There will be a lot more Tories over on your side when the game is over. Not only have we a public accounts committee, but there is also a very important committee of this house on which I had the honour to serve. I refer to the Indian affairs committee which was a special committee of the House of Commons. A royal commission consisting of ten members of parliament was set up to travel throughout the maritimes, at considerable expense to the taxpayers of Canada. They laboured hard and long to revise the old Indian Act which has received no major attention since 1867, the year of confederation. Representations were made to this committee by Indian tribes and Indian agents from one end of Canada to the other. The labours of the committee extended over a period of three years. Great volumes of evidence were heard. These were sifted through, and as a final act we met and agreed almost unanimously, which very seldom happens when you have a committee composed of so many members, and also having on it representatives from the other place. There was very little dissension, if any; and what there was I am sure would have been straightened out on the floor of the house. Now after all this work and preparation and the drafting of this important legislation, the government has seen fit to abandon the whole thing and throw it overboard. The Indian affairs committee was not even set up this
session. It was represented that the bill was being studied by the law officers of the crown, but I have been unable to find any substantial evidence to that effect. So the work carried on by a joint committee of members of this house and the other place for three long years, at considerable inconvenience and expense and involving a good deal of travel, is going to be discarded and the recommendations of the committee completely ignored.
I do not think that is a fair way to treat a minority, whose ancestors were the original citizens of this great land. They placed all their hopes in this committee. They were the first to ask that it be set up, through the North American Indian brotherhood and other similar organizations. They made representations to the government asking that such a committee be set up, and it required long years of approach and much planning on their part to get this far. Now this is to be discarded because, as I have said, it suits the government to avoid facing the criticism of their colleagues in this house. They prefer to go out with their propaganda machine well oiled and try to convince the Canadian people that they have been carrying on by some divine right all through these years and have passed legislation for the common good, though we who have had the experience of sitting in this chamber know full well how important it is to have criticism as well. It is the criticism they are trying to avoid at the present time.
The hon. member for Rosthern (Mr. Boucher) also mentioned the trans-Canada highway. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that this great project will receive a good deal of attention after the election has determined who will sit on the treasury benches. We have definitely made it a part of our program. The government were quick to seize upon some semblance of our resolution immediately following our national convention, but they have given a very poor exhibition of leadership and I am quite satisfied that nothing will be done. This is the do-nothing administration, except for the collection of large sums of money, which is carried on with a degree of inefficiency which is very costly to the taxpayers. When we ask the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott), "What about this item of $374 million in connection with the foreign exchange control board?" his answer is, "Oh, that is just a bookkeeping item." Well, I can tell you that the taxpayers of Canada have found it a pretty costly method of bookkeeping, because they have had to foot the bill for many years.
Another very important committee we would like to have seen functioning is the radio committee, which I am sure must mean a great deal not only to the government and to this house but to the Canadian people as well. We should have had an opportunity to delve into the policies under which our radio
The Budget-Mr. Case
broadcasting is carried on, and should have had an opportunity to recommend certain changes in administration. To me it seems absolutely ridiculous that a broadcasting commission with over-all authority to operate a broadcasting service on its own behalf, or on behalf of the government, at the same time should sit in judgment and have considerable administrative power over its competitors. It would seem just as logical to ask the board of directors of the Canadian National Railways to determine how the administration of the Canadian Pacific Railway should be carried on. For some time my thought has been that the government certainly should have a commission or some body similar to the transport commissioners, which would act in an administrative or advisory capacity, fixing rates and determining certain aspects in the public interest; but why we should expect the radio commission, itself in business, to direct the affairs of private radio enterprise is beyond me.
So these important committees, as well as the approach of private members to legislative problems, bills and other things, will be simply thrown into the discard and we will be on our way to the country. I believe the administration have been divided on this issue for some time; yet after our recent experience in getting through $100 million of supplementary estimates I can appreciate why they would hesitate before attempting to put through $2,300 million of estimates for 1949-50. So they are going to shelve all this and have an election.
Now for a few moments I am going to deal with an item which I believe should be stressed because of certain references we hear, particularly from our socialist friends, to the enormous profits which have been made by capital. 1 think we should all seek to have some appreciation of the part to be played by both labour and capital; and no good purpose will be served by endeavouring to divide these groups or drive them further apart. Anyone who hopes to succeed in bringing about understanding and stability in labour relations must bring these two great factions closer together, in greater appreciation one of the other. Recently I had an opportunity to see a set of figures which I am going to read into the record, together with such comments as I may have to offer. They are very revealing, since they mark a period of great progress in the industrial development of this nation. I am going back almost sixty years to point out that in 1890 the earnings per worker amounted to $272 per year. He received, however, 21-4 per cent of the product he produced. It is interesting to note that in 1945 the worker received
The Budget-Mr. Case
22-3 per cent of the product produced, an increase of less than one per cent. That seems astounding, because you may say, "Well, look at the tremendous expansion in the volume of wages." This is what actually took place. In 1890 the worker produced goods worth $1,271. In 1945 he produced goods worth $7,371; so while the percentage of the product he received increased by less than one per cent, the amount he received was $1,649 as compared with $272 in 1890.
How did these changes take place? Capital invested billions of dollars in better machines, tools and equipment with which the worker could work. Working conditions and the whole environment of the worker changed. Whereas in 1890 wages and salaries amounted to $100,415,350, in 1945 wages and salaries totaled $1,845,773,449 or an increase of approximately $1,745,338,000. This brings home to us that, in spite of the desire to stir up discord and misunderstanding between these two groups within our nation, capital and labour have made wonderful progress and labour has shared all the advantages which capital has sought to provide.
As a matter of fact, in pursuing this a little further I find that the dividends earned on capital are actually smaller now than they were in 1890, yet capital is benefiting by the greater volume of business. In 1945 industry expended $4,254 million more on raw material than in 1890. No wonder we now assess ourselves as being highly developed industrially. Facts and figures speak for themselves. Certainly there is plenty of evidence to indicate that Canada has traveled a long way in her industrial development. As a matter of fact, we have traveled farther than we would have traveled under any semblance of state control. Wherever it has been tried that has had a nullifying effect and has not been good for either the worker or capital. It brings into question the confidence of the investor in the future of the nation.
Canada has tremendous resources. We are greatly in need of foreign capital for our development. We must seek by every means we can to make it attractive for foreign capital to come into Canada and invest in our rich resources in order to ensure the development of those resources. We should also attempt to ensure their processing in Canada to the greatest degree in order that the benefits derived from that processing will reach our citizens.
We do find, Mr. Speaker, that capital is willing to risk itself in the development of enterprises such as mines and so forth. The fact remains, however, that capital will not risk a government which is not stable or a government of a socialistic character because
capital fears that once the enterprise becomes successful it will be seized by the government and taken over for the benefit of the state. So far as we are concerned we want to make sure the state remains the servant of the people and that it will offer the people a sense of security and confidence in the future. We do not want to arrive at a place where we are directed by some central authority; where we are under the influence of bureaucrats and subject to inspection; where there will be a degree of discord and misunderstanding. We much prefer, and I am sure the Canadian people who are resourceful prefer, not to be subject to that.
After all, Mr. Speaker, the greatest asset we possess is our people. We have reason to be proud of the robust citizenship of this great nation. Canada has made progress because she has had citizens who were willing to take a chance and who embraced no false philosophy. No one should claim that the country owes him a living, but we do say with all the emphasis we can that a country properly administered should guarantee every citizen the opportunity of making a living. The right to work is inherent in the life of any man. Productive toil leads to contentment and happiness more than any other method which can be employed.
I feel that we must always be conscious of our great Canadian citizenship. Our immigration policy should have as a fixed objective the bringing to Canada of people with initiative, who have a high regard for our laws and for our institutions. We should bring to Canada people who value freedom as the average Canadian should value freedom, though sometimes I doubt that there is a real appreciation of freedom. After all, we are very fortunate in that we have never been without our freedom. We know something of what oppression means by hearing about it from those who have been oppressed and who are seeking to escape from it. It is our hope for the future that Canada is going to remain a land of freedom, a land where individual initiative and individual ambition will count for a great deal. As we march forward to greater prosperity we must address ourselves to that important task, ever conscious of the fact that freedom is an empty farce if our people are not given some economic security.
We cannot join with our socialist friends whose leader is reported to have said that their hope of success is a major depression or recession. I would certainly not want to have that thought in my mind, that our only hope of climbing to power was on the wreck of humanity. So, Mr. Speaker, our objectives are clear. We are prepared to meet the issue and we are certainly in a position to assure
the Canadian people that we have within the ranks of our great party a wealth of talent and leadership that is capable of forming the next government of the Dominion of Canada. It is capable of giving this dominion the type of legislation it has long been seeking. We will cut the bonds which are holding us back. We will be rid of bureaucracy, government by order in council or by any such method as is now employed. There will be restored to this great, free parliament the right to govern itself and to make that contribution which is in the best interests of all concerned. Then, Canada will indeed be a land of democratic freedom, with all the emphasis we can place upon those important words in our vocabulary.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE