February 7, 1938


Motion agreed to.


CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS

APPOINTMENT OF GEORGE A. TOUCHE AND COMPANY AS AUDITORS


Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Transport) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 17, respecting the appointment of auditors for national railways. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH


PARLIAMENTARY RESTAURANT (Members to act on the part of the Commons) Mr. Speaker and Messieurs: Barber Bertrand (Prescott) Fafard Fraser Gray Hill Landeryou Maelnnis MacMillan Macphail (Miss) Moore O'Neill Pinard Purdy Rheaume Roberge Sinclair Spence Taylor (Norfolk) Tustin-20. Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre) moved tihat the report be concurred in. Motion agreed to.


CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed from Friday, February 4, consideration of the motion of Mr. J. N. Francoeur for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the proposed amendment thereto of Mr. Bennett.


CON

Albert A. Brown

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. A. BROWN (Hamilton East):

Mr. Speaker, during the week-end while I was home certain merchants and manufacturers in and about the city of Hamilton called upon me, and in the course of our conversation advised me that two of the greatest factors that were contributing to the unemployment situation and to increasing unemployment to-day in that district were, first, that American

The Address-Mr. Brown

goods are being dumped into our markets at much below the selling price in the United States, and, second, that a flood of Japanese goods are being sold in the departmental and retail stores of this country, to an extent which is hardly realized by the general public. The Japanese have gone into making screws, brushes, book-ends, lighters, etc., many of which articles are selling in Canada at much below the cost even of the materials that enter into them. It simply means that these industries in Japan are being subsidized by the people of Canada, and, I repeat, they are selling their goods in this country at a price below or at best equal to the cost of the materials used in producing them.

Before the house adjourned on Friday, I was saying that it seems to me that the government is too well satisfied with the present financial and social conditions in this country. To such an extent is this true that you can read the speech from the throne as often as you like, and you will find in it no indication of any measures proposed to reduce the uncontrollable expenditure, which accounts for some forty cents out of every dollar of revenue collected. No measures are being taken to wipe out the sugar tax, which the members of this government, when in opposition, opposed so strenuously, and there is no suggestion that the eight per cent sales tax is to be reduced, although it is one of the chief obstacles to carrying on business in this country. Nor is there suggested any practical scheme of cooperation with the provinces and municipalities to remove from real estate the tremendous burden of taxation from which it is suffering, and which is the great obstacle to a revival of the building industry. I think if the government would make some effort to cooperate with these other governing bodies it would do much more to help the building industry than the present financial loan arrangements for that same purpose.

Another year has passed, Mr. Speaker, and no measure has been introduced by this government to deal effectively with our railway problem, which has been increasing the national debt by many millions of dollars year after year. The railway problem, I think it is generally recognized, is one of the most important with which this country has to deal, and speaking for myself I do not think we shall have any major degree of prosperity until this problem is solved.

Perusing the speech from the throne we find that the government's idea of a substantial measure of social reform consists of a proposed amendment to the British North America Act which would enable parliament

51952-13i

to enact forthwith a national scheme of unemployment insurance. Such a measure, Mr. Speaker, is one of the most important with which this .parliament could be called upon to deal, and I fear that the government is not attaching to it the importance it deserves. It is a measure that would affect to a very great extent my constituency of Hamilton East. Hamilton is one of the largest industrial cities of this dominion. It is situated in one of the richest fruit and vegetable growing districts, the prosperity of which is dependent upon the millions of dollars paid out annually in wages by the industries in the Hamilton district. There is no part of the country more sensitive to fluctuations and variations in industry than Hamilton and the surrounding district, and uncertainty as to the attitude of this government in the matter of making tariffs and making treaties has contributed to unemployment there.

The government appears to have adopted the attitude that it took between the years 1921 and 1930, when it reduced the tariff, without any compensating benefits to the people of this country, at a time when all the other nations of the world were raising tariffs. When the members on this side of the house complained about the grave injuries that were being done to our industries by these tariff reductions, hon. gentlemen opposite pointed then, as they do to-day, to our huge external trade and to the large revenues that are being collected; they closed their eyes entirely to the fact that hundreds of thousands of Canadians were leaving Canada to look for work in the United States. Following the tariff reductions made during that period, various products that were manufactured in the many branch factories in Hamilton were no longer manufactured there but were manufactured in the main factory in the United States. But when the Conservative party came into power in 1930 and raised the tariff to ensure that our industries would be able to compete on even terms with those of foreign nations, products that had never before been manufactured in the branch factories in Hamilton were manufactured there, and with very little, if any, increase in price to the consumers.

When the Liberal party came into power again in 1935, we found history repeating itself. The government, in its quest for international trade, is making or contemplating making treaties which according to rumour it is hoped will not sacrifice our industries and will be of benefit to this country.

I do not wish the members of this house to think I believe in the tariff as a panacea

The Address-Mr. Maclnnis

for all our economic ills. Nor do I believe in high tariffs. I believe that we must trade with other nations, but I contend that a proper protective tariff in order to influence trade balances, to provide work and opportunities for both the farmer and the industrial worker, is the right tariff for a nation such as ours. It is impossible to have any measure of social or economic reform unless all parties in this house agree to the principle of a fair protective tariff.

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LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. I am sorry to have to stop the hon. member, but he has exhausted his time.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. ANGUS MacINNIS (Vancouver East):

I find myself in what is no doubt a similar position to that of many other hon. members: we should have liked to see something more in the speech from the throne than there is in it, yet we are not greatly disappointed, because we did not expect it.

But there are certain things that we have a right to expect. This is the third session of parliament since this government came into office, and we have the right to expect that the government, possessing as it does the power, should give effect to some of the promises it made to the electorate before it assumed office. The government should not forget that it is here to-day because of a failure of the former government to deal effectively with the economic situation. It should also be remembered that this government came into office at a very much more favourable time than the former administration. The previous government came into office when the country was going into the deeps of the depression, a depression not peculiar to this country but common to the world at large; whereas the present government came into power when the economic situation the world over was improving. They are therefore more accountable to the people of Canada than was the former government because they have not extended that improvement to a larger section of the population. I am not taking up the cudgels on behalf of the previous administration; we criticized them as we criticize the present one, but there is that difference, and it should be remembered.

It is true that some improvement has taken place since this government came into office, but it cannot be denied that the government is not responsible for that improvement, because a similar process has been going on all over the world, and great as is the power of this government it does not extend much beyond the bounds of the dominion.

In my opinion there is a reason why more has not been done, and until that reason is recognized and considered, very little will be done. It is that, underlying the economic fluctuations of to-day not only in Canada but all over the world, there is a fundamental flaw in the economic system itself. The circumstances and conditions which built up in the past what we were pleased to call prosperity have disappeared and will not return. As I have said, the improvement of which we boast has been world-wide. The depression, of which we already see signs, will also be world-wide. And no country in the world has made less preparation to meet it than Canada has.

When the parts'- now in power went to the people in 1935, it presented a fairly definite program, with planks dealing with various matters of concern to the people. Chief among these was unemployment, and the Liberal party promised to deal effectively with it. The improved economic conditions in the last two and a half years have of course diminished unemployment, but let us remember that in one month alone, last December, over

78,000 were added to the unemployed lists, and there is nothing in the policies of this government that could have prevented that occurrence. Similar increases, brought about by a world-wide situation, may take place in the coming months, and all the improvement, as far as employment is concerned, would be wiped away.

Then we were promised unemployment insurance. I am pleased that the government is taking steps to give effect to that pledge, but I was astonished the other day when the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) said that the actions of the former-Conservative- government were responsible for this delay of five years. Unemployment insurance was a plank in the Liberal party's platform as far back as 1919. If that be so, and it is so, the Liberal government of to-day is responsible for a delay of fourteen years.

We were also promised the liberation of external trade. Trade of course has increased. This government said not only that it would improve conditions by enlarging trade within empire countries but that it would increase trade with all countries. The facts are otherwise. I have before me an article by Courtland Elliott in Canadian Business, the official organ of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. It is pointed out, in an analysis of Canadian trade, that our trade with the United Kingdom is, in percentages, approximately the same as it was in 1932; that is,

The Address-Mr. Maclnnis

taking the months January to October, 1932, and comparing them with the months January to October, 1937.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Percentages of what?

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

The percentages of Canadian trade; that is, that part of Canada's trade done with the United Kingdom is approximately the same as it was in 1932.

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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Both exports and imports.

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CCF
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Oh, yes.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

I thought I had made that clear; I am sorry that I did not. Our total trade with the United States has increased by some nine per cent. The percentage of our total trade with empire countries, that is the British dominions, increased by a very small amount, but the percentage of our total trade with other foreign countries decreased from 22-3 per cent to 11-6 per cent. That is not extending trade on the basis on which the government promised it would be extended.

Then we were promised control of credit. I have a copy of the Liberal platform, which has a note on the back saying:

The paragraphs above have been extracted from the official report of Mr. Mackenzie King's speech in the House of Commons, on February 27, 1933.

With regard to the control of credit the following statement is made:

The Liberal party believes that credit is a

ublic matter, not of interest to bankers only,

ut of direct concern to the average citizen. It stands for the immediate establishment of a properly constituted national central bank . . .

And so on. In this regard there has been no change that has had any significance whatever; and for that statement I have no less an authority than the hon. member for Vancouver r-Burrard (Mr. McGeer). Speaking at the annual meeting of the Vancouver-Burrard Liberal Association on November 4, he said, as reported in the Daily Province:

" Government control of the Bank of Canada for the benefit of the people has been promised by the Liberal party, said Mr. McGeer, and he for one would not sit idly in his seat at Ottawa without protesting that it be put into effect.

That would seem to be conclusive evidence that this plank at least has not been carried into effect. The hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard is an authority on monetary reform. I know he is an authority because he has said so himself. He used to talk a good deal about it and spread enlightenment in regard to this very complex subject, but he does not do so any more.

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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

He went to England.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

Yes, he went to England and sat at a banquet at which were present the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Sir Montagu Norman, and now the hon. gentleman does not speak about money; he speaks about the scenery of British Columbia-a wonderful subject to discuss even if it has not the economic and personal interest that money has for most people.

There was also another great exponent of money in British Columbia-we have more than scenery there, let me tell you. I refer to the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie). I do not know whom he sat with when he went to Great Britain, but he does not speak about money now either. Possibly all that was necessary to stop him was a wink from the Minister of Finance. At any rate, nothing has been done in that connection.

Then there was the matter of the liberation of internal trade:

The Liberal party will seek to end artificial price control and agreements in restraint of trade. Price-fixing by agreements restrict and hamper trade internally. The internal trade of our country has become honeycombed and enmeshed by secret understandings and agreements.

I believe that that is as true to-day as it was true in 1935, but nothing has been done to remedy it; and until we deal effectively with monopoly control in this country we shall not get our people out of the poverty they are in to-day.

There was also a section dealing with the reassertion of personal liberty. I had intended to make some reference to this, particularly as it concerns the so-called Quebec padlock law, but I will not do so, not because something could not be said about it, but the matter has been discussed already; and after listening to the very excellent speech of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) the other day I decided not to discuss the question. I am not satisfied with all that he said; nevertheless his speech last Friday should be of great interest to the people of Canada.

May I take this opportunity also to congratulate the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) on the attitude he took in the trouble that developed at Oshawa last year. If we had more of his point of view, more of the understanding that the Minister of Labour showed on that occasion, there would be fewer labour difficulties in Canada than there are.

I intend to support the amendment moved by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett); I shall vote for it, but I should be much

The Address-Mr. Maclnnis

more enthusiastic about it if it were more positive and less negative than it is. If it had stated the lines along which the Conservative party would proceed to lay the foundation of an enduring prosperity I would vote for it with far more enthusiasm than I shall when the vote is taken.

Two facts stand out in the life of Canada to-day; we have a country of great potential wealth, vast possibilities, and we have a country in which there is dire poverty. And the poverty of the masses is increasing; the poverty of the farmers, despite supposed improvement in the last few years, is increasing. We should try to find out the fundamental cause of this situation. Surely it is not because the wealth is not here or because our people are not prepared to work and produce wealth; there must be some other difficulty, some other fundamental cause that we have not discovered. There has been, of course, very little attempt to deal scientifically with the economic and social questions confronting us, and I submit they are not incapable of solution if we approach them in a scientific way. The small group to which I have the honour to belong believes that the solution lies in the methods which we have suggested in this house and elsewhere during the last few years. I shall not press that upon the house at this time, although I will call attention to some statements that have been made here during the present debate, statements to which we should give consideration and which every member of this house might very well study closely.

The leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett), speaking here a week ago, said:

Why is it that to-day we have such enormous aggregations of capital in the banks-capital unemployed? Why is it that to-day the banks have such enormous investments in our securities? Is there lack of confidence in our ability properly to function as a producing country?

I am not going to answer the questions of tihe leader of the opposition, or take time to disagree with his own answer. The facts of course are as stated by him, and there must be some reason for their being so. Then the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore), speaking in the same debate, and referring to the prevailing poverty of to-day, said:

Take the Brookings Institution discoveries. It has found that in the peak of the boom in the United States the people of that country were able to buy only eighty per cent of the productive capacity of the United States.

I presume "productive capacity" as used by him meant the actual production in the United States at the time.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

That is not what

the Brookings Institution said. "Productive capacity" were the words used by the Brookings Institution.

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February 7, 1938