Harry Oliver WHITE

WHITE, Harry Oliver

Personal Data

Progressive Conservative
Middlesex East (Ontario)
Birth Date
January 6, 1895
Deceased Date
September 4, 1987

Parliamentary Career

June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Middlesex East (Ontario)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  Middlesex East (Ontario)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
  Middlesex East (Ontario)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
  Middlesex East (Ontario)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
  Middlesex East (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 6 of 156)

March 20, 1957

Mr. White (Middlesex East):

I am not prepared to let this item go by without saying something about egg marketing. I listened with a great deal of interest the other night during the discussion of the floor price on cheese and again today regarding eggs. It was rather obvious that what I have said for many years is all too true, namely that the real purpose behind the Agricultural Prices Support Act has been to win two or three elections and not to support the prices of farm products, as the people of the country were led to believe it would.

In so far as eggs are concerned, it seems to me that whenever the minister gets in difficulties he blames it on the provinces. So long as everything is going along well he is quite prepared to take the credit. It does seem to me it should be possible, if the government were half as bright as they would like the people to believe, to frame some legislation whereby the producers would be guaranteed a floor price, instead of passing the responsibility on to the provinces. The government claims the credit when times are good. I think the best solution of the whole problem is to get rid of this government and start fresh next June.

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March 20, 1957

Mr. While (Middlesex East):

Mr. Chairman, I did not want to let this opportunity pass without saying something further about the minister's reference to 1930 and 1935. I think if hon. members will take a look at the figures they will agree that while some farmers may have got only 5 cents a dozen for their eggs, that 5 cents would buy more at that time than the price being received now will purchase today. This is the result of the inflation that has gone on under this government.

Furthermore, the farmers got into that fix because of the administration during the previous years when the Liberal government was in power. It was only our coming to power, and Mr. Bennett bringing in his national products marketing act, that brought some relief. It is true the act was found to be ultra vires, but it was probably the best marketing legislation which had been introduced to that time.

Due to the findings of the supreme court, farmers' organizations of all kinds are now asking that the legislation be amended, and I hope amendments will be brought in this session so no further delay will be caused, and so the manufacturers and packers may not be able to take advantage of a disorganized marketing system to further gouge the producer.

I want to say also that during the eleven months of 1956 specified in a return tabled under my name very recently, 3,500,000 dozen eggs, or their equivalent in powdered and processed form, were imported into this country. In this case, as in a good many others of a similar kind, the ground is being cut right out from under the feet of the Canadian farmer and producer. Over the years you have been able to fool the farmers, but you still have the packers as your friends, and that is the reason these things are done.

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March 20, 1957

Mr. White (Middlesex East):

I notice the airport at London was mentioned. Has the contract been let for improvements to the airport at London and is the R.C.A.F. participating in part of the cost of the runways there or is it all being done under the civil authority?

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March 19, 1957

Mr. White (Middlesex East):

I hear also that the government have a fairly substantial fund with which to fight the election. No doubt it will interest the aged and those in need to know that the government have millions of dollars with which to fight the next election but only $6 a month to give to those in receipt of old age pensions.

The payment of $1 million to assist in clearing Nasser's canal sort of gets under my skin. We can build a seaway on the St. Lawrence river for foreign ships, but we do not have a Canadian merchant navy. All the ports along lake Erie-I am thinking particularly of Port Stanley, but this also applies to all ports along lake Erie including the port of Windsor-could use some of the money that has been spent clearing Mr. Nasser's canal, and to much greater effect; and probably it would have been appreciated a great deal more than is the case where it has been spent.

Some time ago a question was raised concerning the amount of foreign control of Canadian resources that has come about. The Minister of Trade and Commerce rather pooh-poohed the idea. He said it was a healthy sign; that we would be developing our resources, and the money would flow back to us. I am not at all certain that this will be the case. The dominion bureau of statistics reports that in 1955 some 47 per cent of the manufacturing in Canada was owned and controlled by foreign capital. In the oil industry it was 70 per cent, and in the mining industry 55 per cent was under foreign control. Some firms from the United States have established themselves in Canada for the sole purpose of participating

in commonwealth trade and commonwealth markets. Some came here and established themselves with a view to partaking of Canada's natural resources because the parent company at home could see that in the not too distant future their resources would be depleted or exhausted.

While I am talking about foreign control of resources I want to give just one example. Not too many years ago Spain was the greatest power in the world, controlling all South America and the Indies, and had what was probably the greatest proportion of the world's natural resources at that time, a greater proportion than any nation has had since. What happened? Spain exported her raw resources and permitted the other nations of the world to process them into finished goods. She had resources of gold, silver, copper and iron, to say nothing of the resources of soil, forest and stream. What actually happened was that those nations which imported the raw materials became the wealthy nations at the expense of the raw materials Spain controlled, and today Spain is a fifth rate world power.

The labour of individuals plus the raw material resources we possess can make Canada a still greater world nation, and when you think we imported into Canada last year $3,600 million worth of goods, a large part of which could have been produced in this country by Canadian labour, you can only come to the conclusion that the policy followed by this government is improvident and shortsighted. It is not looking to the future when we as Canadians fail to do everything humanly possible in the way of developing our own natural resources.

I was interested in noting a statement made in Montreal about a year ago by Mr. Charles St. Pierre, president of the Banque Cana-dienne Nationale. He said:

Canada's exports are declining relatively at a time when the rest of the world is enjoying an expansion of world trade.

I have here the British food fair catalogue of 1956. A personal friend of mine who was a visitor in Britain at the time reported that practically all the commonwealth countries and European nations had exhibits at the trade and food fair held in Britain in 1956, but not one exhibit and not one advertisement of Canada or Canada's products was in evidence at the fair or could be found in the book. On page 12 of the catalogue the following appears:

America Comes to the Fair-The participation is part of a broad program of United States representation in fairs which President Eisenhower has called "of personal concern" to himself, a program through which America hopes "greatly to increase the two-way movement of international commerce".

The Budget-Mr. Benidickson

That is how the United States is stealing away from us some of our traditional markets. The booklet then goes on to say:

The domestic costs of United States foods, because of abundant production resulting from improved methods of cultivation and distribution, have remained low as America's "real wages" have risen. In 1954, one hour's average "take home pay" for the average United States worker brought twice as much food as it did in 1930.

It then goes on to tell about sampling United States foods which were priced in United States dollars and in United Kingdom pounds, shillings and pence. The United States went all out to capture a portion of that market, yet Canada was not even represented. It seems to me we are spending a lot of money on our embassies and representatives abroad, and what are they doing?

There is another contradiction in the budget. A great deal has been said about the Bank of Canada, the control of inflation and the increase in interest rates. It is amazing to observe what happens. As I understand the Bank of Canada it was established to be a servant of the people, but today we find it is a servant of this government. In my opinion the resignation of Mr. Graham Towers presaged a new era of high interest rates and high costs which are detrimental to productive enterprise and are curtailing the supply of the country's goods. It is as much a shortage of goods that causes inflation as an excess of money. So while the experts are telling us that the high interest rate is going to do away with inflation, in many cases it will actually be found to create hardship and a scarcity of goods, and defeat the very purpose which the high interest rate was supposed to accomplish.

I think the most alarming situation we face, among all others, is the fact that last year we had a current account deficit of $1,398 million. There are those who make excuses for that, but I do not think a nation is any different from an individual. An individual cannot go on indefinitely spending more money than he takes in, and the same is true of a nation. It seems to me that it is a very alarming situation to have this huge trade deficit of 848 million, which is growing year by year. Actually what we are doing is employing people in other lands to do our work, and they are collecting the wages rather than our own people.

I intend to support the amendment moved by the hon. member for Greenwood.

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March 19, 1957

Mr. H. O. White (Middlesex East):

Mr. Speaker, in rising tonight to take part in this budget debate may I say this. It seems to me that as the years go on the business of the nation becomes more and more involved. The presentation by the Minister of Finance of Canada's budget last Thursday bears out that statement. For a nation of 15 million or 16 million people, we are spreading ourselves fairly well all over the world. I sometimes wonder whether or not it is with good results.

The budget presented by the Minister of Finance was, in my opinion, a budget of contradictions, a budget of pretence. To individuals it said, "Spend less and save more". To the government it said, "Spend more and save less". For the hand-outs that are to be given to the public they will have to wait until next July. There was a little for everyone but practically nothing of consequence for anyone. It was a Suez budget, a retreat. There was $1 million for Nasser to clear his canal, and $6 a month for the aged of Canada.

All kinds of suggestions have been made as to what should be done as far as pensions, pensions for the aged and so on, are concerned. Time after time I have urged that

The Budget-Mr. H. O. White it would not be too difficult for the economists and mathematicians to work out a scheme whereby as the cost of living increased so would the pensions, and we would not have this recurring bid for the people's votes every four years. No consideration was given down through the years until we came to an election year; then all of a sudden a large number of people in the country seemed to become of great importance to the government. I am amazed that the government would have the idea that the people could be influenced by an increase of $6 a month.

I was rather amazed to find on reading the press the other evening that the rank and file of the Liberal party were more or less agreed that $10 was the amount they felt would be about in line with the increased cost of living, and that was the amount by which the pension should be increased; but it did not turn out that way. Surely, Mr. Speaker, in a country like Canada, with the vast resources we possess and the prosperity the government have been boasting about, we can afford more generous treatment of the aged and the needy. The cost of living has certainly gone up for those couples raising families. It has gone up more than has the amount of the allowance. There is an age group between six and eight years who have been forgotten entirely.

Much has been said about inflation. The Gordon report envisages continuing inflation; and if the people get the idea that the dollars they save for pension plans and other schemes for the years when they are not going to be profitably engaged are going to shrink, as they have been doing in the last few years, there will be no incentive for our people to save at all. The continuing inflation, which the government would like us to believe they are trying desperately to stop in a futile way with rather futile results, does rob those on fixed incomes and on pensions. As I said before, it is a very serious threat to those people who are trying to provide for their own future. Yet we could not help but commend the long overdue concession in the budget whereby those who are self-employed can provide for pensions, as can those on salaries.

For agriculture there was lots of consideration but no action. Inflation has priced Canadian farmers out of overseas markets. To give you an idea, Mr. Speaker, of what is going on, I noticed in today's Gazette that

12,000 farmers went out of business in the province of Quebec in the last five years. I think that gives a pretty true picture of what is going on in the other provinces as well. Agriculture was promised at the eleventh hour that there would probably be negotiations with Australia, and also with the United States, regarding imports of products into Canada.

The Budget-Mr. H. O. White

There was no relief whatever in the budget for small enterprises, small businessmen, who are actually the backbone of this country. By reading between the lines one could gather that there seemed to be a certain amount of assurance to big business that they could carry on. They were not affected in any way. Apparently also it is good for the federal government to have surpluses, but for the provinces and the municipalities there is deficit financing.

There is no doubt the day is coming when some arrangements will have to be made whereby the municipalities and the provinces will have a greater share of the tax dollar. Their necessities are still taxed. Some luxuries were excused in the budget. I do not think the rank and file of Canadians can take a great deal of satisfaction from the fact that gold and silver plate, crystal and motorcycles are going to be excused in this budget from the excise tax, but there was no relief for the motorists. Probably the motorist is the most heavily taxed individual in this country, yet an automobile is a necessity in our country of vast distances and for transportation to employment. I would venture to say, without going into exact figures, that probably on an average each new automobile is assessed $500 in taxes, and every time a motorist drives up to the gas tank there is another tax.

While I am dealing with the taxes on motor cars, I notice that Mr. William A. Wecker, president of General Motors of Canada, had something to say regarding the tight money policy. He said:

The curbs are one sure road to depression and unemployment.

Ron W. Todgham, president of Chrysler Corporation of Canada, said:

Certain businesses and industries are being singled out to bear the full brunt of a policy of credit curtailment.

In other words the motor car industry is certainly not convinced that this tight money policy is the way to beat inflation, and this budget policy and the credit restrictions are certainly discouraging housing, especially the high interest rates. At the very same time we are told by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration that he hopes this year will see a greater flow of immigrants to Canada than any previous year. As far as I can see from the budget there was no thought for tomorrow as to what would happen as far as housing is concerned. The only thought for tomorrow was for election day, and not beyond that.

I notice also the government feels that it cannot trust the people with their own money, as it has this policy of draining off money that has been saved and put into the banks, by wage-earners and people who earn their

money in other ways. The government is now taking 31 cents of every dollar the wage-earner and worker in Canada receives, yet back in 1929 only 17 cents of every dollar was taken in taxation. Inflation was not going on at that time. So it is not the amount of money that is left in the hands of the workers that is the cause of inflation.

I suppose there is no doubt in the world that this was an election budget. I hear on very good authority that the next election is going to be fought on a constituency basis, and that the government have prepared for every constituency a statement of the amount of money they have put into it. Well, Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to fight the next election on that issue if that is what the government wants. For every dime they have put into Middlesex East they have taken out a dollar; and what have we to show for it? Not a great deal.

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