Alfred Dryden HALES

HALES, Alfred Dryden, B.S.A.

Personal Data

Progressive Conservative
Wellington (Ontario)
Birth Date
November 22, 1909
Deceased Date
February 22, 1998
butcher and meat cutter, farmer, manufacturer, merchant

Parliamentary Career

June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Wellington South (Ontario)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
  Wellington South (Ontario)
June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
  Wellington South (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour (August 17, 1962 - February 6, 1963)
April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
  Wellington South (Ontario)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
  Wellington South (Ontario)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
  Wellington (Ontario)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
  Wellington (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 344 of 344)

June 5, 1958

Mr. A. D. Hales (Wellington South):

I am

very happy, Mr. Speaker, to have the opportunity to take part in this debate because I am one of those who believe in the free enterprise system of business. I am also a member of a party which I believe at all times has fought for the rights of free enterprise and for business in general. I should like to compliment my friend the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Argue) on his honest endeavour in presenting his bill this afternoon. I am sorry he is not in the house this

Interest Act

evening. I can see only three members of the C.C.F. here at the present time. If they were really sincere in introducing or promoting a bill to amend this act I would have thought they would be here in full force this evening.

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June 5, 1958

Mr. Hales:

I am also rather amazed at

the silence of the official opposition on this question that is before the house. We have had the privilege of hearing from only one, or two, at the most, members of the official opposition. However, I know the hon. member for Assiniboia is quite sincere in his presentation. Whether or not this legislation is passed, I think he and the members of this house will have this assurance. They will know that any of those people in the lending business who are not carrying on their business in a legitimate way will at least realize that the eyes of the government are watching their particular actions.

I could not help noting some of the comments that came from that corner over there to Mr. Speaker's left. I think our good friend the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam (Mr. Regier) used some extremely exaggerated cases. I feel that the case of the party he mentioned who paid 235 per cent was possibly an exaggerated one. I know he has the facts to substantiate it and so on. However, I think that is one case in many, possibly one in a thousand. I think the party who entered into that agreement had the privilege and the opportunity to read the contract which he entered into. Had he asked the rates that would be charged if he paid his account a month before it was due I think he would likely have been told the whole circumstances. He spoke of the excellent credit facilities of the credit union in that same riding. It is a wonder to me that more people do not make use of the facilities of the credit union.

With respect to the 12 per cent that has been suggested as the ceiling, I feel that the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam (Mr. Regier) refuted that figure when he said that the credit unions charged nine per cent and paid their managers salaries as high as or higher than the salaries of chartered banks and paid union wages to the members who worked in that organization. Therefore, I have not had proven to me during this debate that 12 per cent is the proper figure to be used. I think exaggerated cases were brought out this afternoon. We should not be asked to legislate for every little deal which should

be looked into. I do not think we should legislate to take care of all of us. If one is willing to borrow and one is willing to lend on terms which are agreeable and understandable to both parties why should we be asked to legislate in that regard in a free enterprise business?

If there are such profits in this lending business as our good friends in the C.C.F. have claimed there are, then it will not be very long before many more people are in the lending business than there are today. The more we have in it the more competition there will be and the lower the interest rates will become. My colleague, the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Chambers), this afternoon gave a very definite explanation of how free enterprise works in the lending business, and I think what he said will turn out to be quite true.

Money is a commodity, the same as anything else; money is bought and sold. Credit is being used today more and more. It seems that the obtaining of credit has become a way of life with us and 1 do not suppose it will be changed very greatly. I do not need to list the many ways in which credit is used today. It is used in practically every form of business, even in the fields of luxury where people are using credit today for trips to the old land, and so on. Nevertheless, there has been a demand for those firms which lend money and people are taking advantage of their existence and are using the facilities they have. I suppose in the ridings of all hon. members there are a number of these lending institutions and there are many people who are using the services which they render. I think I can substantiate this by indicating the great increase in small loans since 1952. In 1952 roughly $9,378,835 was lent in small loans and in 1956 that figure had practically doubled. Therefore, this small loans business is increasing. It has doubled itself in the last five years. It would not have achieved this increase in business if the companies were not giving a service to the public which makes use of it.

In all businesses, whether they be large or small, whether they be lending businesses or whatever they may be, there are three basic elements or principles on which they must all function. First of all, there must be capital invested which can be usefully employed to earn a profit. There must be a fair wage for dollars employed. Second, there must be a product or service involved which can be marketed on which profit is created through its turnover. Third, there must be a business skill based on education, knowledge and talent for which a charge

can be fairly made. Therefore, the lending business is no different from any other business in that respect.

This question of what amount should be charged, whether it should be eight per cent, nine per cent, 10 per cent or 12 per cent is indeed a very large one. This whole act requires considerable study and attention by this house and I for one feel that it should go to a committee of the house for further thought and consideration. It seems to me that if we choose this 12 per cent figure we may find ourselves in the position, by putting a ceiling of 12 per cent on the loan, that that would be the figure that would be charged in all cases, even though the loan could be made at a lower rate. We can recall what happened in the days of ceilings under the wartime prices and trade board. Very seldom could you buy an article that was sold under the ceiling price. Therefore, if 12 per cent was set I think we would find that that would be the rate that would be charged on all occasions and not a lower one.

The answer to this is to allow this very highly competitive business to function within the framework of free enterprise. I think that if it is designed not only for the borrower but also for the lender it will take care of itself and operate on a sound basis. We must admit that Canadian lending companies must compete against highly efficient United States businesses. United States lenders borrow much of the necessary funds in the United States at lower rates than those in Canada, and so Canadian companies are kept in a very competitive position in that way.

This bill has been discussed on other occasions and I fully believe the problem is not quite as serious as it has been presented to us this afternoon. I was interested in reading that the personal instalment loan field in Canada enjoyed one of the lowest rates in the world. The common rate in the United States is three per cent monthly on outstanding balances up to $150. Then it is usually two and one-half per cent per month. In England the rate of four per cent per month is recognized as fair. United States experience has shown that if rates are set too low, legitimate lenders are forced out of the business. The net result is that borrowers are forced to deal with unlawful lenders who charge exorbitant rates.

In conclusion, I say this business is not unlike others, and if it is left to operate in the field of free enterprise and a little public relations and education work are undertaken these problems will right themselves in due time. I am afraid I will not be able to support the motion at this time under the existing conditions, especially in view

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of the fact that it has not been proven to me which is the right amount of interest to charge. I would much prefer to see the bill go before a parliamentary committee for further and more serious and lengthy study than we have been able to give it today.

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January 17, 1958

Mr. A. D. Hales (Wellington South):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak on Bill No. 237, the agricultural stabilization bill, I am speaking for the first time in this renowned and time-honoured chamber. I should like immediately to join with those speakers who have preceded me in congratulating the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker on their elevation to the Speaker's chair. As this session of parliament has progressed it has become extremely evident that those appointments were well and justly made.

Like the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Doucett), the hon. Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Smith) and our newest member from the Yukon-although he is not in his seat as yet, many of us have had the pleasure of meeting him and are looking forward to the great contribution he will undoubtedly make to this house-I am one of the youngest members of this house with respect to the number of months of service to his constituency since June 10. By that I mean the election in my riding of Wellington South was a deferred election held on July 15 due to the untimely death of the late Henry Hosking the Liberal candidate and former member of this house.

At this time, Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay my respects to Mr. Hosking and I am sure hon. gentlemen on the other side of the house who knew him well will join me in this tribute. Mr. Hosking and I met on common ground on many occasions and, although we shared opposing political views, I respected him for his very arduous and diligent attention to the interests of the constituents of the riding I now represent. He devoted his talents, his time and his efforts to his riding in the same way as many of us are doing now.

I am particularly happy to take part in the debate on this agricultural bill because the riding I represent has long been known for its many contributions to the field of agriculture and, I might add, to the field of politics as well. In proof of this statement I need only to mention the late hon. Hugh Guthrie, leader of the opposition and for many years minister of justice in this house, the late R. W. Gladstone, a distinguished senator, and the Right Hon. George Drew, former premier of Ontario, leader of the opposition in this house and now Canadian high commissioner to the United Kingdom.

Returning to the subject of agriculture, Mr. Speaker, I take pride in pointing out that it 96698-217

Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization was to my riding that the first Hereford animal was imported to Canada by the late F. W. Stone in 1860, almost 100 years ago. The first Angus cow to be imported to Canada was brought to Guelph by the late James Bowman. The first Shorthorn cattle, although landed at St. Catharines, were very soon driven to Guelph and the breed was propagated there.

The Ontario Agricultural College and the Ontario Veterinary College, the largest universities of their kind in the British Empire, are situated in the centre of Wellington South at Guelph, Ontario. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, these facts coupled with the fact that the Ontario Agricultural College is my alma mater and I am a retail meat merchant and farmer explain my particular interest in this agricultural bill.

The introduction of this bill, I feel, is the result of several things. First, and I think most important, it is the result of the depressed condition in which the farmers of Canada found themselves when our party went to the country. What were the agricultural conditions which existed across this great country of ours? I cannot speak for all parts of Canada but I do know what conditions existed in my own riding. Many farms were run down in appearance and condition, the soil was being robbed, the farmers were living off their depreciation. Many farmers were carrying on a part-time operation, working part time in factories. Farmers' wives and children were required to work in order to help make ends meet. Implement dealers were unable to make sales. I could continue enumerating these conditions but all hon. members know the story.

Between 1946 and 1956 prices of commodities and services used by Canadian farmers rose by 58.2 per cent, between 1951 and 1956 prices of farm produce declined by 21.8 per cent. In 1956 the net income per Canadian family was $4,900 while the net income per farm family was $3,037. In other words, the farm family was being asked to live on $1,863 a year less than the average Canadian family, to accept a standard of living reduced by that amount. Turkeys were pouring into my riding from the United States. Cheese came in from New Zealand. Boat loads of lambs came in from New Zealand and Australia. Canned peaches came in from the United States. And while all this was going on, Liberal cabinet ministers were travelling around the country telling the farmers that they were never better off. The hon. member for Melville (Mr. Gardiner) told the turkey producers that they would have to accept less in order to meet United States competition. Mr. Speaker, did we


Agricultural Products-Price Stabilization ever hear any members of the former government telling manufacturers of automobiles, furniture, appliances, boots, shoes and clothing that they should take less in order to meet United States' competition? No, they raise prices as they choose.

The then minister of finance, Walter Harris, in his speeches conveyed the idea that his government should allow agricultural products to come into Canada from the United States in order to keep our prices down. Hon. Milton F. Gregg once said in my riding, "Canada had the best year in her history; of course, farm income was down." The question of farm income was casually dismissed as though it were completely incidental.

I have outlined, Mr. Speaker, some of the conditions that the former Liberal government knew about and allowed to exist. The election came and after it was over the Conservative party formed the government. It was decided that something should be done- yes, something should be done immediately -to correct this unfair situation. We promised we would and we have. It is well known to all how quickly our government acted with respect to the importation of turkeys. Our present Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Harkness) had not yet been appointed and was then only acting minister of agriculture when he put turkeys under price support and import control. Just speak to any turkey producer and ask him what he thinks of our party. Ask the dairy man, too; he knows about the import control on butter oil and powdered milk, etc.

We now have before us a bill that fulfils another promise we made to relieve the distressed condition of agriculture. This bill represents another proof to those people of the rural areas who gave us such wonderful support that our promises were sincere. I think the minister is to be commended on this bill, for his willingness to hear representations from farm organizations, and for his eagerness to get the viewpoints of his party backbenchers. In other words I am sure he feels that in order to be successful such a bill must have embodied in it the thinking and the suggestions of the man from the back concession. The fact that he has introduced amendments proves, without fear of contradiction, that he is willing to co-operate, assist and give sympathetic consideration to anything that will help agriculture. I have been amazed at the number of times I have heard farm delegates say when they have come to Ottawa to present their views, "There sure is a different attitude around here now".

This bill, for the first time, is going to give the farmer something to go by. It is going

to give him a chance to plan his program, to plan in advance. Some hon. members can debate and argue as they like but I feel that the old bill never did just that. Too much was left to the minister of agriculture. Support prices just seemed to be pulled out of the air. Nothing was said as to how long they would be in force. But now we have a formula, a flexible formula, a formula any farmer can use and go about his business with a sense of security and stability.

I support the bill because it is flexible, because it takes into consideration the law of supply and demand, something that is most important. The United States system of agricultural support has found that to be the case. They have had great difficulties, involving great surpluses and great cost to the treasury because they have more or less ignored the law of supply and demand.

The advisory committee that the bill calls for, composed of farmers and members of agricultural organizations, will, while setting the prescribed prices each year, likely in January, base their decisions chiefly on the supply and demand picture and they shall have regard to the estimated average cost of production as outlined in the legislation. I should like to repeat that because I think there are many who feel this aspect has not been taken into account. The bill distinctly says that they shall have regard to the estimated average cost of production as outlined in the act.

I should like to take a concrete example of how the bill will work. Suppose I want to feed a number of steers this year on a feed lot. From dominion bureau of statistics figures I can ascertain the average selling price for steers for the last 10 years. I add these prices, divide by 10 and arrive at the basic price which in this particular case is $21.80 a hundredweight. According to the legislation 1 know that the support price for the next 12 months could not be less than 80 per cent of the base price or $17.44 a hundredweight. However, on studying the supply and demand situation I could very likely estimate the prescribed price that would be set by the advisory board. Unless the supply was extremely heavy I would expect the price to settle somewhere around the 10-year average, namely $21.80. I would at least have some idea what I should pay for my stocker cattle, as close to $17.14 a hundred as possible.

In the case of hogs you could arrive at a similar price. You would take the average prices for the last 10 years, obtainable from the dominion bureau of statistics, add them and divide by 10 and you would find that the base price would be $29.08 and the support or drastic level price for 1958 should not be

under $23.26. As I said before, the advisory board should meet preferably in January and again in the fall, and after a close study of the supply and demand situation they would set the prescribed price close to today's level, namely 27 cents.

The agricultural prices stabilization bill is sound, comprehensive and courageous legislation. I do not believe the bill will correct all the ills of agriculture. It will no doubt need further amending from time to time. The government has acted-I repeat, the government has acted-as we promised we would. The success of the bill will depend upon sound judgment, a sense of fairness in the administration of the legislation and the utmost co-operation from the farm organizations to make it succeed.

The farmer on the back concession needs help. Give him a sound agricultural policy. Let the law of supply and demand work. Give him some protection from the dumping of agricultural products and he will work hard and produce the food we need. But let us give him at least an even break so he can have the standard of living which he justly deserves. I appreciate, Mr. Speaker, the privilege of speaking at this time in support of the bill. I sincerely hope it will be passed immediately so that its many benefits may reach the farmer whom we all know needs immediate help.


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October 25, 1957

Mr. A. D. Hales (Wellington South):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a question to the Minister of Agriculture. When may we in Wellington South expect the completion and opening of the new agricultural science service building now nearing completion on the outskirts of Guelph?

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February 13, 1956

Sir William Byles:

May I ask you whether it has not long been the practice of hon. members to make slight verbal alterations in the proof which reaches them in order to make their meaning more precise and accurate?

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