Mr. L. E. CARDIFF (Huron North):
Mr. Speaker, I do not think anyone doubts the sincerity of the remarks which have been made by most hon. members on both sides of the house in connection with Canada's war effort, and I hope that what I say this afternoon will be garnished with the same sincerity of purpose. My only reason for rising in my' place is to offer some suggestions that may be acceptable to the government in the carrying on of our war effort. As a preface to my remarks, let me state that what I have to say is based on practical knowledge gained from a lifetime in agriculture.
In the county of Huron we have about
10,000 farms, and in addition we have a number of manufacturing establishments, an important lake harbour, a number of grain elevators and flour mills, and some of the best salt wells in Canada. We have some of the finest roads and highways in Ontario. Yet the county is free from debt and has no outstanding debentures. Few other counties in Canada can boast of such good results from a pay-as-you-go policy. I take a great deal of pride in the record of my county, because I can claim at least some credit for its present financial position.
I believe every hon. member should voice his opinion with regard to our war effort. In
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doing so, perhaps the suggestions I offer for the improvement of this effort may be acceptable to the government. Having sat through one whole session and having come into the second I have arrived at the conclusion that lawyers and doctors and professional men do not possess all the brains there are in this fair land of ours. I have heard in the last few days many inspiring addresses delivered by private members on the government side, and I venture to say there are a great many more who, given the opportunity, would offer helpful and inspiring thoughts that could well be made use of in this hour of need.
The rural people realize that the present crisis calls for more sacrifice and effort; they are ready and anxious to do all in their power to forward victory. It is still too obvious that the allied governments undertook to fight this war as an economic war, and with money, while the enemy used guns and ammunition. Hitler knows no law other than brute force and destruction. Tanks, not sterling; machine guns, not foreign exchange; sabotage, not dollars, is his method. Surely we are living in a land of make-believe and sleight-of-hand from some government members when they pretend to assume in this dark hour that trade will move through normal channels and that customary surpluses in several lines of our Canadian production will find a market, thus permitting production to command fair and reasonable prices. Farmers have divorced themselves from the profit motive, and are actuated only by a determined desire to serve in the front ranks of production. Farming to-day is a business, and just as in other industries, farmers must have sufficient income to cover overhead, defray expenses, and maintain the institution.
During this war, Canadian exports will largely be confined to Great Britain, the United States and South America. The demand for shipping facilities will restrict our exports to Great Britain to a minimum. We do know from experience, however, that if this conflict proceeds, all our production of foodstuffs will be in demand, but in the meantime our warehouses are full. At present the farmers have to assume the burden of these surpluses, and carry their share of wartime taxation. At this time of emergency I contend, Mr. Speaker, that these are problems that should be faced by our federal government. Non-perishable surpluses such as wheat, beans, pork, are in my opinion as good as gold in war time. There is nothing that will put heart in a man like a full stomach, and there is nothing that will weaken the morale of any nation like starvation. We all know that armies travel on
their stomachs, and so I say again, pile up surpluses of non-perishable goods and keep the people working, make the currency circulate, and back it up with gold and with the storage of non-perishable goods. Nonperishable products are as good as gold in war time, and better. Beat the enemy at his own game. Only those who accept defeat are defeated. We must never be defeated.
I often wonder just what the reaction would be in Canada if we were subjected to the conditions that exist in England. I feel sure we could take it. I hope not but we may have to take it. Just ponder that in your mind.
I submit, Mr. Speaker, now that we are giving assistance to industry for the manufacture of necessary war materials, that immediate consideration should be given to agriculture, in order that we may achieve full production, under proper guidance and with the responsibility on the government for such surpluses as may exist from time to time. Such a plan can work for agriculture in the same manner as for other industries if practical men are chosen to frame and administer the necessary legislation. Our agricultural resources, properly organized, can and will play a vital part in this nation's war effort. We as farmers wish to serve and sacrifice equally with all other people of this dominion, but we ask that politics be thrown aside and that when the government establishes committees for the administration of agricultural problems their personnel include practical farmers, men who will know whether the proposed policies and programmes are feasible. Do not forget that when you are helping agriculture you are helping every man, woman and child in Canada.
First, in regard to agriculture we need a clean-cut federal government farm programme as to what products are needed during war time. In other words, take the farmer into the department's confidence and let him know the facts so that production can be maintained on an even keel.
Second, the majority of the farmers are dissatisfied with the present set-up in regard to bacon. There has not been, nor is there now, any control over the production of bacon. That has resulted in over-expansion and has disarranged marketing. Some kind of bacon production code is needed for the farmers, and then full returns from the packers of the old country price.
Third, we need a more effective and cheaper method of selling farm machinery priced in relation to farm production.
Fourth, we should have federal supervision over health standards of animals sold at community sales. Many cattle and hog diseases
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are being spread in healthy communities by outside animals brought in without inspection and sold in healthy areas.
Fifth, we must have an increased use for army purposes of Canadian apples and honey, pork and beans.
. Sixth, there is the old story regarding domination of live stock marketing by a group of powerful packing house plants in Toronto, resulting in the farmers having little or no say in the marketing price of their animals. The sale of cattle and hogs direct to plants each week satisfies a large proportion of the packers' needs, which means that they are not keen to bid on lots in the union stockyards, which is supposed to be a competitive market. Marketing plants in their present setup and yearly profits need government investigation.
Seventh, I would ask the minister why Ontario was not represented on the Canadian bacon board when Ontario produces one-half or more of the total production of hogs in Canada. Further. I would ask why the bacon producers of Canada were penalized by the government through negotiations with the United States which allowed large quantities of United States bacon to come in here to offset the fur trade of Canada. I do not think that was fair to agriculture.
Coming from a rural district, might I say that our people are willing to make any sacrifice within their power to preserve the institutions of democracy and to bear any burden of taxation imposed by the government just as long as that government by its actions and through its policies demonstrates to the people of Canada that the moneys so collected are not being wasted on people and profits as a reward for their party adherence. I could cite a few cases, but I will just warn the government that it will be they who will have to answer for some of the unnecessary appointments that they are making.
We have heard many complaints from farmer members of this house and, I am glad to say, lately from some hon. members who are not farmers, as to the way the government is allowing farmers to be imposed upon. We never did get a fair deal from any government, least of all from this one, but no one has ventured to tell the reason. To my mind the reason is a simple one. Campaign funds are much more conveniently collected in thousands of dollars than in smaller amounts, with the result that the big interests, paying larger amounts in campaign funds, look to the government for special assistance and get it. I should like to direct
a few questions on this point to the government. I do not know the answers, but I should like to know. Did the sugar interests subscribe to their funds ? Did the vegetable oil interests subscribe? Did the bacon interests subscribe? I could name many more. Such contributors get consideration, in many cases against the judgment of those who are in control. But those in control have no alternative; they are bought out, body and soul, before they ever start to function. I contend, Mr. Speaker, that this practice places governments in a position where they just have to do certain things, whether they want to or not. It is a system detrimental not only to the farmers of this country, but to the small industrialists who try in vain to compete and make a living.
I do feel that we as members of parliament should protest against the practice of importing into this country fruit and vegetables in ever-increasing volume, notwithstanding the restricted exportation from Canada to the United Kingdom. The war has forced the United Kingdom to restrict imports of tobacco and to stop further purchasing of Canadian canned fruits, vegetables and soups. Why should we not act in a similar way to protect our farmers? We shall be forced to promote a larger consumption at home to take care of the surplus created through the restriction of exports. I might go on to give the figures showing the increased imports from the United States, but I do not think this is necessary, because the figures have been submitted to the government; they already have the information. I wish only to place myself on record as registering my protest on behalf of the vegetable and fruit growers of Canada.
At this late hour I can only reiterate what a great many other hon. members have asked, that free transportation be granted our enlisted men who are on official leave for the last time, and I believe it would not be asking too much to recommend free transportation for Christmas leave as well. Surely our soldiers deserve this consideration. I would like to impress upon the minister the importance of this request.
The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), during his address on November 14, as reported at pages 10S and 109 of Hansard, referring to unemployment, stated that there was unemployment for practically all the defeated candidates of the opposition side of the house. May I remind the hon. gentleman that such was not the case so far as the defeated members on the government side were concerned. We find some of them being placed in very unnecessary jobs at large salaries. Why should so much money be spent in advertising the war effort of this
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government? If their efforts were one hundred per cent genuine, it would not require government heelers to advertise its programme. God forbid that we should have government heelers to contend with, on top of our all too heavy war responsibility.
We appreciate the efforts of the minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon) in this government. From a personal standpoint he has, perhaps, done all that any one individual could do; I believe he is very sincere, but it is not enough. What we as agriculturists need is as much protection as other industries get, and surely we deserve it. The Prime Minister in his address talked about steel. True, "we need steel", we cannot get along without it, but is there any hon. member who would put forth the argument that steel is more important than food in winning the war? Long after the need for steel has declined, food will be in constant demand.
There is another line of thought which I wish to develop at this time. It has to do with our war effort so far as the distribution of grain, coal and gasoline is concerned, which is a vital matter, to my mind, in war time. We have a condition in Goderich harbour that I would like to draw to the attention of the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Cardin), in regard to the surgings of vessels in the harbour under stress of wind and disturbance.
Last winter there were fifteen Canadian grain carriers wintering in the harbour. I have a record stating the surgings of these vessels which were under observation for two days when a northwest and west wind was blowing strong. There were other vessels lying loaded at the Western Canada Flour Mills wharf which are not included in this survey. Several storms occurred while these boats were in process of laying up for the winter. The first was a very strong gale starting in the southwest and shifting to northwest and north.
On December 7 and 8, when several vessels sustained broken cable moorings, bits and shocks, and otherwise bumped themselves along the wharves, there was no knowledge of any of the other vessels having come in contact with the harbour bottom. Again, on December 21 and 22, a northwest and westerly gale produced a great surge in the harbour with similar damaging results to steamship moorings. These storms, while altering from normal to intense velocity, did not seem to be worse than those experienced in previous years, but the harbour surging was apparently greater, which could only be attributable to a great flow of water to the entrance from the breakwater to the pier mouth, and thence to the inner harbour. It may be reasonable to
assume that, with the deepening of the entry channel to approximately 26 feet, much greater volume of seas will roll through, especially during westerly and southwesterly gales, and this flow, walled off to a great extent by the shoaling on the north side, accelerates the volume of seas towards the harbour.
It has been suggested that the area behind the northwesterly breakwater be sloped down to permit the surge to roll up and expend itself on this shoaled area rather than be abruptly buffeted below, or the upper portion of seas spilled back into the walled channel. Then, too, we have considered where and to what length could be located an additional or extended break-wall to break up and divert the seas before they reach the entrance to the channel ; and to this end, Captain Robinson, a mariner of much experience in handling large vessels into various ports, has made a sketch which I have here for inspection. I hope that the government will take the necessary steps to have this entrance to Goderich harbour taken care of at the earliest possible day, as we would not like a recurrence of this condition.
The minister must be impressed, I am sure, of the value of Goderich as a national port to the grain trade of Canada in the movement of Canadian western and American grains from the point of origination to the milling, feeding and exporting outlets in Ontario and eastern distributing points. May I briefly show you that the following quantities of grain have passed through our elevators from 1929 to 1939. I do not wish to take the time of the house to read the figures, but I have a copy, and I ask that it may be put on Hansard:
To this must be added an approximate
2,500,000 bushels per year which is received by the Western Canada Flour Mills in Goderich. You will notice the years between 1930 and 1937 were lean years; there was not the volume of grain that there was in 1938 and 1939. Additional to grain is the freightage of coal, gasoline coming in, some interior accumulations of products outward bound, all
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of which is water-moved. tonnage. A careful computation of the revenue to the Canadian railways and Department of National Revenue, shows that the eleven-year period at Goderich produced revenue as follows:
Canadian National Railways______ $4,900,000
Canadian Pacific Railway 4,400,000
Customs revenue-coal and grain passed on last year, 1939, the only record available 874,279
Total revenue $10,174,279
Thus you will appreciate that the dependable revenue afforded through our ports warrants requisite attention to developments, maintenance and safeguarding of the facilities which will provide safe and prompt access to Goderich harbour for any fully-loaded steamer under all weather conditions. I trust the minister will give these imperative requirements merited attention.
There are many thousands of Canadian women who, although outside- the public eye, perform vital war duties in their homes, maintaining the health of the rising generation and assisting Canada's internal economy in their daily purchases, devoting their spare time to the corporate work of groups and organizations. I believe we have come to the time when these women's groups will have to be initiated into industry, and in my opinion the sooner the better. It might save considerable confusion if the time ever came when a good many of our industrialists were taken away from their jobs and sent overseas.
I would like to conclude my remarks with an extract from a speech I made during the course of the election campaign, as follows:
Our primary duty as farmers is to the empire. Our brother agriculturists in Great Rntam are desperately fighting for freedom's cause. They have left their fields and farms to be tended by the women of the nation. No ?xtCI i ce ca,n make for them is too great. VVe here hardly realize there is a war, but the time will come when Great Britain and her allies will need the products from our farms and fields. It becomes our duty not to think m terms of profit, gains or barter, but to stand shoulder to shoulder behind the cause and behind our men who are offering their all.
This was spoken several months ago and our people have risen nobly to the emergency. Our county has voted $27,000 for war purposes. They also purchased an airport site for over $10,000 as a county project and have since leased it to the government at a dollar a year. That is all that we have got out of it. It is not like the dollar-a-year men advertised around here in the last few days. Another $10,000 has been -given to the Red Cross Society, and $7,000 has been set aside for patriotic purposes. More can be had if it is needed. Such is the spirit of our people in
Huron, such is the spirit of -Canada, such is the spirit of the empire; and with God's will wc shall win for democracy.
On motion of Mr. McLarty the debate was adjourned.
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY