George Ernest WOOD

WOOD, George Ernest

Personal Data

Brant (Ontario)
Birth Date
October 6, 1888
Deceased Date
August 1, 1966
business executive, farmer

Parliamentary Career

October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
  Brant (Ontario)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  Brant (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 96)

March 28, 1945


Do not overlook the fact that beef production is up.

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March 28, 1945


On a question of privilege,

I am glad to hear the hon. member for Lake Centre say that he did not make any such statement.

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March 28, 1945


You are the only one beefing about it.

Mr. ROSS (Souris)1: If you will just keep

your seat you will have plenty of chance to ask questions later on.

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March 27, 1945

Mr. G. E. WOOD (Brant):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege. The hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) referred yesterday at page 218 of Hansard to a statement that I had made, the correctness of which he challenged. I based the observations to which he referred on words he used at page 171 of Hansard, when he said, as I heard it from1 this section of the house: "Any nation that becomes a member of the world court, the security council and the like, has to surrender its rights to handle its own affairs regardless of how they affect other nations of the world." Also on page 171, where he associates himself with the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker), there is a quotation from section 5 of section B which I do not need to repeat, but which ends with these words:

The special agreement . . . should be in each case subject to approval by the security council and to ratification by the signatory states in accordance with their constitutional processes.

The remark that prefaced that was on page 171 of Hansard:

Personally I believe such a course is absolutely wrong.

That is what prompted me to make the remark I did.

San Francisco Conference

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March 23, 1945

Mr. G. E. WOOD (Brant):

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to follow the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) but I am compelled to make one allusion to what he said. I appreciate to some extent his changed philosophy in regard to the war effort as compared with what it was at the outbreak of the war. I was rather shocked to hear him say to-night that he would be prepared to have Canada send a force from this country to any part of the world regardless of the voice of parliament. I think that is contradictory to

IMr. Gillis.]

the philosophy held by that particular group several years ago. That is possibly the result of growing pains and we may have to be generous toward their philosophies. They are not alone in this change. I intend to take this opportunity to direct attention to the changes that have occurred in the philosophies of other groups.

In the meantime I should like to draw the attention of the house to the spirit of reasonable compromise and the broadminded policies that were achieved by the three great leaders at the Yalta conference. These were significant of the unity of purpose and action that must guide us at San Francisco. This is to be a peace-keeping conference, not a peacemaking conference.

I think we would be within our rights to clothe the representatives of this country with authority to correct any injustices, errors and mistakes they may see in the peace-making conference. They should be able to do that for the benefit of society. It would be too much to expect that a conference of human beings would be able to organize a security organization that was perfect. We must make progress by trial and error and we must be reasonably generous toward those who have this grave responsibility. We must give them our support and, if there are some things we do not like about what has been done, we must be tolerant and show our delegation when thej' come back that we believe they did the best they could.

As I listened to this debate I could not help but think of the many different viewpoints and ideas that have been expressed in this House of Commons. We have seen how it is almost impossible to bring together the ideas of men who represent different races and religions, who read different literature and -who have different opinions and ideals, and I do not think we should expect this conference to be able to do better than we have been able to do in this House of Commons.

There is one thing we must keep in mind, they will have to face realities. They cannot deal too much with theories. Their ideas will have to be forged on the anvil of practical experience.

I feel that we in Canada are very fortunate in having as our Prime Minister fMr. Mackenzie King) a man who has led a great national party in this country for a period of twenty-five years and one who has been Prime Minister of this dominion for almost the same length of time. It is doubtful whether any other man at the San Francisco conference can. equal his experience, and there is no doubt that because of that long experience and his

San Francisco Conference

great ability he will be able to make a splendid contribution to the work of the conference. Furthermore the Prime Minister will go there as the head of a country comprising two great races, and the fact that he has been able to keep the country united while it has been making such a magnificent contribution to this war will put the Prime Minister in a very strong position at the conference.

We on this north American continent, where two nations live side by side, separated 'by no Siegfried line or Maginot line, with no forts or guns constantly pointed at each other, are able to give a most gracious example to the conference of how peace-loving peoples can get along well together when they try to do so and contribute to human welfare and well-being.

Just before the war we had a declaration from the President of the United States that he would not see the United States stand idly by should Canada be attacked, and later we had the Ogdensburg agreement, the agreement for the mutual exchange of goods, and the good neighbour policy. All these things are bound to have an influence, so that I think we can safely say that, despite the training in diplomacy of the statesmen of the older countries of the world who will be represented at the conference, this new American continent has set an example to the world that might-well be followed 'by the other nations.

I was very much pleased with the remarks that the leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon) made in this debate when he said that world peace and world trade are inseparable. He belongs to a group that probably is suffering from growing pains and has experienced a change of philosophy because I have seen him stand in this house from time to time and defend the policy of protection. It is very encouraging to see that he has now seen the error of his ways and has made such a splendid statement-.

But as some member has said in this debate -I am not prepared to say who it was-our problems are not going t-o be solved by the volume of words uttered but by the quality of our thinking-by actions and not by words. I well remember that in my youth I had the responsibility of running a farm. It was about that time that Sir Wilfrid Laurier sent my predecessor from Brant, the Hon. -William Paterson, and the Hon. Mr. Fielding to Washington to negotiate a reciprocity pact between Canada and the United States. That was in 1911, and from the Conservative party of that day we had abuse of any man who would advocate trading with the United States. A man's loyalty was questioned by that party if he wanted to sell a bushel of wheat or a

cow or a pig across the border. The slogan of the Conservative party at that time was, "No truck or trade with the Yankees." But to-day we see a change of heart in that group. What was their attitude in 1931 when our great ally, Russia, was at that time struggling for a place in the sun? Russia had gone through a revolution and was endeavouring to 'build up trade; yet in the speech from the throne in 1931, when the Bennett administration was in power, I find this sentence:

Pursuant to the fixed policy of my government to combat all influences which are inimical to the social and economic welfare of this dominion, an order in council has been passed prohibiting the importation of certain commodities into Canada from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

I believe that if our friends over there in that group had some of these things to do over again they would not repeat some -of their mistakes, and certainly they- -would be reluctant t-o have such a statement as that upon our records Let me show you the path they have travelled in the past so that we may judge if they are fitted to blaze a trail for the future.

In 1932 an empire economic conference was held in this city, where the Ottaw-a agreements were negotiated. Our party was condemned by many of the newspapers because they did not give the conference their wholehearted support. While our party supported the Ottawa agreements they wanted to trade not only with the mother country and the British commonwealth of nations but with other countries of the world, with other races and other nations. I am sure it is very gratifying to us who have been constant supporters of Liberal principles and policies to realize that we have always been led along channels where we have not had to stop periodically and turn around and apologize for our mistakes. I know of nothing that has contributed more to unrest in the world or was more responsible for bringing about war than those restrictive trade policies which have deprived society of the good things of this world. The Lord has blessed this and preceding generations by revealing many things in the way of science by means -of which we have been able to add to our blessings. We have, for instance, the means of transportation to-day so that if there is an abundance of food produced in one part of the world and a famine existing in some other part, that country does not need to go hungry because the food distribution problem has been solved. But trade restrictive policies tend to deprive people of the good things that this earth will produce.

San Francisco Conference

I do not think Canada is asking any more than she should when she demands recognition by way of a permanent place on the council. At the same time I frankly admit that if this is not expedient, I would agree that some other arrangement be made whereby Canada could express her views at the council. But when one realizes that this country of ours, under the leadership of the man whom we shall send to represent Canada at the conference, is the second largest trading nation in the world, that in a few years we have built a navy third in size among the united nations, that in industrial production we stand fourth, that our contribution to the war effort, as Madame Chiang Kai-shek said in this house, is the largest per capita of any of the united nations, surely we are not asking too much when we claim a permanent seat on the council, and I believe the Prime Minister is quite within his rights to ask for a position commensurate with the contribution we are prepared to make.

If there is one thing I enjoy more than any other it is to boast about the accomplishments of our people. I do not want to take up too much of the time of the house, but I happened to get in the mail to-day bulletin 43 of "Canada at War", and I recommend it to hon. members and anyone else for perusal. It seems to me that anyone who can read this book and not be proud of being a Canadian is absolutely hopeless. From our 733,000 occupied farms we have produced grain crops to the value of $730 millions. Our live stock production, in spite of the reduction of man-power on the farms, has amounted to $500 millions. The gross value of our agricultural production is $2,250 millions. We exported to the United Kingdom 665 million pounds of bacon and 80 million dozen eggs. Canada also leads in world production of nickel, asbestos, flax and radium; is second in the production of gold, aluminum and mercury; third in the production of copper, zinc, lead, silver and arsenic; fourth in the production of magnesium. Surely the power we possess is enough to warrant recognition) as leader among the smaller nations of the world. We have to-day available in Canada the equivalent of over 10 million horse-power developed for electrical purposes which, when it is distributed, will probably give Canada the highest living standards of any nation on earth. Since the outbreak of the war our aircraft industry has produced 15,000 planes; our output of ammunition has run into millions of rounds; and in spite of the fact that Canada has enlisted a million men to fight the cause of liberty, only thirty per cent of Canada's production is necessary to equip our army, which is considered to be the best equipped in the field. We have been able to

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spare seventy per cent of our industrial production to help our friends and allies. I would also draw attention to the fact that Canada has 56,000 miles of railroads, and 560,000 miles of highways-indications of the virility and ambition of the Canadian people. Yet there are people who, when you speak of the exploits of our people, seem to be infuriated; all they can do is to bring up some sordid political argument. At a time like this there is the greatest opportunity of making mistakes, but the fact that we have accomplished so much with so few mistakes is, I think, a tribute to the administration which has had the responsibility of organizing the industrial production of the man-power of this country. It may be said that you never see clubs under a sour apple tree. _

While I am not in a position to dissect the intricacies of the voting power of the security council and Canada's relation thereto, I still believe that we have merited a place of importance, and how it is to be attained I am willing to leave to my leader who will head our delegation.

One matter to which I wish to direct attention is a remark made by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon) that the various parties should have the right to select their own delegates. It does not seem to me that that would be good business. Some might do it with wisdom; others probably would not make so good a choice. The Prime Minister must take the responsibility of the selection; and if I were in his place, after listening to some of the speeches, if I had been undecided as to who should accompany me to that conference, at least I would be able to draw a blue pencil through the names of some whom, from the attitudes they have taken, it would not be desirable to take. If there is one thing in which our Prime Minister has been successful, and by which he has been able to do so much for the people of Canada, it is his ability to select men for their virtues, for their merit and ability. I have no reason to believe other than that he will do the same again. But the leader of the opposition demanded the right of selection, and I should like to draw attention to what might happen if all parties had demanded the same thing. We have a communist party in this country, and if it had been left to them to make their selection it is likely that they would choose Tim Buck, as leader of their party. Well, in many respects Mr. Buck is more entitled to represent Canada than others who have been suggested, for at least he has tried to get into the House of Commons.

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