Because they cannot sell their grain? They cannot sell their grain for the same reason that gentlemen in the east who have been producing newsprint cannot sell their product; they have both been producing for a market which is glutted; they have produced a commodity for which there is no market to-day.
However, my hon. friend was very careful, after mentioning these different industries, not to mention the oldest industry in Sherbrooke, the Baton Mills, one of the very few woollen mills which survived the regime of the govern-
The Address-Mr. Hackett
meat which came iato power ia 1896. My hoa. friead well kaows that ia this mill, where employment a year ago-stood at 40 per ceat oa the basis of a 55-hour week, it staads to-day at 110 per ceat. Two huadred aad seventy-five breadwinners of families in the constituency represented by my hoa. friend thank God each night for legislation which set the looms in operation in that mill and gave to the wee children of that city the food which they were denied under legislation which obtained until this government came into power.
Then, Mr. Speaker, there is the largest industry in Sherbrooke, the Kayser Company, Limited, which employs 800 hands and in which there was the slightest diminution of employment of any industry in Sherbrooke save the one in which my hon. friend is so heavily interested. That industry came back to 100 per cent employment when it got from the September session the additional 5 per cent protection which it said it required. I do not blame my hon. friend; I do not criticise him because another beneficiary of that protection was the Canadian Silk Products Company, of which my hon. friend is an honoured and esteemed shareholder and to whose success his brain and energy have contributed so largely. My hon. friend says he is not a Liberal protectionist or a protectionist Liberal. . He is the kind of Liberal who enjoys protection and wanted and got it for the industries in which he has invested his money. When he speaks in Sherbrooke to his own electorate he finds it more stimulating to express the sentiments-I know he entertains them-which marked the end of his speech than to discuss economic and fiscal problems.
I ask my hon. friend to come with me to territory which is quite as familiar to him as it is to me; I ask him to come with me to the county of Stanstead, whence his forebears came. I know him too well to fear that he will deny for one moment that the legislation put on the statute books by this parliament last September gave abundant, generous and life giving employment to a large percentage of the population of that riding. He knows that in Magog, where less than 1,000 hands were employed by the Dominion Textiles Limited, 1,600 people are engaged at the present time, with over-time several nights a week. He knows that in the town of Coaticook the Belding-Corticelli Company is more busily engaged than it has* been for years, and he knows why. He knows that in the same town the Neidner Company, which manufactures fire hose now gives generous employment to the inhabitants which it could not give before, and he knows why.
He knows that in other towns throughout the eastern townships, including the towns referred to by the hon. member for Brome-Missisquoi (Mr. Pickel) the towns o:f Drum-mondville, Actonvale, Granby and St. Hyacinthe, this depression which, as he said, weighs upon the whole world, has brought less trouble and less suffering than it has elsewhere.
I did not intend, Mr. Speaker, and I do not wish, to indulge in a discourse at this time.
I have listened to the speeches which have come from hon. gentlemen opposite; they all have been vastly interesting to me. I have found however that many of them were so flavoured with party wine that they intoxicated the speakers, if not the house.
I have listened to criticism, both candid and catholic, which in its range has gone from the meagre notes used by the hon. gentleman who moved the address-I may tell the right hon. gentleman who uttered that criticism that I envy greatly the gentleman who had the notes and I wish I were in his happy position at the present time. That criticism has extended, Mr. Speaker, from the use of notes by a novice away overseas to the members and even mannerisms of one of those who were sent to the Imperial conference. Criticism has even knocked at the door of our ministers to foreign lands. References that have been made in this house to our minister to Great Britain, to our minister to the United States, have not been suited, however intended, to enhance the repute of Canada in those countries. To those who are better versed than I in matters of this kind, such language may seem commendable; but to a neophyte, standing on the threshold of the temple and still charged wtih respect for all who wear his country's livery in a foreign land, it seemed clumsy if not intemperate.
I have listened, Mr. Speaker, to this criticism; I have listened to gentlemen set forth their points of view; I have felt, notwithstanding their sterile criticism, that they are desirous of doing something to alleviate human suffering which, possibly for purposes of debate-and it may be that all sins of that character are not on one side of the house-has been somewhat exaggerated. Just exactly what is to be done to afford employment, and just how unemployment is to be obviated in the future, is a matter which will have to be carefully studied and considered. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that unemployment must be a charge or a partial charge on industry. Just so long as municipalities, just so long as government, just so
The Address-Mr. Hackett
long as private charity and suffering humanity are to be made to bear the total burden of unemployment, I fear that it will persist.
I believe that we must regulate industry. I believe we must find a plan which will extend over a number of years and give steady employment: employment when there might otherwise be unemployment, and to prevent overwork when work is abundant. Long hours and night shifts are unnatural, and brutalizing. I believe a system of this kind will have to be worked out and legislation enacted to implement it. Just as this Dominion has led the way in other realms, just as it found a way to end industrial disputes, with their ravages both to labour and capital; just as it led the way in the realm of governmental improvement, growth and development-because it was Canada that pointed the way to all other dominions, even the old land itself, to autonomy within the empire-I believe Canada can find a way out of the difficulties of the present day and find a specific which will preclude a recurrence of them.
There is one other subject to which I should like to refer before taking my seat. It may be because of my lack of experience in this house that I marvel that no one has yet referred to it. We have heard much about wheat; we have heard much about the troubles that beset the west; and I may say to hon. gentlemen from the west that we sympathize with them. And I, for one, envy them that organization which makes them vocal when they suffer-equal hardship in the east is not quite so expressive. I desire, Mr. Speaker, to refer very briefly to an aspect of our national life which seems to me worthy of every consideration. I refer to our great national system of transportation. Recently there has been laid upon the table of the house a document called the Annual Report of the Canadian National Railway System. If there is one thing which has contributed more to the financial and fiscal difficulties of Canada, possibly even more than the war itself, it has been the rivalry in the construction and operation of railways. That rivalry, carried on under the smile and even the protection of government, brought about such a chaotic condition that government went into the business of transportation. I know full well that many members in this house will not agree with me; but I am of those who believe that if a. government make wise laws and administer them wisely it has fulfilled the principal function of government.
I believe that government should not enter competitive business, whether it be liquor, hydro-electric, transportation, or any other of
a dozen ventures in which provincial governments are engaged at the present time. Be that as it may, it is well that we in this moment of depression, at a time when we are seeking for means to pay Canada's way, when our estimates have been cut, to use a very trite expression, to the bone, when all public works have been abandoned-it is well, I say, that we should take stock of this enterprise which is making such a terrible drain upon our financial resources.
I find, Mr. Speaker, that the total liabilities of the Canadian Pacific Railway are $950,000000; I find that the total liabilities of the Dominion of Canada-I am not speaking of the net debt-are $2,544,000,000; I find that the total liabilities of the Canadian National Railway System are $2,S70,000,000; I find that the funded debt of this railway, the debt upon which interest is owed to the public, is something over $1,200,000,000; I find that the interest owing to the public, interest that is to be paid annually, is $51,000,000; I find that the interest upon the debt of the Canadian National Railways is over $80,000,000 a yearsomething over $10,000,000 a year in excess of the total revenue from the income tax in the most abundant year of which we have, records. I find from the last departmental report that this debt is forever increasing.
I pause here to lament that these reports should be so difficult to understand, There is a fiscal year for the Dominion government which ends on March 31, and there is a fiscal year for the railways which ends on December 31, and betwixt December 31 and March 31 there is a bedevilment which no ordinary man is able to disentangle or understand. I commend a form of report more simple and better suited to reveal rather than to conceal the facts of the year under review.
I find in the last report which has been laid before the house, the report of March 31, 1930, that the long term debt of the railway for which the government is responsible was increased during that year by some $163,000.000. I find that in 1914 the total debt of the Dominion of Canada amounted to $335,000,000. I find that in seven years the liability of the Dominion of Canada has been increased by nearly twice that amount by reason of the inordinate and lavish expenditure of the Canadian National Railways.
I find in the statute of 1929 authorization for the construction of a passenger station and terminals in Montreal and I find even now that that consuming rivalry which has made such demands upon the fiscal and financial life of
The Address-Mr. Hackett
our country is about to grab another $100,000,000 for purposes of dubious utility. We find that a passenger station and terminals are to be built in the city of Montreal for the Canadian National Railways within a stone's throw of another railway's passenger station.
If Montreal needs a terminal, it needs a union terminal. We know from recent sad experiences that when undertakings of this kind are set afoot they sometimes require more than double the amount anticipated, and while the statute, provides for an expenditure of $50,000,000, those who are best informed tell us that this scheme cannot be carried to completion for less than $100,000,000. When this expenditure has been made, not one car will have been added to the carrying capacity of the railways, not one additional passenger will have been found for their, carriages, not a penny added to their coffers. We have shut off immigration; we know that passenger traffic is dwindling; we know that automobile and air traffic are impinging upon the erstwhile predominance of locomotive traction and conveyance. All it means is this: that a few passengers may be attracted to that glittering monument from the rival across the way, and that that rival will have to erect a similar edifice to folly to protect itself against the allurements of this child of our statute. Is it necessary?
I for one feel that this matter should be very carefully investigated. Some years ago we were told by hon. gentlemen on both sides of the house that the railway committee had not the technical information or knowledge to decide matters of engineering which were essential to the good administration of the railway. That was the reason given for the creation' of the Board of Railway Commissioners, and yet this, the largest railway undertaking in eastern Canada, has been embarked upon without reference to that technical organization.
We are told now that a project to girt the island of Montreal with a second and altogether unnecessary line-it may be said that I have no quality to express an opinion, but surely my qualifications are equal to those of the hon. members who passed the legislation -is to come before the Board of Railway Commissioners on the twenty-seventh of this month. To the best of my knowledge, the recently appointed chairman of the Board of Railway Commissioners has not yet arrived in the city and the board has not been completed by the appointment of a member from the
province of Quebec. In these scant ten days there is no time for preparation of a case against the proposed 'belt line or for a union station. I for one protest against this unseemly haste. I ask this house: why should we be dragooned into expenditures of ten, fifty or one hundred millions of dollars when money is not available for other purposes which are more urgent? I want to know what useful purpose is to be served by this terminal and by this second belt line. Is it going to reduce the rate on wheat from the west? Is it going to give employment to people in Toronto, in Winnipeg or in Vancouver?
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ADDRESS IN REPLY