May 5, 1931

INQUIRY AS TO APPOINTMENT OF REPRESENTATIVES OF CANADA


On the orders of the day:


UFA

Robert Gardiner

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. ROBERT GARDINER (Acadia):

Mr. Speaker, in view of the importance of the forthcoming wheat conference to be held in London on the 18th of this month, I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether Canada's representatives have been appointed and, if so, whether he can give the information to the house.

Topic:   WORLD WHEAT CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO APPOINTMENT OF REPRESENTATIVES OF CANADA
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister) :

Canada's representative is the High

Commissioner for Canada, and he has advisers in the person of Mr. Smith, who went to Rome, and Mr. Darby, who represents the non-pool wheat trade.

Topic:   WORLD WHEAT CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO APPOINTMENT OF REPRESENTATIVES OF CANADA
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

In that connection, might I ask my right hon. friend if invitations to other countries to attend this conference are being issued or have been issued by Canada?

Topic:   WORLD WHEAT CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO APPOINTMENT OF REPRESENTATIVES OF CANADA
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The parties attending the conference at Rome determined that they would have the meeting at London on May 18. One country was not represented at Rome, and to that country an invitation was sent. That country has concluded to send a representative to London. I refer to the United States of America.

Topic:   WORLD WHEAT CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO APPOINTMENT OF REPRESENTATIVES OF CANADA
Permalink
LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

An invitation from whom?

Topic:   WORLD WHEAT CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO APPOINTMENT OF REPRESENTATIVES OF CANADA
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The invitation was sent

by this Dominion, and an invitation was also extended by the High Commissioner to the American ambassador at London, after the High Commissioned cabled the Minister of External Affairs.

Topic:   WORLD WHEAT CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO APPOINTMENT OF REPRESENTATIVES OF CANADA
Permalink

CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS

TAXATION OF PROPERTY IN NORTHERN ONTARIO FOB MUNICIPAL PURPOSES


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. J. A. BRADETTE (North Timiskam-ing):

I should like to ask the Minister of

Railways and Canals if he will not tell the house the intended policy of his department in regard to the taxation of the Canadian National railway property in northern Ontario which, as he is well aware, is the only section of the system where such taxation does not exist.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROPERTY IN NORTHERN ONTARIO FOB MUNICIPAL PURPOSES
Permalink
CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. J. MANION (Minister of Railways and Canals):

The last part of the hon. gentleman's question is not correct; it is not the only part of the system which is not so taxed. There are some parts of the system pretty much all over Canada which are in the same position. Plowever, the matter will have to be dealt with on the estimates, because naturally, in reply to a question raised on the orders of the day, we could not state a policy.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   TAXATION OF PROPERTY IN NORTHERN ONTARIO FOB MUNICIPAL PURPOSES
Permalink

SUPPLY-AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE AND AMENDMENT OF MR. BROWN.


The house resumed from Tuesday, April 28, consideeration of the motion of Mr. Bennett for committee of supply, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Brown. Agricultural Conditions


LIB

Louis-Étienne Parent

Liberal

Mr. L. E. PARENT (Terrebonne) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, in resuming my remarks on the motion of the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Brown), with reference to agricultural conditions throughout the country, may I point out that previous speakers have almost all laid stress on the conditions prevailing in western Canada. At the outset of my remarks, the other day, I stated that agricultural industry is an important factor in certain sections of Canada, namely Ontario and Quebec, and that it calls for the consideration of this government which seems, on the contrary, to look upon farming as a trifling matter. My statement is based on the silence of hon. members on your right, Sir, and their refusal to state to the house the policy which the government intend to follow as regards agriculture and which, we on this side of the house, are entitled to expect and know so as to carry on this debate with an adequate knowledge of the facts.

The opposition and the Canadian people, however, have in vain tried to get the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) to make that statement. We have therefore, sir, a perfect right to surmise and form an opinion based on the speeches delivered in public by certain cabinet ministers, since they have assumed office. It further give us the right and the opportunity to criticize the present government's attitude, in the hope that they will break silence and make a clear-cut statement which is anxiously awaited by the Canadian people.

In support of my contentions, I have already pointed out to this house the fact that certain hon. cabinet ministers, representing agricultural ri dings, never mentioned in their speeches, a single measure bearing on the welfare of the farming community. I shall add that this aloofness towards the farming class seems to be reflected in a speech delivered by the hon. Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve) who represents the agricultural riding of Laval-Two Mountains. Let me quote extracts from that speech in support of my contention. The newspaper "La Presse" on march 24, 1931, reports that the hon. Postmaster, after having according to custom, highly complimented the ladies, after having commented at length on the part which women play in society, home education of youth and the sound motherly advices which make for happiness and wisdom; after dealing with certain economical questions of ours and explained- his opposition to women suffrage when he was leader of the opposition in Quebec, after having narrated historical facts; after having expressed the wish of speaking of the seventeenth century, of Madame de Sevigne and Madame de

Maintenon, quoted the works of Rivarol and Voltaire; the speaker broached the political situation of this country. The hon. Postmaster advised economy at home, he stated that the cost of living must be reduced so as to produce cheaper, and he then proved his trust in the Conservative government.

An evidence of trust. Already the economic benefits of the numerous measures enacted have made themselves felt, not only in the return of general confidence and the resuming of work by the unemployed, but also in the growing stability of industries.

This is shown by statistics. Out of 441 companies operating public utilities or industries, 44 only have discontinued or reduced their dividends, and 397 have distributed the same dividends as in 1929, which was a record year. This, I think, is a magnificent attestation of the results attained in less than six months and due, greatly, the the energetic and farsighted policy of the government which has brought back national confidence, strengthened our industries, created work, opened markets and maintained in the path of economic stability the whole of Canada.

The speaker goes on:

To carry on the slow work of economic recovery in Canada, the government has closed the doors to all attempt of flooding the country by dumping competitive goods.

The hon. Postmaster General, sir, alluded to protection, which I look upon as exaggerated, granted to certain industries. However, is it not astonishing that the hon. Postmaster General who, it is stated, mentioned and repeated to his constituents during the elections that, if elected, he would be appointed minister of agriculture, yet, he has chosen to be Postmaster General?

Topic:   SUPPLY-AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE AND AMENDMENT OF MR. BROWN.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Sauvé (Postmaster General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SAUVE (Translation):

I rise to a

point of order. I wish to be indulgent for my neighbour from Terrebonne, but I must declare that I never made the statement which he attributes to me, I have better breeding than that.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE AND AMENDMENT OF MR. BROWN.
Permalink
LIB

Louis-Étienne Parent

Liberal

Mr. PARENT (Translation):

In answer to the hon. Postmaster General, may' I say that I pointed out in my speech that this had been reported.

It is amazing how soon the hon. Postmaster General forgot the farmers, and allowed the Canadian market to be flooded with 2,000,000 pounds of Australian butter in the course of the last five months, When he so strongly criticized, during the election, that policy which permitted butter imports from New Zealand.

The quantities of butter imported, sir, within the last five months were out of proportion with the requirements of our population, and the government, to a degree, is responsible if, to-day, the farmers sell their butter at half-

Agricultural Conditions

price and at about the cost of production. This is a striking proof of the irrational and inconsistent policy of the Conservatives in their campaign of disparagement of the Liberal administration, when butter brought the farmers almost double of what they are receiving to-day.

Any one, sir, who glances over the speech of the hon. Postmaster General, will note that no mention is made of any measure which might give the farmers'of Quebec or those of other parts of Canada some hope. No, there is no mention of such a measure in his whole speech.

I wonder what the farmers of Laval-Two Mountains and of Quebec will think of the statement made by a member of the Bennett cabinet, that everything done heretofore by the government to inspire national confidence, has been done for the benefit of companies which pay record dividends to their shareholders, when, on the other hand, the farmers must sell all their products at wretched prices, ever since the last elections, and have no share in those record dividends. I lay stress on the word "record."

Indeed, the work of economic recovery will be very slow in the agricultural sphere as I have just pointed out to the house, and these conditions will exist as long as the government shows indifference and is neglectful of the interests of the farming community. The cost of living is reduced at the expense of the farmers. The speech from which I have just quoted extracts, as well as present conditions go to prove my contentions.

These good Conservatives, now in office, do quite the contrary to what they promised before the elections. Let us see what the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) stated on June 13, at Calgary, as reported in the Calgary Herald:

In my opinion the basic industry is agriculture. Agriculture has been the basis of this country's prosperity.

At Ormstown, on June 30, as reported by the Morning Citizen of Ottawa, Mr. Bennett, among other things, stated:

Agriculture stood first in Canadian development. We must supply the same advantages to agriculture as to other activities.

"We conservatives are pledged to see that agriculture receives the same benefits as in days gone by." Distribution and marketing were essential factors in assisting agriculture.

These statements are clear and very explicit. Yet, had the present government an end in view when they allowed, last March, 800,000 pounds of foreign butter to enter the country, which resulted in upsetting the market?

If the right hon. Prime Minister was in earnest-and I wish to give him the credit

for being so-in stating that agriculture is the basic industry of the country, that it has always been the foundation of Canada's prosperity, that it should be fostered and given the same advantages as other industries and that he pledged himself to develop this industry, why then does the government enact a high tariff-an exaggerated protection -by which only the large overcapitalized companies profit, allowing them to pay record dividends to their shareholders, as was stated by his colleague the hon. Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve)? Why did not this minister use his influence with his other colleagues in order that the farmers, who are in majority in his county, be given by the government the consideration to which they are entitled, * and thereby also draw, indirectly, dividends or profits from the sale of their products?

Another pledge was made to the electorate, previous to the elections, by the right hon. Prime Minister, on June 9, at Winnipeg, as reported by the Montreal Star:

We pledge ourselves to foster and develop agriculture, and the live stock and dairy industries, now so sadly neglected.

I draw your attention, sir, to the words "so neglected" and I think I have established by facts and authentic statements, what irony is shown by the words "so neglected" in speaking of agriculture under the Liberal regime. It behooves the farmers of Canada to think and judge whether it is not the Conservatives who, to-day, must be charged with negligence towards the farming community. The facts are there as evidence. Moreover, the action of the right hon. Prime Minister, when he refused to wait more than two minutes for the delegates of the farming classes, who came here to submit their grievances and claims before the tariff board, show pretty well his indifference towards the farming community.

There is another statement of the right hon. Prime Minister which also deserves to be pointed out to the Canadian people, and that is the one he made on June 17, at Saskatoon, as reported in the Star Phoenix. I shall give the text itself, and shall close my remarks by reverting to English as the quotations which I have yet to make are couched in that language.

There is only one way we can get the moneys of England for Canadian wheat rather than Russia and the Argentine, and how is that?

I would direct the attention of the house to the concluding words:

By providing our wheat cheaper than the others.

One can see in the inertness of the present government a possible reason; by not enacting any measures to help agriculture. Another

Agricultural Conditions

reason may be seen in the exaggerated policies of high protective tariffs where help is being given only to manufacturers and super-capitalized companies. No appropriation, either directly or indirectly, has been made out of the 120,000,000 voted for unemployment relief to help the western grain growers and the farmers of the country as a whole. The hon. member for Laval-Two Mountains (Mr. Sauve) has declared that in order to create faith this government has enacted measures to help industries to pay record dividends. However, he made no mention of a declaration of policy which would benefit the farmers. This is borne out by the declaration made by the right hon. Prime Minister at Saskatoon on June 19.

The agriculturists of Canada cannot but believe that the policy of this government is to drive the price of agricultural products to the bottom of the well which action would be prejudicial to the welfare of the country as a whole. The government's policy seems to be to reduce the cost of food products. This casts a burden upon the agriculturists while the manufacturers are being benefited by high protection.

These are the conditions faced by the Canadian people, and the agriculturists as a group

Farm products

are rising to condemn this government. The farmers of this country are still somewhat tickled at the report which appeared in the newspapers some time ago as to how valuable was the time of the Prime Minister. It was claimed that he did not have the necessary assistance with which to carry on his duties and had only two minutes of time to give to the farmer representatives who appeared before the tariff commissioner.

Another declaration or promise was made by the right hon. the Prime Minister at Winnipeg on June 9, as follows;

Listen, you agriculturists from the west and all the other parts of Canada, you say tariffs are only for the manufacturers. I will make them fight for you as well. I will use them to blast a way into the markets that have been closed to you.

This house and the Canadian people are interested in knowing how a way has been blasted into new markets to permit the sale of farm products. How has this been accomplished since the new administration came into office?

I would like to quote a few figures which appeared in the summary of Canadian trade. The exports of farm products to the United States were as follows:

1930 1931 Decrease$1,977,000 $ 752,583 55 per cent

The exports of farm products to other markets of the world were as follows:

1930 1931 DecreaseJanuary

$27,000,000 $18,000,000 35 per centFebruary

27.138,000 18,600,000 35 per centMarch '

36,100,000 21,800,000 35 per cent

These figures show the difference between the thoughtful and business-like Liberal administration, and that of the Conservative administration with its policy of blasting its way into the world's markets. The Conservatives, when elected, were to put new life into agriculture, but instead of doing so they have let it die. I have no hesitation in saying that the agriculturists of this country have been humbugged with promises and a castle of cards put up in order to secure votes for an election, but that castle of cards has since collapsed

While everyone recognizes the fact that agriculture is the basic industry and while all the provincial governments-and I mention Quebec, for instance-are giving keen attention

to agriculture, the present federal government, since it has taken office, has failed to fulfil its promises and has given no attention to agriculture, so that it has lost the faith of the agriculturist group and deserves the condemnation of this group and of the Canadian community as a whole.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE AND AMENDMENT OF MR. BROWN.
Permalink
LIB

Thomas McMillan

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS McMILLAN (South Huron):

In rising to address the house upon the question now before it, I am sorry indeed that the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) is not in his seat. Allow me, however, to read the words of the amendment; which is as follows:

That all the words after the word "that" to the end of the question be left out and the following words be inserted instead thereof:

Agricultural Conditions

1. The house regrets that the administration has failed to implement its definite promises with respect to agriculture and to this moment it has failed to announce any agriculture policy to this house.

2. That the policies of the present administration operate to restrict, rather than to expand Canadian trade.

3. That without the development of international trade Canadian agriculture will become increasingly paralyzed.

And further, in the opinion of the house, any policy with respect to agriculture should include emergency measures to meet the present agricultural crisis and adequate provision for the processing of meats and the marketing of live stock, wheat, dairy and of all other agricultural products.

What are the government's definite promises to Canadian agriculture? These are the Prime Minister's own words:

I shall regard it as my great responsibility, if elected on July 28, 1930, to see that the collective weight and power of the Dominion of Canada is placed behind agriculture. I would be lacking in qualifications entitling me to head a Canadian government if I failed to do so.

That is his pledge to Canadian agriculture. What have the Prime Minister and his government done to implement that pledge? I am not going to repeat the words that I uttered to the house on March 17 last, but I would like the house and the country to read those remarks in unison with what I am about to say. I then showed how, after the Imperial economic conference, the Prime Minister became wildy uproarious and left Britain with a veiled threat of economic separatism because a British minister, Mr. Thomas, mildly designated his whole proceeding as "humbug." In that respect I would like to place on Hansard this extract from the British Morning .Express:

Mr. Bennett must be very simply constituted-

I do not think this means that the right hon. gentleman is simple minded.

says the News Chronicle, if he imagines that any intelligent Englishman would be deluded by the proposal that we should tax our food m return for Canada's generosity in putting another brick on her tariff wall against foreign imports and keeping the wall at the same effective height against British goods. If that proposal is not humbug, what is it? The

Dominion premiers like to claim the right to speak plainly and like to exercise it. They should be able to keep a stiff upper lip when an itngush statesman for once in a way speaks plainly too.

What kind of stiff upper lip did my right hon. friend keep? I am sorry he has become so touchy that hearing the simple truth should cause him to make such an exhibition of

[Mr. McMillan.!

himself as has become notorious throughout the world. To think, after receiving a degree from a great university, he should humiliate Canada by asserting that the old ties of blood and kinship between the motherland and the Dominion were gone, and that if they were not replaced by "commercial ties" -the mercenary and monetary spirit

which caused Great Britain to lose the greatest possession she has ever lost, our far-flung empire would share the fate of other great empires of the pastl WTas it not time he wa3 leaving England and the heart of our great empire, after laying down a platform such as that, and giving the quotation from the volume of the old sacred law? We could give him many quotations to show that it is the money and mercenary spirit which has caused the downfall of every great nation of the past. What was said of old Babylon? We know that in the matter of riches, in the matter of sordid wealth and outer splendour, old Babylon had no rivals in ancient times, but her fatal weakness was that she placed no weight on real manhood and -true character. As a consequence, her gorgeous palaces and hanging gardens became the abode of selfishness and sensuality with the result that we now read that over that spurious greatness rests the stillness of the desert, the gloom of an eternal night. Let him trace the downfall of every nation of the past, and he will find that that has been the cause of its fall. Is it any wonder, too, that he was not received with any great spirit of acclaim when he landed on the shores of Canada? But he hastened at once to Regina, either to prolong the hopes or to dispel the fears of the farmers of western Canada, I do not know which. To my mind it is most amusing to study the peculiar mentality of the Prime Minister. At Regina, after talking a great deal more trash he said:

Attempts are being made and would be made to fasten upon the present government responsibility for present-day conditions. But no one can deny that the present depression was only the culmination of nine years of total disregard of the fundamental principles of constitutional government, and disregard for the elementary laws of economies.

I deny that statement in toto. It is absolutely beside the fact, and if the Prime Minister knows anything, he knows that expression is some of the most arrogant piffle ever uttered by the tongue of man.

When he went to Calgary, he had rather changed his mind; he had become more hesitant, and he said he was going to find out

Agricultural Conditions

why the people of western Canada had not even the bare necessities of life. These are his words:

I cannot make up my mind why this country between the lakes and the mountains should endure such depression.

The Prime Minister seems to regard the situation in western Canada as a mere matter of psychology. He said:

Our closeness to other people has much to do with our ideas of depression. We get the idea that the whole world is out of joint, and the psychology of it is reflected in the morose and solemn way in which some men walk down the. streets of Calgary.

I tell the right hon. the Prime Minister that there is no -class of people in this world who show a finer spirit in the face of adversity than the people of western Canada, -but when men cannot sell their labour or the product of their labour, the cause and remedy must be sought in stern realities, and sir, it is stern reality which this government is giving in the villainous legislation which it has already passed, and which is grinding out the very lifeblood of the farmers of Canada. To-day all over this country the farmers are praying and pleading for a government which will relieve them of their serious fiscal burdens and increase their purchasing power by enabling them to secure access to wider and better markets in which both to buy and sell. They are praying for a government which will legislate for the general good of the people.

But let us go further. After listening to an outline of the present distressing conditions existing in many sections of western Canada, we have witnessed on two occasions in this house, on April 21 and April 28 last, the most surprising exhibition on the part of the Prime Minister. Time and again while in opposition he told the house and the country that he would prescribe for the ills of Canada once he was called in. After listening to his appeals, what is the remedy he now proposes? Mr. Speaker, it is the most humiliating spectacle I have ever witnessed in this house. He characterized the whole appeal on behalf of western agriculture as nothing more than the cry of stinking fish. Mark you, Mr. Speaker, those are the words of the Prime Minister of Canada; they are not mine. The Prime Minister declares that there is no evidence of acute distress at the moment, and he has thrown the farmers' pool into the waste basket.

He went to England and took John McFarland with him; had him appointed sales manager for the pools; he has broken down the whole line of sales communication which the wheat pool had taken years to establish, has had their sales force in Great Britain and on the continent withdrawn; has thrown the whole business back into the old channels of the grain trade, the life-long enemies and determined competition of the pool; and then after destroying the farmers' whole line of sales communication in that way, the Prime Minister has the audacity to try and convince this house that he is a friend of the pool, and he takes credit for Canada getting rid of more wheat during his regime at ruinously unprofitable prices.

Topic:   SUPPLY-AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE AND AMENDMENT OF MR. BROWN.
Permalink

May 5, 1931