June 6, 1934


Marketing Act-Mr. Pouliot last time this morning, but the work is not yet completed. We hope to have the information in the very near future. There has been a very great deal of work in this connection. Mr. Pouliot: Would the minister be kind enough to tell me if it will be completed before the bill is reported by the committee? Mr. Weir (Melfort): I believe it will be completed this week. On May 17 the same question was put a fourth time, and the minister's answer appears at page 3121 of Hansard: Mr. Weir (Melfort): I regret that the information asked for has not yet been completed. I am sure the hon. member will realize when the answer is brought down, that there was perhaps more work entailed in getting the information than he had in mind when he asked for it, but I hope it will be in shape to be brought down at the beginning of next week, if not to-morrow. Mr. Pouliot: I thank the hon. gentleman, and if I can be of any assistance to the officers of his department in cooperating with them I shall be very glad to do so. That was on May 17, and to-day is June 6. Then, the point arises again for the fifth time on May 18, and at page 3174 of Hansard we find the following: Mr. Weir (Melfort): Although a great deal of this is out of order, I assure the hon. gentleman that there has been no intentional delay. Every effort has been made to prepare for him the most accurate statement possible. I have thought it would be ready for to-day, but as soon as it is it will be submitted at once. Mr. Pouliot: I thank the hon. gentleman and take his word for that. I said in plain English that I took his word for it; yet it is now June 6, and I have received nothing. Is it because as the Minister of Agriculture said- I am sure every hon. member realizes that the Prime Minister has too much work to do to be concerned about such matters as that. The farmers are losing $86,197,598 on account of the decrease in the home consumption of the twelve primary products I have named. But the Prime Minister does not pay any attention to that, according to the Minister of Agriculture who is at the right hand of the Prime Minister. I was not discouraged, and on May 21, I asked the minister for an answer. His answer is reported at page 3271 of Hansard as follows: I am sure, if he appreciates the amount of work entailed by the questions he has put on Hansard and' also the work the staff has to do apart from that, he will believe we have made every effort to bring down this information. By the middle of last week I thought we should have had it by last Friday but there were still some points it was difficult to clear up. [Mr. Pouliot.1 Our whole desire has been to submit to him the best statement in answer to the questions he has put. So far as withholding the information until this bill is passed, is concerned, the information has, so far as I can see, no bearing on the bill because this legislation has to deal with the regulation of marketing. It is not necessary for me to refer to his suggestion, which I think was almost entirely out of order, that the Prime Minister had suggested we should withhold the information from him. And then the minister said, as I have already indicated: I am sure every hon. member realizes that the Prime Minister has too much work to do to be concerned about such matters as that. On May 28, a few days later, the answer of the minister is reported at page 3433 as follows: I regret that this report is not yet completed. I asked seven times for that report. What was the answer made by the minister? It was: I am sure every hon. member realizes that the Prime Minister has too much work to do to be concerned about such matters as that. The farmers are losing over $86,000,000 on account of the fact that there has been a terrific decrease in the home consumption of farm products. I quoted the questions and answers to an English and French speaking audience in Russell county in the province of Ontario, and I said to those good farmers, " Either the minister is telling the truth, or he is not. If he is telling the truth and if he is not paying any attention to the loss suffered by farmers in that connection it is-"


CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

The hon. member

is giving the wrong interpretation. What I said was that the Prime Minister had too much work to do to check up the submitting of these answers or reports. Every effort has been made to get the information. As a matter of fact, I thought it had been sent forward. It is out of order in this discussion, but I want to clear the hon. member's mind in that one connection, namely that my reference to the Prime Minister was that he was too busy to prepare answers to questions like that.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

What is he busy about?

He is busy checking the typewritten copy of speeches made by Jean-Frangois Pouliot. He is busy converting Trebisch Lincoln, a Hungarian Jew who has been banned from England. He could spend a whole afternoon with him. He has time enough to waste his

time with him. He has time enough to waste his time looking at the typewritten copy of Hansard showing the speeches of a back bencher, but he has not time enough to see to it that the figures asked for by members of this house which indicate the great misery suffered by the farmers of this country are given out.

I am not discussing what the minister says, or the interpretation he places upon the words appearing in Hansard. But to the farmers in Russell county, in the good old province of Ontario, I said, " The minister is either right or wrong. If he is telling the truth he must force the Prime Minister to resign and if he is not telling the truth *the Prime Minister must force him to resign at once." That is what I said.

Let us now continue with our discussion of internal trade. We have heard a great deal about price spreads and the profits made by the middleman. What about it? What about the price spreads between the years 1933 and 1930? During the election campaign of 1930 the cry of the Conservative party throughout the country was that things were bad, that the farmers were not prosperous and that they were suffering. Let us draw a comparison between the bad year of 1930 and those good years which have followed since this government came into power. What has been the price spread between the value of the following farm products in 1932-33 as compared with 1930? We have heard ministers from the province of Quebec and others saying that the government were working under a handicap, that all the pacts had been cancelled when the former government was in power. Therefore trade must have improved since we have had a change of government in this country. Let us see what has happened.

At page 2888 of Hansard of this year the total production of several commodities is given by years, and that total production should be multiplied by the price prevailing that year in order to find the actual price spread between 1933 and 1930. According to that, I find that the loss to the farmer in the sale of pork meats in 1932-33 was $68,030,000.

We heard during the last campaign that butter was to be changed into gold. We heard that everywhere. We were told that the price of butter was to be raised to fifty and sixty and seventy cents a pound, but actually what has been the loss to the farmer on butter during 1932-33 as compared with 1930? That loss has been $30,200,000. In

Marketing Act-Mr. Pouliot

the following commodities the loss to the farmer in 1932-33 as compared with 1930 has been as follows:

Apples

Honey

Eggs

Beef

Concentrated milk.

Cheese

Potatoes

Peas

Oats

Barley

What was the loss in wheat? I hope hon. gentlemen will listen to this. The loss to the farmer in the sale of his wheat during 1932-33 as compared with 1930 was $70,880,000, and on wheat flour there was a loss of $27,797,140. The total loss on those fourteen items I have just given was $440,599,225, and the decrease in exports amounted to $90,884,278, or a total loss to the farmer in these few primary products of $531,483,503.

I am sure every hon. member realizes that the Prime Minister has too much work to do to be concerned about such matters as that. It is surprising, and again it is not. It is so hot, although I must admit that the temperature in the house is rather cool just now, just as cool as my speech.

But that is not all. The yearly decrease in the value of primary products sold in 1932 as compared with 1930 was as follows:

Yearly Decrease in Value of Primary Products (1932 compared with 1930)

Products of the land:

(14 farm products) $ 440,599,225

Products of the forest:

(Unmanufactured wood, pulp

and paper)* 290,694,000

Products of the mines:

(Minerals, mineral products and

chemicals)* 584,795,205

Products of the sea:

(Fish products)* 21,847,107

* Hansard, February 13 and 15, 1934, pp. 560 and 634.

* Hansard, March 5. 1934, p. 1186.

* Hansard, March 13, 1934, p. 1431.

That shows a total loss in the value of the production of these primary products of the farm, of the forests, of the mines and of the sea, in the year 1932 as compared with 1930, of $1,337,935,537. I am sure every hon. member realizes that the Prime Minister has too much work to do to be concerned about such matters as that.

As the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) has not thought fit to answer my very

Marketing Act-Mr. Pouliot

relevant questions which I put on Hansard on May 8 of this year for the first time, and have repeated frequently since, I shall answer them myself for the benefit of the house. My first question was this:

First, can we still say that we have our local market so far as those commodities are concerned in view of the enormous decrease in their consumption ?

The answer to that is no, and if as the Prime Minister said last year and has repeated very often since, we still have our local market, that was simply one more proof that he is not well informed and that he should not waste his time in gossip but should rather take every opportunity to make himself familiar with the bluebooks and other official publications of the various departments of which he is the leader.

My next question was this:

Secondly, for what reason was there such a decrease in one year, 1932-33?

The answer is very simple. It was because of the enormous number of people engaged in trade and business and who suffered a loss of their purchasing power by reason of the decrease in our external trade of one and a half billion dollars and over. They had lost their purchasing power and that was the main reason why the farmers were unable to sell to them the same quantity of farm products, and that in spite of the fact that the number of people in Canada is greater now than it was in 1930, and the prices of those commodities are even cheaper.

The farmers are suffering now because of the high barriers to trade which the Prime Minister has erected around this country and which have cut off our trade with the other countries of the world. That is the reason why our farmers have no money. They cannot sell their products because their customers have lost their purchasing power.

My third question was:

What is the proper remedy to be applied to such a situation?

I might ask that question in a different way. I might ask: What remedy has been applied by this government to that situation? The answer is very simple. It is that the government has not applied a single remedy to that situation that has not made the situation worse, because every time the government's remedy was to raise the tariff and thereby cut off our trade with the other countries of the world. The government were probably acting in good faith when they entered into the empire agreements, but they forgot that purely British trade is only nine one-hundredths of the total world trade, and

they were sacrificing ninety-one one-hundredths of our opportunities for world trade in order to secure nine one-hundredths with Great Britain and the empire. The bluebooks published by the Department of National Revenue show that our trade, not only with England but with the other dominions, has decreased. The representatives of those dominions came to Ottawa to sign these pacts and agreements. We heard a lot of drumbeating and it was very noisy at the Chateau Laurier when Mr. Baldwin was asked to stay one day longer to sign these agreements. The Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) had shed tears and said that he would not like to see him go away like that without giving him a scrap of paper of some kind. Mr. Baldwin and the other delegates put their names to these agreements which have proved to be so futile and against the best interests of this country. If we had got all of the British trade and Australia and New Zealand had got nothing, the Prime Minister might be able to boast about his accomplishments, but the trade of Australia and New Zealand with Great Britain is much better than ours while we have lost our trade with the United States and other foreign countries. This is the result of the whole thing.

'I do not believe in expedients; I believe in a sane and sound policy. As the policy of this government is insane and unsound I am strongly against it. I am also strongly against the expedients they have brought to us. This marketing bill is just an anaesthetic to make the farmers sleep during the next election. This is absurd legislation; it is soviet legislation which has the support of hon. gentlemen in the far corner. The ministers of Quebec gave the cold shoulder to those hon. gentlemen last summer, and they blame the Liberals. The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation have taken over some of the principles of the Liberal party, but we cannot complain as we have no copyright. However, they have given them a wrong interpretation. We have nothing in common with the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and the Liberals have nothing in common with socialism.

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LIB

William Henry Moore

Liberal

Mr. MOORE (Chateauguay):

I wonder if the hon. member is having a spasm of insanity?

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Get up and I will answer you. I hear the hon. member for Chateau-guay-Huntingdon (Mr. Moore) speaking. I am sure that he does not know that our trade with England and with the other British countries has decreased since the last imperial conference. If he does not know that, he

Marketing Act-Mr. Motherwell

should look up the bluebooks and get instruction on these questions. He has never spoken so he must have time to read. He should get familiar with these things so that he can give information to his electors. If he gives them full information, then there is only one thing he can do. The next time he meets the electors of Chateauguay he will have to say to them: My dear electors, I have tried to be faithful to you during the four years I have been a member in Ottawa, but I have learned nothing, I hope that I shall never represent you in Ottawa and that you will have a better man to represent you in the House of Commons when you elect a Liberal.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Hon. W. R. MOTHERWELL (Melville):

Mr. Speaker, I feel almost like apologizing for continuing the debate on this somewhat threadbare although important subject. However, there were a number of loose threads left lying around yesterday and I want to tidy up before I cast a vote either on the amendment or the main motion. I listened to the stirring appeal of my right hon. leader (Mr. Mackenzie King), an appeal which would move a heart of stone. Apparently my own heart has turned to stone because I did not feel any palpitating response to that appeal except admiration. Then I brightened up with the thought that perhaps my judgment is yet ruling instead of my sympathies.

I am not going to go into this matter very fully as there are a number of hon. members yet to speak, but I think I should state at this stage that all day yesterday and far into the night I sought every available means of information which would justify my voting with my leader on this amendment, but I found it not.

I was brought up in a school of polities in the west which taught me that a vote like this meant a vote to kill the government. While that might be very desirable if it could be done, I am afraid that a vote to kill the government would be a vote to kill the bill. I may have been brought up in the wrong school of politics and that may not be the right interpretation which should be put upon such a vote, but I am going to take no chances because I do not want to kill the bill. Therefore, I am going to do just what I intended to do on the amendment to the motion for second reading had it not been declared out of order; I am not going to vote at all, I am going to exercise my right to refrain from voting on the amendment but I am going to vote for the third reading of this bill. I can do nothing else.

I should have liked to have seen a few more of the blemishes taken out of it, but can one get a perfect bill even on and by his own side? I have had to put through bills which were badly mutilated in the process, but I have been glad to have them put through at all. If I could not get my bills the way I wanted them on my own side of the house and when I was sponsoring them, how can I expect to have a bill according to my conception of things when my opponents are sponsoring the bills?

I did not deal yesterday with the methods of reformers. This is a reform bill and the foundations of it are Liberal. We in turn built upon the foundations of my predecessor, the Hon. Doctor Tolmie. He just nibbled at grading and standardization, but he started the thing and I give him credit for laying some of the foundation. He worked hard at the embargo on cattle and had just started on the hog regulations, but we the Liberal government put them into effect. We went on with the standardization until the time we went out of office. We had practically every exportable article standardized and ready for the next government when through the will of the people and by the turn of political fortune hon. meiribers opposite came into power. They started where we left off. We started on Doctor Tolmie's tiny bit of foundation while hon. friends opposite started on the complete Liberal foundation of standardization. And now this government is building up the superstructure in the form of a marketing act.

I went all over this yesterday and the hon. member for Regina (Mr. Turnbull) must have been out of the chamber or he would not have made the astonishing remarks he did in connection with this matter. However, that is my point of view. I am always in too much of a hurry when I am dealing with my hon. friend and I generally let him off. But the clock is going; we will have to break into another day and possibly I shall be able to pay a little attention to him to-morrow.

What is the right way to seek and promote reforms? This reform has been erected on the foundations we laid as Liberals and we should give it a boost forward. That is the way we make progress in this world. For fear that I might be getting mulish and stubborn in this matter, I looked up the history written by Trevelyan, the historian. Anyone who has read Trevelyan is delighted with the style of his writing and the accuracy of his information. I will not quote from him to-night; I merely refer to him as my authority. During the time of Peel and Disraeli,

Marketing Act-Mr. Motherwell

Lord John Russell and Cobden and Bright, in all those wonderful days of reform, reform did not all come from one side of the house; for we see men like Peel, a Tory of the Tories, swinging towards the reform bills and free trade, and later on Disraeli, who had hammered the life out of Peel for swinging first on free trade, finally swung himself. What did Bright and Cobden do? They welcomed every advance from, every source, consolidated it and then pressed on until the final consummation was attained.

I would not for a moment mention these names at all except to show that the very highest among the reformers took that stand, and I, a humble member of this house, cannot be very far wrong if I follow the same course-here a little and there a little. It will be our privilege to come into power in time, because no government remains in power forever, and then we can possibly in some capacity make such further reforms as may be necessary to make a complete Liberal bill of it. In the meantime, do members of this government think they will be there long enough to do very much harm, even if there are some bad Tory features in the bill? Now that is the practical way in which I look at it. There are many parts of this bill which I do not like, just as there were lesser parts in my own bills that I did not like when we were in power; I abominate some of these in this bill just as strongly as my right hon. leader does. But you have to have two sides. The Tory side has been Tory and the Liberal side has been Liberal for hundreds of years and no doubt will continue so. Of course, we have an additional side over here, if you call it a full side; it is a party anyhow, and even if there were only two there it would be an important party were the house evenly balanced, as it has been sometimes and was in 1925-26.

I am persuaded that the right way to bring about reforms is to take them when you get them, and from whatever source they come and then press on to higher heights. Hang on to them until the next opportunity presents itself, and then seize the next and press on again. And I have given you my authority in the past, Cobden and Bright, for that attitude. I think I am absolutely on solid ground when I take that attitude, and I take it with a great deal of regret because I feel it leaves a quite unnecessary seeming difference between myself and other members of my party, including my right hon. leader.

But I think we make too much fuss altogether over this. Looking to the same source of authority, I find that all through the years the only thing that made the party system workable at all was the fact that always there was one here and there who would stand out and say, "I cannot follow that party any further in that direction." If every body were tied up to his party, which he loved best, and had reason to love best, and had a right to love best, tied up irrevocably for all time and eternity, would not that be a system of tyranny? Would not that be a system you could not entertain for a moment? The very salvation of the party system is the fact that there is sufficient independence within each party for men to stand out for -their own convictions when circumstances seem to warrant, and that is why I am a party man. And I take pride in being a party man, but not of the irrevocable kind that altereth not on any occasion, especially when we are in opposition. Surely when we have the liberty of being to some extent free lances we can exercise it for a while. I have been twenty-one years in government, twenty-one long years swallowing sufficient sometimes to take down an ox. My larynx extended so that I could swallow almost anything. Why not give that distended organ an opportunity to relax a little, when we are in opposition, and assume its normal tone?-because, peradventure, we shall come into power some day and then the swallowing will again be resumed for some. I do not know whether my electors want me back here again or not; but that is another matter.

I am growing with the years-

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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

This will probably elect you.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

-and I may not even be back here. As I say, that will depend on the electors. I might be on the other side of Jordan, though I don't feel a blamed bit like it; make no mistake about that. But I was nearly there once in 1929, and I always feel, with further years, that that great adventure of the beyond is getting nearer and nearer, and this may be my last chance to promote the cause of cooperative marketing. Little as I have done, I have done my best; and my best in this instance would be not to allow this chance to slip and not to turn my fellow farmers back home empty-handed. Whatever I may do I will not do

Questions

that, though it were my last vote in this world.

With these few observations, Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you allow me to call it six o'clock and I will adjourn the debate.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

No.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I am appealing to Mr. Speaker, but I can keep on the other two or three minutes.

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CON
LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

I move the adjournment of the debate.

Motion agreed to and debate adjourned.

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At six o'clock the house adjourned without question put, pursuant to standing order. Thursday, June 7, 1934


June 6, 1934