Mr. D. S. HARKNESS (Calgary East):
Mr. Speaker, I should like at the outset of this, my first speech in the house, to add my congratulations to the many which you have already received on your election to your high office. I also wish to congratulate the mover (Mr. Benidickson) and the seconder (Mr. Langlois) of the Address in reply to the speech from the throne, first on the excellent addresses they gave, and second because they are representatives of the air force and the navy respectively. I think it was fitting that those services should have been honoured in this way.
At this point I should like to pay a tribute to the men of the particular arm of the services with whom I served, namely, the Royal Canadian Artillery. I believe few will dispute the statement that, with the exception of the infantry, the gunners were more responsible for winning all our battles than any other arm of the ground forces. I am proud to have served with such a fine body of men, and I was anxious to have this tribute to them put on the record.
I should like to make a plea here for the' foot soldier. Throughout the war he was the lowest paid of any service man, and during the earlier years of it was the least regarded, because it was commonly believed that technological advances had outmoded him, and that the gun, the tank, the signals, the repair services, and so forth, were much more important. Yet on the actual field of battle it was found that the infantryman was still the most important and necessary man there. He . had the worst conditions under which to live, suffered the most privations, took the greatest risks, and incurred the highest casualties; yet his pay remained lower than that of the motor mechanic working in comparative safety some thirty miles behind the battlefield. I maintain that this was all wrong, and I hope to see this parliament authorize a complete change in the scale of pay of the services, so that it will bear a much closer relationship to the risks run, and to the conditions endured, than has been the case in the past. I feel very strongly on this matter because of my personal experience. As a result of the man-power policy of the present government the artillery regiment which I commanded spent three and a half months of last winter acting as infantry. During that time many men came to me and remarked that they had never before appreciated the difficulties and hardships of the infantry, and reckoned that they should be paid two or three times as much in that role as they were paid as gunners.
In the short time I have been in this house I have observed that it is customary for a new member to say something of the glories of his own constituency. In the constituency of Calgary East, which I have the honour to represent, we have a post office and a polling division called Bragg Creek. Do not be alarmed that the name is indicative of what is to come. In fact there is no need to advertise Calgary East, because, I believe, it is known to practically every person throughout Canada, because of two things. First, it is the site of the Calgary stampede, and second it contains Turner valley, the only large producing oil field in the dominion. At this point I will do a little advertising. I earnestly recommend to all hon. members that they make use of their travelling facilities to come out and see either or both of these attractions. For my own part I propose to do the same thing in eastern Canada. I am sorry to say that I have not seen anything of Quebec and the maritime provinces. I believe it is my duty to do so, and I intend to do so as early as possible.
What is not so well known as the Calgary stampede and Turner valley, is the fact that
The Address-Mr. Harkness
Calgary East is a representative cross-section of Canadian life. It takes in most of the central or business district of Calgary, and embraces residential areas representing all levels of income, and people of nearly every racial origin and religion to be found in Canada. These people are engaged in most of the occupations followed in this country with the exception of those connected with the sea. The rural part of the constituency runs from twenty-five miles south of the city, west to the British Columbia boundary. In it there are found dairy farms, mixed farms, wheat farms, cattle ranches and the odd small saw mill, and on the outskirts of the city a large number of small holdings, where people are engaged in vegetable growing, fur farming and other rural enterprises of a small kind.
As a result of fairly close contact with a large number of these people, of all conditions of life, I assure you, Mr. Speaker, and hon. members of this house, that the three things uppermost in their minds are those with which the amendment proposed by the leader of this party deals. They want their men now in the services back home and into civilian life as rapidly as possible; they want houses for these men and for themselves to live in, and above all, they want jobs and the assurance that these jobs will continue.
These subjects of demobilization, housing and jobs have been dealt with by many other speakers in this debate; therefore I do not propose to say anything further on them except that I believe any hon. member of this house who has these matters sincerely at heart cannot conscientiously do otherwise than vote for the amendment proposed by the leader of this party. [DOT]
I should like now to touch briefly on certain other matters. Because of the nature of my constituency, and because the prosperity of Calgary and of Alberta is very closely connected with the prosperity of the beef producers, I am very deeply interested in that industry. Some ten days ago the hon. member for Calgary West (Mr. Smith) and I, had several long talks with Mr. George Ross, chairman of the Council of Western Beef Producers, and a large rancher in southern Alberta. From their contacts with cattle men in the United States, his organization is convinced that unless at least token shipment of beef are allowed to go from Canada to the United States shortly, we will lose that market, which meant so much to us in the pre-war years in the matter of disposing of our surplus beef cattle, and thus in keeping prices of beef at a level which made it possible for cattle producers, and beef producers particularly, to i [Tf
operate at a profit. Mr. Ross states that beef producers are not interested1 in the three to four cents a pound more which can be obtained on the United States market. They are quite content to let the government take this in the form of export licence fees, or in any other way that it sees fit. But the beef producers are very anxious that this market be not lost in the future, and to ensure this they believe, with their expert knowledge of the situation, that some shipments of beef to United States markets are essential at the present time. To use Mr. Ross' words, "We have to keep the ditches wet-, or there will be no flow in the future". I earnestly recommend to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) that this matter receive his immediate attention.
Another thing which exercises the beef producers is that the Income War Tax Act places them at a disadvantage as compared with people in any other business. The proceeds from any cattle sold by cattlemen are considered as income, and taxed. But a cattleman's breeding stock, his cows, are actually his capital, or his tools, comparable to a grain farmer's machinery or a manufacturer's plant.
A cattleman normally runs let us say 300 head of breeding cows. If, owing to a dry year or adverse conditions of any kind, he is unable to carry those cows through the winter and has to sell off, we will say, half of them, along fkith his normal turn-off of beef cattle-say 250 head-with income tax at present levels it means that he gets practically nothing back for those 150 cows. He is in a position where he has lost his capital, or his tools, and is not able to go back into production on anything like his former scale. Surely this is an injustice which parliament should redress by a provision in the Income War Tax Act to the effect that a farmer or rancher's normal breeding cows, brood sows, and the like, shall be regarded as capital, and not have to pay income tax upon the sale thereof.
I should like to compliment the Minister of Agriculture, who, I am sorry to see, is not in the house at this time, upon his eloquent dissertation of last night. I am certain he convinced himself and hon. members on his side of the house that the government's bonus on coarse grains and the price ceiling set on hogs has not been responsible for the marked decrease in the number of hogs produced. I am equally certain that he did not convince the men whom I was glad to hear him credit with knowing more about farming than any other group, that is, the men who milk the cows and feed the hogs. In this I refer more particularly to Alberta;
The Address-Mr. Harkness
and the fact that the farmers in that province were not, and are not, convinced of this, is amply demonstrated by the very large decrease in hog production which has taken place in that province, despite the fact that these farmers had plenty of feed.
I can assure the minister, too, that from conversation with large numbers of men who formerly produced hogs, but who are not now producing them, it is clear that the sole reason they stopped such production was that it paid them much better to sell their grain. They maintain that they will not go back into hog production unless the price of hogs is raised. I can also assure the house that, so far as my constituency is concerned, hog production at the present time is falling from month to month.
I was glad to hear the hon. member for Medicine Hat (Mr. Wylie) discuss the question of irrigation for southern Alberta, when he addressed the house on Thursday last. I join with him in the hope that this question will not be made a political football, and that the government will proceed immediately with at least one of the irrigation schemes surveyed and talked about so much in Alberta.
I do not purpose at the moment giving the house any of the mass of facts and figures which is available to show the tremendous benefits which the construction of irrigation systems in western Canada would produce for the whole dominion. The hon. member for Davenport (Mr. MacNicol) has already done a great deal along this line, and on behalf of Alberta I should like to thank him for his work, and for what he has accomplished in bringing to the attention of the house and of all Canada the possibilities of irrigation, and of many other natural resources in western Canada.
I was pleased, too, to hear the Minister of Agriculture state in his speech last night that the government proposes to go ahead with irrigation schemes, and I trust it proposes to do so immediately-not three or four years in the future.
During the debate several hon. members have discussed the subject of immigration. I hope this is an indication that there is an increasing interest in this matter, and that the fear-begotten closed-door policy, and ideas of the kind which were prevalent in the pre-war era, are disappearing. While we had hundreds of thousands of people on relief rolls, anyone who proposed an immigration policy or made the suggestion that we should bring more people to this country was looked upon as a lunatic. Such an attitude of mind was quite
understandable at that time. Now, however,
I think we should go back to the basic truth that we just have not enough people in Canada to make our great transportation systems economically sound, to make for a well-balanced economy, to develop properly our natural resources, or to support our multitude of governments-municipal, provincial and dominion-in the manner to which they have become accustomed.
To elaborate on the last point: our taxes are too high, but I see no good prospect of reducing them materially except by getting more people into the country, producing more wealth, and thus spreading the load.
However, I would not be in favour of a policy of unrestricted immigration. I believe the test as to whether a man should be admitted to Canada should lie in the answer to this question: can we readily and rapidly assimilate him? If the answer is no, then he should be excluded. Our experiences in the past fifty years should be a good enough guide to us in deciding as to whom we can or cannot readily assimilate. Certainly in that class would come all orientals. I believe we should rigidly close the doors against them. When I take this stand I trust that hon. members to my left will not accuse me of racial prejudice. My views are not founded upon racial prejudice, or racial grounds at all, but rather on common sense, observation, and a strong desire to build a great and united Canada.
I believe that even hon. members of the C.C.F. will admit that more than ninety-nine per cent of the white population of Canada will not intermarry with orientals. Those few who do, and their children, are exposed to all the cruelties, hardships and humiliations of social ostracism. I think it is only honest to make this admission, and to admit also that these oriental people cannot be assimilated into the broad stream of Canadian life. They cannot be made into thorough-going Canadians, and therefore it is better for them, as well as for us, to keep them out of the country.
Throughout the debate I have been glad to hear a large number of speakers say something on the subject of national unity. I think this is basically the greatest problem we have in Canada to-day. If we are to make this the great and united country which it is possible for us to build, we will all have to pitch in and work to that end. National unity has had a great deal of lip service in the past, but as far as I have been able to find out very few people have really worked actively and in a practical manner in order to get results.
The Address-Mr. Harkness
We have had far too much sectionalism and distrust and suspicion in each part of the country toward every other part of the country. Provincialism too often has been fostered and encouraged for political reasons, which is one of the chief reasons it still exists to the extent it does at the present time. I trust that this sort of thing will soon become a thing of the past. We cannot afford to gamble with the future of Canada for political ends on this issue.
I think we must start a hard-pushed publicity campaign to foster Canadianism. We should make full use of our schools, our radio and our press to do this. People in this country to a large extent are Scotch-Canadians, Irish-Canadians, French-Canadians, Poldsh-Canadians and every other sort of hyphenated Canadians. What we need in place of that are just plain Canadians, and in order to get that we must teach Canadianism. The thing will not come of itself. The proposal of the government to adopt a Canadian flag and Canadian citizenship is a step in the right direction. That will help materially in getting people to think of themselves as Canadians. There has been too much harking back in this country to racial origins, and this has retarded the growth of a national spirit.
I know this from my own experience. I am of Scotch descent, and although my forefathers came to this country well over a hundred years ago, as a boy I was taught to think of myself as a Scotsman. Until the age of nineteen or twenty years I referred to myself as a Scotch Canadian whenever the matter came up. That sort of thing is fairly typical of the majority of people in Canada, but it is an attitude of mind which must be broken down if true national unity is to be secured.
Before concluding, there is another question about which I should like to say a few words, the trans-Canada highway. The hon. member for Medicine 'Hat introduced the subject in his speech a few days ago and said that he hoped the hon. member for Calgary West and I would support the project. I want to assure him that we support him most strongly, and will press for the adoption by this house of the ideas contained in a report on the subject prepared by the Calgary board of trade, from which I should like to read a few extracts, as follows:
Canada requires an adequate highway system built around a hard-surfaced trans-Canada highway equal to any one of the many excellent transcontinental highways in the United States, otherwise Canada stands to lose her favourable balance of trade and economic world position through the loss of tourist traffic.
Past experience has taught us that many provincial governments are not financially able to construct highways of such high standards
through sparsely populated areas, and if we depend op the provinces to build such a highway system it is not likely same will ever be completed.
We propose that the dominion government should embark on a programme similar to the United States federal aid programme, providing approximately ten per cent of the money being spent in the states, namely $50,000,000 a year, for a number of years, on a dollar for dollar basis with the provinces, and thus guarantee the expenditure of at least $100,000,000 a year on approved hard surfaced highways in Canada. We believe an adequate system of highways including a trans-Canada highway w-ould not only satisfy and keep a large percentage of Canadian motorists at home, but attract sufficient motorists from the United States annually to more than repay our annual expenditure for such highways.
The Calgary board of trade is preparing a brief on this subject of a trans-Canada highway. When it is presented to the government I hope its recommendations will receive very serious consideration.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OP DEBATE IN REPLY