Telegram and Family Magazine. The article is as follows: :
In the above year- j
That is 1917,
-the company made from overage, which was the rightful property of the farmer, much more than they paid the shareholders in dividends. From information received from one of the officers, the Grain Growers, Ltd., have from 30,000 to 40,000 stock subscribers, who are principally the farmers of the prairie provinces, and if properly operated on protected lines it could be of great benefit to the farmers of Canada. The average individual holding is about $50. The management and directors seem to use the 30,000 or 40,000 shareholders to sing their praises, for which they pay them a dividend of 10 per cent, or an average of about $5.00 per year each, and they actually took a greater amount from the farmers by way of excessive dockage on grain shipped through them, for which they give no value. This is certainly a cheap system of advertising their company, but expensive to the farmers.
The farmers of Canada cannot expect much assistance from the United Grain Growers, Limited, either by legislation or in any other way, while they take from them the grain overage, which is the property of the farmer, sell it and apply the proceeds to their own use. If the president of the United Grain Growers' Limited, who is a cabinet minister at Ottawa, advocated any change In the tariff on agricultural implements, would not the question be asked him: " How can you conscientiously ask for any further protection to the farmer when the company of which you are president accepts the grain overage that is the rightful property of the farmer, and applies it to the use of your company?" It would be like the freckled-faced man selling a concoction to remove freckles. The United Grain Growers, Limited, have repre-
been an enormous falling off in dairy produce for the last two years. Ending February this year there was a decrease of 45,000,000 pounds in cheese, an increase in butter and in condensed milk, but in the aggregate a falling off of 24,075,779 pounds. That is the situation that this country is up against and in the face of all this we had the regulations that were enacted by the Board of Commerce that was turned loose on this country at the last session of Parliament. The facts are already in evidence, and they demand immediate attention on the part of the Government. It is the duty of the Government to see that something is done because I will venture to predict that during the present year you will see, month by month, evidences that the policy that was inaugurated under the hon. member for Marquette when the Minister of Agriculture supplemented by the Board of Commerce is going to prove a very serious one indeed.
The hon. member in endeavouring to justify his withdrawal from the Government went on to deal, as he has dealt this afternoon, with the tariff. The tariff was responsible for all the ills that this country was suffering from and it was necessary for him to get out of the Government although the Government had conceded a . good deal to him along the line which he had been advocating. The ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) whom I am glad to see in the House to-night, will have a fairly good knowledge of what took place in the Government in connection with that matter. The hon. member for Marquette availed himself of the opportunity of that time to refer to the province of Ontario to state how agriculture had become decadent and that it looked to him as though it might very soon be that agriculture would become a lost art in that province. He asserted that production was not as great as it was thirty years ago. That was a bold statement to make and a statement which can not be substantiated. It was a statement which was absolutely without any justification. He stated that:
The Prime Minister invited me to join this Government, in a sense representing that body of organized public opinion to which I have referred.
Organized public opinion? The United Grain Growers, Limited is the organized public opinion which the hon. gentleman represented when he went into the Government. His subsequent conduct would lead you to believe that he had proved
faithful to the company with which he was and is connected. He says:
Furthermore-and the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) knows it-he can travel through Ontario as I have travelled through it, and he will find, not hundreds, but thousands, of abandoned farms in that province.
Poor old Ontario with her thousands of abandoned farms !
Within the last two years I saw myself in a twelve-mile drive in the county of Huron, one of the best counties of Ontario, six vacant farms, and I have no reason to doubt the statements I have made.
I will venture to state -that he cannot find an abandoned farm in the county of Huron. It is true many farms -are much larger than they were and it is also true that the 'agricultural population is not as great as it was a few years ago. There are reasons for that. Western Canada was opened up dur-that time, and the sons of the farmers of Ontario have gone west by tens of thousands, taken up homesteads and become citizens of the West. But there are opportunities in Ontario that there were not thirty years ago and I am proud of the fact that we have industrial concerns in Ontario where our young men can go and that there are opportunities for them to engage in business and the professions it they do not wish to carry on farming operations, whereas, before that, they had to go to the United States or some other country 'to do so. We have these opportunities in Canada to-day and that condition is much preferable than that our young men should have to go to tsome other country to find openings in commercial life. Agriculture has been dragging in Ontario for a number of years. Why? The young men on the farms in Ontario volunteered just as well a* those in other walks of life considering the conditions surrounding them. I have in mind three farmers, neighbours of mine, with only two sons each. All these boys volunteered and went overseas. How could you expect their fathers to carry on as well under these conditions? Yet we have a party in this province that are endeavouring to libel the farmers and to cast odium upon them by saying that they were favourable to being exempted from military service during the war. That is not the case because during the war they carried on as well as -they could although they were badly handicapped by reason of the fact that the men who had formerly sought employment on the farm had gone to the war. As a rule they were among the newcomers to this
country, they were British born, they were the first to answer the call and they rushed to the colours but they are again coming back, they are coming into Ontario in large numbers and we will soon overcome the conditions we have had to lace during the past few years.
It would be unfortunate at this time if it were instilled in the minds of the people that there is a possibility that we were going to upset the fiscal conditions of this country. That same old agitation was going on previous to 1896. There was a feeling of unrest and uncertainty previous to that time by reason of the attitude of hon. gentlemen opposite but once they came into power the manufacturers, and those who had money to invest, realized they were going to adhere to the old, stable policy which had been in force in this country. The result was that capital obtained confidence, people put their money into industries and w'e had prosperity by reason of the fact that uncertainty had been removed from the minds of the people. It is up to the people of Canada to-day to put those w(ho are endeavouring to stir up trouble and discontent where they properly belong. It is a remarkable thing, it is very significant, that it was only a few days after the hon. member for Marquette severed his connection with the Government that there broke out in his native province what you might call an insurrection. You all know what happened in connection with the strike in the city of Winnipeg and it is not necessary to refer to it here. You know how the eyes of the people were turned in that direction and it was well known that there was a determined effort being made to bring about a condition in this country similar to that which they have in Russia. The 0. B. U. was in evidence at Winnipeg at that particular time. I do not refer to these things with any degree of pleasure but it is just as well to call a spade a spade and be done with it and get rid of some of this camouflage.
Yes, the province of Ontario, as the hon. member says, suffered during the war by reason of the scarcity of farm labour. The farmers in that province have had a good deal to contend with, but they are not the only people that have had to encounter difficulties in that respect. This movement that is on foot is not confined to Canada or the United States, it has been general throughout the world-the movement from the country to the cities and towns has been a world-wide movement. Two weeks ago I noticed in the Detroit Free Press an
article referring to what was taking place in the state of Michigan, which is similar in many respects to the province of Ontario. This is what Mr. G. W. Dickinson, manager of the Michigan State Fair, had to say with reference to the Lansing official report which dealt with this matter:
" The public does not half realize the importance of that report," said Mr. Dickinson. " We have a tremendous housing shortage here in Detroit, but out in the state there are 30,300 vacant homes. In Detroit, they would take care of at least 150,000 people, and considering the ample size of most country homes and the congestion here, they probably would accommodate close to 250,000 persons.
" Information in this report is not altogether new to the Fair personnel. Our county agents have been sending in isolated reports showing the same tendency for several months.
It is not poor land that is idle. Great portions of it is right at our doors in Oakland county-which is not only the most fertile of soil, but is also practically a backyard garden for the great manufacturing cities of Detroit and Pontiac. Next winter we may have our pockets full of money, but without food and coal."
That is the condition of affairs in the state of Michigan. Mr. Harry R. O'Brien, writing in the Canadian Farm and quoting in an article from the Saturday Evening Post, states:
One of the questions discussed by this writer is the housing problem in cities. He cites case after case of empty houses in the country, while the people in neighbouring towns are forced to crowd together two, three, four and more families in a single dwelling. In a country town in Kentucky of 6,000 souls there are but two houses that are not homes of at least two families, and in some cases in this town as high as six families are living in one house. On five of the main roads leading out from that town, within a radius of less than ten miles, there are, at least, twenty-seven vacant farm houses-standing idle with no one living in them. This is only one of the particular instances cited. They could be multiplied many times over in every State. Cities and towns are overcrowded, while thousands of farm houses all over the country are vacant.
That is the condition of affairs in the United States. Why, then, does the hon. member single out the province of Ontario and try to make things much worse than they really are. We have this good excuse for being short of farm labour in that province that the farm labourers and the farmers' sons were at the Front doing their duty. I say it ill becomes any man who had the distinguished honour of being chosen a member of the Government to break faith with the people who sent him here, because it is nothing else than that. If those hon. gentlemen who have crossed from this side to the cross benches find
that it is necessary for them to vote against the Government on the tariff question which was not an issue at the last election there is only one consistent thing for them to do, and that is to go back to the electors who sent him here, and say, " I can no longer support the Government." Let them do that instead of endeavouring to form the nucleus of a party with the object of wrecking the Government. I am satisfied that I am right in my views as to what is contemplated because of the prediction made by Sir Wilfrid Laur-ier before the Union Government was formed, and which I have already given to the House. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are hoping to wreck the Government by bringing small detachments of members from this side over to their ranks-some of whom might be characterized as the hon. members on the cross benches have characterized the amendment of the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding): If I
cannot support the Government on a measure such as we are considering to-day. especially when an amendment has been moved which means a vote of want of confidence in Sir Robert Borden and his colleagues, there is a certain consistent course for me to pursue, and that is to hand my resignation to the people who sent me here. That and no other course should be followed by those who have any regard for the confidence which was placed in them by the .people under the peculiar conditions which existed in the fall of 1917. I believe that breeding counts for something in the long run. We have on this side descendants of Blakes and Mowats, and I venture to say you will not find men with blood of that kind in their veins doing such a thing in the case of a Government elected as this Government was in 1917.
I have already spoken at greater length than I intended but there are a number of other matters to which I would like to refer. At this critical period, when public confidence is so necessary, no one should do anything to unduly agitate the public mind. Undoubtedly there is unrest in the country, and it is quite natural that there should be. Then, too, the cost of living is a very serious matter indeed. Hon. gentlemen opposite ask: Are these taxes that are levied going to benefit the consumer? Who are the consumers, let me ask? Is not every citizen of this country a consumer, and will he not find it necessary to deny himself of something in order to meet the demands that are being made upon him? The hon. member for Marquette complained that the income tax imposed in
Canada was not as high as that levied in Great Britain. In his speech the hon. member could not get away from Great Britain. That is his ideal in regard to the tariff, and fiscal matters of every kind; but it must be remembered that Great Britain is an old country, with long established industries. Why did not the hon. gentleman refer to the income taxes that are being levied in the United States? Had he done so he would have found that the income taxes collected in Canada compare very favourably with those levied in the country to the south. The opinion of the people of the United States with regard to Canada is evidently a good deal better than that entertained by the hon. member for Marquette. In this connection let me quote a few paragraphs which appeared in the New York Tribune of December 19, 1917:
Canada "Carries On".
Last April on the shell scarred slopes of Vimy Ridge Canada at the front gave proof of her courage, her devotion, her strength. The "maple leaf" planted on one of the great bulwarks of German tyranny in France was a final evidence of the attitude of one-half of North America to the Boche threat to civilization.
Before Vimy the Canadians had borne their part nobly. It was soldiers of the Dominion who broke the first weight of the German thrust after the gas attack in the Second Battle of Ypres. The British Empire will long remember gratefully the sacrifices of the "Little Black Devils" and the "Princess Pats" on that blood soaked ground about Ypres where the veteran army of Britain-the "old contemptibles"-[DOT] found their glory and their graves in October and November, 1914.
Of the Canadians at the front there was no question. They had seen the German thing as it was. Their comrades had been "gassed" and crucified. Their fellow Canadians had fought cleanly and bravely against a barbarism which expressed itself in methods and in tricks which were beneath the contempt of white men and below the level of savages. Canada at the front knew the Oerman-but what of Canada behind the front, three thousand miles away- would that line hold, too?
Well, the world has its answer now. The politicians doubted. The weak, the weary, the conquered and the disloyal spread their forecasts and proclaimed the outcome. They are answered ; so are doubting politicians and faint hearted patriots the world over. As the American democracy found itself by re-electing Lincoln in 1854, the Canadian democracy has justified democracy and itself in 1917 by re-enlisting for the war, by accepting the man and the methods which alone promise victory.
It is a stirring thing, this victory of democracy in Canada over all the forces which make for surrender and for worse than surrender. The voice of the first Allied electorate to be heard in many, many months is a sign for all Allied statesmen to observe and heed. Canada has sent 400,000 men to Europe; Canada has borne more than 125,000 casualties; but to the call of duty Canada's response is immediate and unmistakable. It is a response which will be heard the
world over. It is a response which will be noted in Berlin as well as in London. Is it too much to suspect it may even be heard in Rome?
The United States will congratulate and pay just tribute to its neighbouring democracy tor its decision. In a time of momentary pessimism Canada has cheered all of us. In an hour of depression and weakness Canada has shown the road of courage and victory illuminated by the spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion. She has been faithful to her dead; to those of her sons murdered as well as those slain in fair fight.
That was the opinion of the better element of the people of the United States with regard to our attitude during the war.
Canada will continue to carry on, and she is not going to be divided into classes. Any one who endeavours to set class against class in this country is doomed to failure, for our people have too much good 3ense to be led away by any such false cry, the folly of which is apparent to every right-thinking person. As the inheritors of a great country we have a duty that we must perform, and the eyes of the world are centred on us to-day largely by reason of the sacrifices and record made by our gallant soldiers at the front. The need of the hour is great, but if we do our duty by ourselves and by our country, if we remain true to ourselves, during the next few years we shall see an unparalleled and undreamt of development of our resources. United States capitalists are anxious to invest money and to establish new industries here in order to develop our resources; in our great western country, where as yet we have merely scratched a little of the surface, we have unlimited resources which, when developed, will be a reproach to those who now would advocate a departure at this critical stage of our history from the old established policy upon which has been laid the foundations of our national prosperity. Are we going to take chances again, as we did years ago when we were young and weak on a change of fiscal policy after having laid down a truly Canadian policy, in order that somebody, somewhere, may make a try out with some fantastic theory? And, Mr. Speaker, I may say that if no stronger arguments are advanced in support of that theory than we have heard this afternoon from the leader of the Agrarian party, I am inclined to think that that party has reached its meridian and is already on its decline.
In conclusion I want to again emphasize the fact, that over 80 per cent of our agricultural produce is now consumed at home, and I would again draw attention to the importance of the home market, which is the
most valuable that our farmers can have, and I would warn them that if tne policy now being advocated by the Agrarian group ever goes into effect agriculture will be the first to suffer, for it is not only our industrial interests that need a protective policy let us get full credit for the quality and standard of our products.
The hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Michael Clark) says that protection is the greatest fallacy that was ever dreamt of. I can remember when the leader of the Government some years ago was endeavouring to put a vote through this House in order to strengthen and render more efficient the British Navy, my hon. friend from Red Deer contended that even although it would cost more money to build ships in Canada, the policy for us to adopt was to have the wheels of industry turning here, to have our workmen employed, and that better wages for Canadian workmen meant better living conditions for their families. So my hon. friend has not always been a consistent advocate of free trade. On that occasion, notwithstanding his great admiration for the Mother Land-which we all feel just as strongly as he doe3-he advocated Canadian ships built by Canadian workmen.
Undoubtedly, Mr. Speaker, we have a country which nature has endowed with everything that a man can desire, and which holds the promise of a mighty future. And, if we cannot make a country with such material it will be because we are not true to ourselves and if we are not true to ourselves be sure our sin will find us out.
Subtopic: DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.