April 18, 1916

CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

Yes, they will be in the supplementaries; that is where these things come. I have wearied the House probably longer than I should have done-

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

No, no; go on.

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George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

-But I felt it my duty to lay these things before the House and to enlist the sympathy of men on both sides of the House in this matter; and if I can have the extreme pleasure of having hon. gentlemen on both sides of this House, after this brief sketch of what I propose to do, give me the benefit of their criticisms, I shall feel greatly indebted to them,

If something that I have in view now can be better done, let me have it. On this side the House, or on the other side, let us at least take up this question, a mighty and tremendous one, and one which I have very inadequately brought to the attention of the House. Let us take it up, put aside our party prejudices and our party shibbo-, leths for a moment, and come right down . to a good hearty committee-of-the-whole conference upon what is best to be done, and bow it can be done, under present conditions, in reference to the development and the distribution of our country's products.

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Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX:

I agree with almost every word my hon. friend has uttered this afternoon, but I would like him to supplement his remarks by declaring that the business commission which he is going to appoint and send abroad will be of a non-partisan character.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

I know that if I gave my hon. friend warning ahead it would be a shock to him, but he will see what the commission is to be when I announce the names. ,

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William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I have listened with a great deal of pleasure to my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce. He has certainly giyen us a very valuable and informative address. When he stated that he intended to enlist the sympathy of his colleagues as well as the sympathy of the other member's of this House I thought I would like to have a well-secured dictaphone under the council table when my hon. friend was pressing his colleagues support him, and especially when he was impressing upon them the necessity of economy in the other departments of the Government, in order that he might have a little more money to carry out the important projects which he has in view. There is the difficulty with the hon. Minister of Trade and Commecre; he never brings to bear upon his colleagues his great ability and what ought to be his surpassing influence. If he does we fail to see any results. My hon. friend has come to this House on more than one occasion and talked eloquently and forcibly of the necessity of economy. You, Sir, have heard him say in stentorian tones that he abhorred extravagance and believed in econ-

omy. How often has he told his colleagues that he abhorred extravagance and believed in economy? The Estimates brought down to this Parliament in these war times amount to the enormous sum of $189,000,000. Think of it, Sir, an estimated expenditure of $189,000,000 in a country with a population of about 8,000,000. Can we believe for a single moment that the Minister of Trade and Commerce can sit dumb while his colleagues are putting forward demands upon the treasury of this country for millions and millions of dollars? If my hon. friend had sought to use his influence-and he could use it if he tried-he ought to have been able to produce a different result, and it would not have been necessary for him to take a slap back at his colleagues twice during this session when he talked about economy and insisted upon the necessity of a .more rigid supervision over the expenditure of public moneys. In that veiled manner my hon. friend has made two strong attacks upon his colleagues in the Government.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I regret to notice that the questions which have been so ably presented by my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce do not seem to attract that attention on the part of hon. gentlemen opposite that one would expect. Therefore I would hardly hope, in view of the slim attendance of hon. gentlemen opposite, that the things which he has presented will command their very deep or earnest consideration. I had hoped that some one or more hon. gentlemen opposite would have taken advantage of the occasion to rise in" their places and express their views in regard to the proposed economies which have been so ably presented to the House by the Minister of Trade aim Commerce. I regret to have to observe that in my opinion he would find very little support from that side of the House. These young gentlemen -these young spendthrifts-who are sitting on the treasury benches beside my respected friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce do not seem to have the same regard for the sacredness of the treasury, or the necessity of saving public moneys, as has the Minister of Trade and Commerce.

The matters which have been presented are very important; but in this connection I cannot help observing that we have had

two extraordinary and rather contradictory speeches from the treasury benches this afternoon. My hon. friend the Minister of Militia and Defence (Sir Sam Hughes), in which I think I am quite right in describing as the extraordinary statement he made to the House, deplored the fact that Germany had been so siyjcessful in this war that she had added 55,000,000 of population to her dominions, that she had acquired a number of countries, such as Serbia, Poland and Galicia, and that now she had a splendidly equipped railway running from Berlin to Constantinople. The hon. gentleman appealed to the members of this House, in tones which seemed to show how deeply he was affected, and he deplored the fact that in this dreadful state of affairs two hundred members of this House were wasting time on such piffle as the question of the waste of some $80,000,000 in connection with the purchase of shells and the taking of large commissions in connection with the letting of the most improvident contracts which were given in the United States for fuses. He seemed to feel that the end of the war was by no means in sight, but that the question was so serious, that the representatives of the people should not be discussing questions which ordinarily would engage their attention, but that they ought to be overlooking the faults of the Shell Committee, the Minister of Militia, and the members of the Government, sacrificing their own views as to whether it is right and proper, and giving their whole assistance to the Government in carrying on the war. v

My hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce, on the other hand, takes \a roseate view of the situation. He has a vision that enables him to see the end of the war. The hon. gentleman is so pleased with the prospect that he even contemplates calling together the business meii, manufacturers, and other classes of people of Canada in the very near future. He is going to have a great banquet in the city of Ottawa, I presume, in connection with the convention he proposes to hold. Well, it is a roseate view that my hon. friend seems to have, and I can picture the delightful time that they will have at that convention and banquet. It would be worth going 3,000 miles even to hear the eloquent speech which my hon. friend will deliver on that occasion.

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An hon. MEMBER:

Hear, hear.

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William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

While it is pleasant, in one aspect of the case, to find that the minister has such a roseate view of the future, there is one thing that is a little deplorable, and that is that the minister seems to have been touched with the microbe which has been afflicting the other ministers, and he feels now that we on this side of the House should join with hon. members on the other side of the House and encourage him to bring down Supplementary Estimates giving him all the money that he desires to carry out his roseate ideas. I am beginning to despair somewhat of even the Minister of Trade and Commerce. Has it not seemed pitiable that the minister should be seeking in all quarters of the world to advance the trade of Canada, that he should be educating young men from the universities, that he should be educating one especially, to advance the interests of Canadian trade and commerce in Italy, sending others to the West Indies, sending these gentlemen to all parts of the world to seek to secure trade for Canada, while right down here to the south of us, Sir, is a great country with a hundred million people affording to the people of Canada every opportunity for trade, every opportunity for the advancement and promotion of commercial intercourse that any people would desire, a country whose trade, so far as Canada is concerned, even durng the period that this Government have been in power, and when they have sought by every means at their command to hamper and prevent trade with that people, has yet advanced by leaps and bounds. In the year ended March 31, 1915, the trade of Canada with the people of the great republic to the south of us surpassed by about $170,000,000 the trade of Canada with all the rest of the world put together. What a marvellous showing that affords of how trade can be developed if you seek trade with people with whom you will naturally have commercial intercourse. Let me give the House the figures for the year ended March 31, 1915:

Total imports of Canada $ 629,444,894

Total exports 490.sus.877

Total foreign trade $1,120,253,771

The total trade of Canada with the United States during that year was $644,026,253, and the total trade of Canada with the rest of the world was only $476,277,518; so that we had about 170,000,000 more trade with the United States than with all the other countries of the world combined, Great Britain included. Yet, notwithstanding

these facts, the minister has not told us

to-night that he has done anything to encourage trade between Canada and the republic to the south of us. He has not told us what action this Government has taken with respect to that trade. If he had told us, it would have been a story of trying to-hamper trade instead of encouraging it. You know as I do, Mr. Speaker, that the great hope of this country depends upon the development of our fertile, wonderful Northwest. There in the three Prairie Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta you have a country which would make not one European empire but which is large enough and wealthy enough in resources to make three European empires. And yet, knowing, as these gentlemen do, knowing as in his heart the Minister of Trade and Commerce must know, that the best means of developing that country, the best means of getting immigrants into that country, the best means of enabling to grow up there a large and conltented population, is to give to the producers of the West free access to the markets of the great American republic, this Government has persistently refused to place upon the statute-books a law which would open the markets of the great country to the south of us to the farmers and cattle-growers of our western lands, a step which would be the means of advancing to a far greater extent the commercial development of this country than all the commissions and all the emissaries that my hon. friend could send to all the countries of the world. And yet they claim that they are in favour of increasing our trade.

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Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

Does the hon. member think that the Canadian people made a mistake in 1911 when they voted against reciprocity with the United States?

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

In my judgment they

did make a mistake. But the results have not been so disastrous to the people of Canada as they would have been had it not been for the fact that the Democratic party in the United States were victorious in the last election and to a large extent opened their markets to our people. As a result of this we are able to send our lumber into the United States free of duty, the duty on oats has been reduced from fifteen cents to six cents a bushel, the duty on cattle has been vastly reduced.

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William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

The duty has been taken off, and so has the duty upon hogs, as my hon. friend reminds me. The result has been that our exports to that country have been enormously increased and we have not felt the disastrous effects which would otherwise have come to the people of Canada as the result of their refusal to accept the agreement which had been made with the United States. Not only does this Government refuse to place upon the Statute Book a law which would admit United States' wheat and wheat products free of duty, and would thereby open to the people of Canada a free market for our wheat, but in the new tariff which last year they placed upon all products indiscriminately they imposed a heavy tax upon American products, and during the present session they went further, and, in respect of a most important part of the food supply, of which only some 200,000 bushels was imported into Canada-I refer to apples- they imposed a tariff against imports from the United States which is nine hundred per cent greater than the duty the United States imposes on the same article going from Canada into the American republic. In every respect these gentlemen have sought to hamper the trade which is natural to the Canadian people, the trade which could be most easily developed. They have been seeking in all quarters of the world, sending their emissaries across the Atlantic and across the Pacific to cultivate a trade difficult to obtain, while hampering and hindering that which is at our very doors. They forget that the inexorable law of supply and demand must make an enormous demand in the United States for Canadian products, a trade which has grown in the face of difficulties which have existed in the past. They forget that we have close to the Canadian border great cities such as Portland, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and St. Paul-and so I might go all the way to the Pacific ocean-where there are millions of people consumers of products who would be glad to obtain the products of Canada both of the East and of the West.

Well, my hon. friend has told about what he proposes to do, and has given us a very interesting story. It shows great effort, on paper. It shows that many stenographers have been employed in the arduous work he has had to do with; it shows great thought, and, so far as can be said of a scheme on paper, I do not know but that it

reflects great credit on the Minister of Trade and Commerce. And he has told us that he is in favour of encouraging industrial and technical education in this country. He has not said that in so many words, but he has told us how much good the chemist may do to advance production in Canada. Has he never heard of the report of the Commission on Technical and Industrial Education, a report made by most experienced men and strongly in favour of the very thing the hon. gentleman advocated this afternoon?-a report which was submitted to the Government shortly after this Administration came into power, but which they have not acted upon up to this moment, but have pigeonholed it, declining to bring it into operation. How long have they been in power? Judging by results, one would say they had been in power only a few days; but judging by the Auditor General's Report one can see that they have been in office for years, for they have left a record in the public expenditure which only a number of years would enable any. Government, however, extravagant to make. They have been in office for some four years, and not one single step they have taken to encourage in Canada industrial and technical education. The Minister of Trade and Commerce comes before Parliament this afternoon and suggests that it would be well to encourage the study of chemistry in Canada-as if he had never heard of the report of the Commission on Industrial and Technical Education. Would not you think that, instead of talking, instead of writing reports, it would be desirable to do something of a practical nature and to bring into operation some of these things which my hon. friend professed to be so anxious to see inaugurated in Canada?

But there is something else that he has forgotten. He did not give us one word about the important Economic and Industrial Commission of which his colleague, Senator Lougheed, is chairman, and which has been working for a number of months in an endeavour to solve the very problems which the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce, in his very eloquent speech of this afternoon, presented. That commission is housed in a mansion on Vittoria street, formerly the home of Mr. Manuel, one of Ottawa's millionaires. In this magnificent house they have been housed for a considerable period, and there, I am told, they have numberless clerks, and have already spent many thousands of dollars working on the very problem which the Minister of Trade and Commerce presented to us this

afternoon as entirely new. I think he had better consult with his colleague the President of the Council, the Hon. Mr. Lougheed, and not entirely ignore the work that this commission is doing. Heaven knows it is costing the country enough, but it is only one of the eighty odd commissions which this Government has appointed since it came into power. Surely my hon. friend, with his long experience and his great ability, ought to be able to work out such problems himself; or, if he cannot do that, he ought to be able to work them out with the assistance of his colleagues. But he is going to have a commission also to work at the same thing, and then, when he gets it organized, he is going to have this conference and a right good time right here in the city of Ottawa, and he is not going to wait until the war is over, because he now sees the end of the war in sight. My hon. friend has asked us to meet with him here in friendly intercourse almost as a joint committee of this House to talk these things over and endeavour to arrive at a decision as to what' will be best for Canada, but when the hon. member for Rouville (Mr. Lemieux) asked. him if he would treat the matter from a non-party standpoint there arose a buzz of protest from behind the hon. gentleman which prevented him from giving an assent to the proposition of my hon. friend from Rouville. Whether the war is on-or whether the war is not on, this Government is partisan first, last, and all the time, and we need not expect very much from it.

My hon. friend says that conditions are going to be very different after the war is over, and that we must get to work now and have these commissioners and have this conference, and, I suppose, have this banquet and talk this thing over. My own idea is that we should win the war first.

I would far sooner see the time of this House taken up in trying to expose wrongdoing and trying to prevent graft and the waste of millions upon millions of the money of the people of Canada and of the British Empire than in discussing theoretical questions which will not become practical until the war is over. My hon. friend has great fear, however, that the industries of Canada will be affected to a large extent by reason of 250,000 of our young men being taken from Canada to fight the battles of the Empire. My hon. friend aleo deplores the fact that while industries have been created, yet they are not being used for a good purpose, and *

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says that ordinary industries are to promote the peace and happiness of mankind, while the industries which have been started in connection with the manufacture of munitions of war are really for the injury and the detriment of mankind. Was my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Com- t merce here when the Minister of Finance made his Budget speech, in which he spoke in glowing terms of the great increase which had taken place in the trade of Canada since the war began, of the wonderful development which had taken place, of the thousands of men who were being employed? The Minister of Finance fairly gloated over the present situation and said that to-day Canada was prosperous. One would almost think he would like the war to go on forever, because then Canada would have a flowing revenue and men would be employed and the taxes could be paid, because people would have the money coming in from munitions to enable them to pay the taxes. I rather agree with my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce. I think it is deplorable that this condition of affairs should exist, and we ought not to boast of what has been the result of it from a financial standpoint so far as this country is concerned, and we ought not to take pleasure or pride in it as the Minister of Finance and many other gentlemen on the opposite side did. Of course, it ought always to be remembered and pleaded in excuse and palliation for the Minister of Finance, that before the war broke out our industries from the Atlantic to the Pacific weTe paralysed, that men were out of employment; that the wheels of industry had stopped, that the factories had closed and the chimneys were smokeless, and that the war did start up new industries and did give employment to many people. I am not, however, one of those who despair of things righting themselves very quickly when the war is over, whether it should be over in the near future or at a somewhat later date. While it is true that many thousands of our young men will come back maimed and disfigured and incapable of taking their places in the industrial life of Canada; while it is true that many thousands more have already laid down their lives upon the battlefields of Europe and that many thousands more will, I fear, lay down their lives before this war is over; yet it should never be forgotten that the training which those thousands of young men have obtained and will obtain makes them better, physically

and morally, and when they come 'back they aTe likely to be better citizens than they were before they went away. There is no training which is better physically and morally for a young man than the training of a soldier, and I believe that when they do come back they will soon take their appropriate places in the industrial life of Canada, and that it will not take long to settle the problem which will face us in the future. I do not despair of our country rapidly going ahead again and soon Teaching the wonderful stride which it attained in the years when the party led by my right hon. friend who is now leader of the Opposition was in power. When he came into office there was great depression; but, by the adoption of energetic and progressive policy, the wonderful resources of our western country were made known to the people of the United States and of Europe, and it was not long before immigrants from the Old Land and from the new began to flock to Canada, not by thousands, not by tens of thousands, but by hundreds of thousands. We have in our western country the same rich lands that we have ever had. We not only have the millions of acres which have been settled upon, but in that country there are 'from seventy-five to a hundred million acres of land still unsettled, still belonging to the Crown, among the most fertile and most splendid land that can be found in any part of the world. And all that has to be done is for a Government progressive enough to take steps for the settlement of these lands, to make their wonderful advantages known to the people of the outside world; and when peace comes, immigrants will ag'ain come into ou country by the hundreds of thousands, as they came in the years gone by. That will bring prosperity, that will bring peace, that will *bring hope and inspiration, to the people of Canada. I, Sir, have no fears for what the future may bring forth, and I desire to repeat that, instead of indulging in those theoretical ideas which the Minister of Trade &nd Commerce seems to have in his bonnet, and for which he is asking the opportunity to spend money while the war is on, we should wait until the war is won, and then the people of Canada will soon adapt themselves to the situation, and you will see an era of prosperity again spreading over this country My hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce is going to have a great commercial bureau, situated in Ottawa. While I am not quite sure that that would not be

desirable at some distant time, I think that the matter of our voting unanimously, as the minister has suggested, a considerable sum of money at this late day in the session in order to carry out these ideas might very well be postponed until different conditions prevail throughout the country.

I had thought, Mr. Speaker, that my hon. friend would have had something more practical to present to us to-day than that which he has suggested. He knows that since this war began the necessity for a Canadian mercantile marine has increased week by week and month by month. He knows well-because he comes from a province where even the most ignorant are aware of this-that in the not distant past Canada was one of the great ship-building and ship-owning countries of the world. He knows that in the city of St. John, from which I come, it is not so many years since we could see at least 1,200 men working in the shipyards of Courtenay bay. He knows that shipbuilding was carried on up the St. John river, on the Kennebecasis river, on the north shore of the province, on the magnificent Miramichi river, where ships of the world, almost, could lie at anchor. He knows that the people there have the instinct for shipbuilding. He knows that if there is anything which the Empire requires to-day for its success in this war it is more vessels to carry the products of the overseas dominions to the markets of England and the Allies. He knows that, as a result of the destructive submarine warfare, the merchant marine of Great Britair has been declining to an alarming extent, and that upwards of 2,000,000 tons of mercantile shipping belonging to the Empire have been sunk. He knows that many people in this country outside of Parliament have been urging upon the Government the necessity of doing something for the promotion of shipbuilding. Yet, Sir, with this knowledge, my hon. friend comes to Parliament and talks about his emissaries, about his commissioners whom he is sending to all parts of the world to encourage trade and commerce, about the bureau which he is going to establish on behalf of Canadian industries, ahout the convention which he is going to have before long in Ottawa. He talks about all these things, but upon the great question in which the people of Canada and the people of the Empire are so vitally interested, my hon friend remains silent. When I ventured to bring this question to his attention a few days ago he told me that when he should come again with his Estimates he would ask our advice with

regard to ship-building. When my hon. friend intends to ask our advice, I do not know, but let me tell my hon. friend that unless this Government take hold of this important question at once and do something in a practical way for the encouragement of ship-building in Canada, they will be committing a crime against the people of this country and against the people of the Empire which no administration of the department, no matter how good that administration in other respects may be, can condone or expiate before the people. In the presence of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, who would properly have this important subject in hand, I say that to-day Canadian ship-building is hampered as it should not be by the duties which this Government imposes upon engines, boilers and other machinery which enters into the building of ships. If he would remove the duties upon these articles and give reasonable assistance and encouragement to shipbuilding, it would not be many months before shipyards would be established in Canada, before many keels would be laid and many vessels turned out which would be an ornament to Canada and of material assistance to the Empire. I am not alone, Sir, in* this demand for the encouragement of ship-building. Hon. gentlemen opposite act as if they were under the impression that no man in Canada thought that shipbuilding should be encouraged or undertaken in this Dominion except my unworthy self. They act as if the words which I speak are not worth listening to, and they pay no heed to what I say. Let me tell them that they will hear before long the voice of the people of Canada demanding that they should take action. There is no reason why they should not take action. I have it upon the most reliable authority that if they would give proper encouragement, steel shipbuilding would be undertaken in the province of Nova Scotia. I know that there are people interested in shipbuilding, who, if reasonable encouragement were given, and the duties on machinery taken off, would engage immediately in the building of wooden vessels furnished with auxiliary power, which would be of enormous assistance in transporting food products from Canada tc. the markets of the old world. Sir, this Government have done nothing, in spite of the fact that the Minister of Trade and Commerce has seen the freight rates upon our wheat, upon our cattle, upou our

lumber and upon everything which Canada has to send to the markets of the old *-.*olid going up month after month since the war began, until to-day the carriage of these products costs the producers and consumers together a thousand per cent more than it did before the war broke out. Is there not something in that state of affairs that will appeal to hon. gentlemen opposite and make them take hold of this practical question instead of devoting their attention to theoretical questions which are of no practical importance?

I apologize to you, Sir, and to the House for taking up so much time with reference to these matters, particularly at this late date in the session. As a member of this House I felt that the remarks of my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce were deserving of some attention. I was not able to agree with him that the course which he outlined was one that ought to be pursued for the advancement of trade in Canada, and for the industrial development of our country. I regret to have to differ from him at this time, he made such a kindly appeal to us to work with him. I would love to work with my hon. friend. If he would only come down to us with some broad progressive policy based upon true lines of Canadian development I should be glad to work with him, but so long as he continues not to be influenced by those grand and beneficent considerations which are had in regard by men who would like to see our foreign trade developed; so long as he simply looks to the keeping of a home market; so long as he does not look abroad, particularly to that country with which we would naturally trade and with which, if proper encouragement were given, our trade, amounting to hundreds of millions, as it does to-day, would still further advance by leaps and bounds; so long as he follows these lines I regret that I am not able to agree with my hon. friend or to act with him.

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Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. H. H. STEVENS (Vancouver):

I

would not delay the House at this late date in the session by continuing this discussion had it not been, first, for the fact that the Minister of Trade and Commerce has delivered in the House this afternoon one of the most masterly presentations of the trade pro^ipm0 facing Canada and the Empire that has been delivered in Canada since the outbreak of the war.

The Minister of Trade and Commerce, as on other occasions since the outbreak of. the war, presented his proposals not only

in a non-partisan way, but in a manner which showed that he has given the problem the deepest consideration from a national and economic standpoint. In terms entirely free from partisanship he invited the co-operation of the House, and particularly of the leading members of the Opposition, whose experience has made their advice valuable, to co-operate with him and with the Government and the House generally, in an attempt to solve these enormous problems. My hon. friend from St. John (Mr. Pugsley) a few moments ago took to task hon. gentlemen on this side of the House because we did not rise in support of the Minister of Trade and Commerce. But, Sir, the hon. member himself was actually wiggling in his seat for three or four minutes before my hon. friend concluded his remarks, and was on his feet before the hon. minister had actually taken his seat. I hasten to take this opportunity of expressing not only my approval, but my gratitude to the minister for introducing the subject in the manner he has. In my estimation there is no greater problem facing the Dominion of Canada to-day than the problem of what we are going to do to reorganize the nation's industrial and commercial life after the conclusion of this war. My hon. friend from St. John says that when these young men come back from the front, with the training and discipline which results naturally from a military life, they will again fall back into their places in the industrial life of Canada. This is the first time I have heard, in recent times, from the lips of an hon. gentleman claiming the experience, and at the same time having to a large extent the respect, shall I say, of the people of Canada, for his ability at least, such a sentiment as that. The hon. gentleman knows, if he knows anything at all, that when there is a disruption of trade caused by a great war lasting for a period of years, men do not fall back into their places again. If he wants a few examples I shall give him some that occurred during the few months prior to the opening of the session. Between September and January, there returned to my city a large number of men wounded and incapacitated for further military sendee. Three particular cases which came to my notice impressed on my mind the gravity of this problem, which the hon. member laughs at and brushes to one side as a simple proposition. ' The first was a young bank clerk who returned from the

front- to Vancouver. He came to my office and asked what would be done for him. I asked him what he did before the war. He said he was a clerk in such and such a bank. I said: There should be very little difficulty in your going back to youT old position. He said that he did not want to go back to the bank, that he was out of the bank now and never wanted to go banking or clerking again; he wanted an outside job. Would my hon. friend thrust that man back into his former position? My hon. friend knows that the mere fact of this man having served the Empire would arouse sympathy for him if any such attempt were made. Then a young man came to my office and I asked him the same question. He said he was a farmer. I said: That is splendid, because I know where there is a demand for young men on farms. He said: Not much, I have had all the farming I want, I want a city job.

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Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

He was after a Government job; and I may tell my 'hon. friend that I recommended him and about 30 others for Government jobs. And further to gratify my hon. friend in his little gibe, I have adopted the policy in Vancouver that no one but a returned soldier gets a Government job, and, if my hon. friend does not agree with that policy, he may as well say so. So far as patronage is concerned, if that is what the hon. gentleman wants to introduce at this time, I would not give a snap of my fingers if all the patronage in my riding were undertaken tomorrow by a commission. Patronage has no attraction for me; it is the curse of public life: But that is the situation and

the facts, that these men come back to Canada with their former ideas disrupted and changed; they have been taken out of the ruts they were in before and they are going to demand a different outlook in life. The return of 250,000 or 300,000 of these men will have a very serious effect upon the affairs of the country, and so I say that, in my estimation, the greatest problem facing Canada to-day is the problem of re-adjustment at the conclusion of the waT. The hon. member for St. John says: Oh, let us wait, there is lots of time to deal with this, let us first win the war. Oh, he says: I would sooner sit in this House and expose graft than indulge in the consideration of such profound economic

problems as those proposed by the Minister of Trade and Commerce. Certainly he would rather do that, scandal mongering, the digging out of alleged and supposed graft, has more attraction to my hon. friend than the consideration of these great problems. It mates my blood boil-I may be young, while my hon. friend may be ancient in his seat-but it makes my blood boil to sit here and waste the time of this House week after week, and month after month, what at? A lot of pettifogging, alleged scandal. Ninety peT cent of the charges made by hon. gentlemen opposite are absolutely foundationless. I have not the slightest objection to any hon. gentleman in this House, be he a member of the Opposition or a supporter of the Government, rising in his seat during these strenuous times and calling the attention of the House to well-established irregularities. But the wasting of the time of the House seems to me to be a serious evil, and many hon. gentlemen opposite deplore it as much as I do, because they have told me so with their own lips. You do not hear them talking on these petty graft scandals. I say they deplore the attitude assumed by some hon. gentlemen opposite in this matter, at a time when the House should be paying attention to these great problems. My hon. frienu called the supporters of the 'Government a group of young spendthrifts. I had under my hand the other night, a list of the figures of the hon. gentleman's department prior to the accession to office of the present 'Government, and I think that any comparison of the records of the two Governments in this respect must result favourably to the present Government. Take, for instance, the Public Works Department, of whose spendthrift policy we have heard so much from my hon. friend. He has moved that certain Estimates be cut in two, willy nilly, whether they are needed or not. As a matter of fact, the Minister of Public Works saved on his appropriation last year upwards of $12,000,000. Instead of making false criticisms, it would come very much better from the lips of the hon. member for St. John and others if they would hand out a little commendation once in a while when the Government does perform a good act. Take, for instance, the fitting up of this building. Within three days of the fire we were in here, comfortable; and we have been comfortable ever since. What has it cost? The whole fitting up of this building was done out of the savings of last year's appropriation on the mainten-

ance of Government buildings. The sum of $39,000 was all that was spent in the fitting up of this building, and the work was done in a remarkably short time.

Then the Minister of Trade and Commerce gave a detailed statement showing the activities of his department which, through the whole regime of my right hon. friend who leads the Opposition, was a dead letter, an absolutely useless department, a sinecure. My hon. friendrthe Minister of Trade and Commerce has given us a splendid resume of what his department has accomplished, and is accomplishing. My hon. friend from St. John (Mr. Pugsley) said a moment ago: Here we have right south of the line the greatest market in the world, and, instead of bothering ourselves with the foreign markets in Europe, why do we not develop that market. Does my hon. friend consider that the market of Russia to which the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce is giving particular attention now, is a market to be ignored? There is a country with 170,000,000 people, comparatively undeveloped; a country that will demand in the next few years more railroad steel, more construction steel than any other country in the world; a country which requires certain natural products that we have in abundance, such as silver, copper and lead, and from which we can import many valuable articles which we can not and do not produce at home. It is a country which may be reached by both out seaboards with equal facility, through Archangel and the Baltic ports on the Atlantic side, and through Vladivostock on the Pacific side; a country which is open to our trade, waiting for development, and having a population of 170,000,000. My hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce sends one of the ablest trade commissioners the department ever had to investigate the trade of that country; he makes excellent reports, and all he receives by way of support from hon. gentlemen opposite, if the hon. member for St. John speaks for them, is sneers and ridicule. I am surprised at the attitude of hon. gentlemen opposite. I did expect that the remarks of the Minister of Trade and Commerce would have some support from them.

My hon. friend from St. John actually blames the Government for the high freight rates on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This Government-he did not say so in so many words, but the insinuation was there, and that is about all we get nowadays, in-

sinuations; innuendoes, and allegations of one kind or another-this -Government sat idly by while -the freight r-ates on the various ocean routes were going up by leaps and bounds. Everybody knows perfectly well that it is because of the withdrawal of tonnage from the usual trade routes for the transport services 9 p.m. of the war, and because of the fiendish submarine policy of Germany, that freight rates have gone up. There were one or two sane remarks made by the hon. member from St. John, and' those were in connection with shipbuilding. I do not agree with him that a great deal could be done to stimulate shipbuilding in Canada. But in connection with steel shipbuilding, we must bear in mind that so far as steel plates and ship-angles are concerned at the present time, it is a very difficult thing to get them at anything like reasonable prices owing to the large demand in other parts, and owing also to the amount of steel that is being used for munitions, and for other purposes connected with the war. But a great deal could be done immediately to -stimulate the building of wooden vessels with cheap auxiliary power. On the Pacific co-ast, we have peculiar facilities for this class of industry. We have the timber; we have the trade waiting for ships to carry it, and if we had the tonnage we could to-day be shipping millions of feet of lumber to the markets of the world.

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April 18, 1916