Walter Allan HALL

HALL, Walter Allan, B.A., M.D., C.M.

Personal Data

Bruce South (Ontario)
Birth Date
August 24, 1867
Deceased Date
August 4, 1944

Parliamentary Career

October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
  Bruce South (Ontario)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
  Bruce South (Ontario)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Bruce South (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 6)

March 28, 1930


Yes, but they do not use it.

Let me also compare the number of divorces in Ontario in 1918 with the numbers in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In 1918 Ontario without a divorce court had ten divorces; New Brunswick with a divorce court had 10 divorces, and with the same population as Ontario would have 76. Nova Scotia with a divorce court had 24 divorces and with the same population as Ontario would have 135. As the years went by the number of divorces kept steadily increasing until 1929 there were 816. In the last year for which we have figures, 1928, the number of divorces for each province was:


Alberta 168

Sackatehewan 65

Manitoba 78

Ontario 213

Quebec 25

New Brunswick 14

Nova Scotia 28

British Columbia 203

Computing these on the basis of Ontario's population, the result is as follows:


Alberta 1,008

Saskatchewan 220

Manitoba 395

Ontario 213

Quebec 30

New Brunswick 110

Nova Scotia 160

British Columbia 1,218

Permit me to make another comparison, leaving Quebec and Prince Edward Island out of the picture, to be fair. Ontario in 1928 had 213 divorces. The six provinces having divorce courts, with about the same combined population as Ontario, had 547 divorces, or more than two and a half times the number of divorces in Ontario. It will be noticed that the provinces having divorce courts have a much larger percentage of divorces than is the case with the other provinces. That having been established beyond contradiction, we again ask what must be done. The answer is: Defeat the bill and clear the way for the

introduction of legislation providing for a conciliation and separation court along the lines I have suggested.

In conclusion I might suggest that if this bill to establish a divorce court in Ontario should pass the house, some hon. member may place on the order paper next session a resolution something to this effect:

Whereas divorce has so greatly increased since the establishment of a divorce court in Ontario;

And whereas the number of divorces in Canada soon will be on a parity with the number in the neighbouring republic;

Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this house companionate marriage should be legalized in order to reduce the number of divorces in Canada.

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March 28, 1930

Mr. W. A. HALL (South Bruce):

Mr. Speaker, it is not my intention to say anything about the causes or necessity of divorce, which I know we all aibhor, nor about the principle of divorce and its results, which I know we all deplore. This house has heard many times of its attendant evils, the depraved, or as the case may be, the brokenhearted individual, the broken marriage vows, the broken family circle and the ruined home, and so forth. But rather I want to prove to the house that divorce courts as already established in six of the provinces have increased divorces in Canada because in every case they have facilitated the obtaining of it by a cheaper and easier method.

Before proceeding with the arguments to establish this, may I be pardoned if I make a digression and refer to what the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) said a few days ago? You will remember he said what we had to deal with was the procedure, not the principle of divorce, that the principle had been settled many years ago. He said we may proceed in one of three ways:

(1) By action of the federal parliament, as at present or modified;

(2) By establishing a provincial divorce court, as the bill now before the house proposes;

(3) By the federal parliament refusing to deal with the petitions.

Mr. Speaker, with all due deference to the Prime Minister, I think there are other ways. One is by the establishment of a court of conciliation and separation, to be presided over by a judge of the supreme court, assisted by one or more experts in social service work. This court, as its name implies, has a dual function. Briefly, its main object would be to effect a reconciliation between husband and wife, thus preserving the unity and sanctity of the home and everything else that that implies. Doubtless this would be quite possible in many cases. Why?

(1) The sin of adultery, the sole cause of divorce, is no more heinous than many other sins that are forgiven, if not forgotten, by husband or wife, as the case may be.

Divorce Court jor Ontario

(2) And, in cases where there are children, I venture to say that reconciliation could be and would be effected in almost every case.

(3) And knowing that separation would preclude remarriage, this would be the strongest incentive to reconciliation.

Failing reconciliation, the court whose establishment I propose would issue a decree of separation, making proper provision for the custody of children, if any, and adequate provision for alimony for the deserving wife.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I must not make this digression too long. I may add, however, that this plan would automatically abolish divorce; that is, it would do away with the need for it, as well as prevent remarriage, as remarriage in these cases would constitute bigamy. This scheme could be made to apply to the whole of Canada as well as to Ontario; it would be better, indeed, if applied to the whole of Canada because that would prevent migration from Ontario to other provinces. Doubtless, however, it would drive some people to seek divorce in the American courts, and in the event of a person thus securing divorce, remarrying and establishing a domicile in Canada, he or she could be and should be prosecuted for bigamy. At present I need not elaborate this further, except to say that no one can, be in doubt as to the results of such legislation. I need scarcely say that I hope a provision for such a court as I have briefly outlined, when submitted to this house for consideration, may meet with the approval and support of most of its hon. members.

At present neither Ontario nor Quebec has a divorce court, so that anyone in either of these provinces seeking divorce has to obtain it by a special act of the federal parliament. This, necessarily, is much more expensive and difficult to procure. Here let me say that the province of Prince Edward Island has always had a divorce court, but apparently it has never functioned and only one citizen of Prince Edward Island has been granted a

divorce by the federal parliament. This was in 1913. Other citizens who sought divorce went to the neighbouring American republic or elsewhere. I need scarcely say that each state in that republic has a state divorce court, which, I understand, is overworked, there being one divorced person for every six married persons in the United States. Surely we do not want to bring about this state of affairs in Canada, although we seem to be fast approaching it. Last year-1929-there were 816 divorces granted in this country and 1,368 Canadian marriage contracts were annulled by divorce courts in the United States, making altogether 2,184 annulments. This figures out to one divorced person for every thirty-two persons married in that year.

What must be done to cope with this problem? Before answering that question may I say that for a long time after confederation there were few divorces granted in Canada. In 18813, 13 divorces were granted; in 1903 there were 21; in 1909, 51; in 1913, the year before the war, 60 divorces were granted; in

1918, the year the war ended, 114; and in

1919, the year after the war ended, 376 divorces were granted. This represents an alarming increase, and it still continues although somewhat abated. The reasons for the increase are:

(1) The effects of the war.

(2) The establishment of a divorce court in 1919, owing to a decision of the privy council, in each of the three prairie provinces.

The war had a psychological effect which unsettled the minds of the people, and also there was a long separation of the men in active service from their wives, as well as something else which is better imagined than here stated.

But to return to what I wish to establish, namely, that provincial divorce courts have increased divorce in Canada; this can best be done by referring to statistics. The following figures are informative:

Number of divorces granted

Province 1918 1919 Proportion of IncreaseAlberta

2 36 18 times as manySaskatchewan

1 26 26 times as manyManitoba

9 88 88 more than one million times as manyOntario

10 49 Almost 5 times as manyQuebec

2 4 Twice as manyNew Brunswick 10 13 One-third moreNova Scotia

24 36 One-half moreBritish Columbia

65 147 More than twice as many

It will be noticed that there were great in- three prairie provinces where divorce courts creases in all the provinces, especially in the had been established and had just begun to

Divorce Court for Ontario

function-Alberta with an increase of 18 times, Saskatchewan with an increase of 26 times and Manitoba with 88 more than one million times the number of divorces in 1918.

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February 27, 1928

Mr. W. A. HALL (South Bruce):

Mr. Speaker, at the outsed, I wish to congratulate the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) on the sound condition of the finances of this country as shown by the budget, as well as upon his courage and good sense in taking advantage of the circumstances that made this condition possible, notwithstanding the fact that the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie1) accused him of lacking courage. The same hon. member accused him of deceiving the country by his method of dealing with the amounts guaranteed by the govern-

The Budget-Mr. Hall

ment to the Canadian National Railways, which makes it appear that the debt of the country has -been reduced when it has actually been increased by over twenty million dollars. He further said that all finance ministers prior to the present minister had added these guaranteed amounts to the national debt, instead of charging them to the particular railway company. But the Ontario government, he said, had five or six years ago evolved a plan to pay off the provincial debt in about thirty years, and so far had found no inconvenience in carrying it out.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I may say that none of these statements is in accordance with the facts. What are the facts? First, I need only say that this house as well as the -country knows that the Minister of Finance not only has courage, but he also possesses honesty and modesty in a marked degree, characteristics possessed by few so-called politicians. His financial statement disproves the second accusation as to the increase of the national debt. If the hon. member for South Wellington will look up the records he will find that the 8124,000,000 guaranteed by the Laurier government from 1896 to 1911 was not charged to the national debt; he will also find that the $170,000,000 guaranteed by the governments between 1911 and 1921 similarly was not added to the public debt. As to the Ontario government's scheme for retiring the provincial debt, the hon. member is wrong in saying that it was evolved five or six years ago. The Ferguson government was not then in power. He is also in error in stating that the scheme is to extend over thirty years; forty years is the term. As to his statement that the Ferguson government -have found no difficulty in putting the scheme into practice, I may tell him and this house that the provincial treasurer has had to acknowledge a deficit every year since Premier Ferguson assumed office. The first year it was fifteen million dollars, the second year eight million dollars, and the third year five million dollars. This year for the first time the provincial treasurer finds himself able to balance his budget and announce a surplus, due principally to the profits from the government liquor stores. Presumably from now on the debt retirement scheme will be put in operation.

Turning to the budget, Mr. Speaker, this presents reductions and increases-reductions in taxation and the national debt; increase in trade and revenue, with a substantial surplus. The Minister of Finance is able to announce reductions in direct taxation as well as in indirect taxation, the sales tax, income tax and corporation tax being reduced. The reductions in indirect taxation, that is the customs 56103-48

tariff, are largely in the duties on textiles- cottons, woollens and linens. As these belong to the necessaries of life, the reduced tariff will lower the cost of living, and thus lessen the burdens of the working classes. The national debt has been reduced by $41,896,729, leaving it at the net figure of $2,306,000,000. During the five years the Liberal party has been in power the national debt has been reduced to the extent of $144,700,000.

The trade of Canada has been increasing by leaps and bounds. Canada ranks second among the exporting countries of the world, and fourth among the world traders. Our total trade, both exports and imports, for the nine months ending December 31 last, amounted to $1,793,209,092, leaving a favourable balance of trade of $147,100,904, as compared with an unfavourable balance of trade of $29,000,000 during the last year of the Meighen administration. But the most unfavourable balance of trade in the history of Canada was $222,000,000, or $29.61 per capita, in 1913 under Tory rule and a protective tariff which did not protect; while in 1926 Canada had a favourable balance of trade of $29.34 per capita under Liberal rule with a tariff for revenue only. During the year there has been a large increase in the revenue and a corresponding increase in the surplus. The revenue exceeded the expenditure by $54,815,000. After deducting the nonactive assets, there is still left a net surplus of $41,896,729 which was applied to reduce the national debt.

According to the press of both political parties, Mr. Speaker, the fifth Robb budget is being well received by the major portion of the people. But it must be confessed that this budget, in relation to the customs tariff, is not comprehensive and far-reaching enough to satisfy a minority of the agricultural class of this country. They must remember, however, that this is the beginning of reductions, not the end; among the first, not the last. Reductions shall continue until the primary or basic manufacturing industries are free to compete with the world, having no tax, no tariff, or no protection. In bygone days agriculturists were looked upon as inferior to other classes. They were dominated by other interests because they knew not their needs, they knew not their strength, and they were not organized. To-day all that is changed. Agriculture is conceded by almost everyone to be the basis of Canadian prosperity. The agriculturists have organized. They have expressed their needs in clear-cut terms. They have made their demands with no uncertain sound. They are cooperating in buying as well as in selling, thinking that cooperation

The Budget-Mr. Hall

is the keynote of agricultural prosperity, as it was thought to be in Denmark, whose people now boast that they enjoy a fair share in the distribution of wealth and prosperity of that country. But, Sir, I say that unless agriculture can be put on a paying basis the rural population cannot be satisfied, happy and contented.

Let me mention some of the reasons why agriculture does not pay:

1. Lack of science in tilling the soil, and in breeding, feeding and caring for live stock. Education along these lines is fast becoming more general.

2. Lack of discretion, or, shall I say, lack of sense, in decrying or condemning-or damning-their own occupation by branding it as drudgery or slavery, and by everlasting complaints. Doubtless this has driven, and is still driving, the young people from the farms to the urban centres more than any other cause-the net result being the concentration of industry and population in these centres at the expense of the rural districts.

3. Lack of labour. This is a natural consequence of the preceding cause.

4. Lack of working capital. This may be the natural outcome of preceding causes.

5. Lack of credit. This comes from a lack of capital. This has been partially overcome by the rural credit bill of last session.

6. Lack of business methods in doing business. Doubtless many farmers are like medical doctors who think that they are too busy to attend to business properly outside of their daily routine of work.

7. Lack of moderately-priced implements or manufactured articles. This arises from taaxtion, which I shall refer to later.

8. Lack of cheap transportation and distribution of products. This is partially overcome by cooperation.

9. Being reckless and profligate in buying luxuries. This is the last but not the least, cause for farming not paying. Luxuries may be coveted and may be desirable, but they reduce the profits of the farmer enormously.

As agriculture is the recognized source of greatest wealth, we have to depend chiefly upon it to meet our national liabilities, assisted by the products of forest, mines and fisheries. These are the main sources of real wealth we have to rely upon to restore our country to a healthy and sound financial condition. Of these, agriculture is the greatest; it produces annually more than the other three combined. The Financial Post gives the production of agriculture for the year 1927 as $1,660,387,100 and the production of the other three as $811,446,000, or less than half that of agriculture. Hence the important part

the farmer plays in the economic welfare of the country. From his soil is furnished the food which is the foundation of labour for all classes. 'Without him the other classes could not exist. As consequently the prosperity of all classes depends upon the prosperity of the farmer, we should, as far as possible, remove every obstacle in his way so as to enable him to secure for himself a fair share of material wealth and happiness. I need not say that the chief obstacle which prevents the farmer from making a fair profit from his investment is the high cost of living, and this is due to the customs tariff, principally on the necessaries of life and on the implements of production.

But it will be asked, what about the manufacturer? He says he must have protection or must close his factory and so throw a lot of men out of their jobs; if this should happen just imagine the multitudes of unemployed! Well, recall the story of the closing of General Motors at Oshawa two years ago when the duty was lowered on automobiles and their accessories. We all know what the result was. Others say that the country must have revenue to meet its liabilities and pay off its immense debt. Let us apply this to the farmer. If you tax- his implements of production-his binder, mower, horse-rake, plough, harrow, threshing machine, wagon and so forth, you take away from him the money that he has earned by the toil of his hands and the sweat of his brow and transfer it to the bank account of the manufacturer who has already millions which have been taken from his fellow farmers by means of the tariff. Thus you see that this money does not go into the revenue of the country and so does not contribute one penny towards meeting the liabilities and debt of the country. Manifestly this answers the Tory cry for revenue raised in this way.

The farmers of this country have always been anxious for reciprocity with the United States in natural products since the termination of the first reciprocity treaty in 1866, as they have a large export surplus of agricultural products and so must find a market for them. Take wheat for instance: only about one-sixth of the production is required for home consumption, notwithstanding the assertion of the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen during the election campaign of 1925. He went all over Canada telling the people that $500 was lost to the home market in respect of farm products for each person that crossed the border. That being the case. 9-} millions of people would consume 9i millions times $500 or 4| billions of dollars of farm products each year. But Canada produced less than

The Budget

Mr. Hall

1J billions of dollars of farm products last year; therefore, we must import over twice as much as we produce to feed our population-some exaggeration! But the truth is that we need only a small fraction of many of our farm products for home consumption.

This led the Laurier government in 1911 to make a reciprocity pact with the United States which would have been an immense benefit to the farmers of Canada. If the then government had put it into effect so as to show the benefit of it, instead of taking a referendum of the people, it would have meant millions of dollars each year to the farmers; and in the end it would have been a great boom to the manufacturer, as every additional dollar got by the farmer from the Americans meant an additional dollar of purchasing power from the business concerns of the Dominion. However, the government said that the people should be consulted. What happened? The manufacturers, organized to defeat the reciprocity agreement. It is said that they, with the rest of the Tory party, raised an immense campaign fund. It is said this was the only time in history that there was any money left after a political campaign in Canada, although it is said large sums were paid to the press, vast sums paid the constituencies, and every means used to create a public opinion hostile to that policy. However, all this would have been of no avail, but for a so-called political strategist, said to be Hon. Bob Rogers, who coined the slogan, "No truck or trade with the Yankees." This, coupled with the waving of the old flag, defeated reciprocity and won the election for the Tories, to the everlasting disgrace of the Canadian people.

In passing, I may say that the manufacturers although not injured by this pact but rather helped, were desirous of perpetuating the system of protection so that the money, equivalent to the duty, would continue to flow into their bank accounts as automatically as the rivers flow into the ocean. Since then, seventeen years have passed, and Canada has not been able to secure reciprocity in natural products with the United States, although the Borden government, shortly after it took office, sent a delegation to Washington to try to revive the reciprocity agreement in whole or in part. But they failed in their mission as the Americans could not trust them. This pact they had strenuously opposed a few months before. Their opposition was to win the election, and not for the good of the country.

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February 27, 1928


That is what the leader of the opposition says, but I say differently.

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February 27, 1928


You have had your say.

This is one more example of the inconsistency and insincerity of the Tory party. Before passing to another division of my speech, I may say that the Conservative party were anxious to have reciprocal trade relations in the natural products with the United States up to the election campaign of 1911. Indeed, Sir John A. Macdonald made several attempts to gain access to the American market for our natural products, but failed. It may have been that the Americans mistrusted the Canadians just as some of the hon. members opposite mistrust the Americans now.

Associated with agriculture, Mr. Speaker, is the question of the tariff, the question of transportation, and the question of our trade relations with other countries. It has been asserted that the question of the tariff is dividing Canada and would divide the Liberal party. It certainly divides the Canadian people into two classes, namely, high and low tariff people, or protective and revenue producing tariff people. The first class is represented by the Tory party and the second class by the Liberals and the Progressives. This is a very general statement. Let us particularize. The interests of the farmer and the interests of the manufacturer are said to be a great point of contention. Let us see how this works out. Canada does not figure largely as a manufacturing country; it is certainly not one of the great manufacturing countries of the world. Why is it not? Do Canadians lack ability in management, in intelligence, in application, in thrift and in industry? Certainly not. Is it not a fact that Canada produces, per capita, the greatest export surplus of food stuffs, which is the very foundation of labour, of any country in the world? Is it not a fact that Canada has an abundance of raw material from the farm, the forest, and the mines? Is it not a fact that Canada has the most magnificent water powers in the world, the ultimate hydro development from which is calculated to be forty million horse power? Is it not a fact that the centres of our population are situated in close proximity to the ocean traffic which carries their products to all parts of the world? Is it not a fact that Canada has transportation facilities, by land and by water, excelled by few countries in the world? Is it not a fact that Canada has a good labour market? Is it not a fact that Canada

The Budget-Mr. Hall

has excellent banking facilities, affording adequate capital to manufacturers? To summarize it all, Canada possesses the six essentials for manufacturing, namely, an abundance of food stuffs, of raw material, of cheap power, of cheap transportation facilities, of good labour well located, and of available capital.

Then why is Canada not a great manufacturing country? Our people leave our own country and go across the line; the Canadian artizan and the Canadian manager are in demand in every country of the world. Then why is it that in his own country he cannot compete with the world? Who amongst us will confess that Canadians are inferior to other nationalities? Did not the Canadian soldiers in the late Great war prove themselves inferior to none, equal to any and superior to many? If all these things are so why cannot we compete with the world in our basic manufacturing industries as we compete with the world in our agricultural industry? There must be something wrong.

For the last half century the manufacturers in Canada have worshipped the fetish of protection; they have manufactured for the tariff and not for the consumers of the world. This idea of protection for the manufacturers in Canada has been carried to such an extent by the Conservative government and indeed by all governments that it has defeated itself, but the original idea of protection as conceived by Sir John A. Macdonald the father of protection in Canada, was protection only for the infant industries, not to be continued to those attaining the status of adults. In many cases this is a commendable policy, quite different from the Tory policy of to-day.

In spite of Canada possessing everything required to place her in the front rank of manufacturing nations, the principle of protection keeps her in the rear, which is the reason for the present government to make a gradual downward reduction of the tariff all along the line, as well as to facilitate transportation and to continue the further extension of our trade relations with other countries, especially with the other dominions within the empire. These things would establish industry on a sound basis and would enable1 the manufacturers of Canada to compete not only in a market of nine and a half million people within our own borders, but in the great markets of the world as well, thus adding real wealth to our country by greatly increasing the volume of international trade, which is the true barometer of the wealth and prosperity of a nation. This is

our purpose in pleading for a low tariff; not because we have any hostility to any industry in Canada but because it has been proven that the principle of protection is restrictive and destructive, and must be changed if Canada is to achieve any great pre-eminence in her manufacturing industries. Thus we see that the interests of the farmer are in common with the interests of the manufacturer; a separation of interests affects both adversely.

If a low tariff is best for the farmer surely the same tariff is best for the manufacturer, because the prosperity of the manufacturer depends almost entirely upon the prosperity of the farmer. A bountiful harvest with good prices means busy factories and great prosperity.

For a few moments let us look at the condition of our farmers. Many of them are far removed from the ocean ports, living and carrying on their work in the interior of the continent. Yet they must meet the competition of the world with their products. The railway freights are against them also, but they have accommodated themselves to these conditions and are able to carry on. They have no protection, and what is more they want none. The Tory party promised them protection; what would it be worth to them, since they now produce a large export surplus of farm products? Indeed, of what value is a protective tariff to manufacturing industries based on the natural resources of this country, when they now manufacture an immense surplus over home consumption? It is of no benefit. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that if the agriculturist can thrive and prosper without protection under such adverse conditions the manufacturer should be able to do likewise under a low tariff with the favourable conditions mentioned a few moments ago. Doubtless the basic manufacturers in Canada possess sufficient industry, energy, intelligence and ability for good management to put their industries on an export basis instead of a protective basis. The reduction in the customs tariff on automobiles in 1926 by the present government is a striking example of the truth of this proposition. Why would this not apply to other industries? It certainly would. The only thing needed is for this government to lower, adjust, equalize and stabilize the tariff on many of the manufactured articles instead of only a few, and in that way convince the people of this . country that a low tariff is a sound and sane policy. In all these cases, the consumers share in the benefits with the manufacturers, just as they did in the case of the automobiles.

After this is done and the manufacturers have learned their lesson, they will no longer

The Budget-Mr. Ryckman

call their employees together to tell them that they will have to close their factory doors on account of the lowering of the duty on similar manufactured products, while on the other hand the employees will no longer harass the manufacturer for higher wages since the cost of every article they require will be lowered. In other words the cost of living, and I presume the cost of dying, will be much less. As a result of all this there will follow a period of prosperity, contentment and happiness unsurpassed by any like period in the history of our country, as well as a complete and satisfactory solution of both our emigration and immigration problems. Doubtless this period will be known in our history as the second golden era of progress and prosperity since confederation, like unto that other golden era of the Laurier regime from 1896 to 1911.

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