Hon. W. Earl Rowe (Dufferin-Simcoe):
Mr. Speaker, if I failed to follow the remarks of the hon. member for Levis (Mr. Bourget) I hope he will not think I was not interested in the sincere and vigorous presentation that he made on this as on other occasions. It is not my desire either to increase repetition but I do wish to congratulate you, sir, on your elevation to the office of Deputy Speaker and I want to compliment you on the dignity and efficiency that you have already shown
The Address-Mr. Rowe in the chair. I also wish to congratulate the mover (Mr. Bourdages) and seconder (Mr. Browne, Vancouver-Kingsway) ol the address in reply to the speech from the throne. They are a further indication of the capable young men who are in parliament and I think the present government is very fortunate indeed in having among its supporters more young men with more ability and natural talent than I have seen in any group or party since I entered parliament. This is not a reflection on the splendid young members of other parties. One of the real differences, of course, is that there are more of them in our party.
Recently I have been described as one of the old guard, and I did not resent this. In fact, I am somewhat flattered because from my experience I realize that any government is better to have an old guard than to trust to the complacencies of those who seem to be off guard or the wilder illusions of those who seem to have no guard at all. I realize that many changes have taken place. The years that I have been in this house have been filled with change and challenge. In fact, I do not believe there has been any other period in the history of human affairs that has been more interesting, more exciting and more challenging. Since we began our sitting this morning, Mr. Speaker, the astronaut, Colonel Glenn, in whose safety we were all interested with the result that the house uniquely adjourned for a few minutes until he had landed safely, has been around the world three times.
Having been so long and so closely identified with the affairs that concern the lives of our people, one could not help growing and maturing a little in these swiftly changing times. I believe we are facing very difficult times and, as I have said, they are challenging. I feel that I have more regard for those who sit to your left, Mr. Speaker, than do many others in the house because there are few in this parliament who sat to the left of the Speaker longer than I did. I have a keen regard for the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Pearson). He is an exceedingly fine gentleman whom I have known for many years and I have a high personal regard for him, which increases my sympathy for him in view of the dismal uncertainties that he must see in his future.
I also have a keen regard for the few who sit to your immediate left, Mr. Speaker, in the left hand corner of the house. I am aspecially sympathetic to them today because yesterday I believe they lost their capable leader, the colourful and energetic member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue). In my view he has made a very important decision. I know he will be missed very much by the small group he was leading on the other side of
the house and I admire the British bulldog courage of the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Herridge) in endeavouring to pick up and carry on the difficult task from where the hon. member for Assiniboia left off.
I am not surprised that the hon. member for Assiniboia sought this spectacular divorce in such a hurry but I am somewhat alarmed that he has chosen to marry the old, tired Liberal party. In fact, had he consulted me, which he did not, I could have introduced him to a much more attractive political lady. I realize, however, that all's well that ends well so far as he is concerned.
I must say, however, that there are much colder realities than these passing phases in political parties. In my opinion we are facing a very difficult period and I feel that the problems we have before us today are problems that to no small extent were created by the complacencies of the party that carried on the government in the 25 years prior to 1957. I know there would be a lot of criticism of any government, for uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. It is obvious to me that the complacency that prompted the former government to depend so much on the sale of raw products and pay so little attention to the promotion of secondary industry has cost our Canadian economy a very high price. The construction of sprawling factories and fancy bungalows seems to have prompted us to feel that no one else has done as well as we have. This is not true. In the last 25 years following the great war many of the leading industrial countries have had twice the industrial expansion that Canada has had.
It is true that we have sold our raw resources, the products with the least labour content in them. We took the money and we thought we were doing very well. There is always great national pride in any country. This careless trend, Mr. Speaker, has certainly been brought about by the extraordinary resources we had available for the countries of the world during the war and post-war periods. I know that this trend cannot be changed overnight. This situation did not develop during an election campaign. It is not going to be settled in any one term of office. It developed over several terms of office, but we have already conspicuous signs of improvement because we have the first favourable commodity trade balance that we have had in the last nine years. This is in bold contrast to the gigantic adverse balances we have had over many years, sometimes approaching a billion dollars. These unfavourable balances have contributed greatly to the international deficit position in which we are today, where we have fixed charges approaching a billion and a half dollars.
This serious situation can be improved, but when it was developing the former government had no positive trade policy. We drifted aimlessly, depending upon world capacity to buy us out of our future economic dangers. Instead of encouraging our secondary industries to produce more of our own requirements, we produced less. Between 1947 and 1957, our imports increased from 67 per cent, in relation to manufactured goods, to 78 per cent of our requirements. No other country in the world was buying so many of its manufactured requirements from outside the country. During the ten year period, we have seen one of the greatest industrial revolutions of all times. While the United Kingdom, Japan, West Germany and other countries, increased their industrial expansion at a much greater rate than we did-in fact, Japan increased it during those years almost three times as fast as Canada-our promising manufacturing industries and home markets were forgotten. While other important countries were encouraging industrial development by tax reliefs, accelerated depreciation, special allowances for research, bonuses, special freight rates, credit and guaranteed payments for exports, our secondary industries were left to grow up like Topsy. There was practically nothing done. As a result we bought in 1957 ten times more foreign manufactured goods per capita than any other country in the world. These are the facts that are disturbing, especially in a young country in view of the other problems that are associated with them.
In your native province of Ontario, Mr. Speaker, you have seen industrial development spread to western Canada. Industry is playing a much more important part than it ever has in the history of this dominion. However, we have lagged far behind, and as an example I cite our great textile plants. During the last ten years of the former administration, in this cold country where we use so many textiles, 80 plants closed down and 22,000 people lost their jobs. In so far as heavy industries, chemicals and electrical appliances are concerned, 50 per cent more of our requirements were imported during that period. This was the result of other countries encouraging their secondary industries which were able to export their surpluses. They were alive and alert to a situation.
During those golden years we smugly boasted of the degree of progress we had achieved, but we were really only receiving the fringe benefits of the industrial revolution occurring in many other countries during that period. We have had varying degrees of chronic unemployment and a growing need for social welfare benefits as well as
The Address-Mr. Rowe the costly subsidization of agriculture. I know that it may be difficult for some of us to see any relationship between these dangerous trends. However, when you stop to think of the billions of dollars that these trends have cost us, I say to those who still cling to the idea that we must encourage the export of our raw products instead of secondary industries, that they should stop and take stock before it is too late. The continuation of such a trend has curtailed opportunities for our people as well as development of the home market for our increasing agricultural production. We must never forget that no country in the world's history has become great without a vigorous industrial growth. Without this we cannot maintain the necessary educational needs of our time, the employment of an increasing population and the obligations involved by the consequent need of social welfare.
Despite our keen national pride, Canada has not had the industrial advancement anticipated by our pioneer statesmen. When the late Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Sir John A. Macdonald forecast a country with twice our present population before this time, they did not expect us to follow the lopsided development we have pursued, depending so much on the forest, the sea and the mine. To depend on these primary industries for adequate employment is to stand against the developing process of innovation.
It is not good enough to try to apologize in a general way or to say that the difficulty of unemployment that has been chronic in varying degrees in Canada for the last number of years is due to automation. I ask those who cling to this doubtful excuse to review conditions in the heavily populated countries that have taken fuller advantage of the latest industrial revolution following the recent war. These countries have led the world in automation, and yet they have no unemployment. Many of them, in fact, are short of labour. Sweden, Japan and West Germany, countries that are leading in industrial expansion, countries that are leading in automation, are today short of labour. Automation does eliminate some old jobs but it certainly produces many new ones.
I am glad to observe that the present government has shown an industrial concept which was lacking in the former government. I want especially to compliment our capable Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming) upon his efforts to assist a much needed industrial expansion. It is most unfortunate that his efforts to encourage miscellaneous manufacturing industries by broadening the application of the regulation to determine goods of a class or
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The Address-Mr. Rowe kind made in Canada for customs purposes was thrown out by those in the other place. This was a serious setback to the economic program of the present government. However, the conversion that he accomplished-against terrific objection-of the Canadian dollar from a premium dollar to a discount dollar has done more to develop our favourable commodity trade balance and encourage industrial expansion than1 any single government measure in the last 25 years.
May I also compliment the energetic Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Hees) whose untiring enterprise has given new life to our exporting industries. There has been a tremendous revival in industrial interest, stimulated by the present government all along the line. Trade missions and trade fair programs have been expanding. Export credit facilities have been provided and many advances have been made by our trade commissioners in search of trade.
The funds and the function of the industrial development bank have been extended and loans to small businesses have been made available in greater volume. The establishment of the national productivity council, the national design council and the domestic consumers service all indicate clearly that this government has a new and modern industrial concept. As the GATT agreements are dying a natural death in the face of the new common market challenge, it is most appropriate and important that our government has taken such steps in the interval to put our economic house in order. It is also in keeping with the traditional policies of the Conservative party that these economic crises should be met as they arise.
Had it not been for the sound fiscal policies of the Conservative party under the Bight Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald-and this is an historic fact, Mr. Speaker-had it not been for the sound fiscal policies that gave birth to the industrial life of this country, Canada would have long since been annexed to the United States. She could not have stood alone, and so I warn our people that a revival of industrial expansion was never more needed than at the present time. Indeed, one can remember that the leading Liberal in Macdonald's time opposed that policy and ran one election on a platform of commercial union with the United States. I think they have changed a little bit since then.
Canada also faced one of the most critical economic challenges of our history in 1930, and it was the government of the Bight Hon. E. B. Bennett that secured the British preferences for Canada in 1932. In view of the great depression of those years the benefits of the imperial trade agreements were more [Mr. Rowe.)
or less overshadowed. They were discounted, they were lost sight of, but today they stand out conspicuously in history as one of the greatest achievements in all the long term of our relationships with Britain. That I believe is admitted now, but there are those of us who can remember that the colleagues of members on the opposition side opposed them. I was a member of the house at that time and I can well remember when every Liberal opposed them, except the former minister of agriculture, the late Mr. Motherwell.
However, since that time the Liberal party used those preferences for bargaining purposes, sacrificing some of them in 1938 in order to make a favourable trade agreement with the United States. Later, after lowering tariffs to the lowest point they ever reached in 80 years-just before GATT came into being-they had nothing left for trade bargaining but the imperial agreements. Even at that I have always been doubtful whether that agreement did Canada any good. It was a kind of sacred cow so far as economics are concerned; and now, Mr. Speaker, it is lost in the shuffle.
Thirty years later it is very amusing to find the Liberals very fearful of losing what is left in the British trade preferences. It must now be obvious to all that with fewer and fewer people producing more and more primary products, the only hope for an increasing population to find jobs and for an increasing agriculture to find markets is by the increased and rapid expansion which is possible in our secondary industry.
I regret that the hackneyed phrase "We must buy finished products from a country if we are going to sell our primary products to that country" has been accepted so generally. That is not true. As an example to the contrary, for many years the United States has been our best customer and yet she sold to Canada hundreds of millions of dollars worth of goods more every year during the past century than we bought from her. In the same years the United Kingdom bought many millions of dollars worth of goods more than she sold to us, and yet she remains our best overseas market.
We cannot hope to consume all the coffee, sugar, bananas and raw cotton which Latin America might wish us to buy in order that Latin America would be able to pay for the machinery and chemicals we have to sell. We do not need its copper, timber and wheat, but some other countries do need them.
In view of our years of international trading experience it is a strange concept now that we must balance our trade with Japan, while for 50 years we have had many times
the differences in trade balances with both the United States and the United Kingdom. Never in my experience have I read of a United States congressman pleading with the people of the United States to buy more from Canada, even in the years when we were buying over $700 million a year more from the United States than we were selling to the United States. Indeed, there were very few in this house who, during the past 50 years, expressed concern about the United Kingdom buying so much more every year from us than we did from her. Surely it is no more vital that we should balance our trade with Japan than with the United Kingdom? However, the economic challenges that are now on the horizon promise to be equally important as those we met in older days by older methods. Never in our economic history was it more important to increase our secondary industry expansion if we are to compete with the common market countries. However, we pray we may develop peace and better will among the nations of this new and smaller world. If so, we shall then be faced with a more exacting challenge if, at the same time, we are to gain disarmament and avoid economic depression.
Let us be ready when the objectives of our present Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Green) are achieved. He is working hard towards that end and, when that time comes, I hope our improved standards of living will require enough new tools and gadgets to replace the employment now used in building atomic bombs and battleships. I urge the government-and I say this with all sincerity although I know I may be on ticklish ground in doing so-to give serious consideration in the near future to the establishment of a government department of industry to act in co-ordination with the respective departments of industrial development in the provinces. I feel this is of paramount importance, to co-ordinate all the efforts. I have referred to many of the efforts the government is making. I compliment the government for the steps it has taken, for the new concept that it has demonstrated, but I urge the government that the time is rather overdue when we should have a department of industry to accelerate the development that is so vital for our future.
As one whose interests are chiefly farming, and representing a rural district, I have no hesitation in forecasting that such a department of industry can be as important to our general Canadian economy during the next 25 years as the Department of Agriculture was in the past 25 years.
Topic: SITTING RESUMED