Richard Langton BAKER

BAKER, Richard Langton

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
Eglinton (Ontario)
Birth Date
May 15, 1870
Deceased Date
January 3, 1951
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Langton_Baker
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=52af64cd-5d2d-482a-afff-f94833c2439c&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
manufacturer

Parliamentary Career

October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
CON
  Toronto Northeast (Ontario)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
CON
  Toronto Northeast (Ontario)
October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
CON
  Eglinton (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 62 of 67)


May 6, 1926

Mr. BAKER:

Then it is too bad that such a small number should control the country; that is not majority rule. Now, Mr. Speaker, I think we should talk less about the rigours of our climate; it is bad advertising. I think the House will agree with me that Canada's climate is all right.

With respect to our export trade, I do not think we should be too ready to boast about it. For example, England has a larger export trade per capita than United States, but she suffers from much more unemployment per capita.

Again as to the budget, Sir, I should like to have seen the Minister of Finance incorporate in it a tariff duty sufficiently high to exclude American journals. Those publications are tending to Americanize Canada, and the sooner such propaganda is checked the better it will be for this Dominion.

I should also like to have seen the budget contain an item increasing the duty, against imported woollens so as to revive the Canadian woollen industry. Attempts have been made to controvert the fact that this industry has suffered severely from lack of adequate protection, but there can be no doubt that this is the cause of its being in such a seriously depressed condition to-day. Of the thirty million dollars' worth of woollens we imported last year, considerably more than half could be manufactured in this country if the industry were adequately protected, and this would give employment to a large number of men. It must always be borne in mind that "the man follows the job," and if you want lots of population you must provide lots of jobs. In the course of his speech last week the hon. Minister of Public Works (Mr. King) stated that last year we imported only thirty million dollars' worth of woollens as against forty-five million dollars' worth in 1921, and he appeared to derive considerable satisfaction from this apparent decrease. But we must remember that prices last year were away down compared with those which prevailed in 1921, and therefore the apparent decrease of importation may be good for political purposes but it is misleading. Besides, to really judge the volume of this business we should have regard to the yardage, not to the money value. The, following figures will bear out my contention :

1921 Yards Imported 192569.03.1 Overcoatings 351,1752.585.833 Tweeds 3,327,7606,552.434 Worsteds and Serges 9,756,954

And so on down the list. This shows that while the figures presented by the minister apparently bore out his contention they did not represent the facts, and that the real condition of^ affairs can only be realized when the importations are stated in terms of yardage. We bought tremendously greater yardage in 1925 than in 1921. It is yardage that gives employment, and it is employment we want, for employment brings population.

Now, in framing a budget I think consideration should be first given to labour-in other words, to employment. A protective tariff, it must be remembered, is not simply to protect the manufacturer; this is purely incidental; the prime purpose of such a tariff is to protect the wages of the working people. In short, the safeguarding of our industries is primarily to protect the wage-earners of this country so they can work in Canada at high wages which will enable them to maintain the Canadian standard of living, not at such wages as are current in mid-Europe and Japan, where the standard of living is deplorably low. When discussing the budget the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) pleaded for a minimum wage regulated by the cost of living. Well, so it should be, and we hope that the minimum wage of Canadian workers will always be a good liberal wage. But I cannot see how it is possible for him to consistently plead, as he no doubt conscientiously does, for that laudable objective and at the same time vote against the only party in this House with a policy which will assure to the working people of Canada a minimum wage sufficient to meet the high cost of living. One thing we have to contend with in this House is inconsistency, and I address these remarks to the hon. gentleman in the most kindly spirit and in the hope that he will see his way clear to support the party that is supporting the people whom he is supposed to be representing. I hope he will represent them by taking this course, for there are no people in the world more worthy of proper representation than the labouring people of Canada. I hope he will accept my suggestion and support the amendment of the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion), and so make certain that labour will not be interfered with in the future by a government which fails to properly look after the interests of the working people. We have seen this government ignore the tariff board which it recently created and then take the bull by the horns and shake the automobile industry all to pieces, thus throwing our working men out of their jobs.

The Budget-Mr. Baker

My hon. friend from Winnipeg North Centre has also pleaded, and quite properly, for the relief of unemployment. Might I respectfully suggest to him that the greatest relief he could possibly give them would be by supporting the fiscal policy of the Conservative party which will ensure adequate protection to every Canadian workman.

As to old age pensions, Sir, I think it is a very deserving proposal, and I think every one in this House agrees with the principle; the only difference of opinion is in regard to the details of working it out. In applying this principle I think the one thing we should guard against is to so frame the legislation that it will not be possible for people to qualify for pensions who have not given their labour to Canada between the ages, say, of twenty and fifty. If they need it they should have good, reasonable old age pensions, but foreigners, after giving their labour to a foreign land, should not be able to come here and receive old age pensions at the expense of the Dominion of Canada. That is the old age pension system I think should be put in force.

Then we come to the question of population, and I think we all agree that we need an increase in population; I presume there is no argument on that point. I think it was mentioned by one hon. gentleman that we did not necessarily need increased population to be a good country, but I do not agree with that. We must have more people for our area, for the railroad plans we have laid out, for our expensive government and for our great national debt. We must increase our population and make that population prosperous by a proper fiscal policy. We know, of course, that with double our present population the per capita debt and expense of government would be so much decreased. We have now ten parliaments to govern eight million people; if they are all as good as this one, of course, they will be able to govern forty million people. Let us get the people, and it will then cost so much less per capita for government. Our railroads can handle twenty-five million people as well as they handle our present population, and the overhead would not increase, which would give our railroads a chance to show good profits.

With regard to our population I am satisfied that- the only immigration policy for Canada is one which safeguards our industries by adequate protection. Then we will have an inflow so great that we will be able to put in a quota system and choose our population. We can take as many as we like from the United States-and let us take a large number from there; we can take a great

number from Great Britain, and also from France, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Norway and Sweden. In other words, let our new population come from Great Britain, the United States and the northern part of Europe. These people are willing to come to Canada, but they will not come and we do not wish them here if we have not employment for them. But there is a way to provide that employment, and only one way.

We have had some discussion in this House about treaties. I have many notes on this subject but I am not going into it in detail. We have a treaty with France, a treaty with Belgium, a treaty with Australia, a treaty with New Zealand and so on. So far as I can see -and I say it fearlessly, because it is only my own humble judgment-this government are very poor treaty makers. That is shown in so many ways, and although the farmer

but I will not say the farmer, rather the farmers and grain growers of this House-

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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May 6, 1926

Mr. BAKER:

I do not advocate that; I

simply suggest the advisability of not further increasing our wheat production. Let it stand still until other forms of industry catch up. If we go ahead, and develop and overdevelop our wheat production, we will have to carry on our present expense in spreading out the railroads, whereas by stopping the increase we will do away with that. I think we will be balanced then; there will be a great deal

more harmony in this House and through the Dominion, and more prosperity to all.

I must admit, Mr. Speaker, thait I am not thoroughly versed in farming; we cannot all have that pleasure and privilege, but I think it is generally admitted that these new lands now being broken in for the production of grain for export will not, in twenty years, produce so much per acre. If that is so are we not using up too much of the virgin soil of this country in the present generation for the purpose of exporting wheat to foreign countries, when that land may be required in fifty years or more for food for the coming generations? That should be also taken into consideration.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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May 6, 1926

Mr. BAKER:

Quite right, there were no

asses imported and also none bred here. Referring to page 1925 of the same book I find that in Saskatchewan they had practically all the mules in Canada-9073 mules-but there are practically none in the other provinces. I am only dealing with agricultural statistics, and we are talking about quadrupeds now.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make special mention of the hon. members representing constituencies in the province of Quebec. I speak truly and to the best of my knowledge that twenty or thirty of the hon. members representing constituencies in the province of Quebec are not really representing the spirit of the people of Quebec, having re- ' ference to the politics of the two different parties in this House. I appeal to hon. gentlemen and I say that they do know that the spirit of the province of Quebec is protectionist all the way through. Having reference to the magnificent protectionist policy consistently pursued from beginning to end by their able provincial government, I appeal to hon. members from that province and I say to them, "You have the power to save the situation that now exists in Canada." I appeal to the members from Quebec to consider this matter seriously; on the question of their duty to their country and the loyalty they have always shown to their country, with the permission of the Speaker they might ask the privilege of crossing the floor of the House, on the ground that they want to divorce themselves from the party who do not believe in protection. I would like to see a real page made in history; I would like to see twenty members from Quebec cross the floor on the question of a trade policy which makes for the welfare of the Dominion of Canada. By so doing you guard your industries because under present conditions you never know when your industries are going to be hurt.

Let me say from my seat in the House one word to the people of Canada. I suggest that they should take more interest in the affairs of their country and vote for the adoption of a fiscal policy which means live and let live for all parts of Canada. I should like to ask the people of Canada to consider the recent election and the results of the returns sent in by returning officers, which show that tens of thousands of people in Canada did not vote at all. It is too bad; they should vote. It is almost a question whether we should not have compulsory voting as they have it in Australia. I appeal to the people to send only to this parliament, as indeed they

The Budget-Mr. Letellier

generally do, men who with staunch hearts will follow a policy of Canada first and foremost, Canada as a link in that world chain of nations on which the sun never sets, so as to secure peace, happiness and prosperity to all the people of this world.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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May 6, 1926

Mr. BAKER:

No, no, I do not mean that

as a joke; I do not want to disqualify any hon. member. In this House we have both;

I was contradicted on that point a moment ago, and I want to be as nearly correct as possible this time. They have rather belittled the fact that the Australian or New Zealand treaties may work against their interests; very well; this is another case where only time will tell, but I am well convinced of what the result will be. I am sure they will see the error of their ways very quickly and ask the House to reverse its former action. In other words, what we want is foresight and not hindsight; we should not make these treaties and then withdraw them. I think some hon. members to my left would be very glad to see these treaties withdrawn now. I believe it was the hon. member for Camrose (Mr. Lucas) who said that since these treaties were in force it was only fair and decent to give them a trial for at least six months. But I noticed the hon. member said-and I was very pleased to hear it-that he did not see why this government wanted to go to Australia for a treaty because, as he said at page 1082 of Hansard, our imports from Australia amounted to only $762,113 in 1917, while out exports to that country amounted to $6,549,546. That trade was doing very well and might have been left alone, as the hon. member suggested; there was no real need of a treaty at all. Then I have a memorandum here in regard to the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Brown). He said that he voted against the Australian treaty in the last parliament

316S

The Budget-Mr. Baker

because it increased the duty on raisins. I think that is a rather interesting reason.

My idea of treaties, Mr. Speaker, is that we in Canada need a treaty among ourselves; a treaty of the east with the centre and the west; of the west with the centre and the east, and of the centre with both east and west. We should expend our energy in that direction, if I may respectfully suggest it to this House. We want internal trade, a national policy for the protection of all industries; protection within Canada. There is lots of room for work; we can spend lots of time in making that kind of treaty. Why should we buy farm products . from foreigners when Quebec produces such large quantities of the same farm products? If Ontario must import %rm products I should say the fiscal policy of,'this country should be such as to enable Ontario to secure those farm products from Quebec, and not from some foreign country.

It is said that Canada is difficult to govern. I do not say that, but it has been said in this House more than once. Supposing that to be so, that should provide all the more interest; an easy job has no interest at all. If Canada is difficult to govern let us go at it hard and lose no time in getting down to business.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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May 6, 1926

Mr. BAKER:

We are not getting anywhere and never will get anywhere under existing conditions here. The work of government may be difficult, but there is too much partisan politics in the game. We have five troubles in this country, with which we are all well acquainted; the fiscal policy, taxation, transportation, immigration and emigration. Our imports, taxes, salaries and incomes, no matter what their source, are all paid out of domestic production. That is where we get our money, so if we protect our production we protect the source of all our business and revenue. Hence we return to that principle which hon. members will notice I have been continually suggesting, because to my mind it is the only thing to save this country. That principle will be eventually adopted and inaugurated and will save this country, but let us save time; when you save time in a matter of such importance you save a tremendous amount of money, so let us get at it as quickly as possible; let us get right down to business, and do what we all know must be done. We must safeguard our industries by adequate protection.

On the surface, Mr. Speaker, one of the greatest difficulties we have in Canada is that

conditions are unbalanced. I think if we take it gradually and look it over carefully, we will find that that is the trouble. But I do not say there should be any upset because we are unbalanced. In a business you wiil have departments overbalanced and unbalanced, but you will not upset that unbalanced department; by the success of other departments this one department will be allowed to find its level without loss. I mention that because I am going to make a remark in a moment about grain, and I do not want my friends the grain growers to be disturbed at what I have to say. I would not take anyone's business without reimbursing him. The country is unbalanced in this way; for the welfare of the Dominion we are. producing too much wheat. If we grew less wheat for export and produced more vegetable and farm products in general and had more manufacturing, we would then be more evenly balanced and would have less trouble and less turmoil than we are having to-day. I think it quite evident that the wheat production of Canada is out of all proportion to the industries and general farming, and if you will notice, that is the root of the trouble in this House. If we would work along those lines to try to balance things up, stop growing more wheat for export until we catch up on the vegetable and general farming products and the manufacturing, we would get along better. For example, why should we import a hundred million dollars' worth of farm products which we could grow in this country, and for which we must send out wheat of the same value? If we did not do that we could consume more of our own wheat at home. I know that cannot all be done at once, but in the meantime the production and export of wheat might be kept at such a level, by a statutory process which can easily be worked out, that losses will not be occasioned in the meantime.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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