Mr. J. W. Monleiih (Perth):
Mr. Speaker, it appears to be customary, speaking in this debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne, to mention a wide range of subjects, and particularly for freshmen members to speak of their own ridings. In a moment or two I shall do this rather briefly. It is not my purpose to take up the time of the house in uttering a lot of platitudes; but there are certain achievements of the people in the county of Perth and some grave conditions now existing which I feel should be brought to the attention of hon. members.
Before making these observations however I should like to join previous speakers in passing on congratulations through you, sir, to Mr. Speaker. As a newcomer to the house, it is amazing to find how all the knowledge, experience and tact necessary for the proper fulfilment of the great responsibilities of that high office could be centred in one member. If it does not appear too brash on my part as a newcomer, I should like to say that I believe Mr. Speaker does possess those qualities.
And I would also congratulate you, sir, upon your elevation to your present position of Deputy Speaker. It was my good fortune to be associated with you during school days. Looking back I seem to recall that even then you displayed those qualities which now enable you to carry out your duties so admirably.
May I say just a word or two about my thoughts upon arriving here in Ottawa as the duly elected member in the House of Commons for the riding of Perth. I do not think any freshman at a university ever felt more like a freshman than I did on that particular morning. However, owing to the friendship, advice and suggestions offered by members on both sides of the house, I now feel somewhat more at home.
When I look at the map of this great Canada of ours and realize that I am one of the 265 persons sent here to govern the country, I feel very humble. I think we should all sit back and look at that map occasionally so that we may not lose that feeling of humility.
I should like to reiterate the sentiment expressed by the hon. member for Humboldt-Melfort (Mr. Bryson) last Friday when he said: jj (
This is a moment, Mr. Speaker, which I am not likely soon to forget, in rising for the first time to take part in a debate in the House of Commons.
And now a few words concerning my home city of Stratford and my riding of Perth. We are situated in the middle of the garden of
Canada. I think that, aside from our geographical location, this statement is borne out by the results of the recent elections. We are practically surrounded by ridings which saw fit either to return sitting members or to elect to the house new members who represent the party of which I am a supporter.
My constituency, which since the redistribution of 1933 has been known as Perth, formerly constituted two ridings, namely those of North Perth and South Perth. This county in the past has sent many illustrious members to Ottawa. It is my fervent hope that I shall be as faithful and industrious in fulfilling my duties as were my predecessors. Incidentally, I trust I may be excused for mentioning that my paternal grandfather represented North Perth in the House of Commons from 1873 to 1878. During that period, unfortunately, he also sat to the left of the Speaker. I am confident, sir, that, if I may use a slang expression, I shall enjoy going that gentleman one step better and having the experience of moving to the other side of the chamber.
We have in Stratford many manufacturing concerns. Time will not permit me to speak at length about all these business enterprises, of which we are justly proud. I should like however to say something to the house about our largest employer of labour, the Canadian National Railways. We have an investment by the C.N.R. in Stratford amounting to many millions of dollars, in the way of buildings and equipment provided for the repair of steam locomotives. I am greatly concerned about the future of these repair shops, and I do beseech consideration by the management of the Canadian National Railways by way of planning for the future use of these facilities. Since August 10 of this year there have been at least two and, if I am not mistaken, three separate lay-offs of employees. It has been intimated by the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) that these lay-offs are temporary; I can only trust that he is right.
This is serious for us. We feel that, because of the gradual dieselization of this system, unless planning for the future is begun now we are only going to suffer more and more lay-offs. As you may know, the Canadian Pacific Railway recently commenced a new fast diesel service between Toronto and Windsor. Will the present service which the Canadian National provides be able to compete successfully with this? I do not think so. This is a huge, continuously growing Canada and I suggest that the management of the Canadian National grow with the 83276-19
The Address-Mr. Monteith country. Let it develop new ideas to attract passenger revenue and improve freight service.
Surely in an expanding economy such as ours the Stratford Canadian National repair shops do not have to face a gradual reduction in employment simply because the system is becoming dieselized. As dieselization of the system progresses I urge the government to give early consideration to the use that will be made of the facilities provided by the Stratford shops, which facilities represent such a huge investment.
A particularly important attainment in the history of Stratford and of Canada materialized this past summer. I am speaking now of the Stratford Shakespearean festival. That festival was the greatest cultural achievement Canada has ever experienced. Unfortunately its production coincided somewhat with another interesting event in Canada this summer, in that it commenced early in July and ran through until after August 10. Most of us were, I think excusably so, very busy and probably could not find time to attend the festival. I believe it was on July 28 when the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) did squeeze in sufficient time to visit Stratford and incidentally the festival. I only hope he does not now feel that the time thus consumed was at all ill spent.
This festival originated in the mind of a Stratford young man by the name of Tom Patterson. He dreamed of such an undertaking for some time and finally convinced a number of the citizens of Stratford that he had something. This was a terrific decision to make, and I should like to congratulate particularly the promoter and those citizens who gave so unstintingly of their time and energy in the early stages of the production.
I should like to take a few moments of the time of this house to read a few of the objects of the Stratford Shakespearean festival foundation of Canada which was incorporated under the laws of the province of Ontario on October 31, 1952:
1. To promote interest in, and the study of, the arts generally and literature, drama and music in particular.
2. To advance knowledge and appreciation of and to stimulate interest in Shakespearean culture and tradition by theatrical performances and otherwise.
3. To provide for facilities for education and instruction in the arts of the theatre.
4. To provide improved opportunities for Canadian artistic talent.
5. To advance the development of the arts of the theatre in Canada.
The Address-Mr. Monteith
There is no doubt that the future of this festival is now assured. I feel that all culturally-minded people in Canada are grateful to those few in Stratford who had the foresight and initiative to make it possible.
I should like to present just a few statistics to show what effect this festival had upon the economy of Stratford and Canada as a whole. A total of 68,800 tickets were sold, 38 [DOT] 1 per cent being sold in the United States. Canadian National ticket sales from Toronto to Stratford were up 55 per cent during July and August, 1953 over the same period in 1952. Bank clearances were up over $3,850,000 during June, July and August, 1953 as compared with the corresponding period in 1952. It will be remembered that this is a city of approximately 19,000 people. Cars were parked in the festival parking lot from nine provinces in Canada and 35 states of the union to the south.
I trust that my words about this undertaking have not taken up too much of the time of the house. If we are through our business in time next summer I do hope every hon. member will avail himself of the opportunity of visiting Canada's greatest cultural achievement, the Stratford Shakespearean festival.
The other day the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Mclvor) mentioned in the house that his city possesses the finest water supply in Canada. I would respectfully take issue with that statement as undoubtedly the city of Stratford has that distinction. Our water comes from deep wells and possesses fluorine in exactly the correct quantities as they have been determined up to now. Comparisons have been made with other cities in Canada as to dental conditions, and I think the statistics resulting from those comparisons are favourable to my contention. I shall not burden hon. members with the details. A letter was written by the Department of National Health and Welfare to the medical officer of health of Stratford under date of April 29, 1949. One paragraph of this letter reads:
Stratford is to be congratulated upon its good fortune in having among its children what probably is the best dental condition of any city in Canada. The caries attack rate is more than two-thirds less than in the average Canadian city. It is believed that this is due to the fact that the Stratford water supply, as well as being excellent, contains from its natural sources, 1-3 PPM of flourine.
I feel that letter supports my view that Stratford possesses a quality of water beyond comparison.
I should like to mention that in Stratford as well as in other communities of Perth
county there are several depressed textile industries. These industries, along with dairy machinery manufacturers, appear to be suffering from unfair dumping on our markets from abroad. I expect there will be an opportunity later to discuss these matters.
I have not thus far made any mention of the wonderful farming country surrounding Stratford, nor of the towns and villages of Perth county. The welfare of those towns and villages, as well as the welfare of Stratford, depends to a large extent upon trade with the farming districts. May I point out that Perth county is in the midst of one of the best mixed farming districts in Canada. We have farmers concentrating on dairy cattle and dairy products, on beef cattle, on grains, on cash crops such as sugar beets, on poultry, on fur-bearing animals and on several other specialties. Many of these farmers have legitimate complaints which I feel should command our attention.
The drop in grain prices has been considerable, and this matter has been discussed at some length in this chamber. As a consequence I do not propose to enlarge on the subject. At some future date I may find it necessary to climb aboard with the hon. member for Lambton West (Mr. Murphy) and go for a ride on the sugar beet question.
I should like to bring to your attention the plight of the farmer who has been fattening beef cattle which he bought at say 29 cents a pound, who has been feeding them for several months and then has been forced to sell at say 19 cents per pound in order to meet bank loans. Such an operation cannot have any result other than financial ruin. Then there is the dairy farmer whose monthly milk cheque up until a comparatively short time ago was perhaps $350, but who is now receiving possibly $200. Such a man is in anything but a happy state of mind.
I should like to speak briefly concerning the cheese industry. The hon. member for Hastings South (Mr. Follwell) has claimed that the best cheese produced anywhere in Canada comes from his riding, but in my opinion Perth county has attained the position of producing cheese of a quality second to none. Reports concerning sediment in milk going into cheese production do, I am sure, bear out this contention.
Further, Mr. Speaker, I cannot share the hon. member's enthusiasm for the part the present government and the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) have played in the marketing of cheese. True, the Liberal government did buy 5J million pounds of cheese of last year's make; but was it not still
in Canada? Recent sales to Britain have left the whole industry in a much healthier condition. These sales have achieved the result of assuring the removal of 10 million pounds of cheese from the Canadian market. May I point out that these recent sales to Britain were made by the Ontario cheese marketing board without assistance from the federal government or the Minister of Agriculture. The cheese market has now firmed considerably, and the whole dairy industry will benefit from the fact that this deal was made in a straight businesslike manner without government interference.
May I conclude by stressing that many such benefits would accrue under an economy of free competition.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY