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 88 of 90)

February 27, 1956

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

should like to commend the hon. member for Kootenay West for once again bringing this question to the attention of this house and of the people of Canada, by means of his resolution that the government should consider the advisability of calling a dominion-provincial conference on conservation, with the view to the establishment of a nationwide policy on soil, forest and water conservation and land use for Canada.

As the hon. member for York Centre was speaking, I was thinking of his own resolution not so long ago on education. In the discussion on that, the bugbear of dominion-provincial relations was brought up, and indications were that this was trampling on the field of the provinces. In the case of education and scholarships, the fact that none were given at certain levels meant that Canada was the loser, because it lost thus many of the brains that it needed. But in the case of conservation we have a problem in which we have a second chance. In the main we are dealing with renewable resources, built up by mother nature in this country over many years-trees, soil, rivers and so forth. Man has been destroying many of the things that mother nature took so long to build. But, as I say, we have a second chance, by carrying out a scheme such, as is proposed in this resolution.

One of the particular reasons why I am interested in this question of conservation is that in my own riding of Wellington-Huron, as an editorial in the Fergus News Record indicates, in the spring of 1957 will be completed one of the greatest conservation schemes that has been developed in this whole dominion. That is the Grand river conservation scheme. That scheme is part of history. As far back as 1905 an engineer named William Breithaupt in the city then named Berlin took time to walk up and down the banks of the Grand river. Even in those days when there were not so many people living there, he found a picture of erosion. Trees, trunks and soil were taken away and the banks scoured to the rock on that river, because of the fact that there was a rushing current


during the spring and summer months. Later on, he found the stream shrunk to a very small rivulet which was polluted with sewage and so forth from all the cities that were established along that river. He decided to see if he could interest people in building some type of conservation scheme on this river. The original plan was for five dams. In 1939 the first dam was built above the town of Fergus-this was called the Shand dam, not too far from the village of Belwood. A few years later another dam was built at the headwaters of the river and was called the Luther dam. When the final dam is built on the Conestogo a conservation scheme will have been developed that will prevent terrific flooding in the spring with the crushing weight of water and ice that does so much damage and it will also establish and maintain a flow of water throughout the entire season.

At this time I should like to pay tribute to those spirited citizens in that district who, with very little monetary return to themselves, have carried through this project to a successful conclusion, who have not stopped working and who are turning their time and energies to building up once again the banks of that river as they were many years ago before all the trees and shrubs were taken away. They are making it once again a thing of beauty. They are developing parks, building beaches around the lakes and, what is probably more important than ever, they are establishing tree farms up and down the Grand river valley.

I bring this matter to the attention of the house because, as I say, it is a pattern that might be followed in other parts of Canada. I maintain that if it had been followed along the Humber river valley the terrible catastrophe that followed "Hurricane Hazel" would not have been possible. Along many other rivers that night there were thousands of dollars' worth of damage. The flooding along the Nottawasaga river in southwestern Ontario that night resulted in over $500,000 damage done to bridges and culverts. With this pattern of damage and destruction, would it not be better to spend money on preventive measures so that the raising of disaster funds would not be necessary and municipalities and governments at all levels would not be called upon to assist in reinstating people, reconstructing buildings and moving them to other localities?

As I say, great tribute is due these people who have done so much to carry out this wonderful work. I might say also that their work has been of an economic nature, particularly in southern Ontario, something we did not expect. I have here an article from


the January issue of Bush News entitled, "Security for Future Seen in Tree Farms." The article reads in part as follows:

Ontario now has 17 tree farms as a result of the certification of 11 woodlots in the Grand valley district of southern Ontario December 28. The woodlots, totalling 423 acres, were officially certified as tree farms at a ceremony in Galt, sponsored by the Huron district tree farm committee and the Grand valley conservation authority.

During the ceremony, James A. Vance, P.Eng., of Woodstock, chairman of the Canadian forestry association of Ontario and guest speaker, announced there now was a direct market in southern Ontario for pulpwood from the tree farms. He said the Ontario Paper Company which operates its giant mill at Thorold is planning to purchase 10,000 cords of pulpwood in the southern Ontario area next year. . . . He added that Canada's history was largely determined by trees. There were more than 4,000 uses for wood in daily life today. It goes into lumber, pulp, rayon, cellulose and plastic. The tonnage of wood used in world war II was greater than the tonnage of steel.

As the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Herridge) indicated, there are very many organizations which are taking an interest in this question, and in that regard I should like to refer to the policy declarations and resolutions of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce for 1953-54 and 1955-56. Under the heading "Water and Energy Resources" they have this to say in their 1955-56 policy declarations and resolutions:

The chamber urges the development of a program for the establishment of a national policy for the control, conservation and development of water resources for multiple purposes on which all interests can unite and on which a maximum of local and provincial autonomy is assured.

It is also rather interesting to note that some of our younger people are interested in this question. In the Globe and Mail of March 8, 1955, there is an article containing the following:

Katharine Merry, 17, of Milton, a member of the Halton 4-H beef calf club and 1954 winner of the Queen's guineas at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, said one-fifth of the original crop land of Canada has already been destroyed by improper agricultural methods and that more is being destroyed every day.

As this would indicate, Mr. Speaker, the question of conservation is bigger than just the holding back of the waters in our river valleys. We must consider the reasons that are contributing to the excessive flooding. We are all familiar enough with the history of this country to realize that when our forefathers came here it was pretty well all covered with forests but that in order to provide for food and crops for their way of life it was necessary for them to cut down the forests indiscriminately. This practice went on to a great extent. It was followed in our country in the same way as it has been all over the world with no thought being

taken for tomorrow. As an ancient Chinese philosopher once said: "If a man take no thought for what is distant he will find sorrow near at hand."

The history of the world indicates that soil erosion is part and parcel of the history of mankind. Great empires have risen only to fall because of the loss of their topsoil. The great Sahara desert, over which Rommel made his advances and retreats during the last great war, was at one time the granary of the Roman empire. Irrigation works were damaged by war. Vegetation disappeared, blowing sand and subsoil covered whole cities and the work of seven centuries was lost in less than 100 years.

We find the same pattern in Mesopotamia, Italy and China. However, we do not have to go back that far in history. In many cases our own handling of this particular matter has proved that we too are guilty of forgetting the fundamentals necessary for the protection of that very valuable asset, our topsoil. There are many districts in southern Ontario which at one time supported whole communities and which are now pictures of dilapidated and broken down buildings and eroded soil. The people have been forced to move because through improper methods of land use the land would no longer provide a livelihood for them and their families.

In the United States we have the tragedy of the dust bowl that occurred in the states of Kansas, Texas and southern Oklahoma where, in a period of excessive drought and in a region with the striking paradox of productivity and erosion, the topsoil that was left exposed began to drift and blow. In fact, on one occasion the sky over New York city was darkened by the dust from that dust bowl in those southwestern states of the United States. We sometimes say that that happened back in 1934. I do not know how many members read the Globe and Mail this morning, but in it there is a picture with the heading at the top, "Red Dust from Texas Blows into Windsor Area." It can happen again. Periodically we read that there is still danger of the same thing happening in our own western provinces as happened back in the thirties with the blowing of the soil.

In China we find an example of the two extremes. In northern China there is the Gobi desert, a vast barren land where nothing can grow. In central China there is the Chengtu plain where for 1,500 years intensive agriculture has been practised by following proper conservation, irrigation and soil protection methods. We too must realize the importance of a national policy of conservation of our renewable resources, a national policy which gives us a comprehensive picture right across the whole country.

We might take a leaf from the book of some of the countries that have joined the Colombo plan organization. Last summer there was completed by Pakistan-one of the countries that we consider to be a have not country-an aerial survey of their whole country. From this survey, together with the work of a ground crew, there has been worked out a comprehensive plan, just as we have mentioned here in our resolution, so that in the reclamation and the setting up of their country, in using these funds for technical assistance, they will not go at it in a haphazard way but will have a co-ordinated plan that will be followed right through in their entire country. I understand that Ceylon is doing the same thing.

I can see no reason why we in Canada could not have an aerial survey of that type. The other day I noticed a description of a new type of machine for reading the threedimensional camera which would give us a better picture and a better perspective of the means necessary to prevent the type of thing about which I am speaking. As was stated by the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Herridge), many people are trying to bring this matter to the attention of this country of ours. In the London Free Press of recent date there appeared an item which was headed "Too much population; Professor broods on war from hunger" and which reads in part as follows;

A gloomy forecast of a hungry, overpopulated world, with nations possibly waging war to safeguard their food supplies, was placed before a section of the Royal Society of Canada . . .

The forecast was made by Professor D. A. Mac-Gibbon of the department of political economy, McMaster University, in a paper on the threat of overpopulation.

The professor concludes his remarks with these words;

He felt that the greatest possibility of delaying an actual global crisis in food supplies for some decades at least, lay in scientific progress and in the resolute employment of methods of conservation.

Speaking about things that are being done to decrease the number of acres of land we have, may I say that the practice that is being followed in some parts of southern Ontario is, in my opinion, wrong. I refer to the taking over by great industries of that wonderfully productive fruit and vegetable land in southern Ontario, something which man can never replace, something which it has taken years and years to build up and develop. Industry can grow and develop on land that would not be as suitable for the growing of fruit and vegetables. I think that practice is wrong and one that should be changed. General Smuts once said that erosion is the biggest question before the country, bigger than any


politics. As I said, time is of the essence. Old mother nature does not stand still but she gives us a second chance to renew these resources which we have depleted. I feel that there should be a definite policy of conservation on a national level to promote systems of farm practice, tree culture, water supply and land settlement that will promote greater economic security for our dominion.

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January 19, 1956

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

Mr. Speaker, I should like to join in the congratulations offered by other hon. members to the mover (Mrs. Shipley) and the seconder (Mr. Laflamme) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne.

My initial address in this house, of considerable length, described my own riding and mentioned the necessity of some way of decentralizing industry. Many reasons for such decentralization can be seen by those who live in smaller communities. The fact that many people are crowding into large urban municipalities makes them very vulnerable to complete annihilation in this day and age of atomic warfare.

Decentralization would help many phases of our economy. For instance, if our population were more diversified and spread out, the carrying of freight throughout the country would bring additional revenue to our railroads. So I could go on. There are many reasons for this. However, as others have mentioned and I myself have mentioned, industry is moving out into the smaller communities to a considerable extent. Several industries have settled in my riding during the past few years.

In this connection I should like to congratulate all our local municipal councils and associated boards, such as the school boards and hospital boards, on the wonderful job they are doing to keep those communities attractive for industries that may be looking for good industrial sites. In the last year it has been interesting to note the increase in hospital facilities that has taken place in that particular part of the country from which I come. In one centre, that of Fergus, a new hospital was built with 56 beds at a cost of $541,000. The general hospital at Palmerston had an addition and was remodelled at a cost of $138,000. The Wing-ham hospital had an addition estimated to cost $610,000. The Louise Marshall hospital at Mount Forest had an addition at a cost of $112,064. As I have said, all this is an

indication that those communities are doing their best to look after the services and facilities so necessary in our smaller communities.

All this work, as all hon. members know, is done with the co-operation of provincial and federal governments, but I maintain that the initiative and the main part of the cost is borne by those municipalities themselves and neighbouring municipalities interested in those particular centres. In that connection, in my own riding alone well over a million dollars has been spent on hospital facilities in the last year. In the past few years well over a million dollars has also been spent on public and high school facilities.

I hope other hon. members in this house will join me in urging the Minister of Finance once again to give consideration to the necessity for dropping the sales tax on purchases by municipal councils and associated boards. The land and property taxes, are increasing and are a very heavy burden on the property and land owners in the small communities as well as in the large communities, but they are necessitated by the provision of modern and adequate facilities for these people.

Now I should like to turn to another phase of the economy. We are all interested in our own ridings, but this is one of the fundamental problems of agriculture throughout the country. The counties of Wellington and Huron do their share in providing agricultural products for this country's economy; in particular they are among the leaders in the production of oats, mixed grains, flax, butter, cattle, beef and many other associated products.

I was rather interested in a statement made by Dr. E. G. Pleva, professor of economic geography at the University of Western Ontario. This statement will bring to the attention of this house the importance of agriculture in that part of the dominion called the lowlands of the St. Lawrence. That district, which comprises 1 per cent of the land area of Canada, contains about two-thirds of the population and three-quarters of the industrial development, and receives-this fact was very interesting to me-one-half of the agricultural crop dollars. One can see why we who represent ridings in that district want to add our voices to the voices of those who are bringing to the attention of this house the condition of agriculture throughout our dominion.

Since coming to this house it has been rather interesting to see how much is said for the western farmer. Certainly he is an important and integral part of the economy of

this great dominion and is having his problems. We have surpluses. The Minister of Trade and Commerce, in a speech the other day, seemed to welcome these surpluses. The Minister of Agriculture, using a Biblical term which he has quoted many times in this house, about the seven good years and seven bad years, indicated they were a good thing. However, I feel that with the recent trend of improved methods in all phases of agriculture, increased production is going to continue; it is not going to be the exception. Unless we have some major national setback, which does not happen very often, conditions of increased crop production are going to continue.

In that connection I should like to mention the recent speech by the hon. member for Parkdale, in which he mentioned the necessity for increased research. I would say that every medium possible should be used in order that research in agriculture may be continued and fostered, and so that costs of production may be reduced, the quality of products improved and our agricultural products made able to compete in the markets of the world as regards price and quality.

As I have said, the western farmer has been spoken of a good deal in this house since I have been here, and no doubt a good many times before that. But what was predicted a few years ago by many farming organizations in this country has happened. The effective surplus in the west has had a bad effect on agriculture throughout the whole economy. Farming prices have fallen to such an extent that the farmer is having a very difficult problem.

In connection with the farmers of southern Ontario, a report of the Searle Grain Company of Wednesday, January 11, gives a very definite reason for our problems down here. Under the heading, "The Underlying Reason for Concern" the report has this to say:

Without entering into the debatable question whether the western farmers should or should not be encouraged to raise more livestock at this time we do feel that the suggestion is of great interest, not only because it reflects the concern felt by eastern producers about the trend in this particular branch of the agricultural industry, but also because it brings out clearly the chain of reaction and the difficulties that can follow when the natural order of events and the natural flow of marketing is disturbed. The actual background which provoked this suggestion from Ontario stems largely from the distress selling of quantities of grain in parts of western Canada, and particularly in Alberta, at prices far below the regular Canadian wheat board prices. These sales, conducted along legal lines, entirely outside board operations, were from farm to farm as well as to feeders of poultry and other livestock and they are indicative of the desire of the farmers concerned to find an outlet for their grain to provide ready cash at a time when restrictive quotas are in effect. It is the competition of the feeders who enjoy cheap feed resulting

The Address-Mr. W. M. Howe

from this distress selling of grain that is most feared by the eastern livestock group.

To bear that out, I have a recent hog producers' survey conducted by my own Wellington county federation of agriculture, which would indicate that 27-6 per cent more hogs were raised in western Canada in 1955 than in 1954. In eastern Canada the figure is down by 11-6 per cent, which is an indication that what was predicted would happen has taken place. The Minister of Agriculture suggested to the western farmers that they diversify their production, and that their only solution was to raise more livestock.

Throughout the world today we are coming closer together from an economic point of view, so what happens in one part of the world affects every other part. The same is true of our dominion. The fact that the western farmer has of necessity had to become a general farmer has affected the farmers of southern Ontario. What has happened? In a recent address Professor Mac-Dougall, professor of economic agriculture at the Ontario Agricultural College, advised that some of the younger men who are farming should leave the farms, that they would be happier in the cities. Many of these young farmers are boys who went overseas and fought for us in the last war. When they came home they used their war benefit's and gratuities to do what they had fought for and felt they had the right to do. They used them to become farmers, to carry on the occupation they had chosen in this supposedly free world, to live in the way they wanted to live. Now they are faced with the inability of the government to sell the products of the farmers on the markets of the world.

I should like to endorse what the hon. member for Oxford (Mr. Nesbitt) said about the operations of the income tax department as they affect farmers. It has been brought to my attention that income tax collectors go about the country and drop in quietly and unobtrusively on farmers who have been paying their income tax to the best of their ability. They sit down with them and ask them about their living costs. They ask them how much they have spent on meat, vegetables, clothing and so on, and the prices are all taken at the retail level.

The farmer unknowingly goes along with the income tax official, and when the official is all through he asks the farmer to sign a paper. Then the income tax inspector goes away and shortly afterwards an amount is added to the income the farmer has already declared. He receives a new assessment which is away out of line from the point of view of what he should pay by way of income tax.


The Address-Mr. W. M. Howe

Instances have also been brought to my attention respecting applications by farmers to the farm loan board. Regardless of whether the farmer has assets to cover the loan he requires, if he owes money to the bank or to an implement agency or somebody else in his district he is refused a loan. He is told that if he will pay off the bank and pay off the amount he owes the implement agency he will then be given a loan. How is he going to do that? He has to sell his stock in trade, his cattle and hogs, and practically go out of business. The farm loan board is no use to him. They do not help him to put his eggs all in one basket, consolidate his loans and give him a longer time to pay, thus permitting him to stay in business by maintaining his agricultural establishment. Then the farmer could carry on, but in so many cases he has been refused a loan. I notice that legislation is to be introduced respecting the Canadian farm loan board and I hope some consideration will be given to extending a little leniency to so many of these people that need help so badly.

There is only one other thing I should like to mention. It has to do with the statement of Professor MacDougall to which I referred before. He apparently believes that our small farms will disappear and that we will become a country of great farms. I say the same thing is happening in the case of the small retail merchant. Today with the increased number of great shopping centres and the spreading out of big retail buying organizations, the small retail merchant is being caught in the squeeze. The day when he lived in his own small community and catered to the needs and necessities of the people there is disappearing. With improved means of transportation he is caught in the squeeze. He not only has to compete with merchants in his own town but has to compete with big buying organizations who get special discounts.

I speak for the small automobile retailer as well as the ordinary retailer in our different communities. How is the small car dealer going to compete with the great sales agencies in the cities who get special discounts because of the number of cars they sell? I believe it is not a good indication for our economy to be heading in this direction.

I believe that the small property owner, the farmer and the retailer, who have been the backbone of the country, who have been ready to take their places on municipal councils and various municipal boards; these people who have been big taxpayers in our small communities, who have provided the streets, hospitals, schools and all the other facilities

that are so necessary, still have a definite place in our economy and should be protected.

There is just one other thing I want to say. The fact has been mentioned in the house before that our farmers could and would produce more on the farms if the bugbear of surpluses was removed. They feel now that if they increase their production their products will come on the market at a time when prices are depressed. In connection with the butter surplus, which was mentioned the other day, I sometimes feel that we might deal with it in the same way we dealt with the pork surplus a few years ago. The butter has been bought and paid for by the people of Canada. The farmers do not like the opposition of margarine. If this No. 1 storage butter were thrown on the market at prices comparable with those at which it is being sold to communist countries, I feel that such action would be a good advertising medium for the butter producers of this country, that it would get butter into homes that have not used it for years, and that the people of Canada would benefit thereby.

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July 6, 1955

Mr. Howe (Wellington-Huron):

The article

goes on:

In an effort to cut down those effects after the current heat wave, Dr. Pequegnat approved these beat-the-heat hints:

Wear light, loose clothes.

I do not know whether that would refer to the men or ladies in the house, but that is the advice of this medical officer of health.

Increase consumption of basic fluids-beverages normally indulged in.

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July 6, 1955

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

Mr. Speaker, having a feeling of solicitude for those not quite so fortunate as we are, having heard the hon. member for Digby-An-napolis-Kings (Mr. Nowlan) intimate the other day that this debate would carry on until the snow flew in the fall, and having noticed that some hon. members opposite are considerably irked by the heat, I thought I might refer to an article which appeared in the Globe and Mail of July 5 entitled "Advice from MOH". It goes on to say:

Here is what to do when mercury high.

There are quite a number of suggestions in this article, and if hon. members do not wish to hear them probably I might call it six o'clock.

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June 20, 1955

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

Mr. Speaker-

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