the profiteers. The workingmen have teen deceived in their legitimate expectations.
A deadly trick.
Commissioner Cot6 qualifies the food dictator's appointment as a "deadly trick," whilst in public meetings, in Montreal, the Government is charged with becoming the accomplice of the speculators and of the profiteers, letting. Mr. Hanna starve the people, while prices are on the rise and foodstuffs are being hoarded in the cold storage warehouses.
An odious accumulation.
The public are justified in demanding that the foodstuff prices be regulated, especially so when they are imposing upon them restrictions from which they are already suffering enough on account of the excessive prices exacted from them for articles of prime necessity. What occult power is there to prevent Mr. Hanna from doing his duty, or what are the influences that cause him to hesitate between the protection the consumers are entitled to and the speculators' interests? The Order in Council which has appointed him dictator, gives him full power to investigate the prices of provisions and also to regulate them; what use is there for him to preach us the great principle of demand and supply, when he knows that this economic. equilibrium has ceased to exist, ever since the beginning of the war, that it has been destroyed by the very people who are making a greater show of it in order to impose upon us more odiously. Is it reasonable, for instance, to pay bacon fifty cents a pound, in cider that Mr. Flavelle may realize, in 1917, the enormous gain of $1,397,903, when such profits had seemed satisfactory, in 1913, when they were $16,326? Why does Mr. Hanna allow the hoarding of foodstuffs in the profiteers' cold storage plants, when the prices are always going up? On the 1st of September, indeed, 130 cold storage plants, throughout the country, contained 14,948,540 dozen of eggs; 20,480,809 lbs of butter; 19,693,704 lbs of cheese; 14,2i5,-677 lbs of beef; 29,989,515 lbs of pork; 14,019,243 lbs of lard; leaving out mutton, lamb, fish and poultry, of which large quantities will be lost through the fact of not marketing them in time.
I have already stated, when I began these remarks, the quantities of pork hoarded in these establishments.
During the same time, the food dictator puts on the salaried lists specialists in domestic economy to prepare bills of fare for our housewives, when the greater part of the foods set down on these menus are inaccessible to ordinary purses, and are no longer, on account of their exorbitant cost, to be seen on the table of a large number of workingmen and of petty employees. Wheat porridge, with milk and sugar, has become a luxury; milk is hardly sufficient for infants' food, when some can be had, and sugar is only used to sweeten the bitter taste of light tea. The ham and eggs which figures on the bill of fare of a "war breakfast" prepared by the domestic economy specialists of the food dictator, is a sort of heart-rending irony, with eggs at 60 cents a dozen and ham at about the same price a pound; it is a pasha's dish. And what about roast beef, roast veal, pork chops, poached eggs, butter for gravies, marmalades which have doubled in price in less than a year; green peas, the canning of which is forbidden ; onions which are only sold by the
fMr. L. A. Lapointe.]
pound; fruits which cost much dearer than their nutritive value; syrups, which we must give up because it takes sugar to make them, and molasses which has become a luxury.
All these articles, however, are to be found on 'the economic menus of the food dictator, prepared for the benefit of our Canadian housewives, without even attempting to give them a chance to buy at a reasonable price what is needed to make up those bills of fare.
Is such a comedy not becoming most outrageous?
, I have taken much time, Mr. Speaker, but I was anxious to lay such a state of affairs before the eyes of the public, and I shall continue to do so until the end of the session. On that point, I have the support of all those who suffer and Who pay, not . only of the Montreal population, but of the whole of Canada. I contend that this Parliament has not gone far enough to relieve the people on that stand. I say Parliament, for we also, on the Opposition side, have had some faults, but the blame is especially upon the Government side. We have spoken too often, Mr. Speaker, but liave done very little.
We have often heard, for instance, the hon. Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden), the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Burrell), the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) and the hon. Minister of Labour .(Mr. Crothers), making fine speeches of economic trend upon this question of high cost of living; all have made nice promises, the whole matter was to be settled. Everything has been settled, that is true, but in the manner described by Mr. Contant, that is to say, every thing has been settled to crosis the ocean. Whether it be the fault of the trusts or of these hoarding cold storage owners, in order to foresee a coming increase in prices, it matters little; for my part, I charge the Government with being the main cause of the evil. They are invested with full authority and they should have done their duty in the difficult circumstances we are going through. They should have done more than appoint a man who does nothing but go to and from Quebec to Toronto, from Toronto to Victoria and from Winnipeg to Vancouver, just to look over reports made by certain people whom he has called upon to check and control certain facts; he does not, however, take the trouble to fix the price of such or such article of foodstuff necessary to mere living. In a word, he is satisfied in doing nothing.
As I have just stated I shall not lose a simple opportunity, from now until the end of the session, even to-morrow perhaps, to draw the Government's attention upon this subject and to communicate to the House
newspaper extracts, in order to open the eyes of the Government upon this question.
Motion agreed to.