May 6, 1931


Mr. MaoLEAN: For a copy of all letters, correspondence, reports, telegrams, tenders, received from or passing between any party or parties, person or persons, Department of Government, engineers, or others, regarding the building of a boat harbour at Skinner's Pond, Prince Edward Island, during the season of 1930 and 1931.



Economic Research-Mr. Stevens


SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH


The house resumed from Monday, May 4, consideration of the motion of Mr. Speakman that immediate consideration be given to the establishment and maintenance of a national council of social and economic research.


CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, the motion

before the house, which was presented so ably the other day by the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Speakman) and supported by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth), is one of those motions which perhaps result in a great deal of good, in that they bring to the attention of the house matters of importance for consideration, but which at the same time present difficulties in the way of giving immediate effect to the suggestions contained therein. I should like to compliment the hon. member who presented the resolution on the moderation of his language and on the thoughtfulness of the major portion of the suggestions presented by him. In one or two respects I find myself not quite able to follow him. I should like to suggest to the seconder of the motion that I think by the speech he delivered he must have aroused in the minds of hon. members a consciousness of sufficient reasons for not accepting the motion, and it will be my duty briefly to discuss the matter from this standpoint.

May I first, however, address a few remarks the resolution itself. The resolution con. 'is of several statements, in some measure purporting to be statements of fact, and then it invites the house to resolve in a certain way. I desire to point out to the introducer of the resolution that I cannot agree with the statement made in the first paragraph, which reads as follows:

The problem of production has been largely solved, assisted greatly by the application of scientific methods and the results of organized technical research.

I cannot follow my hon. friend in that because, while great progress has undoubtedly been made in recent years, and particularly in the years during and subsequent to the great war, in the way of scientific research and in the speeding up of production by the introduction of modern methods, mechanical and otherwise, it would be folly, I think, on the part of the house or of any body of industrialists or of any commercial community or of any country, to rest upon its oars and say

that the question of production had been solved. The question of production has undoubtedly been greatly advanced. It might be profitable for a moment for me to digress and to draw attention to what this country has been doing in common, I think, with nearly every other civilized country in the world, along the lines of scientific industrial research.

Some years ago the Research Council Act was passed. This was based upon an examination by a committee o-f the house, in 191" or 1918, of the question of scientific industrial research, and by this act a research council was set up for the purpose of advising the government on scientific and technological methods affecting the expansion of Canadian industries and the utilization of the natural resources of Canada. Those are the broad general principles upon which the legislation is based. It particularizes by conferring on the council power:

To promote the utilization of the natural resources of Canada.

Well, I would hesitate to say that that particular part of the research council's effort had been completely, or even measurably achieved. I believe that in this respect great progress has been made and an excellent foundation has been laid, and that we can look for some very excellent results in the future. I recall a number of researches which have been carried out successfully by the research council and with great benefit to the industry of Canada. I have particulars of these researches under my hand, but I do not wish to weary the house with a recital of them at this time; I may do so later when the estimates dealing wfith that department are before us. But I desire to emphasize this point, that it would be folly on our part to say that in this respect the question had been disposed of or solved. The research council is also to direct its efforts to-

-improving the technical processes and methods used in the industries of Canada, and of discovering processes and methods which may promote the expansion of existing or the development of new industries.

This matter is in its very early stages, I might say its initial stages. A general effort is being made and considerable progress has been achieved in formulatng schemes of cooperation with industry, private corporations, and so forth, and it is hoped that ultimately substantial results will follow. Then there are the questions of utilizing waste products and the determination of standards. I wish to direct attention for a moment to the determination of standards and methods of

Economic Research-Mr. Stevens

measurement, including length, volume, weight, mass, capacity, time, heat, light and so on. In this direction we have not gone very far. For instance, with respect to all our electrical standards we depend upon standards fixed in the city of Chicago. It is hoped and expected that as time goes on the bureau to whom has been committed this task will set up standards that are purely Canadian and that, while coordinated with the well-known and established standards of other countries, will at least be Canadian standards established by and for Canadian interests. But there again it is a work that is under way and still far from having reached ultimate achievement. There is also the great question of determination of standards of materials used in construction, such as cement, plaster, reinforcing steel, and all that sort of thing. Here again the work is in its infancy, but it is being carried forward step by step. There is a long list of other powers conferred upon the research council, but I shall not weary the house by detailing them. I desire simply to emphasize this point: we must not for a moment think that by the establishment of this research council we have, as the resolution intimates, largely solved the question of production. Y hat we are doing and what we [DOT]have done is to establish a foundation upon which we hope to rear a superstructure that will compare favourably with what has been achieved by the most progressive countries of the world in this important field of scientific research. The resolution proceeds:

Tire problem of distribution, with the kindred questions of purchasing power and the exchange values of agricultural and other commodities, together with their relation to the growing problem of unemployment, are still unsolved.

Well, I confess-and my hon. friend will take this observation kindly, I know-I confess that sometimes I get a little weary of the mere statement of great economic problems. It is so simple and easy to throw into the arena of parliament or 'before the public a statement of a problem, but it is a vastly different thing to come forward with definite, clear-cut suggestions for its solution. We have here such problems as this, "the kindred questions of purchasing power." This problem has been before parliament, brought particularly by some of my hon. friends opposite, every session for the last ten years. It does not follow that we should not strive to solve it, but it is one that involves world conditions. It is a problem that involves the inter-activities of nations the world over, and while undoubtedly study must be given to these things, I question whether any advantage will

be derived from setting up now, in addition to the powers that already exist, a new body for the study of that question.

Then we come to another clause which states:

This-

That is, these things that I have intimated.

1-can best be done at the instance of the state and by men of scientific training.

To the latter part I am offering no objection. I think we are all agreed that men of scientific training are undoubtedly best able to cope with any great economic problem; but to say that this should be done at the instance of the state is one of those utterances which, to my mind, merely tend to shelve the question. I think my hon. friend quoted scripture the other day, and while I hesitate to embark upon that field, I recall an utterance by a prophet statesman of old who used these words:

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.

In my estimation the progress of the world, the steps forward in science, industry and art, have all been on a basis of "precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little." There is not the short cut that is so often claimed in the solution of these problems by merely shuffling them off on the state. Hot long ago I saw a telegram from a certain interest in which they propounded some very difficult problems, and then they suggested that the federal government should take it upon their shoulders and by some unknown method the whole thing would be solved. Suggestions of that kind are constantly being made. I would say to my hon. friend in all kindness that I do not think it is much of a contribution to the solution of a problem merely to say that this can best be done at the instance of the state. Neither, of course, would I wish to leave the impression that I think the state has no responsibility at all; before I am through I shall demonstrate this point more clearly. I do, however, challenge the practice of merely, stating the problem, and saying it is the duty of the state now to solve it.

The part of the resolution which is active is now reached:

In the opinion of this house, the government should give immediate consideration to the establishment and maintenance of some organized body for this purpose which body might be known as the National Council of Social and Economic Research.

In the first place, as regards the matter of "immediate consideration," we could agree to

Economic Research-Mr. Stevens

that at once; we could say we shall consider it, but that is a play upon words. But if what is meant is the immediate appointment, establishment and maintenance of an organized body, what force is there in the suggestion? Let me point this out: in the service of the state to-day, in the department over which I happen to preside, the Department of Trade and Commerce; in the Department of Public Works, in the Department of External Affairs, over which the leader of the opposition presided until a few months ago, and in several other departments, are officers of the state probably as well qualified to study and deal with these questions as any man you could get outside of the employment of the state. So far as the government is concerned, at the present time we feel that we are bringing to bear upon these problems, to quote my hon. friend's words, the trained minds, economists, that are at present in the employ of the state. May I say that I have been pleasantly surprised at the splendid qualifications manifested by many of those men when you place before them the different problems which from day to day confront a government. They are highly trained, highly competent. We are disposed as a government to approach these questions with the assistance of those trained officers of the state.

It may be permissible for me to pause for a moment to say this: I believe in Canada there is growing up within the ambit of the civil service a body of trained officials who will take their place beside the best officials of any other country with which I am acquainted. I am not at the moment claiming credit for this government, the previous government, or other governments, but since I came into parliament twenty years ago, I have seen tremendous progress in the stabilization and standardization, if I may so use that term, of the efficiency of officers of the government. It would, I think, be wise economy on the part of the state to utilize the services of those men, within the ambit of the powers we already have and without the establishment of any special body.

I want now to deal briefly with a few of the arguments that have been advanced. My hon. friend, dealing with the question who should tackle this great problem, said it should be the government, or, through the government, some organized body appointed by them. I have already referred to that, and I shall not labour the point; but I should like to draw attention to the fact that there is a difference between the duties of the government as applied to industrial and scientific

research and the sociological problem of equitable distribution. There is quite a difference between the functions that are called into play with respect to these problems.

Mr. 'GARLAND (Bow River): That is the trouble.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Yes, it is the trouble. In the first instance, research has to do with taking this great estate that we call Canada and making out of it the best that we can, using its resources, directing its energies as far as possible along practical and material lines; but the moment you enter the sociological field, you enter the realm of the individual rights of one man as against those of .another and, if I might use the term, individuality comes into the problem. It is going to be a very difficult thing for any group of scientists, whether inside the government employ or outside, and body of economists or sociologists, to determine some plan that cannot or will not be completely wrecked, -by what? By the peculiarities and idiosyncrasies of the individual. Therein is where my hon. friends, and particularly the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, are weak in their positions. Therefore I would hesitate to advise the house to organize a group of persons outside of the house to deal with the sociological side of this great question.

My hon. friend made certain suggestions in regard to the question of the type of the council, but I thnlc a moment's thought will show the uselessness, shall I say, of a body such as he mentioned. He suggested one representative from each branch of commercial activity. I have had a good deal of experience in seeing groups or individuals representing different classes of thought in commercial and industrial life endeavour to work together, and it has been a pretty serious and difficult matter to get them to pull together to any degree at all. My hon. friend I think will recognize that. I at once question the suitability as well as the effectiveness of a group such as he suggests.

Then he makes the very simple suggestion that they should come to some conclusion. That is the sort of language which I would again point out is so often used, and yet is so abortive-to come to some conclusion, to pitchfork a problem into the hands of representatives of this, that and the other class, and ask them to come to some conclusion. I think we would do very much better if the government of the country, recognizing its responsibility, would direct the trained minds within its own employ, and tackle the prob-

Economic Research-Mr. Stevens

lems which are immediately before us, certainly keeping in mind the broad question of world economics, because they are trained to do that, and are better equipped to do it than any other class of men in the country. But again, I say, we cannot see the advantage of turning the matter over to a body of individuals such as is suggested.

My hon. friend also raised the questions of transpiration, foreign trade, and a study of the Russian system. I wish to say a few words in regard to that now. I shall leave the remarks of the mover of the resolution (Mr. Speakman), and turn my attention briefly to the remarks of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woods-worth) who seconded the resolution. A few moments ago I said something to this effect, that the speech of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre would suggest to the minds of the members of the house reasons why it would be unwise to accept the resolution. I say that for this reason: As presented by the mover, the resolution was comparatively moderate; but as elaborated by the seconder it amounted virtually to the suggestion that we should adopt the principles lying behind the Russian Soviet system. The speech of my hon. friend from Winnipeg North Centre was indeed, in my estimation -and I followed him carefully-calculated to leave that impression. I am not saying he is wrong, but I do say this, that I do not think that was in the mind of the mover of the resolution. I do not think that such is in the mind of many who would support the resolution, but it does indicate to us what we are faced with if we accept the resolution. That is the point I wish to make.

Very early in his remarks the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre suggested that this commission be appointed to investigate the entire economic system. Let us pause for a moment and think of what that means

to investigate the entire economic system.

I have been reading economic works for thirty-eight years, and I have gone through a large number of them; not perhaps as many as my right hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) and a few others here, have read, but still I have gone through a great many. I have read them and studied them and thought about them a great deal, and to my mind anybody who would undertake an investigation of the entire economic system, limiting it even to Canada, would enter upon a task which could not in a lifetime be pursued to the point where a useful conclusion could be arrived at. Morever, long before such a study could be fully entered upon, the rapidity with which

industrial and commercial conditions vary the world over would necessitate such changes that the results of their earlier investigations would have to be abandoned because they would be out of date. To my mind such broad theorizing as this militates against the proposal of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, and the very many otherwise intelligent suggestions he has to make.

Then there is the suggestion of the mobilizing of the brains of the country. Nobody objects to the mobilizing of brain power. I know that a great many people are very fond of saying that the brains of the country are not mobilized in parliament; I shall not emphasize that on account of being a member of some years' standing, but we have mobilized the brains of the country, so far as material resources will permit us to do so, within the ranks of the present employees of the government. Let us use these; we can use them, and we intend to use them. Let us use this brain power which is already at our disposal rather than step out in a vague and indefinite way to mobilize the brains of the country. Let my hon. friend bear this in mind-and it is worth bearing in mind at all times when considering matters of this kind-the brains that are now engaged in our large industries are making their contribution toward the solution of the problems of this country. The brains that are now engaged in our universities in studying economic problems are giving their meed of service to the solution of these problems, and they are probably doing it better in the universities than they could do it in the employ of the government. The brains that are given freely to public service all over this country, in municipal councils, legislative assemblies, parliament, and elsewhere, are being applied to the solution of these problems just as the brains of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre are being applied, in his own way, to their solution. The phrase "mobilizing the brains of the country" is more or less meaningless, particularly when it ignores entirely the present mobilization of great mental powers within the government service.

My hon. friend in passing also used the sweeping phrase, "centralized planning." I am going to propound to my hon. friends, particularly in that comer of the house' and perhaps to the right hon. leader of the opposition, this suggestion.: If you took steps to-day to draft a centralized plan, what is the first thing you would be confronted with? The Combines Investigation Act. Last week and this week I have been studying a certain phase of our export trade. I have been giving it

Economic Research-Mr. Stevens

study for some months, and I am trying to bring it to a focal point. I shall not say what it is at the moment, because that is mot necessary. But certain suggestions arose out of the study of this question by the best brains that could be brought to bear upon it. They were not mine, by the way, because I came along only incidentally. The best brains in that branch of industry and among those most competent to advise with regard to it were mobilized, and what did we find? We found that to achieve a certain end we would be confronted wuth the Combines Investigation Act, because that act prevents'the coalescing of various industries into a unit, which it calls a combine in restraint of trade. Without a doubt the trend in world trade to-day is for industries or branches of industries to get together with the intention of making stronger and more concentrated impacts upon the markets to which they wish to direct their trade, yet the moment they do that they are confronted with this act. I suppose my hon. friend would say, "All right, repeal the act." I would point out to him, however, that The Combines Investigation Act is one which has been cherished by the group of people who are now advocating the centralization of industry and trade. When I use the word "group" I do not refer to that particular body of men with which my hon. friend is associated, but to numbers of people throughout the country.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I do not wish to interrupt my hon. friend, but I think it is hardly accurate to say that the Combines Investigation Act prevents large combinations. In addition to evidence of the existence of a combine there must be proof that it has operated or is likely to operate against the public interest, that it results in the undue enhancement of prices, prevents or lessens competition or otherwise restrains or injures trade or commerce.

Mr. STEYF.NS: I quite agree with my right hon. friend. I am trying to make it clear that it is easy to say, as my hon. friend saad the other day, that there should be advancement in centralized planning. But when one attempts actually to plan some such action he is confronted with the possibility of coming within the ambit of that act, and in the case I mentioned there is no doubt that such was the result.

My hon. friend quoted from a book. I am going to follow him in one or two of his quotations, because I do not think it is right to let the impression go abroad that this new effort in Russia, or experiment as he calls it,

is the utopian scheme it is portrayed to be.

I want to make the point clear that I am not condemning the effort being made in Russia. So far as those efforts contribute to the happiness, the comfort and the elevation of humanity I wish them success. I think however this parliament and country before accepting many of the statements advanced ought t'o ask the question, "At what cost?" My hon. friend particularly emphasized the fact that the editor of the book, The Challenge of Russia, was a former international secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association. He states therefore that his work ought to carry more weight than that of an ordinary person. There is no doubt that the book is an excellent one. There are thousands of such books. I have waded through quite a number, and am profoundly interested in the movement. However, may I read one quotation read by my hon. friend, and add a few words immediately following his quotation which he conveniently left out.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

May I suggest that I was confining myself to the particular aspect of the five year plan, and in that connection I read a few quotations. I am not accustomed to "conveniently" leaving out anything.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I should be the last person to give offence to my hon. friend or to any other hon. member of the house.

Mr. BEAUBIEN [DOT] What is the name of the book?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

The Challenge of Russia, by Sherwood Eddy. I shall leave the words of my hon. friend to the judgment of the house and withdraw the word "conveniently." My hon. friend quoted from page 66 the following words:

Thus far the yearly goal of the plan has not only been equalled but exceeded in most branches of industry, so that some of the goals set for 1933 had been surpassed by October, 1930.

My hon. friend finished his quotation at that point, and then carried the quotation to another page of the book entirely. There is nothing very significant about the words I am about to read, but I just wish to quote them in order to give the proper weight to the quotation of my hon. friend. The paragraph read by my hon. friend ended with the words:

.... had been surpassed by October, 1030.

Then follow these words:

In two fields the plan fell short at the beginning, and will probably be uneven in its

Economic Research-Mr. Stevens

accomplishments. At the close of the first year the decrease in cost of production was only 5 per cent instead of the scheduled 7 per cent; while labour productivity was increased 14-5 per cent instead of the 17-3 per cent called for by the plan.

There is nothing significant in these words, but they do help to place the proper weight on his quotation. The way he left it one might be under the impression that so rapid was the expansion and so successful had been the plan that by October, 1930, it had surpassed the program scheduled for 1933.

Then, another quotation given by my hon. friend was to my mind more misleading than the one I have just cited. From page 77 my hon. friend quoted the following words:

Real wages are already 16 per cent above those of 1913, with additional benefits and social services amounting to 27-3 per cent of the total payroll, in reduced rents and prices, free vacations, medical service, etc.

I well remember the intonations with which my hon. friend read the words "free vacations, medical service, etc." At once the impression was left that it was a utopian idea. In the same line I find the following words:

Professor Paul Douglas estimates that American workers earn about three and a third times those of Russia, and that their standard of living is approximately three and a half times as high.

The point I make is this: when an impassioned appeal is made in this house stating that we should step aside and consider things occurring in Russia, at least let us give to the house and country a thoroughly well balanced statement of the cost.

At page 78 in the same book I find another quotation I would like to read:

Vacations on full pay ranged from twelve days to one month. Other compensation, insurance, social service, rent, heat, light and food at reduced prices amount to 37 per cent added to the workers' wages. Every man works four days out of five and has seventy rest days a year.

That was my hon. friend's quotation, and again we have a utopian condition presented. However, here are the words following:

Allowing for these benefits, the average net compensation per worker was a little over $600 a year. Food and housing conditions for Russian workers are still often primitive, but no workers care less for their condition or will put up with more hardship.

Here the writer is referring to the Russian worker.

The strain and self-sacrifice imposed upon the workers by the five-year plan would not be tolerated by independent, individualistic, Anglo-Saxon workers, ....

I wish to place a few facts before my hon. friend and before those who cite the example

of Russia as a reason why we should embark upon centralized plans, organized mobilization of brains, and so on. In the first place, there are in Russia about 150,000,000 people. It is a country composite in geographical formation and with tremendous undeveloped natural resources. There is no place in the world to-day, including Canada, which offers such opportunities for exploitation. I am not confusing the term "exploitation" but use it in its economic sense. No place offers such opportunities as Russia for exploitation of natural resources for the benefit of the people. Further, there is no place in the world where the masses of the people are in such great need of economic advancement as they are in Russia. Having in mind the conditions in China and India, my last statement may be considered a little too strong. Russia is in an entirely different position from Canada. In this country there are from 9,000,000 to 11,000,000 people; pending the coming census we do not know the exact number, but we will say there are 11,000,000. The area of Canada is slightly less than that of Russia. Our resources do not equal but com= pare favourably with those of Russia, and are of a somewhat similar character. In Canada however there is not the necessity to work for the next fifty years to catch up with the rest of the world. In Russia there is a mass of people who have not enjoyed the benefits which are commonplace to us. We read about the establishment of an electric light system in Russia, and are told that about $100,000,000 is, being spent on electrical development. In a country like Russia such an expenditure is not extraordinary; for Canada however it would be considered large. Why compare conditions in Canada, which has an independent and individualistic people, with those of a country which never had independence or individuality in the practice of its citizenship? The conditions are not comparable at all. Consequently I say to my hon. friend and to those who advance these arguments that it is but a misleading of the public mind, particularly at this time, and a misleading of those who unfortunately are out of work and are suffering-

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UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

I hope my hon. friend is not suggesting that I was- arguing in that way. I make this point for the sake of clarity.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I made that very clear

previously, and I will make it doubly clear at this time. I opened my remarks with the statement that I thought the hon. member for Red Deer was very moderate and very fair in his presentation of the resolution.

i312

Economic Research-Mr. Irvine

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I am quite willing to take the brunt of it. [DOT]

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CON

Armand Renaud La Vergne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Order. The

hon. gentleman's time has elapsed.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I will conclude with a

sentence. I also said that I thought the speech of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre really carried with it the answer to the speech of the hon. member for Red Deer. I am sorry to say to my hon. friend, who undoubtedly has given the matter a great deal of thought, that the government feels it would not be wise to carry out his suggestion as to the immediate establishment and maintenance of an organized body for this purpose, but rather suggests to the house that the government will direct the activities of its own trained civil servants, through the proper departments, to a genuine effort looking to the solution of these problems.

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UFA

William Irvine

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. WILLIAM IRVINE (Wetaskiwin):

Economic Research-Mr. Irvine

every agency was being employed to keep our society in step with the requirements of the times.

Let me, then, emphasize that the individual cannot start out on his own initiative and bring forth any knowledge that will be of very much use to any government. In the first place, as I have said, if his idea happens to be more radical than is thought to be good, it will be discredited; in the second place he will likely follow one little line of thought and not go into the question comprehensively; next, he cannot make his living, and therefore can only work at the problem fitfully and not adequately; and, finally, if he tries to force his idea or experiment on the people he will probably be sent to prison very quickly. So the individual cannot tackle a problem of this kind. Not even our professors in the universities can do so. No doubt they are doing excellent work, but we are not using their work as it should be used, nor are we giving them the opportunities that they should be given. So this job must be done by government agencies.

Let me say next that I think there ought to be a place for the social engineer, for the student of economics and sociology. The nation has provided no means of conserving and using the best thought even of the political economists that we have. I would say that the attitude of the minister would not be calculated to encourage them in any further research work. There are plaudits and emoluments, and rightly so, for explorers and discoverers in every other branch of science, but for the seeker in the field of economics and sociology there is only anathema. There is glory for the person who makes two blades of grass grow where but one grew before. Should not there be a little bit of glory for the man who can distribute two bushels of wheat where now only one is being distributed? The problem is now one of distribution and nobody is really working on that problem. This is one task for such a council as is proposed. We ask them that parliament provide the opportunity for such a work as that. I feel sure if the minister had not been led astray by the Russian red herring, he would have adopted this beautiful mackerel. He went after something that did not belong to the argument, and if it had belonged to the argument I would probably have agreed with him. These things should not be mixed up at all. We ask merely for the consideration of the appointment of a council to do research work in the way of solving some of our economic {Mr. Irvine.]

problems. If we give an opportunity in this way, men will rise to embrace it. In the universities and colleges of this country there are many professors who will strive to qualify for such a position as that. It is true, of course, that social science is much more complex and difficult than other branches of science. Social science is all embracing, but if we fail in that science then all other sciences will fail, for ultimately their value must be estimated in terms of the social and human purposes for which they exist.

My hon. friend has quoted from a book on Russia. I want to conclude by making a reference to another writer on Russia, and when I speak of Russia, let me explain very clearly that that by no means argues that I want to establish Russian conditions in Canada. I do not. I wish to refer to, not quote, a statement in that book of Mr. Maurice Hindus, called Humanity Uprooted. He says there that we are at war with Russia. By "we" he means that all nations under the capitalistic system are at war with the nation that is under communism. He went on to say that this is a war of construction, not of destruction, and his inference was that the country which is the more constructive, that country which has utilized the natural resources and the fruits of the genius of men together to produce the greatest service to humanity, is the nation that will win this great war. Can it be expected that a country that adopts a laissez-faire philosophy, that allows things to drift, that is planless, can compete with a nation that has planned every move that it is going to make? In my opinion, as this war goes on between the Russian system and the capitalistic system, as the years go by, we shall discover that our capitalistic system will then not be what it is now and that the Russian communistic system will not be what it is now, but that each will copy the best of the other and probably both come to pretty much the same conclusion. But I insist that if we are afraid of being overcome by Russia, the only way to meet Russia is by intelligent planning, by securing the information required and by working on that information. We cannot win this great war of reconstruction otherwise. The only way to win this war is to plan; the only way to plan is to obtain knowledge, and the only way to obtain the necessary knowledge is through the means suggested by the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Speakman). Therefore it is the duty and privilege of this assembly to vote for such a body.

Economic Research-Mr. Mackenzie King

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Leader of the Opposition):

When the last

speaker rose, I was about to direct to the minister a question which perhaps would have elicited all that at the moment I wish to say on this subject. As I have listened to the remarks of my hon. friend I have become increasingly convinced that all that is asked for in the way of legislation by this resolution is already enacted, and will be found in an act of this parliament which has its place in the revised statutes. I also feel more than ever convinced that my hon. friends to my left should have directed their attention to the act and have asked the ministry to give to it the interpretation and emphasis which they think and which in agreement with their views, I think, is the right one, to be placed upon its provisions. The positive portion of this resolution, as has been pointed out, is that there should be-

Some organized body for this purpose which body might be known as the National Council on Social and Economic Research.

The abbreviated title of such a council would be the National Research Council, and that is precisely the body which was established by act of parliament some years ago. I have in my hand a copy of the revised statutes in which is to be found the Research Council Act, 1924, section 1 of which reads:

This act may be cited as the Research Council Act, 1924.

As hon. members have been discussing the question, I have been looking through this act to see whether its clauses are not sufficiently broad to include everything that they have suggested, and I think they are. More than that, I believe, had there been time to look at the original debate, one would have discovered that the intention was that its provisions should be broad enough to cover research into social and economic questions as well as into questions which are purely industrial. The Research Council Act of 1924, revised statutes, provides first of all for a committee of the privy council which is to be known as the Committee of the Privy Council on Scientific and Industrial Research. My recollection is that the government appoints under that designation a sub-committee of the cabinet. Such a committee was, I know, appointed under the late government, and I assume that the government opposite has, since it has come into office, appointed such a committee. If it has not, there is still plenty of time to do so.

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Subtopic:   SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. SPEAKMAN PROPOSING ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL COUNCIL TO STUDY SUBJECT
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CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

May I ask the number of

the chapter?

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Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. SPEAKMAN PROPOSING ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL COUNCIL TO STUDY SUBJECT
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Chapter 64.

Then there is an advisory council which is a large body called the Honorary Advisory Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, consisting of fifteen members. These members are appointed by the administration and it is their duty to arrange for the investigation of any subject coming within the scope of the act which is assigned to the council by the committee of the cabinet known as the Committee of the Privy Council on Scientific and Industrial Research. The definition of the duties of the council will be found in section 6 of the act. In a sentence, they are as follows:

The council shall have charge of all matters affecting scientific and industrial research in Canada which may be assigned to it by the committee.

Social and economic questions are just one class of questions which may be scientifically investigated. Economics is as much a science as any other science that may be named. The cabinet have full powers under this act to refer to this committee any question that would come within the scope of the words: "All matters affecting scientific and industrial research in Canada."

Looking at the resolution specifically, one discovers that what the mover, if I interpret his mind aright, evidently has particularly in mind, is that up to the present this body, this research council, has been engaged so exclusively with one aspect of research, namely, that which has to do with the production of wealth, that another body with similar powers ought to be appointed to deal with another aspect, namely, the distribution of wealth and with the questions of exchange. My point is that production, distribution, and exchange are all branches of the one science of political economy, or as it is more frequently called to-day, economics, and that this council has just as much power to-day to deal with the questions of distribution or the questions of exchange as it has to deal with any phase of production. What it may do depends entirely upon the direction the government of to-day wishes to give to its duties.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. SPEAKMAN PROPOSING ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL COUNCIL TO STUDY SUBJECT
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Has such

direction at any time ever been given to the National Research Council?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH
Sub-subtopic:   MOTION BY MR. SPEAKMAN PROPOSING ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL COUNCIL TO STUDY SUBJECT
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May 6, 1931