Gerald Grattan MCGEER

MCGEER, The Hon. Gerald Grattan, K.C.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Vancouver--Burrard (British Columbia)
Birth Date
January 6, 1888
Deceased Date
August 11, 1947
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerry_McGeer
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=1fa5151a-cf60-4833-969e-dab41c2525c1&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
barrister

Parliamentary Career

October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
LIB
  Vancouver--Burrard (British Columbia)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
LIB
  Vancouver--Burrard (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 143 of 146)


March 27, 1936

Mr. McGEER:

A? a matter of fact what

were the rates of interest guaranteed? They were four per cent. The minister may call that intervention, but a federal government backed by the power of the Dominion of Canada ought to be borrowing money on a short term loan at less than one per cent.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN SASKATCHEWAN
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March 27, 1936

Mr. McGEER:

I asked that question because I wanted to emphasize the manner in which this credit was being dealt with, and I feel that the remarks of the Minister of Finance and the right hon. leader of the opposition have brought that out very clearly. 'The situation in Saskatchewan is serious; drought and rust have created a condition that necessitates and justifies federal assistance, but the manner in which this assistance is given is peculiar. The security taken for the repayment of any obligation that may develop through the guarantees is the certificates of the government of Saskatchewan or, as the Minister of Finance says, the pieces of paper of the Saskatchewan government. It strikes me that it would be far better for the farmers of Saskatchewan, for the government of that province, for the government of the dominion .and for the credit of this country, to use the most powerful force available to obtain that [DOT]credit at the lowest possible rate of interest 12739-98

rather than to go about the matter in such a way that the highest rate of interest must be paid. Instead of the national government going forward and meeting this obligation at a low rate of interest, what does it do? It permits the municipality to borrow from the bank, backed, in the first place, by the guarantee of the provincial government, and, in the second place, by the guarantee of the dominion government. The bank charges a rate of interest not on the security of the national government but on the security of the municipality, and the national government does not intervene to dictate as to what that rate should be.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN SASKATCHEWAN
Full View Permalink

March 27, 1936

Mr. McGEER:

But not until men of the superior intelligence of the hon. member for Outremont graced the board of railway commissioners. "Yes, it did/' says my hon. friend, but the hon. member for East Kootenay remembers the construction of the elevator and its completion in 1916, and its standing idle on the shore of Burrard inlet until many years afterwards, when rate adjustments were made and general prejudices were broken down. Once the board of railway commissioners reduced the rate on grain to the port of Vancouver to a basis, not of equality but of a reduction of the discrimination to a measurable equality, Vancouver became the greatest grain port in the world, and is in that happy position to-day. I quite appreciate the fact that that never would have happened had it been left to men in Ottawa, subject to the influence of everything from Winnipeg to the Atlantic seaboard, including not only the port of Buffalo, but the port of the city of New York. I cannot quite understand how this particular commission can function in Vancouver and have a harbour commission functioning in New Westminster.

The point mentioned by the hon. member for East Kootenay is of the utmost importance. To-day the port of Vancouver serves a great many railways, the British Columbia Electric, the Great Northern, the Canadian Pacific and the Canadian National, but I wonder whether hon. members are aware of the fact that the Canadian National system ends at Port Mann on the banks of the Eraser river and can come into the port of Vancouver only over a leased foreign railway under circumstances which make the cost of moving freight from Port Mann into the shipping basin of Burrard inlet, which is under the jurisdiction of the Vancouver harbour commissioners, almost as great as the cost of moving freight from Alberta to Port Mann. The necessity of the harbour development of Vancouver is the very thing that Sir Alexander Gibb pointed out as being essential, and that is ignored and overlooked in this bill.

I want to appeal to the minister to reconsider that particular phase of the matter, because I must say this: After all, we hope that Canada can continue to be a united nation from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but I want to say to the members of this government that when you assume the responsibility for centralizing control of port development at Ottawa you also assume responsibility for avoiding sectional dissatisfaction with administration in Ottawa, and there are a great many who are beginning to feel that there is not the consideration coming from the central authority in Ottawa that makes it to the best

1564 COMMONS

National Harbours Board-Mr. Howe

interests of sections at far distant points to remain in confederation. It is all very well to say that we are going to improve the administration of the harbours of Halifax and Vancouver, but let me point out to you, Mr. Speaker, that Vancouver is competing with Seattle in one of the world's most rapidly developing and most important shipping basins, namely the gulf of Georgia and Puget sound. If one takes a trip along the Pacific coast, as I did recently, and notes what is taking place in San Diego, San Pedro, San Francisco bay and Seattle, it will be recognized that Vancouver is now moving into competition with ports on the Pacific coast that have the backing of the United States government, which is establishing a naval war strength on the Pacific surpassing anything ever developed by any other nation in the world. So, it is not going to be easy to maintain the standard of port service in Vancouver without very much in the way of faith in the future as to what the Pacific ocean trade will be, and if a federal control assumes the responsibility, that responsibility must be fulfilled to a much greater extent than anything that has been undertaken in the past.

There is one other section of the bill to which I should like to refer; that is the section with reference to the power to make rates. Section 15 of the bill reads:

The board may levy such rates and tolls as are fixed by bylaw and may, with the approval of the minister, commute any rates-

I quite appreciate that in the administration jf a port like Vancouver, which competes not only with the other Pacific coast ports but with ports throughout the world, bargaining for traffic is essential, but I question the wisdom of having the power to commute rates left to the responsibility of a minister of the crown. In the first place such power vested in a minister is a power that the minister will hesitate to exercise for fear of partisan criticism. That will mean delays, deferred action and lack of action which will work against the best interests of the port.

I only want to say that nothing is more important in the life of the Dominion of Canada to-day than the development of our internal and external transportation systems, and nothing can make a greater contribution to economic recovery than the proper and effective development of our Canadian port facilities, for we are just as much a maritime nation as is Great Britain. For the distribution of our products into the markets of the world we are not going to find our facilities

completed by the development of internal systems; we must go forward on a much wider basis than has been the case previously in the development of our ports and our external facilities for the distribution of our goods.

I reserve my further remarks until we are in committee on this bill, but I should like to close with this appeal to the government and to the minister in charge of this bill. In your desire to provide efficient and economic administration do not overlook the fact that there is something to be gleaned and something to be gained by respecting the autonomy and the power of loyal communities to build up their own trading facilities.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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March 27, 1936

Mr. McGEER:

My friend says that it did, and very largely through his intelligent efforts, for which we in the west are profoundly thankful.

Topic:   NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL OF PUBLIC HARBOURS
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March 27, 1936

Mr. McGEER:

It is supposed to be determined and settled within a three year period, and a three year loan certainly is not a long term loan. South of the line the federal government is able to finance on short term loans for less than one per cent.

Topic:   SEED GRAIN
Subtopic:   GUARANTEE OF LOANS FOR PURCHASE OF SEED AND OTHER ASSISTANCE IN SEEDING OPERATIONS IN SASKATCHEWAN
Full View Permalink