October 20, 1932

LIB

John Vallance

Liberal

Mr. VALLANCE:

Speaking for the gov-

* ernment now?

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CON

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake):

I am speaking for myself. I do say, however, that our banking institutions are charged with a great deal for which they are not responsible. They should not be asked to carry encumbrances upon the land. Those belong to the loan companies and the rural credit associations. Let us place the blame where it belongs. I do not think these loan companies have been doing the fair thing by our people at all, and I think I have done quite a bit-more than my hon. friend knows-to bring those gentlemen under control in Saskatchewan. So far as I am concerned things cannot go on as they are. Let me give one illustration. A few years ago I met a very prominent man, a leading financier-and a rank Liberal-in the city of Regina. I asked him how business was, and he said it was splendid, and I asked in what way. He said, "We can make all the loans we wish at ten per cent interest." This was four or five years ago. I asked, "Ten per cent on what?" He answered, "On agreements for sale." I said, "You are not getting ten per cent for your money," and he said, " I am writing those agreements every day." I said, "You may be loaning the money at that rate but you are not getting that interest. You are charging ten per cent on an agreement for sale, and already the land carries eight per cent on mortgage." And they expect the farmer in the province of Saskatchewan to be able to pay that interest. Why, a farmer in

the province of Prince Edward Island could not pay it. These conditions must be remedied, and I for one will lend every possible effort in that direction. With this world conference coming on, however, I think we are taking the proper course; if we were to revise our Bank Act new we would have to wait another eight or nine years before we could change it again. The other day Ramsay MacDonald said that the world conference would not have been held if the conference here had not been successful. If good comes from the world conference, as I believe it will, I want our people to get the greatest advantage from it.

My time is almost up, Mr. Speaker, and I am going to close with just a short quotation irom a letter I received yesterday. You know, I have great faith in and admiration for the leader of cur party, the Prime Minister of Canada. Knowing him as I do I am sure my faith is well founded. I have been intimately acquainted with him, and I have never known him to be guilty of an improper act. Yesterday I received a letter from a lady possessing one of the brightest and most interesting intellects

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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?

Mr. COW AN@Long Lake

It is all very

well to laugh at the ladies but they have more votes than we have. Go to it; laugh at them if you like. I have never laughed at them yet; I treat them as they should be treated. In this letter the lady refers to these trade agreements, of which she approves so far as she has been able to understand them from the newspapers. In her letter I find these words, with which I will conclude:

It will be pretty hard to rob Bennett of the glory that is his now.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Hon. J. C. ELLIOTT (West Middlesex):

May I say at the outset that I entirely concur in a great deal that has been said about the immense importance of the motion before the house. I take it, of course, that in a matter of supreme importance such as this eveiy member who is convinced that his constituency will benefit is only too willing to express himself. I say in perfect seriousness that there never was a time in the history of this country when anything that would enure to the benefit of the people as a whole was more sorely needed than at the present time, and in so far as anything contained in these agreements will help the people of Canada, I am sure that it is the duty of every hon. member in this house, from whatever riding he comes, to stand up in his place and give to the members of parliament and

United, Kingdom

to the people of the country the benefit of whatever information he may have in his possession regarding the good that is going to accrue from these agreements. May I for a moment refer to the extent to which this has been done by my hon. friends opposite.

I assume that all those who feel that their ridings will be benefited are not missing any opportunity of telling the house and the country the extent of the advantages which 'they expect those ridings will gain from these particular agreements. Hon. gentlemen opposite will pardon me if I overlook mentioning any of those who have so far taken part in this debate, although it is not so very difficult to remember all hon. gentlemen on the other side who have stood up and declared that they expected their ridings to benefit from the agreements now under consideration. There was, for example, the member for Long Lake (Mr. Cowan) who has just taken his seat, and right here I want to say that in my opinion everyone in this house appreciates the fact that he at any rate has the courage to stand up and say something on behalf of the agreements. I was very much interested in *what he said with regard to the challenge that had been thrown out to the government to bring on an election at this time. I think he is following very closely in the wake of the Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve) who, when he spoke yesterday, if I was able to understand correctly the tenor of his remarks, suggested that if the government appealed to the country at the present time, or if these agreements were submitted to the people, they might be defeated. That was the substance of iwhat he said. His statement was to the effect that if the agreements had a few years more to operate they would have a better chance of being approved by the people than they have at the present time. My hon. friend from Long Lake follows in the minister's wake. He says, "It is all very well for hon. gentlemen of the opposition to ask for an election at this time; but do you think we would hand over the reins of power to the opposition at this juncture?" What does he mean? He means that just as surely as an election were called in this country at the present time, this government would be defeated. If that is so then they should not be passed.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

That would be most unfortunate.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

Yes, for my hon. friends, and that, no doubt, is the reason why my hon. friend thinks it would be unfortunate to call an election at this time. The hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Mullins) also spoke. He told of the great benefits that would come to his riding and, I believe he said the people of Canada as a whole-because he speaks more as a Canadian who is not limited within the confines of his own riding than does the member for Long Lake. But what was the tenor of the remarks made by the member for Marquette? He spoke of what would happen as a result of the removal of restrictions, or the proposed removal of those restrictions under this agreement. These restrictions have so far prevented cattle other than beef cattle entering the British market, and he referred to the taking of cattle to farms in Britain instead of having them slaughtered, as up until 1923 the law there required. I want to congratulate my hon. friend. He always stands up in the house and tells anything he can that this government has done in the interests of his riding. I regret that there are not more gentlemen opposite who have something of benefit to relate.

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CON

Ira Delbert Cotnam

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COTNAM:

We would be here all the time in that event.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

The hon. gentleman from North Renfrew (Mr. Cotnam) does not stand up in this house to make his remarks. I should think that in the serious crisis through which this country is passing, perhaps the time of the house would be better occupied than by listening to remarks shot off by the hon. gentleman from his seat in the house. He makes remarks from his seat instead of standing up and coming out with what he has to say.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

You don't seem to sense the importance of the matter.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

I do not propose to spend my time attempting to answer these popgun artists who seem to think that making remarks in this manner is a worthy contribution to a discussion such as this.

As I was about to remark, the member for Marquette spoke about the cattle embargo, and he seemed to think that the provision in this regard was one of the greatest things contained in the whole agreement. I am very glad that the agreement provides for the removal of those restrictions in regard to Canadian cattle which have remained since the agreement of 1923 was made. But may I call attention to the fact that the great bulk of our cattle that are shipped from this countiy to Britain are beef cattle, and they were already provided for by the agreement of 1923. So that the agreement provides only for additional cattle. It is good as far as it goes, and I am glad to have anything done

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that is beneficial to the farming industry, because goodness knows it needs everything that can be done for it at the present time. The only thing additional is provision for the admission of breeding stock, which were not admitted before; and there are certain restrictions removed with regard to branding. In comparison with what was done in 1923, what is provided for under these agreements is very small. And just bear in mind that in 1923, when the restrictions against beef cattle were removed, we did not have to enter into any agreement that we would not reduce tariffs against other countries in order to have those restrictions removed. One would have thought that that agreement would have commended itself very highly to hon. members on all sides of the house, but I find that certain members spoke, I will not say belittlingly but slightingly of the extent to which it was going to benefit the people of Canada. I notice the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Stewart) is in his seat, and I shall call attention to the statement he made at that time as to the benefits to be derived from that agreement. He said:

There is, of course, a difference of opinion as to the value of the removal of this embargo. I think that it has been exaggerated. But again, we will have to await its complete removal, the regulations that follow, and the results also that will follow the removal of the embargo.

That was in line with the statement made just a few days before by his leader, the Right Hon. Mr. Meighen. What was the result of the removal of that embargo? In 1926, three years after the removal of the embargo, shipments of beef cattle were about six times as large as in 1923 prior to the removal.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

What were they in

1929?

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

If my hon. friend will look at the figures he can find out. I do not know whether or not he has them before him but if he will look them up he will be perhaps enlightened to the extent he desires. I have given the figures for 1923 and 1926; I have no other figures before me. Does my hon. friend say that the removal of the embargo on beef cattle in 1923 was not of great benefit to the beef raisers from one end of Canada to the other? Is he trying to belittle the action taken at that time? When compared with the prophecies of the benefits of the present arrangement, I say that that was of infinitely more benefit to the people of Canada as a whole.

tMr. Elliott,]

I am sorry the hon. member for Marquette is not present. He and the member for Long Lake are the two champions on the other side of the house of the principles of this agreement.

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CON

Walter Davy Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake):

I thank the

hon. member very much.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

I think my hon. friend

has made a contribution to this debate. Whether our contributions are much or little, we should do what we can to assist the cause of our country, especially at a time like this.

I say to the hon. member for Marquette that a man who has lived to his time, who has been in business so long and is still able to take an optimistic view of the future, is entitled to a great deal of credit. He is a very genial gentleman and I am sure we all like him. Occasionally he comes into my riding and I am always glad to see him. He is always most courteous and never says anything to cause offence. I am bound to admit that his speeches are not as helpful in winning elections as the speeches of some of the ministers of the government of which he is a supporter; nevertheless, we are always glad to see him. However, I would suggest that he restrict his observations to cattle and business matters rather than to prophecy. Last June he attended a meeting in my riding just before the elections in Manitoba and he brought to the Conservatives of Ontario a message of hope and cheer from the Conservatives of Manitoba. He told them how the Conservatives were going to wipe out the Liberals and Progressives, that once again the Conservative party would be in power in Manitoba. That prophecy did not turn out very well. I have in my hand an extract from the London Free Press of June 14, 1932. This paper is considered to be one of the keenest observers of political life in this country, and in an article headed " Dominion Issues in the Manitoba Fight " appears the following:

But it has required a keen sense of humour to accent some of the arguments that Premier John Bracken and his chief supporters have been using in the contest. They have been bearing down heavily on dominion issues, urging that a vote for the fusion forces would be a rebuke for the present policy at Ottawa of high tariffs, and that such a view' will mean better markets abroad for the farmers' W'heat.

Why was the victory of Premier Bracken and his supporters in the last campaign in Manitoba as signal as it was? It was because the fight was fought on dominion issues, it was fought on the record of the present govern-

United Kingdom

ment. I say to the government and its supporters: Unless the policies of this government are changed very soon they will suffer the same reverses in the future as they have in Manitoba and South Huron.

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CON

James Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHAPLIN:

Do not prophesy too

much.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

No, I will not. I do not

often indulge in prophecy, but this one is safe.

It is difficult for anyone to say definitely just what benefits will be derived from these agreements as they appear at the present time. I regret that the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) did not see his way clear to follow the suggestion made by my right hon. leader (Mr. Mackenzie King), that the various clauses in the agreements should be considered before this motion was pressed. Would any business concern in this country faced with a crisis such as this say to its board of directors: "We want you to approve of a certain course and then afterwards we will explain just what that course is"? I submit that we would have saved time, which is important at a time like this, had that course been followed. However, it has not and we will have to make the best of it.

An inkling of the trend of these agreements has been given by the statement made by the Prime Minister in his opening address, that they were based upon the principles enunciated by the Conservative party during the last elections. What were those principles? He promised that if he and his party were returned to power they would solve the unemployment problem, reduce the debt of the country, see that the farmer obtained better prices for what he had to sell, increase the trade of the country and thus make everybody happy and prosperous. But what has happened? All the methods which they thought at that time would produce these results have been adopted. During the special session of 1930 the tariff of this country was put up to a point hitherto unknown; during the extra session of 1931, the tariff was put up still higher, and then for fear it was not high enough the government took unto itself the power to raise the tariff by order in council to whatever heights it wished. So that we have had for the last two years in this country the highest tariff policy that I think has ever been in existence in any country at any time. If there is any benefit in tariffs, this country should have had it and if there is any great evil in tariffs, then this country has suffered from it.

What has been the result? Unemployment has quadrupled in this country in the last

two years. The public debt has increased over $300,000,000. Prices of farm products are more than cut in two. The people who' have to work on the farms today are not getting in return for their toil anything like what they got two years ago. I am interested in some farms where they employ considerable help at harvest time. This year good men can be procured for a quarter of the wages they received three years ago at harvest time. On the other hand we pay more than we did two years ago for repairs for our agricultural implements and it is only repairs that a farmer can afford to buy at the present time. A farmer, with his labour working for one-quarter the price he could pay two years ago, cannot afford to pay those wages as well as he could pay the higher wages two years ago, and he cannot afford an increased price for repairs.

I should like to refer for a moment, before I pass away from the subject, to the manner in which that has affected the whole business of the country. The best index of the business of the country is its trade. It is most regrettable that in the two years that have elapsed since these high tariffs have been put into force, the trade of Canada is now less by something over $58,000,000 than half of what it was two years ago. That is a serious situation. I know hon. gentlemen opposite are anxious to do something if they can to advise the government by way of assisting ourselves out of the difficulties in which we find ourselves at the present time, and I think the men particularly from the farms should say to the government what they must know to be the fact, namely that the tariff policy of the present government is making farming absolutely impossible in Canada today. If they do that, we would not have the government attempting to rivet upon the Canadian people for five years to come the terrible tariffs and the terrible burdens incident thereto from which we have been suffering for the last two years.

The Liberal party, the house and the country as a whole have recently had the misfortune to lose a distinguished member of this chamber and we have had to have an election in South Huron. After a parliament has gone perhaps nearly half its regular life, I shall not say it is an absolute rule, but the custom has been followed of allowing a man of the same political faith as the one who has been taken away to sit for the unexpired portion of the term. One would have thought that at this time of all times, when money is as hard to get as it is, when the finances of the country are in a terrible condition and when there is no doubt the duties of the government are much more onerous than they

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would be in ordinary times, they would have endeavoured to avoid the expense, the distraction of business and the taking away from their offices of ministers who are so busy, by allowing a gentleman of the same political faith as the deceased member to fill that seat. But no, that is not the case. Word went out from the Conservative party headquarters that there must be a fight. Organizers were placed in that constituency and never before in the history of elections has there been a stronger band of Conservative organizers in any riding than that which was placed in South Huron during that campaign. As a matter of fact five ministers of the crown found it convenient to leave their offices at this time of great stress in order to visit South Huron and stay there for some time taking part in that campaign. Members of parliament from various ridings also took part. As a matter of fact a polling subdivision organization meeting was not considered to be properly opened without a benediction from some Conservative member of parliament. The most strenuous kind of campaign was waged and until the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manion) and the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) came into the riding and delivered 1 heir speeches, telling what the policy of the government was, you could have got odds of about two to one on the Conservative candidate. We heard a good deal more in South Huron from members of the government about these agreements than we have heard in this house.

What did the Minister of Railways and Canals say when he came into that riding? He told the people that this was a time of great stress, and that the agreements that had been entered into at the conference should be ratified. He urged them to show their approval of these agreements. He asked them to elect the Conservative candidate, a highly respectable gentleman, the warden of the county, the very best candidate who could be obtained for that party. Both candidates were excellent gentlemen. It was impossible to get a better candidate than the late deceased member, but I think the Liberal party had one of the very best candidates any party ever had in any campaign. Both were good candidates, but the Conservative candidate had opposed imperial preferences at the election of 1930 and the Liberal candidate had supported them. The argument of the Minister of Railways and Canals and of the Minister of Trade and Commerce was: Elect the Conservative candidate who opposed imperial preferences and defeat the Liberal candidate who is in favour of imperial preferences, just to show that you are thoroughly in favour of those preferences.

That is the kind of logic they used. After the Minister of Railwa3rs and Canals-and I am glad to see him in his seat-had told them they should vote to put those treaties into effect, the Minister of Trade and Commerce came along a couple of nights later and told them that he could not reveal the substance of the treaties. Did you ever hear of a campaign like that-two ministers of the crown urging the electors to support the treaties, but informing them that they could not tell them what the treaties contained? They did tell the electors in that constituency part of what the treaties contained; they told them everything that they thought might possibly enure to the benefit of their party. They told them about the benefits to be derived from the provision with respect to apples, from the removal of the embargo on cattle, and from the butter and cheese provisions and everything else. But the thing that struck these Scotchmen and the other electors in the riding of South Huron was that it was remarkable that if the terms of the treaties could not be revealed in their entirety, part of them could be revealed.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

The only parts of the terms that were revealed were the parts that were made public when the treaties were signed. Only those parts were given to the electors of South Huron.

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LIB

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

I quite agree with my

hon. friend. I expected when he got up that he would give just that answer. The parts of the treaties that were revealed at the close of the conference, just as the parts that were revealed in South Huron, did not tell the people of this country or the electors of South Huron that if they voted to maintain these treaties they would have saddled on to their necks for the next five years a protective tariff practically as high as or higher than the tariffs we have had in this country for the last two years. There was no more deception practised on the electorate of South Huron in that by-election than there was on the people of Canada when the announcement was made at the end of the conference. Both announcements were the same. They were consistent in that respect; there is no doubt about that. I want to say this to my hon. friend the Minister of Railways and Canals -who is usually a good fighter, perhaps one of the best fighters on the other side of the house-that the people of South Huron expected him to come there with a red-blooded speech telling how the pledges that this government made in 1930 had been implemented during the last two years. But did he? Ministers of the crown when they go into a

United Kingdom

riding in a by-election sometimes say something about the record of the government. Did the Minister of Railways?

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Absolutely. I went over

the whole record of the government.

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October 20, 1932