Alfred Johnson BROOKS

BROOKS, The Hon. Alfred Johnson, P.C., Q.C., B.A., B.C.L., Hon. LL.D.

Personal Data

Progressive Conservative
Royal (New Brunswick)
Birth Date
November 14, 1890
Deceased Date
December 7, 1967
barrister, teacher

Parliamentary Career

October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
  Royal (New Brunswick)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  Royal (New Brunswick)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Royal (New Brunswick)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  Royal (New Brunswick)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Royal (New Brunswick)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Royal (New Brunswick)
  • Minister of National Health and Welfare (June 21, 1957 - August 21, 1957)
  • Minister of Veterans Affairs (June 21, 1957 - October 10, 1960)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
  Royal (New Brunswick)
  • Minister of Veterans Affairs (June 21, 1957 - October 10, 1960)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 800 of 801)

March 5, 1936

Mr. A. J. BROOKS (Royal):

I shall take a few minutes only in discussing this trade agreement, which is of great importance to the people of Canada. It is an agreement in which we are all particularly interested. It is not my intention to discuss it from the general standpoint because I do not consider myself qualified to do so, but I should like to consider it from the point of view of those provinces of which I have the honour to be one of the members-the maritimes.

It is interesting to know that according to the last census the population of Canada has become more urban and less rural, but this fact does not apply to the three Atlantic provinces; we are more rural than urban. The census of 1931 shows that the population of Prince Edward Island was 67,653 rural and 20,385 urban; Nova Scotia, 281,192 rural and 231,654 urban; New Brunswick, 279,279 rural and 128,940 urban, or in the maritimes a total rural population of 628,124 and a total urban population of 380,979. I quote these figures to show' that we in the maritime provinces are distinctly a rural population and are primary producers. The great industries of the maritime provinces are fishing, lumbering, mining and forestry, and any agreement which is made, if it is to benefit us, must give us some benefit in these primary industries that I have mentioned.

Let me take first the great industry of fishing. It is a fact wrhich is wTell known not only in this country but throughout the world that the maritime provinces of Canada possess the greatest fishing area to be found anywhere in the world. It is an old industry, one of the first to be established on this continent; for we all remember from our history that in the days of Cabot men came from England, France and other places across the sea and reported that fish were so plentiful in the northern Atlantic ocean that they could be gathered up in baskets. We have over

8.000 square miles in the bay of Fundy and

200.000 square miles, or over four-fifths of the fishing ground, in the north Atlantic, and in addition to this we have 15,000 square miles of inshore waters entirely controlled by the dominion. Besides this great extent of

Canada-TJ. S. Trade Agreement

fisheries we have, I believe, the best fish to be found anywhere in the world. I say this because it is well known that the colder the water the better the quality of fish, and as you go north in the northern Atlantic and up among the maritime provinces you find, with the purity and coldness of the water, a better quality of fish, including cod, herring, mackerel and salmon. In this great industry some 40,000 fishermen are employed. This will indicate to some extent the importance of the industry. Taking five members to a family-and I am not taking a Brigham Young estimate now-there are about 200,000 people dependent on the industry in the mari-times, and a capital of $16,138,728 is invested in the fisheries of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

I have laid this foundation to show the extent and greatness of this industry which we have in the Atlantic provinces. It is well known that in the last five or six years the industry has been in a very bad condition. Markets have not been good, and there is no class of people in the maritime provinces -and I doubt whether there is in any other part of Canada-who have suffered more than have the fishermen. Not only have they lost tens of thousands of dollars' worth of equipment, but in 1934 many lives were lost. It is a very hazardous occupation; I doubt whether there is any more hazardous. These men therefore should be well compensated for the work they are doing. I am safe in saying that in the last few months, or prior to October 14, the maritime provinces were promised that in the event of a reciprocal agreement being brought about with the United States they would be one of the first sections of Canada to be considered, and that they would receive great benefits from such a treaty.

In any reciprocity treaty which has ever been mentioned through all these years it will be found, if one will take the trouble to study the history of the proposals and agreements, that the fisheries of the maritime provinces was, or was supposed to be, one of the first considerations as regards any agreement. In this connection I should like to quote the remarks of an hon. gentleman who a short time ago was a member of this house and who to-day I congratulate upon having been elevated to the Senate; I refer to the Hon. William Duff. Senator Duff has always been greatly interested in fisheries in his native province, and on many occasions has spoken in this house as to the great benefits which would be derived by the fishing industry from a reciprocity treaty with the

United States. At different times he brought in several resolutions, and in speaking to a resolution which he presented on February 20, 1933, he gave expression to these thoughts:

My hon. friend asks who imposed the duty; the United States, of course.

Then he goes on:

Now, in my opinion, with the Canadian fisheries in their present condition-

And he had told the house of the deplorable condition of the fisheries at that time:

-there is only one salvation for them, and that is for this government-

And he was exhorting the Conservative government of the day:

-to make a trade arrangement with the United States so that our fish might go into that country.

We hear a good deal about trawlers nowadays. I have no time to go into that question to-day, but if we had the United States for a market there would not be very much talk about trawlers because the trouble to-day is that Canada is a very small market. Great Britain is too far away from us, being some twenty-five hundred miles across the water, and they have their own source of supply so far as fish is concerned, so that practically the only market open to us now, to which we can extend our business, is the United States. I need_ not say that the fisheries of this country are in a deplorable condition, and I appeal to the government to do everything they can to help the industry. There is no question about it that there is a great opportunity for the government as well as for the fishermen of Canada.

Then he goes on to say:

I think the time ripe for something to be done if we are to be clear of our surplus product. This is the time for the government to enter into negotiations with the government of the United States.

That is the exhortation which was given to the Conservative party in 1933. On Feb-rurary 19, 1934, Mr., now Senator, Duff brought in his resolution again. At that time he said:

If an arrangement could be made whereby certain goods from the United States were permitted to enter this country free of duty while the fish from lake Winnipeg, the great lakes and the Atlantic and the Pacific could enter that country free of duty, the fishermen of Canada would be in a much better position than they are to-day. In my opinion, this government should do everything possible to see that this is done.

I quote this to point out that Senator Duff was voicing the opinion of the maritime provinces as regards fish.

A reciprocity arrangement has been entered into, not by a Conservative government but by the government opposite, a Liberal government, and I should like to ask if Senator Duff's recommendations have been carried out by his old government. I think the facts will prove very much to the contrary.

Canada-U. S. Trade Agreement

I should like to refer for a few minutes to some of our leading fish. In this connection may I say that I am sorry that the hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg (Mr. Kinley) is not in his seat. I was surprised to hear him, in this house a few days ago, tell us that he was the representative of the best fishing county in the maritime provinces and also in Canada, and say that he supported this reciprocity agreement. We find that in Nova Scotia lobsters are the greatest fish product of the province. In 1934 the catch was 18,459,000 pounds, and the market value 82,461,784. As was pointed out by the hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg, this fish has always entered the United States free.

It is well known that we in the maritime provinces and Newfoundland produce practically all the lobsters in the world. We have the finest lobsters that are found anywhere. The only lobster, I believe, that is found outside of Canada is one called the spiny lobster, which in reality is not a lobster at all. Lobsters are entering and have entered the United States free, because the Americans want our lobsters, and I think we shall find in reviewing any agreement with the United States that anything the Americans want from us they allow us to send them free, but anything about which we wish to bargain, it is a very hard matter to make a favourable bargain.

The cod is a fish which is produced in great abundance in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. As a matter of fact, cod is the second largest fish product of the maritime provinces, and our fishermen hoped and expected that it would have been included in the agreement with the United States. But there is a duty, and a heavy one, on cod, and it is because of this duty that many of the fishermen of these provinces are in the deplorable condition in which they find themselves to-day. We expected that the government, in making an agreement with the United States, would take this into consideration and secure the removal of the duty.

The hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg, in speaking the other day, said that he understood one reason why the duty was not taken off cod and haddock was because we had allowed English anthracite coal to come into this country, and that coal was the commodity which the Americans wished to barter in exchange for our cod and haddock and other fish, I think this is a very far-fetched argument, because we all know that in Walkerville, Ontario, for instance, the liquor

producers have been given the opportunity to ship at a greatly lowered duty millions of gallons of whiskey into the United States, and I have not heard that any quid pro quo was demanded as far as whiskey is concerned. It might also be pointed out as regards fisheries in the maritime provinces that the government, on account of the market now opened to the American manufacturer in the maritime provinces, containing a population of over a million, could have very well exchanged our fish for the manufactured products which we shall undoubtedly receive from that country.

I could go on down through the list of fisheries in these three provinces, but it is not my intention to do so. The list is long. I have pointed out that the great fishing industry in the maritime provinces was not considered at all. They speak about swordfish; we all know there is very little export of swordfish to the United States, we know also there is still a duty on swordfish. As to herring, the great market is not in the United States but is I understand, in the British West Indies. Then there is the small herring used in New Brunswick for sardines. Sardines have not received any benefit under this agreement. Sardines form the greatest fisheries export of New Brunswick. In 1934 it amounted to 41,458,200 poundte, of a market value of $1,087,674. These were not exported to the United States, because the United States impose a heavy duty on our sardines in order to protect the sardine canneries of Eastport and the Maine coast. As far as the fisheries of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are concerned they gain nothing from this agreement, although they were led to believe they would receive much.

It is a small step from fish to potatoes. I am not going to say much about potatoes tonight because that subject has already been pretty well covered. I was amused when the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon) in his excellent address spoke of a ten acre field of potatoes. I may tell my hon. friend that in my province of New Brunswick a ten acre field of potatoes is just a back yard garden. We grow potatoes there by the hundreds of acres. In the county of Carleton, New Brunswick, whose representative (Mr. Patterson) I see in the house-and he can verify what I say-it is not uncommon to see fields of potatoes of one hundred acres and more. What do we find in regard to potatoes since this agreement came into force? The potato farmers of New Brunswick are not receiving any benefit under it; very much the contrary.

Canada-U. S. Trade Agreement

In that connection I wish to read a statement from the Carleton Sentinel, a paper published in the county of Carleton in which many potatoes are produced:

A move is now on foot, sponsored by the New Brunswick Farmers' Industrial Organization, to have a countervailing duty placed on American potatoes, which under the existing regulations may be imported into Canada duty free. Apparently this phase of the new

reciprocity treaty was not regarded as important, as it would be only on rare occasions that American potatoes could be

imported as cheaply as home produced stock could be purchased. It is generally supposed that should such a thing happen as a flow of potatoes starting from the south, the government would act at once and place a countervailing duty in effect, such as prevailed prior to 1930. _

A situation has arisen, however, which was probably not foreseen. Potatoes are now a fairly good price in Canada and it is thought they will go higher, possibly to a price above that in the United States. For that reason dealers on the receiving end are believed, correctly or otherwise, to be watching the market very closely. This has caused some unsettlement of the market, particularly as recent court decisions south of the line will have, it is thought, a depressing effect on the Canadian market.

We believe the federal government would do well to accede to the wishes of the farmers, and put on a countervailing duty as soon as possible.

Then another article in the Hartland Observer, also published in that county, says:

A letter from Windsor confirms the fear that United States potatoes under the treaty would compete unfairly with ours. The writer says, Michigan potatoes are being marketed at 40 cents per bag cheaper than ours, and adds that but for the fact that Canadian dealers are as yet chary about handling them to the [DOT]detriment of Canadian prior contracts, there would be a brisk trade for American spuds in Ontario. Canadian farmers are being made philanthropists to their American cousins.

I received also a letter to-day from a gentleman who is a very large exporter of potatoes in Carleton county, Mr. Hatfield, who claims that there are being sold in Montreal and Quebec. Maine potatoes, called "commercials," of a grade not marketable by Canadian farmers. He also says that Maine potatoes are crossing daily from Van Buren into St. Leonard free of duty under the provisions of the new trade pact with the United States. I quote this to show that as far as potatoes are concerned-and in my province we are large potato producers, as they are in Prince Edward Island and to a less degree in Nova Scotia-we receive no benefit from this agreement for this primary-product. Someone may say that the seed potatoes receive some benefit. That is true, but it is not the seed potato that is the great commercial potato of the maritime provinces, and it is not the

seed potato producer, but the producer of

table potatoes who needed protection.

I rather hesitate to say anything regarding small fruits, vegetables, apples, and dairy products, which we produce very extensively in our province and the other provinces by the sea. What has been said by previous speakers applies also to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. We receive no benefit as far as these vegetables and small fruits are concerned. Our market will be open to the products of the United States, which will come in earlier than ours and satiate the appetite of the people in Montreal, Toronto and other places where we market much of our small fruits and vegetables.

Mention has also been made of the lumber industry. We in New Brunswick are greatly interested in lumber. Years ago the United States market was the best one we had, but on account of the duties which have been imposed against the lumber products of the maritime provinces that market was closed to us. The duty has now been lowered $2 per thousand feet, but anyone who is lumbering in New Brunswick to-day will tell you that it was not the producer of lumber in New Brunswick, but the consumer in the United States, who received the benefit of this lowering of duty, with the result that there is far less lumber being cut in New Brunswick to-day than there was a year ago. The only market we had is the market which we obtained through the Ottawa agreements. If it had not been for the Ottawa agreements, during the last three years the lumber industry in these provinces would have been practically dead. Only last week when I was home there were three ships loading lumber in Saint John, not for the United States but for England. A lumberman told me that he was selling one and a half million feet of lumber in England, and that during the last two or three years, and particularly since this agreement came into effect, he did not find it profitable to sell one stick of lumber in the United States.

Full View Permalink

March 5, 1936


It is not necessary. Let me tell the hon. member for St. John-Albert (Mr. Ryan) that there are twenty-five members from the maritime provinces in this house and if they will inquire from their constituents they will be told that they have not received any benefit so far as this agree-

Canada-U. S. Trade Agreement

ment is concerned. It is a well known fact that under the trade agreement the cities of Saint John and Halifax stand to lose a considerable amount of trade. This was trade that under most favoured' nation agreements was compelled to come through these ports. Now it may go to the ports of Boston, New York or other points along the Atlantic coast.

The hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg found something beneficial under the agreement. He said that as he was going through Nova Scotia he saw some men loading oxen to be sent to the United States to work in the woods. He added that it was a sight he had not seen for a long time. I can believe the hon. gentleman; may I add that probably it is a sight he will never see again. So far as we are concerned, the agreement is out of balance, and I believe people from our provinces will substantiate me in this statement. I was surprised to hear the hon. member defend the agreement. A few days ago, while making a speech in connection with seamen on British ships, he stated that he was particularly anxious to look after the interests of those men who went down to the sea in ships. I would say to him that there are thousands of men connected with the fishing industry in the maritime provinces who go down to the sea in ships, and I would ask the twenty-five members and the four ministers from the mari-times what was done in this agreement for those men who go down to the sea in ships in the fishing industry.

It is not my intention to say anything further than that, so far as the three maritime provinces are concerned, the agreement is very much out of balance. The reason there is such a large representation of government followers from the maritime provinces is that people down there were led to expect big things from the reciprocity agreement. They have been disappointed. Hon. members may have noticed that recently in the press there has been some talk of secession in the maritimes. May I say here and now that there is very little secession sentiment down there, but I do believe that during the last few weeks, born out of disappointment at the agreement, there has been secession talk. In the hearts of the people in the maritimes, however, there is neither the desire nor the intention to secede from the rest of Canada. We have made too great a contribution to the dominion even to think of such a thing. For the reasons I have stated it is my intention to oppose the agreement.

Full View Permalink

February 25, 1936


Is there any system of compulsory education for Indian children? I notice that a good many Indian families wander about the country during the school year and the children do not seem to be at school.

Full View Permalink

February 21, 1936


How much is allocated t each of the experimental farms in Canada?

Full View Permalink

February 18, 1936


I should like to know whether arrangements are being made in New Brunswick for retesting, and whether compensation is to be paid in the event of reactors being found?

Full View Permalink