Eric Joseph POOLE

POOLE, Eric Joseph

Personal Data

Party
Social Credit
Constituency
Red Deer (Alberta)
Birth Date
December 19, 1907
Deceased Date
January 1, 1969
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Joseph_Poole
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=a6483eef-8066-43ff-8024-8070a65297df&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
building contractor

Parliamentary Career

October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
SC
  Red Deer (Alberta)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 52)


September 9, 1939

Mr. E. J. POOLE (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, I shall not take up much of the time of the house, and I question if I would have spoken at all had it not been for some of the criticism levelled against this group to-day.

During the past two days a plea has been made for tolerance, but I note that those who are most loud in their appeals for tolerance are the least willing to practise it. I listened just now to the opening remarks of the hon. member for Danforth (Mr. Harris), when he accused this group of endeavouring to put over its own particular doctrines. I do not know how that accusation can be justified. Surely we did not come down to the house on this occasion simply to say yes to everything that the government proposed, without offering any constructive suggestions of our own. Are we to lose sight utterly of what may occur in the days ahead?

The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) also made a plea for tolerance, but he did not show very much tolerance himself when he endeavoured to make political capital at the expense of this group by accusing us of believing in regimentation and in dictatorships under the guise of social credit. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, what group in this house leans more closely towards regimentation than the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation? Surely it must be evident that if w'e are to take over the means of production, it requires regimentation and a dictatorship. I notice that the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation have greatly changed their views in the past year. Last year, for instance, the hon. member would sooner go to gaol than go to war, and now this year they are differentiating between home service and service abroad. That is all nonsense; there is no difference. There should be no line of demarcation between the two services. Service for Canada means service anywhere for Canada, and without the facts before us we cannot tell w'here the front line of defence will be. If it is on the Rhine, that is where we should be as Canadians.

This group here has made its stand clear. We have made no bones about saying what we believe should be done in the present situation. Canada probably before this night is over will be at war. We shall never defeat the forces of Hitler by lip service. This group has proposed the conscription of finance, industry and man power. Why do we propose the conscription of man power? Because ^'e know that those who yesterday were public liabilities, those who were referred to by one member last session as "yaps," those who were driven from one town in one constituency to another town in another constituency because they were so embarrassingly plentiful and were a liability and charge against that city, will to-morrow be our national heroes. But they should not be the only ones. They should not be driven to war because of their economic circumstances. If you can tell me, Mr. Speaker, of a worse kind of conscription than that, I should like to hear of it. We are determined that in this war it shall be not only the working man's son who shall go but the rich man's son as well, that it shall not be just the working men's sons who shall lay down their lives for Canada while finance goes free; and the time to discuss these things is not when war is over but before war begins.

Probably the objection the previous speaker (Mr. Harris) had was to the conscription of finance that we propose. But, Mr. Speaker, we are irrevocably opposed to a dictatorship by Hitler, on the one hand, and to a dictatorship by finance on the other. They are equally obnoxious. and we in this group, representing a body of Canadian opinion, will fight both kinds of dictatorship on any front.

It has often been said in this house during the last few years since I have been a member that there was no money for public works. But there will be no question about money being provided for war. We know that we have been forced into war. but if we are going into it let us go into it with everything that we have, not with just half of what we have. We do not want the same cry that was raised when the last war was over and the survivors came straggling back to this country, those who had offered their all and then had to fight for the next twenty years for pensions and for jobs, only to be told by an apathetic parliament: We have not the money. Nor do we want them to be told, when it is proposed to create credit and currency, that this would mean inflation of a dangerous kind.

I suppose it is not in order to discuss these matters. The hon. member who spoke before me does not like any reference to them, but we must not blind ourselves to the facts. We

The Address-Mr. Lawson

in this group are fact finders; we work upon facts and not fiction. What objection is there to conscription of industry? Are we going to place ourselves in the position of the man who once said to Jesus that he had done everything, that he had led a good life, and who wanted to know what more he could do. The Lord said, "Go and give that which you have," but the man did not come back.

The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldweli) is prepared to support war only to the extent of providing ammunition for others to fire. Those who believe in a profitless society have no objection to profits in time of war. Surely it must be evident to all of us that if you ship one load of wheat to a British port you are at war, because foodstuffs are just as essential as arms. Those who do not want Canada to participate in order to protect its own frontiers and to take its part within the British commonwealth of nations should ask themselves whether they are prepared to cut themselves off from all possibility of trade within the empire in future days. Surely that is something strange, coming particularly from members of a party whose whole political philosophy and planning are based upon the principle of exports. And now in time of war they would not participate.

I was born in England. My mother is there now and so are two of my sisters. They are in one of the greatest industrial centres of that country. When war comes to this dominion, and when conscription of wealth is declared, I shall be prepared as a Canadian citizen to do my share and to don a uniform for my country, Canada. But, Mr. Speaker, we should hesitate at any time to conscript men and allow finance to reap the reward of conflict in terms of dollars and cents.

Last year I read a report on the munitions industry compiled by a committee of the United States congress, in which it was shown that millions had been made out of war. It is no use talking about that when we are in the midst of war. These vultures are with us now and they will take every possible advantage they can of the situation. To these people human life means nothing. We claim that there must be equality of sacrifice, and that means equality of sacrifice by finance, by industry and by men.

The hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Pelletier) said that conscription was the working man's friend. What he meant by that was that when war comes, public assistance of every kind is cut off, and to force a man into war alll you have to do is to take away from him his meal ticket. The poor will go; they have always done so. And they have always been despised too.

I do not think a greater mistake could be made at this time than to participate in the war in a half-hearted manner. When you go to war you go to win, and therefore we should harness the whole forces of this country without exception. And finance should be the first to be conscripted. I hope that when this question is discussed on the political platform, man power will not be emphasized and finance subdued in the discussions by those who oppose us politically. We make it definite: finance, industry and man power.

There is another matter to which I wish to refer. Some guarantee should be given to those who go, whether as volunteers or under conscription, that they will receive better treatment after the next war than the men received after the last. In my constituency there is a man who this week lost his farm, which he purchased under the soldier settlement board. This man served overseas for four years and brought up four children. He cut down the trees on his farm, clearing eighty acres in twenty years. Yet to-day he has lost that farm. Is that fair treatment? He had no pension, notwithstanding appeals, because some nincompoop in the department locally did not like his politics. Someone pleads for tolerance. Well, if evidence is needed in support of the statement I make, I can give it; and if I prove that it is true, I would ask hon. members to help me to eradicate that sort of thing.

This group will support the motion; it will support the government. We believe that we are in for a long war and we believe that it is going to be bigger than the last; but we should enter it united, with a determination to wipe from this earth those who have denied ail reason and who know only force. That can best be done by putting all the resources of the country into the effort.

Topic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY TO THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Full View Permalink

September 9, 1939

Mr. E. J. POOLE (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, I shall not take up much of the time of the house, and I question if I would have spoken at all had it not been for some of the criticism levelled against this group to-day.

During the past two days a plea has been made for tolerance, but I note that those who are most loud in their appeals for tolerance are the least willing to practise it. I listened just now to the opening remarks of the hon. member for Danforth (Mr. Harris), when he accused this group of endeavouring to put over its own particular doctrines. I do not know how that accusation can be justified. Surely we did not come down to the house on this occasion simply to say yes to everything that the government proposed, without offering any constructive suggestions of our own. Are we to lose sight utterly of what may occur in the days ahead?

The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) also made a plea for tolerance, but he did not show very much tolerance himself when he endeavoured to make political capital at the expense of this group by accusing us of believing in regimentation and in dictatorships under the guise of social credit. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, what group in this house leans more closely towards regimentation than the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation? Surely it must be evident that if w'e are to take over the means of production, it requires regimentation and a dictatorship. I notice that the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation have greatly changed their views in the past year. Last year, for instance, the hon. member would sooner go to gaol than go to war, and now this year they are differentiating between home service and service abroad. That is all nonsense; there is no difference. There should be no line of demarcation between the two services. Service for Canada means service anywhere for Canada, and without the facts before us we cannot tell w'here the front line of defence will be. If it is on the Rhine, that is where we should be as Canadians.

This group here has made its stand clear. We have made no bones about saying what we believe should be done in the present situation. Canada probably before this night is over will be at war. We shall never defeat the forces of Hitler by lip service. This group has proposed the conscription of finance, industry and man power. Why do we propose the conscription of man power? Because ^'e know that those who yesterday were public liabilities, those who were referred to by one member last session as "yaps," those who were driven from one town in one constituency to another town in another constituency because they were so embarrassingly plentiful and were a liability and charge against that city, will to-morrow be our national heroes. But they should not be the only ones. They should not be driven to war because of their economic circumstances. If you can tell me, Mr. Speaker, of a worse kind of conscription than that, I should like to hear of it. We are determined that in this war it shall be not only the working man's son who shall go but the rich man's son as well, that it shall not be just the working men's sons who shall lay down their lives for Canada while finance goes free; and the time to discuss these things is not when war is over but before war begins.

Probably the objection the previous speaker (Mr. Harris) had was to the conscription of finance that we propose. But, Mr. Speaker, we are irrevocably opposed to a dictatorship by Hitler, on the one hand, and to a dictatorship by finance on the other. They are equally obnoxious. and we in this group, representing a body of Canadian opinion, will fight both kinds of dictatorship on any front.

It has often been said in this house during the last few years since I have been a member that there was no money for public works. But there will be no question about money being provided for war. We know that we have been forced into war. but if we are going into it let us go into it with everything that we have, not with just half of what we have. We do not want the same cry that was raised when the last war was over and the survivors came straggling back to this country, those who had offered their all and then had to fight for the next twenty years for pensions and for jobs, only to be told by an apathetic parliament: We have not the money. Nor do we want them to be told, when it is proposed to create credit and currency, that this would mean inflation of a dangerous kind.

I suppose it is not in order to discuss these matters. The hon. member who spoke before me does not like any reference to them, but we must not blind ourselves to the facts. We

The Address-Mr. Lawson

in this group are fact finders; we work upon facts and not fiction. What objection is there to conscription of industry? Are we going to place ourselves in the position of the man who once said to Jesus that he had done everything, that he had led a good life, and who wanted to know what more he could do. The Lord said, "Go and give that which you have," but the man did not come back.

The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldweli) is prepared to support war only to the extent of providing ammunition for others to fire. Those who believe in a profitless society have no objection to profits in time of war. Surely it must be evident to all of us that if you ship one load of wheat to a British port you are at war, because foodstuffs are just as essential as arms. Those who do not want Canada to participate in order to protect its own frontiers and to take its part within the British commonwealth of nations should ask themselves whether they are prepared to cut themselves off from all possibility of trade within the empire in future days. Surely that is something strange, coming particularly from members of a party whose whole political philosophy and planning are based upon the principle of exports. And now in time of war they would not participate.

I was born in England. My mother is there now and so are two of my sisters. They are in one of the greatest industrial centres of that country. When war comes to this dominion, and when conscription of wealth is declared, I shall be prepared as a Canadian citizen to do my share and to don a uniform for my country, Canada. But, Mr. Speaker, we should hesitate at any time to conscript men and allow finance to reap the reward of conflict in terms of dollars and cents.

Last year I read a report on the munitions industry compiled by a committee of the United States congress, in which it was shown that millions had been made out of war. It is no use talking about that when we are in the midst of war. These vultures are with us now and they will take every possible advantage they can of the situation. To these people human life means nothing. We claim that there must be equality of sacrifice, and that means equality of sacrifice by finance, by industry and by men.

The hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Pelletier) said that conscription was the working man's friend. What he meant by that was that when war comes, public assistance of every kind is cut off, and to force a man into war alll you have to do is to take away from him his meal ticket. The poor will go; they have always done so. And they have always been despised too.

I do not think a greater mistake could be made at this time than to participate in the war in a half-hearted manner. When you go to war you go to win, and therefore we should harness the whole forces of this country without exception. And finance should be the first to be conscripted. I hope that when this question is discussed on the political platform, man power will not be emphasized and finance subdued in the discussions by those who oppose us politically. We make it definite: finance, industry and man power.

There is another matter to which I wish to refer. Some guarantee should be given to those who go, whether as volunteers or under conscription, that they will receive better treatment after the next war than the men received after the last. In my constituency there is a man who this week lost his farm, which he purchased under the soldier settlement board. This man served overseas for four years and brought up four children. He cut down the trees on his farm, clearing eighty acres in twenty years. Yet to-day he has lost that farm. Is that fair treatment? He had no pension, notwithstanding appeals, because some nincompoop in the department locally did not like his politics. Someone pleads for tolerance. Well, if evidence is needed in support of the statement I make, I can give it; and if I prove that it is true, I would ask hon. members to help me to eradicate that sort of thing.

This group will support the motion; it will support the government. We believe that we are in for a long war and we believe that it is going to be bigger than the last; but we should enter it united, with a determination to wipe from this earth those who have denied ail reason and who know only force. That can best be done by putting all the resources of the country into the effort.

Topic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY TO THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
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May 23, 1939

Mr. POOLE:

They are both the same;

what is the difference?

Topic:   LOAN OF S750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES AND FOR GENERAL PURPOSES
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April 14, 1939

Mr. POOLE:

Those are the facts. I am a social crediter so-called. I believe that before this parliament can act democratically-by that I mean that democracy is given an opportunity really to function, by making available to the people the wealth we have-we must have a measure of monetary reform. It is gratifying to me to stand here to-night and

Unemployment and Agricultural Distress

know that the plan which we have put forward in this house in the last three years has never been successfully challenged. We have the goods, we have the consumers, we have the machines to produce more, we have the natural resources and the mental and physical energy of a million people who to-day are unemployed; every ingredient for a happy Canada is there. But when it comes to the question of money that is a subject which is vetoed in this house. Does any lion, member think I believe for one moment that the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) is not doing his best? I do believe that he is doing his best. But I know that the Minister of Labour, like every other minister, cannot do the things he would like to do, because they are in a monetary strait-jacket. The activities of the various departments are dependent upon the amount of money available through orthodox channels.

This afternoon the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. MacNicol) suggested as a measure to relieve unemployment in this country the building of dams for flood control. I believe those dams should be built; we have the concrete, we have the labour, we have the machinery. But we have not the money. Those who hold the money-bag of the nation control the nation. The people of this nation and of every other nation in the world are going to have to make the choice very shortly whether they will have real democracy, in which people can not only vote but get what they vote for, or chaos. It is one or the other. The monetary system is the keystone; without that keystone the arch of the economic system cannot bear any further weight. All across this country to-day in all sorts of organizations such as service clubs, the question of unemployment is being aired. In many churches across this country unemployment is being discussed. I tried an experiment in the last few days; I asked twelve men, at different times and in various walks of life, hat would you do with regard to unemployment if you were charged with the responsibility of dealing with it?" There was not one but said, "Put them to work." But when I asked them the same question that we asked of the hon. member for Davenport or the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey) who spoke yesterday for three and a half hours, and that we ask of the government, "How are you going to finance it?" they are stumped right there.

I know that on every question which comes up in this house this group has a tendency to discuss the question of money. Why should we not? Money is the problem. It is the mechanism that passes goods from the pro-

ducer to the consumer; and if industry is producing more goods with less labour, then there is less wages and therefore less purchasing power, while there are higher costs of production in terms of machinery.

We must make the choice, Mr. Speaker, whether we enter an age in which for the first time in the history of man the people will enjoy the fruits of 2.000 years of science, or whether this industrial machine will destroy us, because of this incomplete and inadequate mechanism of money. This parliament must choose. In 1935 the people of this country had some hope that unemployment would be solved, because the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) told us he would issue credit in terms of public need. The Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie) told us he would issue 8500.000,000 in new currency. He has sat in his place in this house for the last three years, but not one further word has been said on the subject. I know many Liberals feel as we do in this corner of the house.

If at any time, Mr. Speaker, in speaking in this house I left the impression that I had no respect for parliament I want to correct it. I have; but as one of the youngest members of this house I am determined to make parliament what it should be; to see, so far as I am able, that it turns out the kind of legislation that will bring happiness to my people. Parliament is a useless instrument unless it controls the money-bag of the nation, unless it has the right to issue credit, unless it has the right to control the instrument that makes things go. I have before me a pastoral letter from the archibishop of Toronto, who said that poverty in the midst of Canada's plenty must be attacked. His excellency charged as follows:

The Catholic conscience must arise to attack the problem of the world's distress and its poverty in the midst of plenty.

He goes on to say that unemployment is fertile soil for all the evils and insidious organizations that might destroy a nation. The archbishop further stated:

In conformity with the wishes of our holy rather, the pope, and keeping before us his lcIe soc^ justice and charity for the masses oi the people, with all the authority at my C?mi?an<^ an(^ w*th all the conviction of the shepherd s heart I ask the clergy, religious communities and faithful of all classes in this archdiocese to join in a holy crusade of prayer tor the development of christianism in the social life of all communities.

During the last election campaign the Prime Minister said that in the next parliament the greatest battle ever to be waged in any parliament would be carried on between the people

Unemployment and Agricultural Distress

on. the one hand and finance on the other. It must be tiring to hon. members opposite to listen to us here hammering away on this monetary question, but we will continue to do so; we will continue that fight, because we have the sure conviction that this is where the evil lies.

The direction of the Bank of Canada has not been satisfactory, as far as I can find out. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) persistently tells us that the issuance of more money would mean inflation. The other day he went back to 1935 and said that we are now inflating, that we have a measure of controlled inflation. Why did he not go back to 1929, the year of the high price level in this country? Here we talk of relief for the distressed farmers who are facing an impossible situation. They cannot meet their obligations. According to every present indication the world price of wheat will be lowered, so the income from agriculture will be less, while debts and interest will compound and compound. And year after year those men who are not unemployed, the farmers, have been going behind. People come to me every year when I go home and say, "What would you do with this?" They want to place their case under the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act, or desire to get some relief through the debt adjustment board. But when I study their individual cases I can see how hopeless it really is. Even if they had crops for the next five years at a guaranteed price of ninety cents a bushel they could not possibly meet their obligations. Some suggest that others should go on the land. Why, to-day people on farms are suffering from malnutrition. They may have the things they can produce on the farms, but they cannot get the other things that are not common to farm production. So the problem of unemployment is identical with the problem of agriculture. There is no solution for it outside monetary reform, the issuance of credit in terms of public need.

Hon. members speak about Alberta breaking its promises; hon. members tell us we made promises that we had no intention of keeping; hon. members say that our record is worse than that of any other province. Let me say this: In terms of health legislation, in terms of debt, in terms of unemployment relief. I think we lead the field of the nine provinces. If this parliament is not prepared to bring about the necessary monetary reform then give that one province an opportunity to do so. We will go ahead and do it. If you do not want to do it. at least give us the opportunity; that is all we ask We are 71492-179J

facing the facts squarely. This year a relief committee operated in Alberta, and the recommendations of that committee were brought into the legislature. Just to show how we are facing these facts I want to quote one passage from a speech made by Doctor Cross, minister of health of Alberta:

As a result of their investigation, they came to this'conclusion: that the only hope for the people on relief as far as the powers of this province go, and under the present economic system, is rehabilitation-rehabilitate them in the industries or on farms; and, in order to do this successfully, the government must be prepared to subsidize them for an indefinite period of time with the hope that they may eventually become partially self-supporting. They suggest that this government go on fighting for monetary reform. It's the only real hope they can see for these people.

This year I was in Nordegg, a town built up on the one industry, the production of coal. There we find men working one day a week, as they have been doing for some years. If they happen to work a full week they do not benefit because the mine operators own the property, and everything the men make beyond the one day a week goes to pay the rent of the houses in which they live. What a hopeless future! What a mad system! And we have been sitting here for three years, or rather for eight years, because I do not differentiate between one party and the other. I am not blaming the parties. What I do want to do is to impress upon the government that when you analyse the problem you find the solution lies in money. That is what we are short of in this country. You can bring about monetary reform without inflation. The Minister of Finance has never yet successfully contradicted that statement.

The other day he spoke about velocity. He said that we do not take that into consideration, and that the danger was that with the velocity speeded up after the issuing of more money we would have chaos, and inferred that if velocity were not speeded up we might have prosperity. I do not know how you speed up the velocity of money. If you can tell me how those thousands of people in Canada who are existing on $6.42 per month can increase their prosperity by increasing the velocity of their money, then you have a convert.

Let me appeal to the government along these lines. Let me say this: We have the desire, as you have, to solve the problems of Canada. So much depends upon it-possibly the whole of civilization. I know how the generation to which I belong feel about it, and I want to give them an opportunity to restore to themselves some vestige of manhood. Once again there must be not only

Privy Council Appeals

the desire to live, but that bubbling health which impels the youth of a nation into a glorious future.

Let us combine our forces in the house. Let us find out if we are right or wrong. We can cut across all party lines, and submerge politics. If we can unite by finding that one common denominator, if we can think in terms of Canada first, then this problem is already solved and happiness is here.

On motion of Mr. Pelletier the debate was adjourned.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
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April 14, 1939

Mr. E. J. POOLE (Red Deer):

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT RELIEF
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURAL DISTRESS- UNDERTAKINGS IN GENERAL INTEREST AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO PROVINCES
Full View Permalink