William Marvin HOWE

HOWE, William Marvin

Personal Data

Progressive Conservative
Wellington--Grey (Ontario)
Birth Date
February 24, 1906
Deceased Date
July 17, 1996

Parliamentary Career

August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Wellington--Huron (Ontario)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Wellington--Huron (Ontario)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
  Wellington--Huron (Ontario)
June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
  Wellington--Huron (Ontario)
April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
  Wellington--Huron (Ontario)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
  Wellington--Huron (Ontario)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
  Wellington--Grey (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 86 of 90)

April 1, 1957

Mr. Howe (Wellington-Huron):

-from the government benches. Before the house rose at six o'clock I had referred to the request made by the federation of agriculture that amendments be made to the farm products marketing act so that farmers might carry on their own self-help programs through producer marketing boards. Although this legislation has been promised, it has not yet appeared on the order paper. This indifference, this procrastination, this unrealistic approach to agricultural problems cannot continue or the time may come when we in Canada, despite our millions of acres of rich, arable land bequeathed to us, will become dependent on other countries of the world for food.

As I indicated previously, the small businessman and the small industrialist were also looking forward to some assistance from the budget and hoping that the tight money policy might be relaxed so that they could obtain the necessary credit to expand and improve their businesses in competition with the great chain organizations and shopping centres which, by means of give-aways, special discounts and trading stamps, are squeezing the small operator out of business, the man who has always been the backbone of the community, who has given not only service to his customers but has paid a major share of municipal taxes, has taken his place on municipal councils and associated boards and has donated to every worthy cause. The budget offers very little, if any, assistance for him.

Then there is another group I should like to bring to the attention of the house, the average wage earners, the white collar man and the factory employee whose incomes are low and who should have had consideration. I should like to join with all other hon. members who have suggested that the statutory exemptions should have been raised from $1,000 to $1,500 for a single man and from $2,000 to $3,000 for a married man in order to help these people to meet the increased cost of living.

The 20-year old age security residence rule is going to affect many new Canadians who

have become good citizens and are contributing to our increased production and to government revenues. In my opinion it should be changed to ten years. In fact, I know of a case involving a former constituent of mine who died recently and who came to Canada in 1923. In 1939 he returned to the Isle of Man for a visit. Because of the war and transportation difficulties he was not able to return to Canada until 1949 and therefore was not able to get the old age pension. He died last year at the age of 73. However, his widow is still alive and is living in straitened circumstances simply because of the 20-year residence rule applying to old age pensioners.

All these people whom I have mentioned are ordinary folk, but apparently they have been forgotten by the members of the government who appear to hide in their ivory tower. Do not forget that these are the people who decide elections and will be deciding on who shall form the government of Canada after June of this year.

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March 12, 1957

Mr. W. M. Howe (Wellingion-Huron):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to join with those who have spoken on this resolution which has to do with the transportation companies owned and operated by the government. I would like to go along with some of the remarks made by other hon. members who have spoken, including the hon. member for Perth (Mr. Monteith) in connection with the policy which has been adopted. Western Ontario and this part of Canada owes its development down through the years to the railroads that go to make up that great organization, the Canadian National Railways. I well remember the feeling that was stirred up last year when it was said that the mail contracts were going to be taken away from most of the railroads in our district, because so many of the people felt this was the thin end of the wedge-by the way, these mail contracts represented almost one-third

IMr. Nowlan.]

of the total revenue of those railroads-and that eventually the railroads would all be shut off and the lines to Kincardine and Southampton would be abandoned.

In that district we have many urban municipalities which are hoping that one day this idea of decentralizing industry and such things will lead to American and British companies coming to Canada and setting up new industries in these communities. I could cite many advantages in doing so, such as better living conditions and labour conditions that would be advantageous to companies doing that, and it would also be of great benefit to the railroad. I understand that the railroads do have a department to try to decentralize industry, to send industry out to districts such as that in which I live so these smaller communities may benefit from the advantage of having factories in their areas; but if these railroad lines are abandoned, and the service is cut off, the chances of these communities ever getting industry is pretty well done away with because most industries of any size demand a rail service.

In connection with some of the services that have been cut off, I may say they have cut off the passenger service from Palmerston to Durham. For two weeks they ran the same train with the same crew at the same time; but the caboose fell apart, or something. They put the same coach back on that mixed train and ran it up and down over that line with the same crew, but they would not let any of the people who went down to the station get on the coach and ride as passengers.

I don't know whether that is good public relations or what it is, but there were a few people who would have liked to travel on that train; the coach was there, and I don't see why they were not allowed to travel. Having been raised in a small railroad centre which, I can remember, was a very busy centre at one time with hundreds of men working in the freight sheds and in the shops, I naturally regret that this should have dwindled to a mere handful of men carrying on this work, and I find myself asking why the railroads should have lost all that business. I sometimes feel, as the hon. member for Perth indicated he felt, that if the railways improved the service up there they could get back a lot of the business in that district.

I was reading an article in a Canadian national magazine that came to our desks yesterday about a new train they were investigating in Sweden called the "Kort, Lag and Latt"-"Short, low and light"-and in this article it says:

The story behind the KLL is a familiar one. Alarmed by diminishing passenger returns, the state

railways took a hard second look at existing rolling stock, found that it had grown too fat and frilly.

After all, I do feel that if the railroads improved the service and gave a more specialized service they could get back a lot of this business. The final paragraph of this article says this:

With a polite bow in the direction of other lightweight builders, the Swedes are careful to say that the KLL is custom-built for local conditions inside a country that is only slightly bigger than the state of California, where quick turnaround and a flexible consist become of paramount importance.

But they make no secret of their belief that they've gone a step further-and in the right direction-than anybody else in the lightweight field.

I sometimes wonder how much investigation and research is being done by the railroads in this connection. We have heard about the trains that are being used on some of the branch lines and which are giving wonderful service, and I feel that if they were adopted more universally on branch lines many more people would travel on them. As the hon. member for Perth indicated, people are not too happy about driving their cars from outlying districts into the city of Toronto today because of traffic and parking conditions, and if they could get good service from the railroads I believe many people would go back to that type of transportation.

The railroads may say that the passenger service provides only a small part of the revenue, but I feel this is the same as any other kind of business; you don't make 100 per cent profit on everything you do. Yesterday we were talking about public relations with regard to a bill which was before the house, and I sometimes feel that if the railroads took this question of public relations more seriously they would do better. Sometimes they do not seem to realize that a man travelling in one of these old coaches may be a furniture manufacturer with a factory in one of these areas, and after one of these rides in not too pleasant circumstances he may say, "If this is the kind of service they are going to give me, my freight is going by road".

There is another idea that occurs to me, and that is with regard to a circular that came in today concerning "piggyback" transportation. I do feel that is something which could be given a great deal of research and investigation by the railroads. It is being used now from Toronto to Montreal, and it might become more universal. If we look at its origin, it seems that away back in 1855 the Halifax-Truro railway, a line built by the Nova Scotia government, inaugurated "piggyback" for the transportation of farmers' wagons.

A lot of the business that used to go on in the community where I lived was concerned

Committee on Railways and Shipping with stock. At 5.30 every day a stock train went out of that town, stock that had been brought in on the branch lines. That business is all being carried by truck today. Perhaps if the railroad went into this "piggyback" business some arrangement could be made whereby these stock trucks could be carried "piggyback" to Toronto and be moved from there to the stockyards.

However, I do feel that the railroads have an important place in the life of these smaller communities, and I hope the railroad companies will consider the suggestions I have made and take a second look at these small branch lines, because they mean a great deal to the people in those districts.

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February 21, 1957

Mr. Howe (Wellington-Huron):

Mr. Chairman, I should like to say a few words on this resolution which indicates that the government is going to make additional dollars available to the farmers of Canada so that they may receive loans to help in their farming operations.

This would indicate that the government is beginning to realize farming is in a critical condition. We have heard many figures quoted both inside and outside this house which reveal the squeeze in which the

Canadian Farm Loan Act farmers find themselves. When we realize that today only about 15 per cent of the total population is engaged in farming it is made apparent that something is wrong which is causing very many people to leave the farms. We know of many instances where young farmers have sought to establish themselves. I am thinking particularly of veterans who gave the best years of their lives for our protection and who returned eager to take up the vocation in which they were brought up and trained. They used their gratuities to start up farming and found that the income was not sufficient to enable them to meet the interest payments on their loans and their tax payments. Many of these young farmers remained on the farm and as the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe pointed out the other evening many of them have had to go out and take other employment in order to increase their income and assist in meeting their interest and tax payments.

We hear a great deal about marginal and submarginal farm land. Much of the land that is considered marginal and submarginal was good fertile land at one time but in the last few years farmers have not been able to earn enough income from their farming operations to enable them to buy machinery and put in the necessary fertilizers that would permit them to work the land properly. This serves to point out the need for credit being made readily available to farmers.

During the last few days briefs have been presented by two leading Canadian farm organizations both of which indicate that more credit should be made available to farmers and that it should be made easier for farmers to obtain credit. I should like to quote first from the brief presented by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture:

Agriculture in Canada has not contributed to inflationary tendencies but rather the low prices it has been experiencing in recent years have been one of the few anti-inflationary forces tending to hold down the cost of living. We are therefore asking the government, through the Bank of Canada and chartered banks, to remove the recently imposed credit restrictions as they may affect the farm industry and to reduce interest rates to the level in effect in 1955-until such time as agricultural prosperity reaches a level comparable to that of industry generally in Canada.

A similar request is contained in the submission of the interprovincial farm union council in these words:

Fifty per cent of the farms in Canada are undercapitalized and as a result receive low or subsistence incomes. The solution of the problem facing these units lies in increasing either their actual size or their total production. Either course will require increased capital. This capital will have to be provided in the form of long-term and intermediate credit at low interest rates. The credit advanced should be directed to the farmers

Canadian Farm Loan Act who need it. That is, particularly to those in the low-income group or to younger farmers who are commencing farm operations. It should be available for expansion in land or buildings and for purchase of livestock and equipment necessary to put the unit on an economic basis. Repayment rates must take into consideration the type of farm operation, and also natural hazards such as the weather, which may at times make it necessary to extend times or terms of repayment.

In view of the displacement that has been and still is taking place on our farms, we cannot emphasize too strongly the need for implementation of this credit policy, so that the present crop of potential farmers may not be lost to the industry.

In the same connection there is a recommendation in the 1956-57 submission of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce which reads:

. . . that the federal government review the

question of agricultural credit and debt legislation and institute uniform provision on a national basis.

All these submissions serve to indicate how important it is that sufficient credit be made available to farmers in order that they may continue their farming operations. I sincerely hope that through the medium of this bill the government is going to speed up the machinery through which loans are made. It was rather interesting to hear the statement made by the parliamentary assistant that the processing of the loans is being speeded up and that some of them are going through faster than was the case previously. However, the farmer like everybody else does not like to have to ask for credit and usually it is done as a last resort and if it is going to take too long a time in order to get the loans through it will often be the case that the loari will come through too late to relieve the farmer of his pressing financial difficulties. I am of the opinion that the regulations under which the loans are made could be eased considerably. In several cases that have been brought to my attention the farmer was told that if he paid off his liabilities to the bank or to the machinery company he would be granted a loan. How could he possibly do this without depleting his stock and thus decreasing the source of his income?

I feel there are many ways and means by which legislation could be enacted in order to make loans available to an increased number of farmers. Although many farmers will welcome this present legislation its effectiveness will be lost unless this government takes more effective steps to make it possible for Canadian farmers to make a profit on thefr operations. Of what value are loans if it is impossible for the recipients of the loans to make enough profit on their operations with which to repay the loan? I maintain that the farmer of Canada whose income has dropped below 8 per cent of the national average and who receives only approximately

46 per cent of the consumer dollar is entitled to more consideration than that which is accorded him in this resolution. I believe there should be an entirely new assessment of the agricultural picture in Canada in order that the Canadian farmer's position may be equalized with that of other segments of our economy and in order that he may share to a greater extent in the great boom we are enjoying.

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February 19, 1957

Mr. W. M. Howe (Wellingion-Huron):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Agriculture. Is the government giving consideration to raising the floor price on butter and eggs as suggested in recent briefs of Canadian farm organizations?

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February 19, 1957

What was the amount of freight assistance paid on western feed grain coming into Ontario, during the years 1955 and 1956?

Answer by: Right Hon. J. G. Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture):

1955- $3,856,238.85.

1956- $4,940,176.50.

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