Wilfrid Garfield CASE

CASE, Wilfrid Garfield

Personal Data

Progressive Conservative
Grey North (Ontario)
Birth Date
September 23, 1898
Deceased Date
September 22, 1959
farmer, insurance broker

Parliamentary Career

February 5, 1945 - April 16, 1945
  Grey North (Ontario)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Grey North (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 133)

April 27, 1949

Mr. Case:

It is only enabling legislation, is

it not?

Pipe Lines Act

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April 26, 1949

Mr. W. Garfield Case (Grey North):

Mr. Speaker, I think one of the most important statements that have been made in this House of Commons during the time I have been privileged to be here was the statement by the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) at closing time yesterday. I think he has alerted himself to the desires of the people during his trip through the west. Upon his return he is quoted as saying in effect that he found a desire for a general election.

In the main you do not find a desire of that type if the people are satisfied. I think the right hon. gentleman sensed the feeling of unrest and uncertainty which is present today in the minds of the Canadian people and in the minds of many Liberals as well. While I do not think it is a good thing to thresh old straw, after listening to the hon. member for Rosthern (Mr. Boucher) I think I should attempt to refresh his memory for the benefit of those who will verify the statement I make.

I should like to remind the hon. gentleman that in 1930 we were approaching a situation which the Prime Minister of that day, the present right hon. member for Glengarry (Mr. Mackenzie King), hesitated to face even though he had another year to serve before his term of office expired. As the right hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) remarked when dealing with his estimates, in 1929 they appreciated that a terrific financial and physical collapse was on the way which was beyond their ability to cope with.

The man who was called into office was forced to face all kinds of criticism but he led this country through a great economic disaster, an economic disaster that faced not only this country but the entire world. My hon. friends know that. It is unfair and unjust to place the responsibility upon the one man who at the risk of his health did a great job for Canada in keeping this country on a reasonably level keel at a time when the banks of the United States were closed down and economic chaos was rampant and the government was hard pressed to cope with a situation which might easily have resulted in mob rule.

In distant Europe the situation was even worse and the totalitarian states turned their attention to the manufacture of implements of war in order to stabilize employment for

the time being. However, in building up a huge war machine they led the world to the brink of disaster which resulted in a terrific and costly war.

Let me remind the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat that as late as 1938 thousands of young men walked the streets of Canada without a place to lay their weary heads. They rode the rods from one city to another. I met a young man who enlisted in the early days of the war in 1939 and who told me that his army pay was the first pay he had had for a period of four years. I have considerable regard for the efforts the government made, but I must say that had it not been for the war it is most questionable whether they would have solved the economic problems of Canada.

I have discovered no tendency that would indicate that Liberalism is on the march. No major change or reform has been brought about to ease the burdens of the Canadian people. Reference has been made to the budget and the hon. member for Rosthern has said that they have made the greatest tax reductions in history. If you build up your pyramid high enough, and they built it to the highest peak ever known in the history of Canada, it is not too difficult to cut it down, particularly when there is an election in the offing. It was necessary for them to do something immediately because the country was demanding it. Hon. members on the government side rose in their places and insisted that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) make some adjustments in taxation.

They reached out and they did quite a job, but as far as I am concerned, it is too little and certainly far too late. There should have been gradual reductions in taxation during the period of adjustment which would have encouraged greater production and thus defeated this spiral of inflation. We must remember that living costs in Canada have soared. In fact we are the victims of inflation brought about as the result of policies deliberately put into effect by the present administration.

After listening to the hon. gentleman who preceded me I begin to think that the present administration is suffering from an inflationary trend. They are suffering from egotistical inflation and the electors are presently going to puncture the bubble and there will be very little left when all the gas has been let out. You hear people in this House of Commons and on the hustings encouraging people to believe that this old supreme authority known as the present administration is giving handouts to the people in the way of family allowances, cuts in taxation, millions to wheat growers and reductions in income tax. It is

The Budget-Mr. Case

well timed; of course it is well timed, but they are not giving the people one red cent that the people themselves did not provide. I think it is important to bear that in mind. Governments have no money; they are dependent entirely upon the taxpayers of the nation, and the ability of the taxpayers to produce the necessary revenue depends entirely upon the productive capacity and employment of the nation.

Today we have our efforts in the House of Commons highlighted by the fact that the government, faced with a non-confidence motion in the present administration and having been sustained by a very narrow margin when the house divided on the speech from the throne, rather than risk outright defeat are going to deny to the members of the house the privilege of criticizing their policies and condemning them in this legislative chamber. They are now going to seek an opinion from the highest court in the land by going to the country.

What does this mean? It means that there was called into being the public accounts committee. We had the Auditor General before that committee for one day when he referred to some of the things which he had criticized in his annual report to parliament. Subsequently my leader, the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Drew), was made a member of that committee. I am wondering now if the Liberal government have not decided that they have almost had enough and are willing to hightail it for the tall timbers, or anywhere else they can seek refuge, and watch the show go by. Certainly they have arrived at the place where they fear and dread criticism.

I heard one member this afternoon speak about freedom from fear. I think if the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) could inculcate a little of that freedom from fear into those who sit with him in the administration they would not be inclined to whistle in the dark hoping against hope that everything will turn out all right when they know they have been masters of mismanagement and that the country is going to have to pay a terrific price. References were made to the trying days of the early thirties. It must be remembered that a Conservative administration took over then following long years of Liberal rule and administration, and the same situation prevails today when the Liberals have been in office for fourteen years.

The country has survived a war when the entire effort of our people was required for a common objective. We have now had brought before parliament a charter or pact known as the Atlantic pact which we debated previously in a very limited way and passed almost unanimously. Since then the final draft has been signed in Washington, and I

The Budget-Mr. Case

understand it will be returned to this house for further debate and comment. We find the government exactly in the same position that they were in in 1945, long on showmanship and certainly short on practicability. In 1945 the then Prime Minister flew to San Francisco to affix his name to the United Nations pact. Today they have signed the Atlantic pact, which is an instrument to guarantee the security we all seek, and by which we hope to avoid war.

This government, however, has not the courage to come forward with any policy. No doubt when the pact is returned to the house the debate will be restricted. While we have made commitments we are absolutely without any policy or sense of direction to help us to determine how we intend to honour our obligation. I think it is most unfortunate that the country should be left in such a situation, having become a signatory to a pact, having enjoyed all the glory and showmanship which went with it, and all the publicity which was necessary to indicate that we too were among the 330 million people in the world who desired this token of security. We have not yet determined, however, the method we intend to employ to guarantee that security.

If you read the daily press at the present time you will find that a very important conference is taking place in old London. It is being attended by the Prime Ministers from various parts of the great commonwealth. Is Canada represented by her Prime Minister at that important conference of members of the British commonwealth of nations? No. She is represented by a second in command. Someone who could not possibly speak with the same authority as the Prime Minister is offering Canada's advice. It is a very important conference, possibly more important than we realize. For some reason or other there has been a tendency on the part of this administration-and I am not going to charge them with ulterior motives in any sense of the word-to by-pass these imperial or commonwealth conferences. Yet I think it must be admitted by all who are students of history that the greatest security we enjoy, and the greatest security we are likely to enjoy, is that of being a member of the commonwealth of British nations within the British empire. I am one who regrets therefore that the Prime Minister is not representing Canada at this important conference in old London.

I said a while ago that some of the funds which the government is distributing were raised by taxation. The funds which are being returned to the wheat growers are funds which originate from the sale of their product, and from no other source. Yet these

cheques are going to find their way to the western plains at a very important moment, at a time when an election is under way. I was privileged to visit the province of Saskatchewan recently. There is an air of concern and uncertainty there as to the climatic conditions in that great province at the present moment. Therefore I feel that the time has arrived when greater consideration must be given to some means of surveying the land, not alone by way of the Prairie Farm Assistance Act, but through some other instrument of legislation, and those lands that are subject to repeated failures should surely be classified in some way, or put back into grass and returned to grazing land.

Those are problems which might well be dealt with if the government had any desire to solve anything. Possibly we should agree with them, however, that the first thing they had better solve is their own position, because it would be unfortunate if they laboured hard and long only to go to the country and meet the fate which I am sure they are going to meet. Rather it is just as well for them to hand over the reins now while there is some semblance of saving their face.

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April 26, 1949

Mr. Case:

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.

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April 7, 1949

Mr. Case:

Has the Postmaster General now determined whether the mail of members, which is franked in the House of Commons and the delivery of which is important, will be carried by air mail; or do we still have to affix stamps for that purpose?

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April 7, 1949

Mr. Case:

If you are conscious of your responsibilities as members of this house I am sure you too must ask yourselves many questions at this time. It must be remembered that a few days ago the leader of the opposition directed certain questions to the Minister of National Defence, to which he received certain replies. Let us not fool ourselves. Yesterday in this very chamber the minister had ample opportunity to rise on a question of privilege; indeed, he spoke at considerable length in committee, but failed to correct the false impression he left with the members of this house. So having regard to my responsibility to the people of Canada, particularly those of my own constituency, when I am asked to pass an item of more than $19 million for national defence, I think I am entitled to know upon whose advice I can depend. Through the signing of the Atlantic pact undoubtedly we all became more conscious of our situation in relation to security and the world situation. That should make us consider our own position very carefully. It is all very well for those opposite to chide me for rising to take part in what is perhaps one of the most important

debates we have had in this house, but our security and our very future depend entirely upon-

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