Order. The hon member may not agree with the hon. gentleman who is now speaking, but this is not the time to reply. The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) will have his opportunity to reply.
I have no desire to do the hon. gentleman an injustice. Time will not permit me to quote at length from the speech which he then made. I have given to this house my interpretation and understanding of the words which I then heard, and which I have subsequently read, and if any hon. members of this house are interested in coming to a judicial conclusion as to whether or not I have misstated or misrepresented the remarks of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre I refer them to his speech in Hansard of 1932, commencing at page 114. Before I finish I shall give a quotation from it to illustrate my point.
When I find in every session since I have been in this house the hon. gentleman so solicitous, so concerned for that country which has a completely state-controlled economic system; when added to that I find him blos-
soming forth in 1932 as the leader of this new -not political party-social movement, and when I find that the utterances of the gentlemen who support that movement lead ultimately to complete state control, then, sir, I think I am justified in coming to the conclusion that the cooperative commonwealth is communism; communism without bloody revoluton, if you will; communism without what these hon. gentlemen are pleased to term bureaucratic control, if you will, but nevertheless, as an economic system and in its essence I say that cooperative commonwealth is communism and communism is cooperative commonwealth.
Sir, I happen to represent in this house a constituency which in point of population is one of the largest in the Dominion of Canada, and ninety per cent of the people of that constituency are labouring people. So that there may be no misunderstanding either in this house or in that constituency as to where I stand, let me say here and now that I stand for capitalism as an economic system, as against communism or cooperative commonwealth.
Let me for a moment contrast the two systems. Time will not permit me to state in detail all the reasons for my judgment; I can deal with it only broadly. Capitalism in its origin as I understand it was individualism unrestrained. Communism in its origin was individualism absolutely throttled, choked.
Human nature, with its weaknesses, developed in the capitalistic system greed, avarice, acquisitiveness; so to meet that weakness in human nature governments from time to time, or the state if you will, legislated-legislated to restrain the full exercise of individualism; hence we have on our statute books what is sometimes called social or paternal legislation, such as old age pensions, workmen's compensation, mother's allowances and so on. Nevertheless capitalism with such restrictions still permits a degree of individualism, of initiative, of the exercise of
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ability. Communism found that with individualism completely throttled and choked it could not survive. Initiative was gone, the will to accomplish, the desire of the workman to be a craftsman disappeared and there developed in Russia under that communistic system what I think has been best described by Maurice Hindus as, "Nichevo",-"I should worry." Machines were ruined carelessly, production was slowed down, desire for achievement and inititative, were lacking. To counteract that situation communism started a system of bonuses in the form of holidays and trips to the seashore. They found that would not work. Then they changed their whole system of equality of wages and started paying higher wages in certain trades. That has not worked except to a comparatively small degree. So you find this communistic system gradually drifting back to the inherent principle of capitalism, namely that human beings are not automata, that you must allow the exercise of individualism, must have incentive, must allow initiative and reward it.
One hon>. gentleman speaking to-day mentioned something that I frequently hear discussed. They are constantly talking about the state creating corporations and conferring upon them special privileges. They talk about the creation of financial corporations. Do my hon. friends who are the accredited representatives of labour loose sight of the fact that in this democratic state we create the labour corporation, the labour union? We create the great corporation of labour, the labour unions, and we confer upon this corporation many special privileges, two of which come to my mind at the moment-collective bargaining and picketing. In picketing we legalize for the labour corporation that which would be an offence against our law as something amounting to a restraint of trade. So let us remember that governments, either of to-day or of the past, have not just existed for the purpose of creating great financial corporations.
My hon. friend from Bow River told us this afternoon of several incidents that occurred one morning in the Toronto police court. I do not represent the city of Toronto, nor is any part of it in my constituency, but for ten years in the practice of my profession I frequented the police court in that city. I have frequented that court in the not far distant past, and never have I found occurrences such as were outlined by the hon. member for Bow River. I grant you that in the past, before the days of our social legislation which provided for the aged, I have seen old men come up, charged at their own request
with vagrancy and sent to the gaol farm, which is not so bad a place,-I have been there- indeed, on one occasion by mistake they locked me in with a prisoner, so I have some experience of the place. But let us not forget that the city of Toronto, supported financially by this government and by the government of the province of Ontario, provides hostel accommodation and shelter, and also makes provision in other ways for those who are in necessity and want. I do not say that it provides luxuriously, but it provides for those who are in want, and I say here and now that if the hon. member for Bow River will at any time tell me any incident of a man willing to work, brought into the Toronto police court and charged with vagrancy and sent to gaol for three months, I will promise to get that man out at my own expense-and it will not bake long.
In the constituency I represent, some of those gentlemen who are speaking for the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation have been addressing the unemployed. And bear in mind, there are many of them in my constituency, so that I have just as good a knowledge of their condition and the privations they are suffering, as have hon. gentlemen who talk so much about them in this house. But in my constituency they talk with loud acclaim about the fact that not a man is unemployed in Russia. Well, I imagine it is true. But may I point out that unemployed Canadians in this country, under the relief arrangements made by reason of the payments in taxes of the people who are working and are earning-these unemployed men in this country to-day, I say, are better fed and better clothed, and live under just as good conditions as the average employed worker in Russia.
I said a few moments ago that I would refer to part of a speech on Russia delivered by the leader of this new social order in 1932. I shall do so now. That speech always stuck in my mind. The hon. gentleman was telling us of some of his experiences. He said:
I will give a little illustration which I believe I have published somewhere and which I think is very illuminating. We were waiting at a street corner to allow the traffic to pass and a group of high school boys and girls, ranging in age from fourteen to sixteen years, passed, each one with a _ spade upon his or her shoulder. They were jollying one another and joking as high school youngsters will, and on inquiring where they were going I was told that this was their free day-they have one day free in five, although I believe in the last few months the plan has been altered in some industries where they now put in six days straight-and they were spending their holidays by giving
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voluntary assistance to some particular state enterprise which was lagging behind its schedule.
I do not object to that; more credit to the boys and girls of Russia. But lhie continued:
Mr. Speaker, can you imagine a group of our high school boys and girls putting spades on their shoulders and starting off to tamp ties on the Canadian National railways? They might if we had such a plan. The fact remains that we lack that enthusiasm which seems to be so prevalent in Russia.
That speech stuck in my mind, and as the bon. gentleman uttered those words there occurred to me these few lines:
Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,
As home his footsteps he hath turn'd,
From wandering on a foreign strand!
In 1914 in this country we had boys just out of the high schools who shouldered, not spades but rifles, who offered to give up not their holidays but their lives in defence of this country and its institutions. We 'had young girls, some of them from homes of luxury and ease, who donned the uniform of voluntary nurses and went into our hospitals and made bandages and treated the wounded, living under conditions such as they had never been asked to put up with before. My hon. friend asks, Will you find Canadian high school boys and girls performing a service for Canada in the hour of necessity? I answer yes, a thousand times yes. And so good an opinion have I of the high school boys and girls of this country, of their intelligence and their ability to think, that I venture to say that when the opportunity is given them to express their views-because a great many of them will be of age by the next election-they will with one accord turn down this cooperative commonwealth proposition of communism for Canada.
My hon. friends sometimes lose sight of fundamental characteristics of human nature They seem to proceed on the assumption that all men are equal. That is a fallacy. Men are no more equal in mental capacity or moral fibre than -they are in physical strength ot stature.
have said so in so many words, but I do say that your reasoning is predicated upon that premise, and upon others equally fallacious which I could name. Now, I do not think that the capitalistic system is perfect. Just as we have had to make changes in the system in the past, sometimes by negotiation
between capital and labour, sometimes by legislation of the state, so in my opinion we shall have -to continue from time to time to make changes in the capitalistic economic system. But what I refuse to do is, willy n-illy, without being convinced by sound argument -and logic, to swap the devil I know for the devil I do not know. The aim of the capitalistic system, realizing as it does that all men are not equal, is to give to all men in this democratic country an equal opportunity to have the comforts of life, an equal opportunity to -attain that which is best in life by the exercise of individualism, of initiative, of those qualities which raise man from the level at which -he starts to the level he ultimately attains. May I suggest to some hon. members that -because of the equal opportunities which have been given to us under capitalism there are many of us where we are today, in a much better position than we were a few years ago.
I stand for that system which will give equal opportunity. Communism has proved conclusively that it can make rich men poor but it has not provided one tittle of evidence that it can make the poor man richer. I am not interested in any economic system the object of which is to tear dowm, to make the rich man poor; but show me an economic system or a change in our present capitalistic system which will make richer the poor man in this country or give him an opportunity for a better and fuller life and I will support that change as forcibly -and vehemently as I have tonight stood for the capitalistic system.
Mr. Speaker, I have listened with great pleasure during the last forty minutes to the hon. member for West York (Mr. Lawson), having been interested not so much in what he said as in the adroitness and ability he displayed in trying to make the best of a bad case. His first Statement was that the members in this corner of the house had no knowledge of fundamental principles. It is not necessary for me to say that if any hon. member or anyone in the country cares to look through Hansard for the last ten or twelve years he will find contradictions of the statement made by the hon. member. He is a clever debater, he is well liked by all of us, but he knew he had a bad case to defend, and, like the able lawyer he is, he started out to do the best he could. He spent much time in castigating the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth). The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre need fear no
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challenge in this house. He has his own record of which he need not be ashamed. Furthermore, he is looked upon by a large portion of the population of Canada as the greatest private member in this house, and I think that is the best compliment which could be paid to any hon. member.
The hon. member for West York attempted to criticize the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. Knowing that he had no case to make against us, he started off with the wrong premises. He said that the federation was communism and that communism was the federation. I wonder if the hon. member knows that so far apart are these two that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre is being continually opposed by communists at the different elections. If the communist believed in the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, he surely would not oppose the thing in which he believes. I think these facts fully answer the argument advanced by the hon. member for West York.
I might remind the house that two years ago this same hon. member was the father of a bill which would have given statutory power to certain individuals to charge those poor, unfortunate people who were forced to borrow money from them a rate of interest, with all charges, amounting to about eighteen per cent. That is something of which the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre has never 'been guilty.
I was interested in reading yesterday a leading article in the Ottawa Citizen, written I might say before this debate commenced. I should like to quote a few lines, as follows:
The vision of Canada's capacity to support a hundred million people, as Hon. H. H. Stevens pictured it recently, would become more real. At any rate, it would be seen that there is no need to submit to nationwide privation when the natural resources of Canada so far exceed the needs of the Canadian people.
When the national policy of Canada is more along the lines of planned economy, with surveyors and engineers and accountants exercising more influence than speculators and financial promoters, the people of this country may look forward with more hope to the coming of the real commonwealth. After seeing Canada as the dominion land surveyors have seen it, there should be no denying of the true vision of Canada as a land of plenty.
As proof of the need for the debate which has taken place yesterday and today, I should like to quote from a statement made yesterday. I do this particularly for the benefit of the hon. member for West York. Speaking in the House of Lords on June 22, 1932, Lord Marley said:
The capitalist system is tottering. Unfortunately we cannot be entirely detached because we are affected in the common smash . . . the difficulty of the system is how to consume the goods which the system is able to produce. The greatest danger in the world from the system is the danger that the only means of consuming these goods to an adequate extent is by another world war.
We were in a somewhat similar position in 1913. The war broke out and for a time saved the situation, because when all is said and done a war consumes the greatest amount of goods in a given time. There was a glut of goods at the time but the war got rid of them and to that extent saved the situation. However, in the long run debts were increased enormously and the aftermath of the war has been felt for some years in the extremely high taxes which the people have been called upon to pay in order to take care of the interest upon war bonds.
When I hear people talking about how to get out of this crisis, when I hear them saying that the only way is to work harder, produce more, save and consume less, I think of that well known character, the Reverend Malthus, who some one hundred and fifty years ago not only wrote but preached throughout the country that it was absolutely necessary to have disease and wars to take off the surplus population; that with the world as it was it was quite impossible for the people to be fed or clothed or looked after as to various necessities. That was quite possibly true in such an age of scarcity, but since then, as hon. members have pointed out, many forces have come to our assistance. We have had steam, the internal combustion engine and electricity. As has been pointed out in the last two days, we have passed from an age of scarcity one hundred and fifty years ago to an age of abundance today. Therefore, the solution which was suggested then, and perhaps entirely correctly, is quite out of date now, and the more we use antiquated remedies to try to cure the present crisis, the worse we shall make it. I quite agree with the statement made this evening by the hon. member for Wetaskiwin (Mr. Irvine) that in any cycle of time there never is sufficient money paid out in the cost of production of goods to enable the buying of the goods when they are put on the market. So many people think all that is wrong with our system is that some have too much and others have too little. That has something to do with the matter. The inequality of wealth has a good deal to do with the situation as we find it today, but it certainly has not everything. Even if we were able to equalize incomes, that would not
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solve the problem; it would probably alleviate a certain amount of suffering, but we would still be up against the glut of goods that is being continually collected under the system.
Let us consider for a few minutes the signs of the times. I notice the hon. member for West York did not refer to the signs of the times, because if he had his argument would have been on very bad ground. First of all, we have to recognize the fact that we have poverty and plenty side by side, poverty in the fact that people cannot buy the things they want, and plenty in the fact that there are storehouses and wholesale houses full of goods wanting buyers. Then we have inequality of wealth. It is not necessary for me to go into that, because anyone who is familiar with the figures that were given by the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Garland) yesterday, knows only three per cent of the people are in a position to pay income tax.
Again, the system is a debt creating system. I have yet to find the individual who can prove it is not. I think the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail) mentioned that last year municipalities defaulted to the extent of $45,000,000. If hon. members care to go to the trouble of writing to the bureau of statistics, they will find that if they take just the bank debts, railway debts, government-federal, provincial and municipal-debts, and certain industrial debts, they alone amount to about nine and a quarter billion dollars. Many economists consider that our interest bearing debts in this country amount to between $17,500,000,000 and $20,000,000,000. The present deflation, which is perhaps being felt more than any other, particularly with regard to agriculture, has had the effect of doubling and trebling debts. Even if it had only doubled debts: if by halving prices, we had doubled debts, it would be only fair to reverse that process and by doubling prices to halve debts. That would be fair to everyone.
Let us look at the railway situation. Our railways, whether privately or government owned, are close to a bankrupt condition. Never before in our history has the big private railway of Canada has its shares selling so low on the market. Why are our railways suffering so badly? We have only to look at our international trade to find that it has fallen down to less than one-half. We must recognize the fact that the railways depend a good deal on traffic coming not only from across the border, but also from across
the oceans, and if you halve traffic coming into the country, you will halve such traffic on the railways. Budgets, whether provincial or federal, are not being balanced. I know full well that whoever happens to be in charge of federal or provincial administrations are doing their best-and I do not for a moment question their sincerity-to balance their budgets, but they are not able to do it.
As mentioned the other day by the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) the value of farm products has dropped no less than sixty per cent, and the total farm revenue has dropped during the last 3 years by $925,000,000.
I should like to put on record a few figures I had sent me the other day with regard to an average of five farms. They are so startling I think those who have not as close a knowledge of conditions in western Canada as they have of the east, may be interested in getting them. Five average farms were taken. It is true that these farms had one year been hailed out and one year dry, but otherwise they were good farms and in a good part of the country. The average acreage of those farms was 427 acres. The debt against each was $6,916. The debt and interest charges accumulated since 1929 amounted to $1,188.31. The crop this year was twenty-six and a half bushels an acre. Hon. members will agree that this is a very good return. The average total crop was 3,524 bushels. The total return from the crop this year per farm was $712.40. One would say: Well, possibly they would get along with that. Let us see where this revenue disappeared. The average payment to mortgage companies or owners per farm was $254.22. The average cash expenses, threshing, seed, twine, labour and taxes was S412.45. The average return from the crop left to the farmer for one year's food, clothing, fuel, running expenses and to pay debt was $45.73. Unless those farmers receive an average price of seventy cents per bushel basis Fort William on an average crop of an average grade, it will be impossible for them to pay their 1933 interest charges on the total debt plus cost of production, let alone any payments on principal. I put that on record because it is only a duplicate of what we find we are up against in many parts of Canada, and another reason we must look at this crisis in the serious way we should, and do more than parliament has done so far to remedy it.
We have the problem of inequality of income. I will hurry over the various reasons for that. We have the control of machinery, the appreciation of the machine going to the owners. That phase of the subject was enlarged upon this afternoon. We have the
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effect of interest charges, the stock market exploitation, which was so ably pointed out by the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa). We have financial control. I have not time to go into that, but every business man in the house knows what financial control means. Furthermore, as regards the mechanization of industry, although one might think it would not develop to any great extent in difficult times, I should like to point out that it is in these difficult times the mechanization of industry proceeds faster than ordinarily. Under the competitive system, the manufacturer who is going to sell goods has to cut down his cost price, and if he can find some way of cutting down his costs and his payroll by putting in labour saving machinery he will do it every time, and one cannot blame him under the present system. Therefore, we can fully expect in these difficult times, when manufacturers are at their wits' ends to know where to sell their goods, that they will make every possible use they can of the progress of mechanization. Our problem, it seems to me, is not to stop the machines from working, but to develop science and invention to the limit, and at the same time to find means of distributing the products of the machines. That is all we ask in the resolution now before the house. We are suggesting that the human being be put first, and the machine second; unforunately to-day the human-being often takes the second place.
We have to replace competition by cooperation. We have to distribute goods and services which to-day are certainly a glut on the market. The hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) spoke very effectively yesterday on the control of prices through the control of money. If one takes the September bank statement of the years 1928 and 1932 he will find in them a contradiction of the statement that is so often made, that there is just as much money in the country now as there ever was. Comparison of those two statements will show that there is $584,000,000 less in loans owing to the banks to-day than four years ago, and that the bank deposits are less by $362,000,000. During that time I might add that the banks were able to put $7,000,000 into new buildings, and set aside $30,000,000 for reserves.
I am not going to take u,p the time of the house by going into details of how money today is written into existence through bookkeeping, and written out in a similar way, because that phase of the subject was ably covered yesterday by the hon. member for Macleod. I should like, however, to quote a terse statement by Professor Soddy of Oxford, who sums up the situation in a nutshell:
Another and most important fact to be emphasized, is that virtually all the money in the hands (or banking accounts) of the community originally came into existence in the form of loans from the banking system It can come from nowhere else, nor otherwise than as loans. This fact, which reverses all the old concepts of loans as money taken out of pre-existing deposits, is demonstrated fully in Major Douglas's works, and, in fact, has since been endorsed by Mr. McKenna, the chairman of the Midland bank. The order oi procedure is as follows: _ .
(1) Money is printed or written into existence by the banks:
(2) It enters circulation as a loan to somebody:
(3) It is then spent, and then becomes a "deposit" in the name of the receiver.
For the benefit of the hon. member for Northwest Toronto (Mr. MacNicol) and the hon. member for Wentworth (Mr. Wilson) who spoke this afternoon, and who I am sorry to say spent most of their time in criticizing this corner of the house rather than putting forward something constructive, and who were both particularly anxious to know what our policy was, I am going to put on record the proposed program of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, commonly known as the C.C.F. Their proposed program is as follows:
1. The establishment of a planned system of social economy for the production, distribution and exchange of all goods and services.
2. Socialization of the banking, credit and financial system of the country, together with the social ownership, development, operation and control of utilities and natural resources
3. Security of tenure for the farmer on his use-land and for the worker in his own home.
4. The retention and extension of all existing social legislation and facilities, -with adequate provision for insurance against crop failure, illness, accident, old age and unemployment during the transition to the socialist state.
5. Equal economic and social opportunity without distinction of sex, nationality or religion.
6. Encouragement of all cooperative enterprises which are steps to the attainment of the cooperative commonwealth.
7. Socialization of all health services.
8. Federal government should accept responsibility for unemployment and tender suitable work or adequate maintenance.
Such a program naturally we would not expect to bring into effect overnight or in a year or two. It is an object to be aimed at, and if the program comes into effect within fifteen years it will represent greater progress than we have seen made in the last twenty or thirty years.
Before sitting down, I should like to state what I think are the five chief fears of mankind. First is the fear of the loss of work by those who have not otherwise the means to sustain themselves. Those, of course, who have purchasing power from other sources, if
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they have no work, can enjoy themselves; we call that leisure; but for those who have no other means of subsistence, loss of work means enforced idleness.
Then we have the fear of poverty, and unfortunately we have only too many in this country today afflicted by that fear. It is not necessary for me to give the numbers, because they have been given before, but I am sorry to say that they are growing.
Then there is the fear of sickness. That is something that could be obviated. With the great numbers of medical men now in the field and the number of students going into our universities, we ought to be able through the aid of medical science to keep the health of our people at a higher level than that which prevails today. A doctor in Edmonton told me only the other day that doctors could not get a living because the paying was bad, and he thought no other medical students should be allowed to enter the universities. I would suggest that we can never have too many doctors so long as we have in this country sickness that can be cured or alleviated in any way.
Then we have the fear of debt, a fear which is probably worrying more people in this country today than ever before.
Lastly we have the fear of penury in old age.
These are the things, Mr. Speaker, that we are aiming to obviate in the future by gradually bringing into effect the policies which we have placed before the house. I should like to point out that apparently people in the old country are facing this problem perhaps a little more seriously than many in this country. It may be because they are facing greater economic stress. I would like to quote from one who has been mentioned before, Sir Basil Blackett, a director of the Bank of England, and a former controller of finance of the British treasury. He said:
We are facing the possibility of a collapse which would compare in history only with what happened at the end of the Roman empire. In view of what we have done with currency and what currency has done with us in the last twenty years we are all fit for the lunatic asylum.
I commend that statement particularly, for his edification, to the hon. member for West York. If we had made that statement from this corner of the house I suppose he would have said: That is communism. But it comes from a director of the Bank of England.
In closing I want to say that I have no hesitation in supporting the resolution.
Mr. Speaker, the resolution before the house is plain in its words. It states that:
The government should immediately take measures looking to the setting up of a cooperative commonwealth in which all natural resources and the socially necessary machinery of production will be used in the interests of the people and not for the benefit of the few.
Like other members, I have been very much interested in the launching of this so-called Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. I observed the meetings, and I hear from those who addresed them, the leaders of the party, that they are well-pleased with the numbers of people who attended the meetings and the reception which the speakers received. That is hardly to be wondered at. People will go to hear something new. But one hears also from those who were at those meetings that after all nothing was advanced to them which seemed really to offer any solution of the difficulties under which we are at present labouring.
Feeling that interest, and noticing the resolution on the order paper, I looked forward with some interest to this debate. I expected that the arguments of those who were furthering the resolution would at least contain something definite in the way of description of the state to which they wished to attain. But I have looked for that in vain. True, we have heard the program related by the hon. member (Mr. Spencer) who has just sat down, and we have heard diatribes against capitalism. But for a definition of the cooperative commonwealth at which they aimed we are forced to look elsewhere. We find the term as part of the Marxian philosophy, part of the program of socialism as it was finally brought into being an Russia. That that is what is aimed at is, I think, borne out by the fact that there was brought forth the well-known socialistic argument that if this state cannot be arrived at by peaceful evolution then it would oome about by revolution and force. So I am forced to the conclusion that what the proponents of this resolution hope for is the establishment 'here of a state such as we find today in Russia. I will not quarrel as to the means of bringing i,t about; one of the speakers has differentiated between their program and that of communism by saying that communism seeks to attain its ends by force-