Mr. C. DUMAINE (Bagot) (Translation):
Mr. Speaker, a celebrated English parliamentarian stated that a new member should speak in the house only after having listened attentively during two sessions; that at the third session, he should speak but for ten minutes. I wish to conform, in a large measure to this advice, and I shall restrict myself as much as possible to the time limit indicated.
Before proceeding further, sir, allow me to recall to the hon. members the memory of the late Mr. G. D. Morin, my predecessor. Mr. Morin was highly thought of by his colleagues, friends and all his constituents. He was a hard worker and very devoted to his duties. The country lost a great man; his family, a good father and the county a distinguished member. Mr. Morin was the worthy successor of Mr. J. E. Edmond Marcile, who represented the county of Bagot during twenty-eight years, and his constituents reposed all their confidence in him up to the very last, since they elected him, in 1925, hardly a month before his death. I trust that the example of my predecessors may be a guide to me in my public life.
I took a great interest in the debates of the present session, and I studied as much as it was possible for me to do, the legislation enacted. Allow me, sir, to congratulate the right hon. Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Mackenzie King) for the wise way in which
The Budget-Mr. Dumaine
he leads the Liberal party and directs the destinies of Canada. The right hon. Prime Minister is a great statesman, and has a wide-world reputation. All legislation which he has passed is sound, human and loj-al. I would not be doing my duty and would be unfair to our hon. ministers if I did not give them credit for the good and sound administration of their respective departments. And you, Mr. Speaker, you have my entire admiration and full confidence for the wise way with which you preside over proceedings of this house.
As I wish to be brief, allow me, sir, to say a few words on questions of a general interest to the country and of immediate need to my constituents.
On May 1, the hon, minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) submitted to us the budget for the current year. The reduction of the national debt, as well as that on the income tax and sales tax were highb^ appreciated by all citizens of this country, Conservatives as well as Liberals, and this is vouched by all the newspapers which were published the day following this great event.
This year again, more than any other, the government seemed to take a greater interest in the farming class which I have the honour of representing in the house. The prohibition of United States farm products on our markets is a great help to Canadian fanners. The Americans used to dump the surplus of their products on our markets at ridiculous prices, and they prohibited our products on their own markets. I congratulate the government on the stand they have taken. One must not forget that the farmers belong to the class which is the least organized in this country, and we must protect them.
The farming industry differs from other industries; there are a number of factors which makes its management difficult. The crop is either good or bad, depending upon the weather, and even if the market is favourable, if a farmer has no crop he oanniot sell anything; and vice versa, should the crop be excellent and the market poor, the farmer is often obliged to sell at ridiculous prices even sometimes at 50 per cent of cost price. Yet the owner of a farm is always obliged to pay, each year, his taxes and meet various other payments, and, furthermore, interests at rates often too high.
One of our devoted colleagues, the hon. member for St. John Iberville (Mr. Benoit) introduced a resolution in this house to reduce the rate of interest on farm loans from 61 per cent to 5i per cent. All the members of Quebec and a great number of members from other provinces supported this resolution and signed a request asking the hon. Minister of Finance to reduce by one per cent the rate of interest at present in force.
I trust that the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) will grant our request, because I think it just and well founded. If we turn to the other countries which are favoured with a farm loans act, we find that the rate of interest is lower than the one at present in force in this country. I state again that this reduction is necessary and that we should be granted our request.
I should like to see this farm loans act administered by a federal commission, and paid from the -public treasury; that each province which benefits by it should look after the local administration, and that the borrower should -pay but the cost and fees of the examination of titles, acts and registration.
Another essential point to attain the real end for which the Canadian farm loans was established, is that the valuation of properties be made on the actual value of the properties and that the amount of the loan be not less than the f of the estimated value of the property. I am confident, sir, that if we thus assisted the farmers, without too m-uch cost to the country, the farming classes would feel happier and more prosperous.
As the hon. member for Jolette (Mr. Fer-land) stated in his last speech, -the Bankruptcy Act of 1919, caused considerable harm to farmers by allowing them to assign their property. This act, drawn up in terms sufficiently vague as to be interpreted in any way, -makes it possible for certain speculators to roam about the country-side and incite the farmers to assign their property. The latter lose their farms and remain with more debts than they had previously. Money lenders in good faith also lost -their loans owing to the fact of having made such advances during the three months preceding the bankruptcy. This act has been very harmful to the credit of fanners, and to-day, it is a problem for the owner of a farm valued at about $10,000 -to borrow $4,000 or $5,000. These are the reasons why I insist so much that the Canadian farm loans act should become a real help to the farming class.
I would further draw the attention of the government to the estimates for the Department of Agriculture. These estimates are not sufficiently large compared to others of less immediate importance, aviation for instance. Every year the Department is forced to ask for supplementary estimates, and while this is going on, our people are waiting for their money. Within the last few years, the government has wisely taken the initiative of reviving the dairy industry, and, with that
The Budget-Mr. Dumaine
object in view it has established restricted areas. I believe that this Act will be of great help to the farming class, providing that it is well administered. Inspection has already started in my county, and I think that it will be further continued in the autumn. I trust that the government will vote the necessary money to indemnify, as soon as possible, the farmers who may have sustained losses. By indemnifying them within 30 days, the loss sustained will be less felt, and the farmer will be able to renew his herd and get immediate results.
I am pleased-although I expected it-that the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) has levied a duty on butter coming from New Zealand. I hope that the farmers will benefit by it and that the consumer will not complain too much. Butter is, at present, too cheap; we have proof that for about one month past it has been selling below the cost price. The abrogation of the old treaty and the making of new trade arrangements with New Zealand will be highly appreciated by the citizens of this country. I congratulate the government on its attitude regarding this matter. This increase of duty on butter was based on the report submitted by the dairy industry of this country to the tariff commission, in January last. And if the present tariff is not high enough, my opinion is that it should be made higher. Butter is not a greater commodity to the consumer than other products and I know that the consumer will understand the requirements of the producer which are but just and well founded. I congratulate this government for its solicitude towards the farming class. The Liberal party has always been the champion of the farmer and workman; it has always made war on trusts which are a plague on the economic life of this, country.
The Conservative policy has always been fatal to the small capitalists; it only endorses the farmers cause during election time, and if we examine the past, we will see that the Conservatives have never done anything to protect those for whom they are claiming so much to-day. Their new attitude is but an election manoeuvre; and I hope the people of this country will understand it and that the Liberal party will be returned to power in the next parliament, with a greater majority than the one we have to-day.
Subtopic: THE BUDGET