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 145 of 146)


February 18, 1936

Mr. McGEER:

My hon. friend says,

"Therein lies the danger." What are we in Canada, as part of the British empire, doing to hold our place of leadership in the world's greatest theatre of potential development and trouble, the Pacific ocean? We have in British Columbia and Alberta two of the richest provinces in the dominion. The Canadian section of the north Pacific is richer in natural resources than are Australia and New Zealand combined. What are we doing to fulfil our responsibility on the Pacific ocean? We should realize what is being done by the motherland in Singapore and Hongkong and by our sister dominions in the antipodes and do likewise. But all we do is to reduce a rather niggardly subsidy that should be increased to encourage development on the Pacific. That kind of economy is not going to help the Minister of Finance to gather the taxes necessary to meet the obligations of the dominion. It is not going to help the cities of Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Victoria to gather the taxes necessary to meet their municipal obligations. It is not going to help British Columbia and Alberta to distribute

their grain, lumber, minerals and innumerable other products to Pacific ocean markets. These products should be flowing into these markets in much greater volume than they are at the present time and this volume will not be increased until this country recognizes that it must maintain not only an internal but an external transportation service to all the markets of the world.

I appreciate that these are times of great difficulty, but it seems rather extraordinary that a nation like Japan, with fewer resources than the dominion, or a country like Great Britain, with fewer resources than we have, can find the money and the means to build and develop a shipping service for commerce and at the same time maintain a naval program costing far more than its ocean shipping service. We in Canada have no naval service to maintain and yet we cannot continue to pay a niggardly subsidy for the development of^ our shipping services. Just recently the shipping service of Great Britain was recognized as being in need of assistance and an extensive program of subsidies was brought into effect.

I should like to point out one other matter to the committee. Japan has adopted another technique; she has appropriated to herself that of Great Britain in establishing protectorates over Egypt and India by establishing control over Korea, It is not a question of what Japan may do to-morrow; we know what she has done already in the way of expansion. Unquestionably she is moved to establish the government in Manchuria, and she has now arrived at the point where she can establish a measure of authority over northern China. She has devised a form of Monroe doctrine and has sufficient authority to say to London that she will not approve a sterling loan to the Nanking government. We in western Canada feel that there are great opportunities as well as great responsibilities for the empire on the Pacific ocean. These opportunities and responsibilities are not confined to western Canada; they are not confined to the dominion as a whole; they apply to Canada as a nation and as one of the members of the commonwealth of nations known as the British empire. We should not overlook the fact that there are only about 70 millions of people of British extraction in the 500 millions of people who make up this empire. The position of leadership which the people of the British empire have held in a world of 2,000 million people is something that has been challenged before, is being challenged to-day and will be challenged in the future.

Supply-Trade-Mail Subsidies

If in our desire for economy we allow ourselves to be bound by the outworn, impossible, impractical and absurd conventions of orthodox economy and orthodox finance, which have been abandoned by every country that appreciates the future, then having put the wealth of our nation in pawn, we are now sacrificing the possibilities of progress to pay the pawnbrokers' exactions. It may be that this is the way in which we are going to manage the currency and credit of this nation so that it may be issued in terms of public need. But if we are going to sacrifice trade on the Pacific ocean in the name of economy, we are going to repudiate the most important promise that ever was made by any government to the people of a nation, namely, that currency and credit would be created and issued ini terms of public need. The kind of economy involved in this reduction, will prove to be a ghastly expense to the people of Canada, and it is not the kind of economy that .they expected they were going to receive after the last general election.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRADE AND COMMERCE
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February 18, 1936

Mr. McGEER:

I had not intended taking part in this debate until I heard that the only reason for the reduction of the subsidies

Supply-Trade-Mail Subsidies

to the Pacific coast services was one of economy. That kind of 'economy will not prove to be worth much to the dominion. If that is the kind of economy necessary for the purpose of balancing the budget, apparently we are going to have a balanced budget at the expense of the Canadian people, at the expense of Canadian trade expansion and at the expense of Canadian institutional services advancing with, from the Canadian government, some measure of assistance such as other national governments throughout the world are giving to similar services. Such action will not prove to be an economy; it will prove to be an effective way, not of balancing the budget, but of continuing an unfavourable balance to Canada and the suffering of losses on the part of companies and seamen.

If there is one place where we should be acting to meet intensive competition made possible by national activity, it is on the Pacific ocean. We should not forget that during the last fifty years Japan has risen from a place unknown to the position of one of the leading nations of the world. By appropriating to their own use all that has been developed in western civilization in the way of culture and education, in politics and finance, in industrial and productive activity, in commerce and diplomacy, and in war power, tlie people of Japan have risen to the first rank of the leading nations.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRADE AND COMMERCE
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February 18, 1936

Mr. McGEER:

Then what was the reason for the increase of 8100,000 in the Canada-New Zealand service?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRADE AND COMMERCE
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February 18, 1936

Mr. McGEER:

There was not any desire on my part to go into heroics. I wanted to give the committee some facts on the situation with regard to trade development. One feature to which I did not refer at all but which the minister might look into, might induce him, instead of decreasing the subsidy, substantially to increase it to the benefit of the people of Canada. We know that as a result of competition on the Asiatic coast much of the work of repairing and improving and reestablishing ships is done on the docks on the other side of the Pacific. Much of the employment that is given on the ships is governed by the same conditions. I feel that the time is coming when we should be prepared to recognize the necessity of developing a Canadian merchant marine service that will permit us as a nation to help the British empire to enjoy during the future the same kind of leadership in the Pacific theatre of trade that the British empire has enjoyed in the Atlantic during the last 200 years. We have in Vancouver a port that is not only competing with every other port on the Pacific ocean, but definitely competing with the port of Seattle; and if the minister would take a trip along the Pacific coast, as I have done recently, look at what the United States government is doing in Honolulu, in San Diego, in San Pedro, in San Francisco and in Puget sound at Bremerton, which is part of the port of Seattle, and note what is being done in the establishment of a naval and airplane base in Alaska, he would find that although Vancouver enjoys the unique position of being the largest grain shipping port in the world, it is not securing anything

Supply-Trade-Mail Subsidies

like the measures of assistance that ports of the United States competing with Vancouver, and ports in China and Japan and Australia and New Zealand are now securing. If I spoke in a way that could place my utterances in the realm of heroics beyond the constitutional capacity of the minister, may I say to him that I am only beginning, and if I have worried him to-night he is going to have a rather bad time in the future.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRADE AND COMMERCE
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February 18, 1936

Mr. McGEER:

There is no change in the

service?

Supply-Trade-Mail Subsidies

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP TRADE AND COMMERCE
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