Mr. F. S. ZAPLITNY (Dauphin):
Several hon. members who have spoken to-day have taken this opportunity to refer to their constituencies. I hope, Mr. Speaker, you will not mind if I take some little time to refer to the constituency which I have the honour to represent here. The constituency of Dauphin has in tradition and in its geographical position certain distinctions. First of all I should like to bring to the attention of hon. members, as many of them will remember, the fact that a former Speaker of this house who occupied the chair that is now occupied by His hon. the Speaker was a member who represented the constituency of Dauphin. I refer, of course, to the Hon. J. L. Bowman, who has now retired from active politics.
I also wish to say that we have, geographically speaking, some distinguished neighbours. To the south of the constituency of Dauphin we have the constituency of Neepawa which is represented here by the leader of the opposition. Immediately to the west of that we have the constituency of Marquette, which is represented by a more recent Speaker of the house, the present Minister of Mines and Resources. Therefore, as I said, in both geographical position and in tradition the constituency that I represent has some distinction, and I hope that in the months to come I may be able to carry out my -responsibilities in such a way that it will continue to have some distinction. Before leaving that I should like to say that on the western side of the constituency of Dauphin lies the province of Saskatchewan, which in more ways than one is pioneering the west.
I should also like to make some reference to the people who live in the constituency of Dauphin. I make no apology for speaking about a single constituency because to speak of Dauphin is to speak of Canada. In that constituency we have a pretty fair crosssection of the population of this country. It is made up of many different racial origins, people who have settled in this country and have adopted this Canada as theirs. They come from many different parts of the world; and I am proud to say, Mr. Speaker, that in my experience I have found that these people of different racial origins and religion get along very well together. They have cooperated in both their political and economic life, and during the course of the war
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that has just ended have worked together to make their contribution to the war effort. I think it is only fair to the people of my constituency to say here on my first opportunity that a great deal of credit is due and should be given to the people who have done their bit in the war effort, in the various Red Cross drives, in victory loan campaigns and all through the course of the war.
While I am on that subject I should like to commend the government for two things which appear in the speech from the throne, and the forecasts that are made there., I refer to the provision that is to be made for a distinct Canadian nationality and a Canadian flag. It is all the more a pleasure, to commend the government with regard to these two items since hon. members will recollect that the members of the party with whom I have the pleasure to be associated have advocated these things for a number of years. I hope that when this legislation passes it will be a little more than just a statute on paper. I hope that when we have established a Canadian nationality, something with which I believe all hon. members agree, and when we have adopted a Canadian flag, we shall go farther and give a certain amount of spirit to the fact. I hope that in the future anyone who has adopted Canadian citizenship either by birth or naturalization will be regarded by his compatriots as full-fledged Canadian with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that are inherent in that position.
I hope that the government will take into consideration in the near future the question of an immigration policy. As I said a few moments ago, the people in the districts surrounding Dauphin.-and I am sure this is general throughout western Canada-are of mixed racial origin. They have made their contribution to the war effort.; they have done what Canadians have been expected to do; they are now to be given the status of full-fledged Canadians. I hope that in the setting of immigration quotas the government will take into consideration the fact that there are people in European countries of the same racial origin as these people to whom I refer who are desirous of entering Canada and who would like to take up Canadian citizenship. It is not that I want to plead the case of any special group, although I think hon. members will agree with me that one part of central Europe which has been devastated more than any other part is that area generally known as the Ukraine. It is not at the present time an independent country, but it is on the map and hon. members can find where it is. That part of Europe has been devastated far more than
many other places because when the wars between the German armies and the Soviet armies were going on it was the battlefield of Europe for a period of several years. The war went on first towards the east, and then back to the west; it seesawed in that particular area. The people there have found themselves without homes, in many cases without any resources whatsoever; and many of them have found themselves in other parts of Europe, some by their own choice and some by force of circumstances. They are desirous of entering this country. I hope that the government will take that into consideration and will make it possible for these people to enter 'Canada and add their contribution to the future life of the country. I want to repeat that I am not pleading the case oil any one particular class or nationality in this house; but as I said before, this is a case where hon. members will agree that a certain section of Europe has been devastated beyond all comparison with any other place, and some consideration should be given to that fact.
I hope, as I intimated earlier, that our Canadian nationality and our Canadian flag will ;be both in spirit as well as in fact a symbol of equal treatment of all.
I should like to refer now to the general picture in this country. In order to discuss it in an understandable way I think it will be necessary to divide it into three parts, namely, the years between 1930 and 1939; the years from 1940 to 1945, and then from 1945 into the future. From 1930 to 1939, as hon. members will remember, we had in this Dominion what was termed a depression; we had a time of economic stress in which there were thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of young men and women without employment, a time in which there was general distress and poverty, and yet no one was able to say that it was due to the fact that we had either a crop failure or some other misfortune which made it im-[DOT] possible to produce wealth. It is true that there were sporadic cases of drought here and there, but that was not the reason why the people in this country were poor. I think it will be generally recognized that the reason why the people were suffering during those ten years approximately was that there was something wrong with the economic system we were trying to operate. We found that out in 1940. Unfortunately, it took a war to introduce some new ideas into the economy of Canada. From 1940 to 1945 we discovered that there were many things that we could do which we thougttt previously could not be done in this Dominion. We found that it was possible to expand the economy of this country to a far greater
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extent than any one had ever dreamed before, and to do it through the funds of the public, in other words, through public enterprise. Up to the time of 1940 the governments which were then in power, first one and then the other, had been, pretty well agreed upon the principle of private enterprise and bad never attempted to try anything else. The economic and, I might say, the military necessity that faced us from 1940 on made the government move in the direction of public enterprise, to a certain extent, and we discovered over a period of years that in spite of the fact that we were sending food, ammunition and1 other commodities overseas in large quantities, much of it being destroyed, still what was left in this country was sufficient to clothe, feed and shelter the Canadian people better than ever before.
This gives us food for thought. Surely, people say, if at a time when you are exporting for destruction about half the total production of this country you can still keep the people in better physical condition than before, there must be something wrong with the way we were doing things from 1930 to 1939; and I would commend that idea to hon. members in all parts of this house. Regardless of what our immediate political views may be, I think we can agree that from now on we shall have to be prepared to accept a greater degree of public enterprise than ever before. Something of this I believe was intimated in the speech last evening by the Secretary of State (Mr. Martin), who admitted that it would be necessary to use a certain amount of public enterprise. Naturally we do not think the government are prepared to go far enough, but I think at least they should be prepared to agree to this: If private enterprise, which has been given a good opportunity over a long period of years, both in time of peace and in time of war, from now on fails to provide the food, clothing and shelter necessary for the people of this country, we must be prepared to throw aside our political prejudices, go into public enterprise and produce these things, so that it will not be necessary for labour delegations to come and lay their case before members of the house in times like these.
As a new member of this house I was impressed with the tremendous problem that was posed to us by hon. gentlemen opposite yesterday in connection with reconversion. I want to say quite frankly and sincerely that we realize the difficulties facing the government, and we do not take the position that these difficulties confront the government only.
We as a group and as individual members are willing to do what we can to facilitate the solution of these problems. As I say, I was impressed with the magnitude of what someone called the gigantic problem of reconversion. It is a gigantic problem; but let us make sure when we attempt to solve it that we apply the proper principles, because if we are not careful we can waste a great deal of time and effort and probably get very poor results. The problem of reconversion must be solved by following a certain principle. It must be either the principle of production for use or the principle of production for profit. We in this group, and probably some hon. members who are not in this group, believe that production for profit is not enough, that in future the principle must be established of production for use. I make that statement because during the course of this war we have found it possible, by. applying the labour, the skills and the equipment to be found in this country, to the natural resources of the country, to produce wealth beyond anything we ever dreamed of before. In other words, we have discovered the immense productive possibilities of this dominion. We have found that if we need something badly enough, such as materials for war, we can go to work and get them. Necessity has driven us to realize how rich we are, to put it plainly. In future we shall have to decide whether we are to continue the system we followed up to 1940, which was the private enterprise system of production for profit, or whether from now on we are to turn to the principle of production for use.
There is a tremendous difference between those principles, and I believe that if we adopted the principle of production for use we would have no difficulty whatever in the post-war years in providing homes, food and clothing for all the people of Canada. I do not think anyone will argue with that statement. We are able to do that. We have the man-power; we have the natural wealth, and we have the skills and equipment necessary. If, on the other hand, we capitulate to the propaganda now being loosed upon us to go back to private enterprise, then I am afraid we shall be up against the same difficulties that confronted us before. The government may think it strange for a new member to be giving them so much advice all at once, but in all sincerity I say that if the government capitulates to the pressure now being exerted upon it by private interests to go back to private enterprise in its entirety, we are going to reach a time when we shall be faced with other problems just as gigantic as that which
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has been posed to us in this house. I believe in future this government, and all governments, will have to decide whether they are to serve the needs of the people, having regard to the fact that we have so much wealth, so much skill and so much man-power that we can provide good living for all, or whether they are to cater to special interests because it may be good politics to do so. I am sure that on the benches opposite there must be men with sufficiently broad vision to realize that if we follow the course of capitulating to special privilege, some time in the future we are bound to be confronted with difficulties that are perhaps not unforeseeable.
During the course of this war men and women who have been working in war and other allied industries have been paid better and have enjoyed a material standard of living higher than ever before. They have had the knowledge that a very great effort was being made to produce goods for war. In other words, they are beginning to realize the wealth of this country, and no longer will they take no for an answer. We saw what happened here yesterday when the labour delegation arrived. That shows the attitude the working people are going to take. It will be a militant attitude. They will ask the government why we are not able to produce the goods we need in peace time when we were able to produce them in such large quantities and so easily during war time; and the government will have to be prepared to answer that question. So I think it would be far more reasonable for the government to take such steps as will make it unnecessary for labour to go on strike, to stage demonstrations or to send delegates to the capital. To me that would seem the reasonable thing to do.
I should like to refer now for a little time to the speech from the throne. Perhaps the thing that stands out more than anything else is that which is missing; that is, the fact that no fundamental change is being proposed. I am reminded of the boy in uniform who, having stood in line in front of the paymaster's office for some time, turned and said to his comrades, "Never have so many waited so long for so little." I think that is the case here. We expected a great deal from the government in its first pronouncement in peace time. During the years of the war, when things looked a great deal darker than they have looked in recent years, we were told that we were building a new social order. In fact, during the election campaign, if I may refer to it, we saw great placards prominently displayed on billboards carrying the slogan, "Building a new social order."
That slogan was endorsed by candidates supporting the party opposite, and I am sure there must have been thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of people who voted for the Liberal party in the belief that they were building a new social order. After carefully reading the speech from the throne- and I have read it several times, as I am sure other hon. members have-I have failed to discover wherein they are proposing anything that even looks like a new social order. There are some commendable things in the speech from the throne, but all I am able to find in this connection is some nibbling attempt to try to do something to tide us over the time of reconversion, so that we can the more quickly go back to the good old private enterprise system and the right to be robbed. If we are to build a new social order there will have to be more imagination on the part of the government and more willingness to put into practice that which the people have been promised. The government has been elected on a programme of full employment and social security for all the people, and during the campaign government supporters also made a great many other very fine promises. With all due respect to hon. members opposite, I say now that unless they are able to produce the goods-and very soon-the people who voted for them are going to ask some most embarrassing questions.
I should like now to refer particularly to a few items which I believe to be of special interest to many hon. members. First of all, we know the government has made some pronouncement with respect to increasing old age pensions and an effort to provide for those who are not of pensionable age at the present time, namely those from sixty-five to sixty-nine years of age.
In proposing a pension of $30 a month with no means test for those seventy years of age, and over it is to be commended. But while making that proposal the government has at the same time proposed a means test for those in the age group from sixty-five to sixty-nine years because, as I remember it, it has been stated that payments will be made to these people only if they are in need. In other words, under the government's proposal there will be a means test for those from sixty-five to sixty-nine years.
I say that, having thrown away the wormy apple, there is no use in introducing a new worm to the other apple. If we are to have old age pensions without a means test, then let us have them without a means test, and let us have them between the ages of sixty and sixty-five years on a decent scale. Let
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us not go only half-way, because that would not fool anyone and would be only a sort of window-dressing people would easily see through. I see no reason at the present time why people cannot ask, and with justification, for a pension at the age of sixty years and on a decent scale. It is not only a matter of justice, but also one of good common sense.
We are going to find in the next few years, what is beginning to appear already on the horizon, a condition of unemployment. People who are very close to the age of seventy years are now engaged in work. Between the ages of sixty-five and seventy years there is a large group of people who are now doing active work. It would seem to me only fair and sensible to make provision that they receive pensions at the age of sixty years, so that they might retire on a decent pension, live during the rest of their lives in peace, and let young people who are more able step into their places to carry on in the work of the country. I suggest it would be wise for the government to reconsider its position in respect of old age pensions, and to make a real job of it while they are at it.
I should like also to draw the attention of the government to the situation in connection with hog production. Yesterday an hon. member to my left asked a question of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) respecting the production of hogs. In my view the answer he received was satisfactory neither to himself nor to anyone else interested in the matter, because it did not touch upon the policy concerning which we wanted information. Hon. members realize that it is not a question of a meat shortage in Canada, but rather one of hog production. As I understand it, we have at the present time a system of meat rationing, for which there must be some reason. If there were not a good reason for it we would not have it. Canada has made certain commitments, in that it has undertaken to make shipments overseas. If we are to live up to those commitments we must have hog production.
I have before me a letter from the Dauphin Co-operative Live Stock Producers, over the signature of Mr. W. T. Volkers, the president of that organization. In this communication he sets out information respecting hog shipments at that particular point, and what he has said I believe illustrates what is happening across Canada. At this shipping point in the months from January to June, 1944, a total of 4,295 hogs were shipped. During the same months in 1945 a total of only 2,494 hogs were shipped, or a drop of 1,801 hogs at one shipping point. When one sees such a
drastic drop in shipments of hogs from one point, a condition which is quite general throughout western Canada, he is led to believe that there must be some reason for it. I suggest the Minister of Agriculture would do well to make some statement to the house in the near future, giving us some idea of what he proposes to do to keep hog production at the level it should be.
While on the subject of agriculture I would also draw the attention of the minister to something which I am sure, is in the minds of many hon. members in whose constituencies there has been hail damage. In certain sections of western Canada we have suffered serious damage from hail, and we have expected and hoped that these people who have suffered from hail loss would be included in some measure under the provisions of the Prairie Farm Assistance Act. I understand, from a communication received some time ago from the minister that, in all probability, the government will declare this an emergency year, so that people suffereing hail damage will be eligible, if they meet the other requirements, for prairie farm assistance.
I should hope that the minister would be in a position in the near future to make an announcement in the house in resipect of these questions, because many people are writing and asking questions. Naturally they are anxious to get all the assistance they can get.
I also make a suggestion to the government respecting industry in western Canada. We have found in Dauphin-and I am sure this is a condition found generally in other towns throughout western Canada-that the town to a great extent must depend upon the farming community around it. In other words, many of those towns - in western Canada, some of which are large, have nothing but the support of the farming community for the maintenance of their business.
In the last four years, because of income greater than that received on the farms in former years business has increased considerably. But if it should happen that the farm incomes in those surrounding areas are drastically cut, many of those towns will find themselves in a bad position. Not only the business sections, but the labourers now employed in jobs in those towns -would be seriously affected.
I should think it advisable for the government to take into consideration the establishment of industries in western Canada, in order to make some sort of back-log or cushion in the event of a depression, so 'that the labourers and small business men in those towns would have something in addition to the surrounding farming areas to lean upon. In that connec-
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tion there are mew discoveries in the field of chemurgy, in the making of synthetic substances, including plastics and the like, which might well ibe investigated by the government, and the possibilities of which could be thoroughly canvassed.
There is another reason why increased industry in the west would be desirable. We are finding that in the large cities of eastern Canada a great deal of congestion has taken place. Tremendous numbers of people have moved from western Canada to the east to take part in war jobs. In many instances those people are asked to make up their minds as to whether they will stay in the east permanently or return to the west. If there is nothing to which they can return, naturally they will stay here.
For the welfare of the remainder of the country I believe it would be well to extend industry in the west, so that we can keep a certain portion of our population who would normally drift to the east. I do not believe it is a good thing for the country to have all the labouring people concentrated in one particular area. On the contrary it would be much better to have .the industrial area stretched fairly and evenly between east and west.
I should like also to make reference to another matter upon which I hope the government will take action. I refer to the disposal of the airports which have been established across. Canada. In the neighbourhood of Dauphin we have two first-class airports which are now closed down. The people of that town end district are anxious to know what is going to happen to the buildings, and to the equipment and other materials left there. They would like to know if the government has any plans for the use of the buildings and equipment, and if they are to be put to some useful purpose. We are a little bit apprehensive, because of what we have read in the newspapers about the destruction of war material, that much of this equipment, which has been paid for by the people, and paid for very heavily, is to be destroyed or disposed of in some way which will bring no value to the people concerned. We therefore hope that the government will make some use of these airports in order that they shall be of some value to the community. As a suggestion I might say that, with establishments such as we have near Dauphin, it would be easy to provide an agricultural school, a convalescent hospital or a sanatorium. Instead of allowing these buildings to deteriorate and go to ruin it would be well to put them to some proper use.
I should like to touch on one more point, and then I shall live up to the example which has been given to us here of making speeches brief. The point which I think is so important
that I shall not leave it out is that of federal aid to education. I believe hon. members from all the provinces will have experienced the fact that the education which has been handled so far by the provinces has had a pretty tough time financially for a long period of veal's. I know that in my own province of Manitoba, the schools, especially the rural schools, have been running on a deficit for years and years. We are finding that while the people are demanding, and rightly so, the extension of educational facilities, while the government itself is expecting and exacting higher standards from the young people in the way of education, no financial provision is being made to extend educational opportunities, especially in the rural areas. I suggest that there should be a federal grant to the provinces for the purposes of education, without interfering with administration, which could be left to the provinces, that would help to ease the financial condition in which many school districts find themselves. There is another reason for that which I would like to bring forward for your consideration. Many people are conscious that Canada has now reached what may be called the adult stage. We have definitely become a nation, but to become a nation in its full right there should be, I believe, a little more national responsibility for the education of the children of this country. I do not think money could be better spent than by providing for the children across Canada greater opportunities, especially vocational and technical schools, which to-day are badly needed.
I should also like to see federal grants made in order that students of ability who have not the financial resources would get the opportunity to go to the higher schools and universities. Let me interject a personal note: I have taught school for twelve years and therefore know this at first hand. I have seen a great many young men and women with a tremendous amount of talent and ability who, having reached a certain stage of their education, because they had not the financial resources with which to go ahead, stayed at home, and all that ability and talent were lost. I think that is the greatest loss which can be suffered, because the talents and abilities of our young people are among our greatest national resources. I suggest that a little more money spent on a national scale to assist these young people to go through the universities or to enter the vocations for which they are specially suited would pay big dividends in the future.
With that I conclude my remarks, except to say in closing that I hope it will be possible for us who are members of this house, regardless of what political group we happen to
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belong to at the present time, to cooperate in the future helping to solve the problems which are before us. I invite all hon. members to join with us in what I consider to be the greatest political objective of all, the building of a better Canada.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY