do that, I leave the question with the treasury benches. It has been possible for the United States during the last twenty or twenty-five years to buy all the gold bullion in the world and pay for it with paper money. I want hon. members to realize there is a small margin so far as Canadian gold production is concerned between the selling price and the cost price. There is a very small profit. The profits have never been very high; and if it was possible for the United States treasury to pay for the gold- because they are good businessmen; there are too many hard-headed businessmen there not to realize the full value of gold-they did that for many years at the cost of billions of dollars in the United States money. If they were able to do that perhaps it may be possible in the meantime for the Canadian treasury to try and make an experiment in buying gold at, we will say, $5 or $10 more an ounce, because we must experiment and try new solutions. As the hon. member for Eglinton said a few moments ago, the measure we have before us is filling a gap. It is not a permanent solution.

I know in my section, and I know that every member of parliament who is familiar with gold production realizes this, we hope against hope that next week or next month, or next year or two years from now we will hear that the United States treasury is paying $40 or $45 an ounce. If that happens immediately you will see the northern sections of Canada flourishing because it will bring other mining activities. They are not only developing that industry in the search for gold. In their search the fine prospectors of Canada have found not only gold, they have found copper, and other metals. The Rouyn-Noranda mining industry in northern Quebec was found by gold prospectors. They could hardly believe their eyes when they saw these great formations of copper-almost solid copper. In those days the sale of copper was so low that they built up great dumps of it. But we know what happened to copper in the last six or seven years, and we know what the copper industry has meant to the whole of Canada.

Gold Mining

We would hope that within a reasonable period of time the price of gold might come into its own. We do not want an increase of 300 or 400 or even 100 per cent. We want only a reasonable increase in the price of gold. If that is done we will see those northern sections booming and coming into full fruition; there is no doubt about it. That will help every section of Canada. It will help the farmers in the west, the industrialists in the east, the lumber producers and industrialists in British Columbia. It will result in prosperity for all of Canada.

Let me again compliment those who have preceded me in the debate. There has been no acrimony. We all realize the seriousness of the situation in an industry which plays such a great role in the national economy of Canada.

Concluding my remarks, let me compliment again the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys as well as the Canadian government and the Canadian parliament upon their open-mindedness so far as the gold-mining country is concerned. And if at the moment I speak on a matter of this kind, it is not because I have any personal interest. I am not a stockholder; but I have been in my constituency for the last forty-five years, and I realize the great part the gold-mining industry is playing in our Canadian life, and the great role it will be called upon to play in the future.

Full View Permalink