Anton Bernard WESELAK

WESELAK, Anton Bernard, LL.B.

Personal Data

Springfield (Manitoba)
Birth Date
February 11, 1918
Deceased Date
January 17, 1989

Parliamentary Career

August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Springfield (Manitoba)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 7 of 8)

January 31, 1955

Mr. Weselak:

You cannot? Further, I do not believe the hon. member used the term "anti-farm government" seriously. If he did, I would suggest that he review the record of this government and its farm policies. I believe he would find that practically all the legislation on the statute books promoting stability in agriculture, and for the assistance jf agriculture, were put there by the government now in power. He will find also that substantial sums are expended from the federal treasury for the assistance of agriculture. All this is in addition to the sums expended by the Department of Agriculture and other departments of the government in agricultural research, and in obtaining and retaining our world markets. There are also many other policies which have been adopted and maintained by the government that have been of incalculable value to the farmers of this country.

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January 31, 1955

Mr. Weselak:

The people of Springfield did, and they are next door to Selkirk.

At this time I should like also to extend a word of appreciation to the Minister of Transport (Mr. Marler) and the Minister of Agriculture for their reassuring statements concerning the government's stand in regard to the Crowsnest freight rates.

Before leaving the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) I should like to refer to another phase of his department's activities which directly affects the farm economy, and that is the matter of international trade. We must not forget that we are an exporting nation, dependent upon world markets to a considerably greater extent than many other trading countries. We must not forget that we cannot find sanctuary behind tariff walls and that we must be prepared to compete with other countries in the world markets. The minister's work at the conference called for the purpose of revising the general agreement on tariffs and trade, commonly known as GATT, where he advocated the removal of import restrictions as an essential condition to a secure and prosperous world economy, is in our interest and is to be commended.

The economic trading strength of other countries is steadily increasing as they rehabilitate themselves after the ravages of war. Surpluses in the United States threaten us, and in such a world atmosphere a better and a stronger GATT should be our goal. Reports indicate that considerable difficulty will be experienced in plugging the loopholes in GATT, particularly with the United States. With their large farm surpluses, apparently the United States insist on the right to

The Address-Mr. Weselak set import quotas and subsidize the export of farm products. The mission to Washington by three of our ablest ministers early this session to discuss these matters with United States officials was timely, and reports indicate that some progress has been made toward salvaging GATT which, early in December, appeared in jeopardy. In the interests of our economy this government is rightfully doing everything it possibly can to avert a crisis which could possibly destroy GATT, under which 80 per cent of the free world's international trade is regulated.

We are not without our own internal pressures for protective tariffs. Recently the tariff board heard requests from the manufacturers of antifreeze for an increase in protection of about 5 per cent. This board heard briefs also from the Canadian textile industry which, if given effect to, might well boost the price of men's suits by $2.50 to $5, and boost the price of finer woollens, such as women's skirts and suits, by as much as $10 a garment.

We hear complaints about the unbalance of trade with Britain and the loss of British markets. What could be more damaging, Mr. Speaker, in this connection than Britain's loss of her largest single item of export to Canada, which has provided her with an average of $30 million of Canadian currency each year? These are only two industries that have recently been openly asking for increases in protection. If increases are granted, we can surely expect others to get on the bandwagon and follow suit with similar demands.

On motion of Mr. Weselak the debate was adjourned.

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January 31, 1955

Mr. A. B. Weselak (Springfield):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to join with other hon. members in congratulating the mover (Mr. Leduc) and seconder (Mr. Carrick) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne for the splendid contributions made by them on that occasion.

In the course of the debate we have heard members of the opposition denounce the government, and if one were to take their speeches alone one would be left with the impression that the present government had little interest in the future of Canada or the welfare of its people. I do not agree with this view and I take issue with those who adopt this attitude.

Before coming to the house I felt that the Liberal administration was doing a very good job of governing the country, and my short experience in the house has not changed my opinion in this regard. The mandate given the government in the last election by the people of Canada clearly indicates that I am not the only one of this opinion, but that many people throughout the length and breadth of the nation are of the same opinion.

This government has a responsibility to all the people of Canada with its various sectional regions and economies. It is not an easy matter to reconcile the various groups who have varying interests and whose demands upon the government are of such a conflicting nature. I submit that the policies of the government have been such that these interests and demands have been met in such a way as to keep all sections of our economy at a reasonable level.

It has been said in certain parts of the house that the throne speech is significant for what it did not contain. To me it is significant for what it did contain. The approval of the protocol for the restoration of sovereignty in West Germany and its rearmament is now history in the house. My support of this resolution was given in the belief that it was a step in the right direction and, above all, that it would demonstrate to the countries behind the iron curtain dominated by Russia that the western nations do not want to subjugate other peoples but desire to see that the peoples in these countries live democratically, with the dignity which is rightfully theirs.

The announcement of the meeting of the prime ministers of the commonwealth nations in London was also welcomed. These meetings of the commonwealth contribute toward a better understanding of the British peoples; and our Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), with his wisdom and the respect which he commands both at home and abroad, will no doubt make a substantial contribution to the deliberations of that conference.

My people welcome the progress being made on the St. Lawrence seaway. We in the west, being a considerable distance from our markets and our sources of supply, are very conscious of the costs of transportation which so directly affect our economy. It has been estimated that when the seaway is built transportation rates on grain sold in the overseas markets will be reduced by 5 cents per bushel to the benefit of the producer, and it naturally follows that imports for the west will also benefit from the reduction in transportation charges.

The proclamation of the legislation providing for disability pensions, the proposed amendments to the War Veterans Allowance Act and the Blind Persons Act, all will be welcomed by the people of my constituency. When people are in need and no provision exists at the federal or provincial level for their relief, the responsibility for their maintenance and welfare falls upon the municipality. Having been associated with municipalities for a considerable number of years, first in an administrative capacity and then in an advisory capacity, I can appreciate the relief this legislation will give to the municipalities in Manitoba.

The demand for services, particularly with respect to roads, drains and education, has increased substantially in the past few years; and the municipalities, with their restricted base of taxation, have found it increasingly difficult to provide the essential services required with the limited funds available. A town, village or municipality with half a dozen disability cases would have to provide from $4,000 up for these cases, and in their municipal budgets I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that to the average municipality this is a substantial sum of money. It is estimated that in Manitoba 1,200 people will benefit at a cost of approximately $600,000, shared equally by the provincial and federal governments.

The amendments to the Railway Act are also particularly welcome. Both transcontinental lines pass through the constituency of Springfield, and hardly a year has passed when a tragedy has not occurred. The municipalities have tried to cope with this problem, but the cost of providing safeguards has been

The Address-Mr. Weselak prohibitive. Greater federal participation in the cost of installation and maintenance may make it possible for these municipalities to provide the necessary safeguards, thus saving the lives of many people and preventing tragedy in many homes. The additional provisions regarding housing will also be of benefit in providing additional living space and the modernization of existing homes, thus contributing to the comfort and health of our people and our children.

I note that reference is made to the Meat and Canned Foods Act, and that measures are to be introduced for the inspection of meat and for the establishment of standards for agricultural products. From a reading of this portion of the speech it would appear to me that the standards referred to would be applicable at the retail or export level. At this time I would ask the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) to give consideration to establishing a grading system for beef at the local marketing level similar to the rail grading of pork. The experience of my constituents has been that when deliveries to the yards are high, buyers generally offer lower prices than those usually offered when deliveries are slow and do not meet current demand. My impression was that while certain individuals did not approve the rail system of grading, yet the majority felt that this system was preferable to the existing system in regard to beef. I would therefore ask the minister and his officials to give this matter their serious consideration, and devise some system whereby this situation can be rectified.

On this occasion I wish to compliment the government, and particularly the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe), on their continued confidence in our export trade and foreign sales. In the face of falling prices, a carryover the second largest in our history, and a huge surplus in the United States, the initial price of wheat was set at $1.40 per bushel, which in effect is a floor price for the 1954-55 crop year. We recall that in 1929 the Saskatchewan pool set their initial price at $1.25 per bushel, and they suffered enormous losses. These losses were guaranteed to the banks by the federal government, and in the following year the provincial governments put up security against the money lost by the western pools. In Saskatchewan alone, including interest paid, this amounted to over $20 million. At the time the initial price was set on July 16 of last year, the board held wheat unsold to the value of over $100 million and the carryover stood at over 587 million bushels.

In addition to these factors, crop conditions on the prairies were fairly good and it

appeared that a good crop would be harvested. Farmers in the west were aware of the situation and had resigned themselves to the expectation that the initial price would be substantially reduced. The announcement of the floor price came to the west as a ray of light and hope in the darkness of uncertainty which had previously prevailed. The Winnipeg Free Press, which has almost always been critical of the present system of marketing grain, had this to say on January 19, 1955:

At the same time, the west should recognize that the unchanged initial price was a hard decision to take. It may reasonably be interpreted to mean that Ottawa is genuinely confident about sales immediately ahead. But everyone is now aware that a further reduction in selling prices may become the only way to keep wheat moving out of Canada, and to reduce a surplus that certainly should not be allowed to go on piling up.

In those circumstances, it would become apparent that the wheat board was operating at a loss, which would inevitably be chargeable to the federal treasury. The taxpayers of the rest of Canada would have much to say about that. The maintenance of the initial price in this one uncertain year cannot, therefore, be taken as in any way establishing a precedent. If real disaster should come in the world wheat market, the western farmer will certainly be entitled to look for some support from the rest of the country, but he would be very foolish to expect it to be given at the level of the present initial price. The plain fact is that wheat farming represents far too large a part of the Canadian economy for any such blanket guarantee to be politically or economically practicable even if it were desirable-which, as a long-term measure, it certainly is not.

As a short-term measure, however, the stability of the initial price is, for this year's crop, a practicable policy and a legitimate means of helping the farmer through an adverse turn of circumstances. The relief of one uncertainty will make the others bearable, and everyone in the west can rejoice with the farmers that what is, in the circumstances, justice has been done to them.

On this occasion I should like to refer to the speech delivered by the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue) on January 19, who had this to say at page 344 of Hansard:

I say that the attitude of the Canadian government as expressed in its treatment of the wheat producers is shameful. No wonder the farmers of western Canada, through their farm unions and other organizations, are considering once again a mass movement on Ottawa to try to impress upon this anti-farm government the need to increase the support price on Canadian wheat.

I am sure that last July the hon. member expected a reduction in the initial price. I am sure that he, along with others, was relieved to find that the government had more confidence and faith in the farmers of this country than he did, and that it did not pay too much attention to the gloomy prophecies and forebodings which emanated from the socialist benches during the last session.

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June 15, 1954

Mr. Weselak:

I have only a brief remark to make here. I do not think there is any divided loyalty here. The reference to "Christian and democratic traditions of the Slovak nation" refers only to the traditions and not to loyalty to the Slovak nation as such. I should like to say that I do not think there is any doubt in the Slovak mind as to what is meant by reference to Christian and democratic traditions. Before the Slovak nations were overrun by the communists

[Mr. Knowles.l

they did have Christian and democratic governments, and I do not think there is any question in the Slovak mind as to which of the Slovak people have Christian and democratic traditions. I do not think that that particular paragraph will raise any problem of interpretation among the Slovak people. These are the only remarks I wanted to make.

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May 12, 1954

Mr. A. B. Weselak (Springfield):

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity at this stage of the debate to say a few words of a general nature in support of the government's action in entering into the trade agreement with Japan. My reasons for so doing stem from several considerations, foremost among which are our export trade and our continued resistance to the expansion of communism in eastern Europe and Asia.

Japan in the last war was one of our bitterest enemies and fought us and our allies with all the resources at her disposal. Upon the termination of the war, on September 8, 1951, the treaty of peace was signed with Japan at the city of San Francisco. This treaty was the subject of considerable criticism throughout the western world but

the wisdom shown in pressing for its finalization has justified this action on the part of the western allies.

As a result of this treaty the western world has gone along with Japan and assisted her in rehabilitating herself in a democratic manner.

We must not forget that following the war and it is no secret that even today the peoples of Japan are divided as to where their loyalties should extend and to what extent they should participate in world affairs. The first minority group in Japan consists of the communists who urge the newly elected Japanese parliament to break its ties with the west, refute the San Francisco peace treaty, reject its present mutual defence assistance agreement with the United States and line up with the communist-dominated peoples of Asia.

The second group-the neutralists or right wing of the socialist party-advocates an isolationist policy whereby Japan would take no part in world affairs. This obviously is not a practical solution to their problem in view of their geographical position and the present state of world affairs.

The other group, which is by far the largest, favours a rejection of the communists' attempt to make Japan another satellite of Russia and China. Japan, situate as it is close to the shores of Asia, cannot be neutral but if it is to stand against communist aggression and expansion in the East it will require the military and economic support of the United States, Canada and the other western powers.

Hon. members know from their personal experience that many lasting, trustful and valuable personal friendships are created among individuals as a result of business and professional association. In their daily contacts they get to know those whom they can trust and to what extent. I think a parallel can be drawn in international relations. The hand of friendship has been extended to Japan by the western world. It has been gratefully accepted. This was particularly evidenced when our Prime Minister visited that country on his world tour, where not only was he met by the Japanese dignitaries but also by the school children who lined the streets in an expression of friendly welcome.

It is my opinion that friendly trade relations with Japan will do more than anything else to convince the Japanese people that we are sincere in our desire to have Japan as an ally; that we are prepared to assist her in her resistance to communist domination and welcome her membership in the fraternity of free and democratic nations. In

Trade Agreement with Japan the last war we found that Japan was a power to be reckoned with and no opportunity should be lost to encourage her alignment with the West in the world power struggle.

The considerations so far enumerated would be enough in my opinion to justify the entry of Canada into a trade agreement with Japan, but there is another very important consideration and that is our need for foreign markets. In Canada, which is so dependent on international trade, every sensible person wants more trade with everybody. There is no doubt that more than any other country in the world we depend on our foreign trade for our prosperity. The United States, which is the only other country of the world with a standard of living comparable to ours, relies for her prosperity on exports to the extent of only about four per cent, whereas Canada is dependent upon her exports for about 30 per cent of her national income.

To agriculture our continuity of trade is of paramount importance. Our wheat crop is now averaging in excess of 500 million bushels of which domestic consumption, including grain used for seed and feed, would not exceed 140 million bushels. Of a crop of 136 million bushels of oats we exported 65 million bushels, and of a crop of 176 million bushels of barley we exported 119 million bushels. In addition to the export of grain, substantial stocks of other farm and dairy products have been exported to other countries to add to our national income.

In addition to the export of farm products, our exports of minerals, processed and manufactured goods have been substantial. The export of these commodities is very important, not only to agriculture but also to labour and to industry.

Since the war our trade with Japan has grown steadily and at the risk of repetition I would say that in the calendar year 1953 our exports to Japan totalled $118,500,000 while our imports amounted to $13,600,000. Our chief sales to Japan consisted of $52,433,562 of wheat, $17,496,915 of barley, $7,014,280 of pulp, $1,380,565 of grass seed and other lesser items. In the year 1953-54 Japan's crop quota was 36,744,000 bushels. She had purchased from Canada to April 30 of this year 11,690,000 bushels of wheat. This, together with purchases from the United States, has almost filled her quota. This figure includes only purchases registered under the international wheat agreement and information available indicates that other sales outside the agreement have been made. Since April 30, 14 further cargoes have been sold, which at 350,000 bushels per cargo, would amount to approximately 5 million further bushels, bringing the total well over


Trade Agreement with Japan 17 million bushels to date with the remainder of the year's purchases to be anticipated. These facts, together with the statement by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) to the effect that "steps have been taken to safeguard the position of Canada in the Japanese market for the next two years" furnish, I believe, sufficient evidence to justify a favourable and optimistic attitude in regard to our future trade with Japan.

On this occasion I would like to take the opportunity to commend the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) upon his work, the work of his department and the *agencies under his direction, for their increasing vigilance and their aggressive policy in seeking markets for our products. The department's trade representatives in foreign countries have been doing a tremendous job of promoting Canadian sales. In addition the wheat board has maintained a vigorous policy of seeking out and maintaining markets for our grains.

A Canadian grain and flour mission of the Canadian 'wheat board, headed by Mr. Riddel, recently returned from a tour of the Asiatic countries where they had been seeking markets for our Canadian grain. The delegation was well received in Japan and found that Canadian wheat was very well liked, particularly in relation to quality which they found to be better than the average quality of American wheat they had been receiving, and all indications were that Japan would continue to be a good market for Canadian wheat in the years to come.

Factors which have contributed toward the popularity of wheat products in Japan in preference to rice have been, firstly, the shortage of fuel for cooking purposes in the homes and, secondly, the fact that many Japanese women are occupied in working during the day. Bread is a much more convenient form of food by reason of these considerations and is growing in popularity. It, therefore, seems reasonable to assume that our wheat market in Japan is established and that in the course of time it will increase, provided Japan can obtain the foreign currency to purchase our products. A similar consideration applies to barley. Our exports in the past year of barley were valued at $17 million and the prospects of increasing our exports to Japan of this commodity are also >very good.

Our great exporting industries are also searching for larger outlets and industries in British Columbia have again taken the initiative as they did in the matter of marketing their fish products, and a delegation of the Vancouver board of trade, including an

[Mr. Weselak.l

official representative of the British Columbia government, went to Tokyo early in April to seek new markets for Canadian goods. The prospect of obtaining further markets are bright. A recent estimate in Foreign Trade, a government publication, showed that Japan is urgently in need of over three million housing units to ease the serious housing shortage in Japan. Assuming that the average two or three-room house requires about 7,000 board feet of lumber, then, a market exists for a considerable amount of Canadian lumber. There is no doubt that if the needs of the Japanese people were given careful study other buyers could be found for many Canadian products and raw materials.

We must face the fact that if Japan is to continue buying from Canada at her present rate, or if as may well be, her imports from this country are to increase, then she must sell more to Canada. I believe this agreement is a recognition of this fact and a step toward retaining this market which we have had the good fortune to obtain. If the agreement has the effect of more Japanese goods being imported into Canada, which will likely be the result, they necessarily must compete with the Canadian manufacturers and indications are that this competition will be felt mainly in the toy, textile and electrical products which Japan can make much cheaper than can our Canadian manufacturers.

One of the terms of the agreement, incorporated by way of a communication addressed to the ambassador of Japan from the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson), dated March 31, 1954, and set QUt in the Votes and Proceedings of the House of Commons for Wednesday, March 31, 1954, at page 7 of the addendum, provides, and I quote:

1. Ii, as a result of unforeseen developments and of the effect of the obligations incurred by Canada under the aforesaid agreement, any product is being imported into its territory in such increased quantities and under such conditions as to cause or threaten serious injury to the domestic producers in its territory of like or directly competitive products, Canada will be free, in respect of such product, and to the extent and for such a time as may be necessary to prevent or remedy such injury, to establish values for ordinary and special duty purposes.

2. In determining whether values should be established in respect of any product pursuant to paragraph 1 and in determining the level at which such values should be established, Canada will take into account the prices of like or directly competitive products, if any, being imported at that time from other countries.

The inclusion of the right of Canada to establish values for ordinary and special duty purposes for the purpose of preventing

serious injury to domestic producers of competitive products, together with the provisions relating to unfair trade practices, provides industries affected with an adequate safeguard against indiscriminate competition from Japanese imports. This power will have to be exercised by the government with great care in accordance with the spirit of the agreement and in such a manner as to promote the national interest.

Large surpluses of goods, especially agricultural products, hang over the market. We must maintain our present huge trade in other markets, and that is our basic problem. This problem will not be cured but will be greatly worsened by restricting the international trade on which this nation largely lives, and therefore I urge the government on this occasion to exercise the power reserved to it in the agreement only when conditions warrant their use and, if possible, sparingly, but always in the interest of the Canadian economy as a whole.

In conclusion I would like to emphasize that this trade pact is not only a trade agreement as such; it is a symbol of Japan's desire to join the fraternity of nations in the free world, to work with them in friendly co-operation toward a solution of the grave problems which face the world today. Our government, in negotiating this trade treaty, has accepted the fact that Japan must sooner or later live by her own exports; that she cannot subsist upon voluntary gifts, nor can she carry on the one-sided exchange of goods which has been the case in the past. The Japanese people must be assured that their alliance with the West is not only sound in military strategy but assures them a tolerable life.

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