Mr. VITAL MALLETTE (Jacques-Cartier):
Mr. Speaker, may I extend my best congratulations to the mover (Mr. Matthews) and the seconder (Mr. Chevrier) of the address on the way in which they performed their important task. And may I express my satisfaction, and I have no doubt that of all other hon. members, upon the recovery of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning). It would be our hope that his health has reached the point where for a long time to come he may be able to carry out his duties.
May I thank the government, or whoever is responsible, for the improvement of the lighting in the chamber. Speaking on the same occasion last year I pointed out that we who sat on the back benches were having difficulties in view of the lighting, and it is gratifying to note that improvements have been made. May I point out, however, that still another place in this building where lighting arrangements could be improved is the
library. For the last three sessions of parliament I have been a member of the committee having to do with the library of parliament. I was pleased in the session of 1936 to hear the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) read my name as one of the members of the committee; but the committee never sat. In 1937 I heard my name read again, and again the committee did not sit. And in 1938 there was the same lack of action. I do not know whether the committee is composed of hon. members who are not qualified to give advice to the librarians, but the fact remains that the committee has never been called together. Although I admit I am not capable of giving much advice as to the choice of books, still I do believe I could give sound advice with respect to lighting. I am one who goes to the library often. As hon. members are aware, the lighting in the library is artificial, and at the present time it is a disgrace to a place like the parliamentary library.
In a few months we shall be honoured by the visit of King George and Queen Elizabeth. The whole country rejoices in contemplation of this important event, and no effort should be spared to make it the greatest success possible. It is the fond wish of the Canadian people that the royal visit of our king and queen be as pleasant as possible. I am sure Canadians will vie with one another in their endeavour to show their respect and affection for and loyalty to their sovereign. Throughout old Quebec, as well as in other Frenchspeaking parts of Canada they will be heartily greeted by the French cry: "Vive le Roy; vive la Reine"-God save the king; God save the queen. We are deeply grateful to their majesties for devoting a few weeks of their time to a visit in Canada, especially in times like these, times which are arduous and require much care and attention. It was a happy thought to create this precedent, and from the bottom of our hearts we wish that during their stay in Canada the old French proverb may apply: " Heureux comme un roi; heureuse comme une reine"-"happy as a king; happy as a queen."
I trust in this connection it will not sound like levity if I tell a story which was popular in Canada about thirty-five years ago. This story has reference to a Canadian who had been away from home for some time. We must remember that in those days there were no radio broadcasts, and news did not travel as fast as it does to-day. It was common in those days for men to be away from home for months or even years at a time. This particular chap returned to his home in lower Canada. When he arrived he inquired as to the latest news; he wanted to know what
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had occurred since his departure three or four years previously. He was told that Queen Victoria had died. "What! the good Queen has died?" They told him that was so. 'Who has succeeded her?" He was told that her son had succeeded to the throne. "Her son? Why, he must have had some pull with Laurier."
I wish to compliment the right hon. Prime Minister and his advisers in the Liberal party for facilitating the election to this House of Commons of the newly chosen leader of His Majesty's Loyal Opposition by refraining from placing a candidate against him in the recent by-election in London. I feel confident that this beau geste met with the approval of most Canadians, at least those who look upon politics as a field in which there still exists a remnant of the old spirit of chivalry. Surely in this twentieth century, nearly forty per cent of which has passed, we ought to be broad-minded enough to recognize that a political opponent should not always be looked upon as an enemy. Since it is part of our parliamentary institutions to have an official opposition, it was in the best interests of the country that the Prime Minister should act as he did. It is another proof of his real desire to strengthen the unity of Canadians.
Since the last session of this parliament the government has appointed a minister to Belgium and Holland. This marks a further step in the development of Canada's international relations. Step by step, carefully and cautiously, Canada must take charge of her own interests everywhere and not always leave that burden upon the shoulders of the mother country. In my humble and very sincere opinion, the appointment of a minister duly accredited to the courts of Belgium and Holland is a move for which the Canadian government deserves great credit. It is pleasing to note that the new minister, Mr. Jean Desy, has been reported as saying that he will do his utmost to improve not only the economic but the intellectual relations between Canada and Belgium and Holland. That is as it should be, and it ought to result in mutual and satisfactory benefits. We think most highly of the peoples of those two countries. We appreciate their business ability, their willingness to work hard and their accomplishments in all the crafts and beaux arts. Especially do we admire their sturdy patriotism.
There are so many interesting points in the speech from the throne that it is impossible to discuss them all thoroughly in the forty minutes allowed to each member of this house. Of course, I have no intention of
trying the patience of my hon. colleagues for that length of time. However, with most of the items it would not be fair to dismiss them abruptly. One such item is the trade agreement with the United States. While the analysis of that agreement probably will await the time when it is submitted to the house, I think it is perfectly in order to say now that the Canadian people welcome the government's efforts to bring about closer relations with our neighbours to the south. This is natural. There is scarcely a Canadian family which has not a relative living in the great United States republic. Most Canadians have good friends as well as relations in that country.
Perhaps it would not be amiss at this point to note what other people think of this agreement. I should like to quote from the report of the annual general meeting of the Bank of Montreal, held in Montreal on December 5, 1938. The president, Sir Charles
Gordon, had this to say under the heading of trade agreements:
An important factor hearing on the economic situation comes from the tripartite trade treaties just signed by the representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. These treaties will affect in more or less degree every industrial and commercial enterprise in this country. The situation has been a peculiar one for Canada, inasmuch as it has provided the most dramatic demonstration yet given of Canada's position as the natural liason between Great Britain and the United States. Without Canada's co-operation the agreement making for closer commercial cooperation between the two largest Englishspeaking nations, so important at this juncture in world affairs, would not have been possible. Canada has given that cooperation, not without sacrifices and not without some misgivings as to what these sacrifices may portend. Partly as compensation for giving way to American producers in the British market and partly as compensation for a lowering of our tariffs all along the line in favour of American manufactures, Canada has received advantages in the American market for a wide variety of the products of the farm, the forest, the fisheries and the mines. Primary producers in every province have long desired this freer access to the great market to the south, and we all hope that the advantages which it offers to them will result in such a general increase in the purchasing power of the nation as to offset the added competition which many manufacturing industries will be called upon to face.
The president of the Banque Canadienne Nationale, another important financial institution, had this to say at the annual meeting held on January 9, 1939:
The new treaty, introducing as it does hundreds of changes in the tariffs of the three countries, embodies mutual concessions. Canada grants the United States many tariff reductions and loses the preference of six cents a bushel on empire-grown wheat. The high
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quality of Canadian wheat should minimize the adverse effect of free competition on the British market. Canadian products of the farm, the forest and the fisheries should find a wider market in the United States and this advantage should assist where help was needed most. Moreover, the price of many goods imported from the United States will he lowered, reducing industrial outlays and the cost of living. Furthermore, a necessary revival of international trade should ensue inasmuch as trade between Great Britain and the United States represents about twenty-six per cent of the total commerce of the world, in which Canada plays an important part. Another interesting aspect is the application of the most favoured nation clause to a score of other countries.
I have another bank report, that of the Provincial Bank of Canada. I shall read only a small extract, as follows:
A very important factor, is the recent trade agreement made between Great Britain, the United States and Canada, effective since the first of the year. Concessions were made by Great Britain in eliminating certain excessive trade harriers. The United States and Canada also made concessions, and indications are that these reciprocal trade agreements have laid foundations for considerably expanded commerce.
Hon. members will notice that these three banks are not obsessed with the spirit of defeatism, which seems to haunt our friends to my left in connection with this trade agreement, as is evidenced by their speeches since the opening of the present debate.
The government proposes to expand its long range program of public undertakings, and I assume that this will, to a certain extent, replace direct relief. Such a move will surely be hailed with satisfaction by the taxpayers. Direct relief has never been very popular. Many have always held the view that where the government has to help the unemployed, it is better to do it through the medium of public works. They felt it was a mistake to dole out money without getting any return. Let it be said to the honour of the beneficiaries of these distributions that they prefer work to the dole. Not only was this money that was doled out wholly unproductive, but because of forced idleness many good workers have lost the ability to practise their regular craft. The country has been impoverished to that extent. I am sure that any disposition on the part of the government to replace direct relief with useful public works will meet with the approval of the entire population.
Care should be exercised in the selection of the projects to be executed in a program of this kind. It would be ideal to promote only public works that will be self-sustaining or that will liquidate themselves within a reasonable period. The government should be careful to see that proposed public works do not
conflict with established legitimate enterprises already providing employment. I am sure that numerous plans will be submitted to the government in connection with this program, and I am willing to .do my share in making suggestions.
Here is suggestion number one. There is a great need on the island of Montreal for a new roadway at the western end. The need is great and very apparent. I am fifty years of age, and as far back as I can remember the building of that road has been discussed; so the idea is not new at all. I do not expect the federal government to be called upon to build the road, but it might help in this way. It would be necessary to do away with several level crossings, of which there are many in that section, and which have been the scene of several tragedies in the last few years. The only reason these level crossings have not been abolished is that the municipalities concerned did not have the necessary money; they need financial help. Inasmuch as this improvement would be for the benefit not only of the municipalities but of all the people using the road, I believe that this government should help, and I apply now to them to consider the expenditure of a certain sum of money for the abolition of level crossings in that section of the island when this famous boulevard is built, as we expect, in 1939.
There is another place where we have dangerous level crossings in my county. Running north and south on the island of Montreal, a road passes through Cartierville. Motorists know that road well. People going to the Laurentians for skiing in the winter also know it well. It is fairly wide in places, and then it narrows until when you get to the Canadian National railway tracks there is hardly room for two vehicles to pass. Representations have been^ made to the Quebec government in regard to improving the road, and a start was made on widening it throughout. There is a fair expectation that some work will be done on the road this year, but assistance will be needed in connection with the subway, and I ask this government to give consideration to assistance for that project.
But that is not all. I have often asked the department concerned to improve the Riviere des Prairies at the back of the island of Montreal, to permit navigation. We have enough space on the shores of the island of Montreal for a population of one million, but although Montreal is situated on an island there is no place for aquatic sports, no place where people can go boating on the river at the back of the island.
Lake St. Louis is also in need of being improved. I have received representations
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for its improvement at Pointe Claire, La-chine, and other places. So if this government do not know where to spend the money they are going to appropriate, let them come to me and I shall do the best I can to help them with good suggestions.
Speaking of unemployment, I feel in a general way that it would not be well to create and encourage the impression that unemployment is going to become a permanent institution with us, to be met by federal outlays for public works. That would be to adopt an attitude of defeatism, which is repugnant to the Canadian mind. On the contrary every effort should be directed towards the reintegration of categories of workers in gainful occupation according to their avocations. Some people say that all we need to do is to return to that favourite virtue of our ancestors, so dear to my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning), thrift, and dispense with non-essentials. I am afraid that individually as well as nationally we have somehow forgotten that good old English proverb that "one must cut his coat according to his cloth." It might be said that I have just been advocating expenditures, and here I am advocating economy; but in my county I have people of both persuasions, and I represent them all.
A few moments ago I gave a list of public works which could be undertaken in the fight against unemployment and which would incidentally greatly benefit the island of Montreal and the county of Jaeques-Cartier, which I have the honour to represent in this house. I wish to remind hon. members that in this same county of Jaeques-Cartier there is a considerable number of farmers and gardeners, and for them I ask for a continued intelligent application of the seasonal tariffs on competitive produce coming into Canada. A difference of a few days in the application of these tariffs means a great deal to these farmers and gardeners. We have a high type of farmer and gardener in our county, and they won many prizes at the Royal Winter Fair. The prize list is so long, indeed, that it has not yet arrived.
In common with workers of all classes, our agricultural workers have always received sincere, helpful and friendly cooperation from Liberal administrations. The Liberal party is a true friend of those in need, the friend of the under-dog.
May I say, en passant, that a few weeks ago I received a circular from the Massey-Harris Company, announcing substantial price reductions on tractors and general farm machinery effective November 1. 1938, and the circular states that these reductions are
the result of a desire on the part of the company to share with its customers the benefits of economies effected, together with savings resulting from the slight decreases in the prices of raw materials. I have no objection to giving the company whatever credit is due for its good intentions; but members of this house, no matter to which party they belong, cannot fail to remember that an extensive investigation was made by a committee of this house not long ago into the price of agricultural implements.
Turning now to the question of armaments, in common with most people I have no liking for heavy expenditures on armaments. If every country would refrain from such expenditures the whole world would be much happier, but unfortunately those are not the conditions, and we seem to be very far from the millennium. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Canadian government deem it their duty to take steps properly to defend our well beloved country. It is impossible for a civilian to say exactly what ought to be done in that connection. We must trust those in office to assume their responsibilities, and we must support their efforts to defend our country. I intend to discuss this matter further when the National Defence estimates come before the house.
At the moment I think particular attention should be drawn to two items of importance. Every item in the Department of National Defence is important, of course, but somehow I feel that we should work up more enthusiasm among our people to join the militia. That enthusiasm does not exist at the present time. I am not blaming anybody for that, but I do think there is a great lack of enthusiasm. In the old French regime everybody joined the militia willy-nilly, because they were conscripted. I am not advocating that, but I do think we should work up enthusiasm among our young men to join the militia units.
I also believe that cadet training should receive more attention. I know there is a sum in the estimates each year for cadet training, and some training is done, .but from what I have seen of it I am not satisfied that the government is getting full value for its money. If you want to work up enthusiasm for the militia you must start with the young people. This is not a party affair at all; it is a national affair.
The order paper contains quite a number of proposals for social reform. I have another one to suggest. I am not the originator of it and cannot claim its paternity; but it is a matter of serious importance and one which must eventually be dealt with by parliament,
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and at some time or another it will be translated into the laws of Canada. Men are paid in accordance with a wage scale; and from the point of view of producers this is quite correct because whatever the producers make must not cost them a price that would put them out of competition. That is quite clear. On the other hand, it is also abundantly clear-to use a favourite expression of the former leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett)-that the man who is married needs more money than his bachelor companion, and a couple with one child needs more money than a childless couple; and that, of course, goes on increasingly with the number of children. It is evident that the ordinary worker making two or three dollars a day, with a family of, say five children, cannot give his family the standard of living which can be given by another worker in the same line getting the same remuneration and bringing up only one child or none at all. In the case of education alone the first man would be under a terrible hardship, and his children likewise. It is of them that I am thinking. It is of the loss thereby incurred by the nation that I am thinking, and I am sure that one of these days the state will have to go seriously into the question of family allowances. I say "the state" because employers taken by themselves are definitely unable to pay more than a certain level of salaries and wages. I wish that members of the government and of this house would give this aspect of our social life their earnest consideration. There is no doubt about the merits of the matter, although I understand readily the difficulties to be surmounted in curing this unfortunate condition. I do not expect either that very much will be done about it now. I am content to plant the seeds of this idea in the generous hearts of all the members of the House of Commons, knowing that it will germinate there with loving care and eventually will be brought to fruition.
A word with regard to the opposition. The hon. gentleman who now leads the opposition ("Mr. Manion) but who is not at the moment in his seat-perhaps exemplifying the fact that *the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has to be absent sometimes-in a very friendly manner in his speech of last Monday evening chided us upon what he called family quarrels in the Liberal party. He quoted our manifesto of 1935, and said, according to the report in Hansard, at page 43 in advocating that a new edition of the manifesto be published:
Even if the book were not of very great use, it would at least add to the gaiety of nations.
Well, I have before me something that may not add a deuce of a lot to the gaiety of nations but may add, for the moment, a little to the gaiety of Canada. I have brought here two editorials of the Montreal Gazette, dealing with the leader of the opposition, his party, and so on. I should like to take extracts from these articles, but that is hardly possible; they have to be quoted in full, or, as the intelligentzia say, in toto, so I shall ask hon. members to bear with me for a minute while I read this one, an editorial of Friday, August 12, 1938, entitled "Where is Doctor Manion Going?"
The new leader of the Conservative party addressed a meeting at Barry's Bay on Wednesday. Barry's Bay is a small lumbering centre in the county of Benfrew. It was chosen by Dr. Manion for his first eastern Ontario address in his new capacity. He seems to have said some remarkable things. For example, he told his hearers that federal governments in the past have done little in the way of national planning of Canada's economic life, that the time has come for action on economic problems, and that the policy of drifting has brought about a fear psychology and "a danger of revolution which we must realize." Further on Dr. Manion expressed the opinion that one of the ways of protecting Canadian liberties is improvement of the economic system. The wealth of the country, he said, is badly distributed ; hence the danger of revolution and the need of national planning, and so on.
Where is this new leader going? The convention which selected him turned its back definitely on what is implied in national planning and upon the two principal apostles of national planning in the Conservative party. It dispensed with Mr. R. B. Bennett as leader and. it would have nothing to do with Mr. Herridge or his heresies. It went back to Conservative principles. But now we find Dr. Manion talking the language of Mr. Bennett, even the language of Mr. Herridge, and if he does not know that this is an affront to Conservative thought in Canada, he has learned nothing from the temper of the convention which gave him his mandate. Dr. Manion's only chance of success for himself and for the Conservative party is through enlisting and holding the loyal support of the great body of Conservatives in this country who were dissatisfied with the Bennett regime, who called for a party convention and got it, and, through their representatives at that convention, laid down a platform which, if vaguely phrased-
-in some respects, does substantially represent and express Conservative opinion. If the new leader has any inclination to move to the left he can, of course, indulge it, but he cannot take the Conservative party with him. In his own interest he should be warned against a false step which may lead him away from the great political element in this country upon whose support he must rely, a step which may conceivably compel that element to seek a new allegiance.
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This is another leading article in the Gazette. The first was on August 12, 1938, the second on September 2, 1938-a Friday in both instances.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY