Robert James WOOD

WOOD, Robert James

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Selkirk (Manitoba)
Birth Date
March 27, 1886
Deceased Date
August 8, 1954
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_James_Wood
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=5a3a6c57-7d47-42b8-b583-95d340d3fc66&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
merchant

Parliamentary Career

June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
LIB
  Norquay (Manitoba)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
LIB
  Selkirk (Manitoba)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 10 of 11)


April 30, 1952

Mr. Wood:

We cannot sell any here, and that is what I want to come to now. We produced over a billion and a half dollars' worth of goods, and when western producers come to sell their goods they cannot sell them in Ontario. We have to sell our goods

The Budget-Mr. Wood throughout the world over the top of tariff barriers. We have been able to sell our cattle in the United States, thanks to the Mackenzie King government. In 1936, through the good offices of the late W. L. Mackenzie King, we were allowed to sell to the United States a total of 250,000 cattle a year, and from that time right up until today our cattle market has been increasing in price. The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has put an end to that, however. If we are to go back and depend on the British market, as we did prior to 1948, our prices are not going to be very good in this country, and I am afraid our production of cattle in this country will go down a great deal also.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Full View Permalink

April 19, 1951

Mr. R. J. Wood (Norquay):

I should like to direct certain questions to the Minister of National Defence. My inquiry is prompted by a news item appearing in the Winnipeg Free Press of April 16, in reference to the airport at Gimli, Manitoba. It reads in part as follows:

But lack of adequate accommodation-

Topic:   REPORT AS TO PROPOSED EXPENDITURE AT MACDONALD AND PORTAGE AIRPORTS
Full View Permalink

April 19, 1951

Mr. Wood:

My questions are: Has the minister seen the reports in the Winnipeg Free Press and the Portage la Prairie Graphic, wherein it is estimated that over $10 million will be expended this year on the airports at Macdonald and Portage? Is this correct?

Is it correct that the minister intimated, as suggested in the Graphic report, that small housing units should be prepared, and that Portage should "get going" on the project now?

If the minister has not seen the reports referred to I will send them over, and he can answer later.

Topic:   REPORT AS TO PROPOSED EXPENDITURE AT MACDONALD AND PORTAGE AIRPORTS
Full View Permalink

March 2, 1950

Mr. Wood:

Our farmers were never better off than they are today.

I should like to commend this government for having established trade missions in many countries throughout the world for the purpose of seeking markets. I should like to commend this government on its attitude towards trade with our neighbours and best customers, the United States. We should go all-out and use every means in our power to increase our trade with the United States. In 1949 the United States took over fifty per cent of all our exports. We must give the United States every consideration in our trade relations, and under no circumstances must we discriminate against her.

I should like to commend this government on the floor price set on eggs. I do not believe in a floor price set too high on any goods, because that would tend to allow stocks to pile up in this country. It is not a floor price which will solve the egg situation; it is a market. The same is true with regard to all our surplus products.

Any government which, through its lack of effort or through restricted measures, fails to provide markets for the surplus primary products of this country would find that a floor would not hold for long. Let us endeavour, by every means possible, to create a multilateral trade system among the nations of the world, to operate with some kind of an international banking system. Let us reduce or wipe away tariffs and trade blocs. There are many countries of the world which would like to buy our surplus products.

I want to commend this government for its efforts toward the construction of a'trans-Canada highway. This is a project that will be welcomed by every Canadian. I also want to commend this government on a bill which was introduced and passed about six years ago, known as the Farm Improvement Loans Act. Prior to the passing of this bill, in order to secure money to finance the purchase of farm machinery, trucks, farm buildings, building repairs, drainage and fencing, farmers were obliged to pay excessive interest rates ranging from twelve per cent to fifteen per cent, made up of interest, appreciation and insurance. But now this money costs the farmers only five per cent through the Farm Improvement Loans Act. By this bill the western farmers have saved millions of dollars in interest charges; and although the act has been operating now for

nearly six years, I understand the government guarantee has cost the federal treasury nothing.

Early pioneers came to this country knowing it to be a land of freedom. They prided themselves on their individual dignity and freedom. But there are amongst us today men who would destroy that freedom if they had the opportunity to set up a state control of our economy. We must guard well our traditional freedom.

Just forty miles from Winnipeg, on the west shore of lake Winnipeg, we have slimmer resorts at Sans Souci, Matlock, Whyte-wold, Ponemah, Winnipeg Beach, Sandy Hook and Gimli, each with its lovely sand beach, well shaded shores with maples, elms and evergreens. I might say at Winnipeg Beach alone during the summer vacation about 40,000 people come from many parts of Canada and the central states to spend their holidays.

(Translation):

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Full View Permalink

March 2, 1950

Mr. R. J. Wood (Norquay):

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to take part in the debate on the address in reply to the speech 'rom the throne. It is the first time I have iccepted the privilege of speaking in this jhamber. Before proceeding, I wish to extend my congratulations to the mover (Mr. Larson) and the seconcier (Mr. Dumas) of the address which we are debating. It is gratifying to find two prominent young men, such as the member for Kindersley and the member for Villeneuve, taking an active part in federal affairs.

I represent the constituency of Norquay in Manitoba, and wish to speak briefly on matters as they affect my constituents. Originally my constituency was known as Selkirk, but in the redistribution of 1948, the town of Selkirk, which is situated in the extreme south end of the old Selkirk constituency, was put in with some of the suburbs of the city of Winnipeg, and that was called Selkirk. The old Selkirk constituency, the one which I now represent, was named Norquay after the Hon. John Norquay, the first Manitoba-born premier of that province.

The forebears of the people of Norquay originated in about twenty-five countries throughout the world, so I can truly say the people of Norquay are a cosmopolitan people. Some of the early settlers came from England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Ukraine, Poland, the United States and some from central Canada.

As far back as 1870, a number of Icelanders came up from North Dakota and settled on the shores of lake Winnipeg and lake Manitoba. Later other groups came in, some from the Dakotas and some direct from Iceland. Two of the first points of settlement by the early Icelanders were Gimli and Hecla. These people were hardy pioneers. Their principal occupation was fishing, although many of them kept livestock and did considerable farming. The finest grazing land to be found in the country is on the east shore of lake Manitoba. The Icelanders are a sober, industrious, intelligent and progressive people.

It was in this Icelandic settlement on the west coast of lake Winnipeg that Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the Arctic explorer and author, was born on November 3, 1879. When he was four years old, his father moved back to North Dakota where Vilhjalmur attended school and university. In 1905, he joined an Arctic expedition on which he got lost. He lived among the Eskimos for eighteen months learning their language and customs. In 1914 he and two companions travelled 600 miles north of Martin Point, Alaska, living on seals and polar bears. He had bean given up as dead, but returned to civilization in 1918 after exploring and mapping 100,000 miles of unknown polar territory, thus adding three large and several small islands to the map in the region north of Melville island. Vilhjalmur never gave up his Canadian citizenship. Many other men and women of distinction came out of this settlement of Icelanders in the interlake area of Manitoba, men and women who became prominent in law, medicine, education, arts, politics and sports.

In 1896^ when the government of Sir Wilfrid Luarier opened the doors to immigrants of eastern as well as western Europe, one of the first group of immigrants of Ukrainian descent arrived in Canada, on May 24, 1897. Forty families from this group of new Canadians moved out of Winnipeg, going as far as Stonewall by train and from there to the district north of Teulon. Some moved by ox team, and many travelled On foot. These families all settled in the Teulon district, on land which a great many of us at that time considered unfit for agricultural purposes. However, these settlers cleared small patches of

land, and drained the swamps. They erected log houses and barns with thatched roofs. The men folk would work either on the railroads or in the grain fields, and although the first few years of their lives in Canada were gruesome and difficult, each settler had a homestead of 160 acres of land. They were building their homes, and slowly opening up the land for cultivation. Soon these people were erecting new and better houses and barns. Mixed farming was carried on in a majority of cases.

In this settlement today, after fifty years, we find some of the best and most prosperous farmers in the country. These settlers now have modern homes with telephones, and hydroelectricity, large attractive barns of latest design, nicely painted. They all have power machinery, new or almost new automobiles, and good roads leading to all the small urban centres in the community. These people moved to this country from eastern Europe in 1897, with a promise of freedom. I am pleased to say, Mr. Speaker, that they protect, probably more jealously than many of the rest of us, the freedoms that we enjoy in this country. From amongst this settlement of Ukrainian Canadians who came here in 1897, we find men who have reached an important place in the cultural, educational, political and economical fields in Canada. During the two world wars many young men from this settlement flocked to join the army, the navy and air force, along with other young Canadians.

In the constituency of Norquay the people may be classed as primary producers. Their livelihood comes from farming, fishing, fur trapping, lumbering and quarrying. By far the largest percentage are farmers and, in addition to grain, they raise cattle, hogs and poultry. I believe that, although a great deal of wheat is raised, close to 50 per cent of the crops would consist of barley, oats, flax, rye, sweet clover and alfalfa seed. Our supplies of cattle, hogs, lambs, butter, milk, cream, eggs, poultry and vegetables are so abundant in the interlake area that my constituency is sometimes known as the food basket of the city of Winnipeg. Our fresh water fishing industry is one of the largest in Canada, if not the largest, last year the catch of white-fish alone in lake Winnipeg being close to six million pounds. The constituency of Norquay is composed of people whose ancestors originated in twenty-five countries, and in every case each has added something to our citizenship. Persons of no one component or breed can say they alone are Canadians and their neighbours are something else. For this reason we should like to see, without any 55946-275

The Address-Mr. Wood unnecessary delay, the adoption of a distinctive Canadian flag, one which would be Canadian in every detail.

Being primary producers we depend to a great extent on foreign markets for many of the goods we produce. Markets are probably our No. 1 problem at the present time. We do not want to see enacted any kind of legislation which would disturb or aggravate our foreign markets. It always requires two parties to complete a sale, a purchaser and a seller. In case trade falls off, the fault may rest on the shoulders of either or both. We believe in multilateral trade. We believe that bilateral trading would hamper trade with our free markets. We believe that no country should be given a preference, thus discriminating against other countries. We believe that tariffs of every description should be pared down to the very bone or cancelled. We should like to see an end to what is even worse than tariffs, namely administrative orders which prevent the free movement of our goods to where they may be wanted.

As I understand, tariffs were originally put on in order to encourage and protect our Canadian industries in their infancy. Most of these industries, I might say, are located in what is called central Canada. They have been protected for over fifty years now by tariffs of every conceivable type; and in practically every instance these industries, in pricing their goods, take full advantage of the tariff structure. Although we are obliged to sell our surplus products in foreign markets, and sometimes over the top of foreign import tariffs, we the consumers of the western prairie provinces, like the consumers of the maritime provinces, when we buy, are obliged to pay higher prices on account of the wall of tariff protection, which our Canadian industry enjoys, and, in some cases, on account of administrative orders.

As I said before, markets are probably our No. 1 problem. Hon. members to the left are saying that we have lost and are losing markets. That may be true. Whose fault is it? Hon. members of the C.C.F. socialists predicted a depression four years ago and are still predicting it; and I believe I am right, Mr. Speaker, when I say they appear to be disappointed. I am sure, if the people of this country were called upon to elect a government which would provide or secure markets for our surplus products, they would not consider a socialist government. As for the Conservatives, we must remember that it was a Conservative government that first introduced tariffs into Canada. Each successive Conservative government, when elected, increased the tariff wall all along the line.

The Address-Mr. Wood

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Full View Permalink