John Lambert GIBSON

GIBSON, John Lambert

Personal Data

Party
Independent
Constituency
Comox--Alberni (British Columbia)
Birth Date
March 7, 1906
Deceased Date
December 17, 1986
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lambert_Gibson
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=1d30dd9e-3f4e-41e0-a6e6-4ba4580b786a&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
logger, lumber merchant

Parliamentary Career

June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
IND
  Comox--Alberni (British Columbia)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
IND
  Comox--Alberni (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 251 of 252)


September 18, 1945

Mr. GIBSON (Comox-Alberni):

I think you spent most of your time in the post office.

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September 18, 1945

Mr. J. L. GIBSON (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker, it is with a feeling of trepidation that I rise to address the house for the first time, but having seen how well the other tyro members have done I am glad to jump in and join in the debate. In this my first address to the house I should like to emphasize the fact that I am an independent. I believe that there has been some discussion on that point. I believe that my ballot paper overseas was marked "Independent Liberal", but I should like to clear up that point and say that I am following along in the tradition of Comox-Alberni as a straight independent, and in my vote in the house I shall try to reflect the opinions and the wishes of the people of Comox-Alberni who sent me here.

The constituency of Comox-Alberni consists of the northern and western three-quarters of Vancouver island. It is the constituency of which Mr. Rudyard Kipling once said, in a masterpiece of understatement, that it was the fairest jewel in the British crown.

At this time I should like to pay a tribute to the gentleman whom I have the honour to succeed. I am quite certain that all the old-timers in this house will recall with great affection and high regard Mr. A. W. Neill, the former member for the constituency. I have been particularly pleased since I came to Ottawa to find in all groups and sections of

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The Address-Mr. Gibson (Comox)

this house, and also among the civil service, that he was very affectionately regarded. As a matter of fact that is just the way we have always felt about Mr. Neill in Comox-Alberni, and I am particularly proud to be here to succeed him. I should like to tell the house at the same time that the only reason I am here succeeding him is that he did not choose to run again.

I should like to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on your election to the high office of first commoner. I should also like to congratulate the hon. member for Kenora-Rainy River (Mr. Benidickson) and the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Langlois) on the able way in which they opened the debate. On behalf of the Liberals in the constituency of Comox-Alberni, I express my thanks to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and to the members of his cabinet for the able way in which they administered the affairs' of Canada during the past five years. 1 wish also to convey to the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bracken), who has taken over the reins of office, the very high regard in which he is held by the Conservatives of Comox-Alberni. To the hon. members of the Conservative party who were in opposition during the last five years I extend the thanks of my constituency for the able job they did at that time.

Now, coming to the hon. member for Rose-town-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) I should like to say that a number of people in my constituency are adherents of his, and now that I have met the hon. gentleman I must say that I can well realize why he is held in affection by that large number of people-there were more than I expected on election day. He is very highly regarded there.

I come now to the Social Credit party. They have a new leader in the house, and I congratulate him on his election. I should also like to mention the former leader who was in the last parliament. I thank him on behalf of my constituency for the contribution that he made. I am sorry that the philosophy of social credit has not penetrated to the dark fastness of Comox-Alberni. I sincerely trust that my position here, adjacent to the hon. members, will allow me to acquire some of their philosophy.

I was particularly interested in the speech of the hon. member for Edmonton East (Mr. Ashby). He made a suggestion that was very interesting to me. He said it was possible that we might pay an old age pension of $100 a month at age forty. In one more year I shall qualify for that. I was particularly interested as an independent, because the past tradition of independence in this house does

not lead me to believe that- I shall be put out into the lush pastures when I have lost my usefulness; therefore I really believe that he has something there that will interest me greatly.

I was disappointed when I read the speech from the throne, because of its obvious omission. I feel that I would not be maintaining the standards of Comox-Alberni if I did not point out that we were not told anything about our Japanese problem and the solution of it. Hon. members, of course, are accustomed to the hon. member for Comox-Alberni bringing up this vital point. Now that the government's dispersal policy has brought the problem into almost every constituency in Canada, I am hopeful that the British Columbia members-there are eleven of us to whom this is a most vital problem; the other five, of course, are "agin us"-will receive the support of other hon. members in the house.

I should like to make it very clear-and I am not going to take up a lot of time on the Japanese question now, because we shall have time to discuss the problem later-that our opposition 'o the Japanese in British Columbia is not based on the matter of race. If hon. members knew them as well as we do they would find that our opposition is based upon the fact-and I have lived among them for thirty years-that they are not loyal and never have been, and I do not expect they ever will be, to Canada. The Prime Minister felt that it was a wise course to appoint a quasi-judicial committee to look into the matter, but I believe the proper time to judge the loyalty of the Japanese citizens in this country was after Pearl Harbor-about a week after that-and at the time of Singapore, and at the time we lost the Prince of Wales and Repulse. . We could have decided then, and I believe we woidd have had many more of them who would have applied to return to Japan than will do so now after they have had Mr. Howe's atomic bomb.

I would be remiss in my duty to my constituents of Comox-Alberni and to the members of the government if I did not present a true picture of how we feel in our constituency -and I may say I have the temerity to speak for the other ten constituencies I mentioned- if I did not say that I believe the people of Comox-Alberni are definitely determined that the Japanese shall never return to British Columbia again.

I was glad to note yesterday that the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank) injected into this debate the subject of the monopoly of the American Can company in British Columbia. As a canner in British Columbia I should like to bring before this

The Address-Mr. Gibson (Comox)

house some of the facts in that regard. I charge definitely that the American Can company could have prevented the loss of fish and vegetables at the time of the strike had they so desired. Make no mistake about it; they were definitely aware that this strike was coming. They could have provided every cannery in British Columbia with all the cans they required to put up all the food we had there at the time. Instead of taking that course they supplied the large canners in British Columbia. It is significant that at the time not one large cannery in the province ran out of cans. Because of the fact that the small canner3 did not find it possible to put up the necessarily large amounts of money required, they were unable to get a large stock of cans ahead to carry them through that strike. Speaking for our own cannery, we are 5,000 cases of salmon short in our pack this year because we did not have enough cans in storage prior to the strike. Definitely that was because the American Can company put their cash dividends and money matters ahead of the necessity of providing food for the people overseas; that is why we are now short a large part of our normal pack of salmon and vegetables in British Columbia. When I mention the figure of 5.000 cases I am referring to one cannery only. Numerous other small canneries were involved to the same extent. Five thousand cases represents 200.000 cans, which means salmon for 200,000 British families for one week. When you multiply that by possibly ten canneries of the size of ours, you can see that it will make a tremendous difference in the food supplies available to people overseas. I am particularly anxious that the small farmers and fishermen of British Columbia should never again find themselves in the position that this large United States monopoly will have a stranglehold on them, as has been the case in the past.

I am glad to see that our new Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Bridges) has come into the house, and I particularly want to congratulate him on his appointment to this high office. I hope very soon he may be able to take time off to come out and visit us on the Pacific coast, where I can assure him he will receive a royal welcome. His predecessor as minister, the present Postmaster General (Mr. Bertrand) has left an enduring monument to his administration in the Hell's Gate fisheries project. I understand about a million dollars was spent there, but I can assure the house that this amount will be returned in new wealth every year as a result of the work done at that point. As yet I have not run into this mysterious treasury board which was mentioned

yesterday by the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank), but I sincerely trust that in future it will look with more favour upon the estimates of the Minister of Fisheries. Every time during the war years we asked the fisheries department to make any expenditures we were given the same answer, that there were more important things to do in connection with the war; and with that attitude I was largely in agreement. Now, however, the time has come when the fisheries department can make a valuable contribution to the economy not only of British Columbia but of Canada as a whole, and I should like to think that the regime of the new minister will come to be known as the golden age for the fisheries of my province.

Soon the budget speech will be brought down. I share with most Canadians a high regard for the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) for the splendid job he has done. I should like to point out, however, that our present system is really one of incentive, and, that being so, as long as the excess profits tax remains in operation the incentive is taken away. I may be telling tales out of school, because I know the Department of National Revenue is highly efficient, but so often I have heard of someone who was said to be "taking a trip on Ilsley" or "buying a bottle of Scotch on Ilsley" and so on. Perhaps the Excess Profits Tax Act actually has worked against the best interests of Canada. I should also hope that in the new budget some reduction will be made in the taxes now imposed upon the small wage-earners; surely we can manage that. We should go ahead and finance this year for our ordinary expenditures, but I suggest that extraordinary expenditures in connection with demobilization, reconstruction and so on should be budgeted over a period of five years. You will note that I am expecting the government to remain in office for five years. If a proper job is done during this reconstruction period I should think it even possible that the government might last for ten years.

If I might make another suggestion to the Minister of Finance, I would point out that this year the income of the pilchard fishermen on the west coast of Vancouver island has been almost nil. It seems to me only fair that those engaged in industries where there may be such wide fluctuations should have the privilege of spreading their income over a three-year period and paying their taxes on that basis, just as we have done for those in the fishing industry and in agriculture.

There has been a good deal of discussion here in regard to housing, and in that connection mention has been made of the lumber

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The Address-Mr. Gibson (Comox)

shortage. I was glad to notice that finally, in response to requests from several hon. members on this side of the house, statements were made from the ministerial benches giving us some idea of what may be the policy of the government with regard to housing, which of course ties in with reconstruction. Two days ago I had a telephone call from a British Columbia lumberman advising me that he was short 150 employees. I should like to point out that his plant is only three hours' drive from Vancouver, where at the same time we had thousands of men demonstrating, asking for severance pay and a continuation of uneconomic industries so that they might not have to move out of town. This lumberman's plant is in a large town, which is just as modern as this city of Ottawa, so that there is no reason in the world why men should not move out to those jobs. When I refer to loggers and saw mill workers in British Columbia I should like hon. members to note that the average wage is around 80 cents an hour in our saw-mills and at least SI an hour in the logging camps, so that taking these jobs would not involve any great economic hardship.

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September 18, 1945

Mr. GIBSON (Comox-Alberni):

They are close to the source of supply of lumber, in Port Alberni, and we can build them homes. I think the real solution of this problem must be for the people in the large cities, who have been drawn there to do war work, to get back to where our real primary wealth lies; that is, away from the great centres of population. Those are the places from which these people have come, and those are the places to which they will have to return.

When I speak of the lumber camps in British Columbia I should not like the house to get the impression which was conveyed the other day by the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Archibald), who told the house that the loggers on the Queen Charlotte islands were living under the most primitive conditions. I have lived in logging camps for the last thirty years-

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September 18, 1945

Mr. GIBSON (Comox-Alberni):

I agree with the hon. member, but I have always understood that after working in the mines, and under mining atmospheric conditions, their appetites are not as hearty. But if they require more meat, in view of the heavy work they are doing, they should have it.

Since coming to Ottawa I have been deeply impressed by the many courtesies and kindnesses I have received from members of the civil service in this city. I pay tribute to the members of that service, realizing that all too often people in other parts of Canada do not realize what a fine job is being done here.

I interpret the approaching vote as one of confidence in the government. As I have seen no sign that hon. members on the opposition side of the house could get together and replace the government now in office, I feel that in the present instance I shall vote with the government.

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September 18, 1945

Mr. GIBSON (Comox-Alberni):

I do not think you worked in the camps very much. I would have my hon. friend know that the accommodation and food in the logging camps of British Columbia are infinitely better than in the city of Ottawa. Any time hon. mem-

bers have an opportunity to come to British Columbia I shall be glad to give them a real logging camp meal. Only once since coming to Ottawa have I had anything to compare with it-and I must mention that occasion now because I see my host sitting here in the house. I can assure him, however, that I say this with great sincerity.

I should like to congratulate the Minister of Reconstruction (Mr. Howe) upon his most able address delivered last night. But, if he does not mind my giving him a slight suggestion, I would say that he has a difficult job on his hands, in the vast department he administers, if he is going to try to run interference for every one of the, let us say, brass hats-I believe I have heard them called that-working under him in his department. I refer to brass hats both in and out of uniform.

The minister is a busy man, and I know, too, that he is very much overworked. Perhaps some time he would be able to come to Comox, and if he does I should like to take him fishing. I know that if he did that it would do him a tremendous amount of good, and provide him with the rest he so badly needs. While we are trolling along I will see that he gets some salmon, and I shall also take him and show him some charred hulks of valuable landing barges we have out there. I do not take the minister to task for this, because I know he has been extremely busy, but I would convey to him the thought that if occasionally some hon. members in the house question the disposal of war assets he ought not to run interference too readily. I believe him to be a man who is extremely loyal to the officials associated with him, and for that I honour him greatly. I suggest to him, however, that the real intention of hon. members sitting over here is that of being helpful, and that they have no desire only to be critical.

Many people have been bothering the Minister of Finance about meat rationing. Just how meat and money go together has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. I say to the minister, however, that the present meat ration when applied to logging camps in British Columbia is entirely inadequate. We hear talk about a man living on a pound and a third of meat per week, but those of us who buy meat to keep our commissaries supplied in the logging camps have found that it takes a pound of meat per man per day to supply their requirements. I do not think we should cut down the ration of those who are doing very heavy work. As a matter of fact, in a masterpiece of overstatement, one mar said that it was a day's work to walk around one of our trees. I suggest that some special

The Address-Mr. McKay

consideration should be given to the men in the logging camps who eat in the camp cook houses, and also to the people who, while occupied in that industry, live in their homes, and go from those homes to their work. They require substantial lunches, and need three heavy meals a day.

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