John Ritchie MacNicol
The minister means, by
" a former year," 1936?
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
The minister means, by
" a former year," 1936?
Under the present government?
But not under the Bennett government.
Yes, but we made no new arrangement with these countries. Let my hon. friend observe this too, that if it came in under the present government in 1936 it also went out under the present government in 1937. From the Netherlands we had purchased
16,000 tons, but it. paid the fifty cents a ton duty the same as Indo-China did. Now there are no imports whatever from the Netherlands. Imports from Belgium of 44,000 tons, upon which fifty cents per ton duty was paid, have now sunk to slightly over 8,000 tons.
The Address-Mr. Euler
As I said, we took from Russia 154,000 tons, but exports from Great Britain of Welsh coal dropped, as my hon. friend said, by something like half a million tons. Why? The explanation is very simple. It is not because this government went out and induced nations in all parts of the world to send us anthracite coal. One reason is that, as many hon. members know, ocean freight rates have risen tremendously. The other and perhaps the better reason is that there has been an enormously increased demand from the continent for Welsh coal. For some reason or other the British coal operator produces anthracite coal in large sizes, or rather he leaves it in large sizes, and he can sell that coal at good prices in the European market. The Canadian consumer of coal likes the small sizes; and Germany, which has increased her exports of coal to this country, although not nearly enough to make up the amount which has been dropped by the Welsh exporters, supplies us with the small sizes of coal. I know it to be the fact that there was always considerable trouble in connection with importations of Welsh coal because they were sending in the larger sizes, and I believe it to be a fact that in Montreal the importers of Welsh coal were obliged to erect breakers to reduce it to the dimensions which Canadian consumers would accept. That is the position with regard to Welsh anthracite. This government has not altered its policy one iota with regard to the importation of Welsh coal. "Welsh coal has the same advantage on the Canadian market that it had when the former government was in office.
I regret that I have held the house at such great length. It was not my intention to do so. But I wished to make reference to some of the statements that have been made throughout the country, and more particularly by the leader of the opposition, with regard to the negotiations now proceeding with the United States for a new trade agreement.
I regret that, more particularly in the Victoria by-election, the leader of the opposition inoculated, if I may use the word, the people of this country with a fear that in these negotiations the interests of Canadian producers would be sacrificed. I do not know where he obtained his information. If I had the full facts with regard to the negotiations I would not be permitted, of course, to give them to the house.
Does the minister realize that the premier of British Columbia was also " inoculated," and that he inoculated the members of the legislature of that province?
Well, I should think that that was the direct result of the speeches made by the right hon. gentleman.
Oh, no; he commenced them before I went there.
You must have telegraphed.
This fear of the consequences of the negotiations is not a new thing. To my mind it is very regrettable, whether it was the premier of British Columbia or the former prime minister of the Dominion of Canada, if either of these gentlemen by speeches or addresses, without any real basis or cause, increases and accentuates that fear of the future which already is in the minds of many people. In my opinion one of the chief reasons we have had recession in this country is that very fear and lack of confidence on the part of our people. We heard the same expressions of alarm when we proposed to make the first trade agreement with the United States, but the result has shown that there was no cause for them and that the consequences have been mutually satisfactory.
You did not make it. It was all done when you came into office.
Why did you vote against it, then?
Why? For that reason-[DOT] because you gave more than we wovdd.
When I made that statement I was not particularly attributing anything to the leader of the opposition. There was, however, a fear throughout Canada that the industries of the country would be sacrificed. Well, that did not happen, because the agreement was mutually satisfactory and advantageous. There was the same fear when we proposed to make a new agreement with the United Kingdom, but that agreement seems to be working satisfactorily. In a minor way we had the same fear when we made the agreement with Germany, and there has not been one word of complaint with respect to it. Again we have the fear on the part of our industrialists and agriculturists as well-and it is fostered by my hon. friends opposite- that we are going to sacrifice the interests of Canadian producers in our negotiations with the United States.
Let me say this in conclusion. I say it in all sincerity and as emphatically as I can, and I believe that in this I shall have the support of the Prime Minister and all my colleagues. This government is not so inept, so unwise or so unpatriotic as to sacrifice the interests of the producers of Canada, whether they be agricultural or industrial, for any reason whatsoever.
The Address-Mr. Mitchell
Mr. A. H. MITCHELL (Medicine Hat):
I have listened with interest to many of the speeches that have been made during this debate, but it was the address on Friday last of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) that inspired me to take part. I should like to say to the Minister of Justice through you, Mr. Speaker, that one remark which he made struck me very forcibly, and that was when he told the house that he was concluding his thirty-fourth year of continuous service to the Dominion of Canada. At the time the right hon. gentleman first took his seat in this house I was not very many months old, and so, in my mind, his name is linked with the traditions of Canada as one of Canada's elder statesmen. I wish to congratulate him upon his long service and to wish him thirty-five years more of similar service to the country.
During these thirty-five years, however, tremendous things have been happening in the world and the tempo of living has speeded up considerably, especially during the later years since the great war. Whereas it used to be very true to say that life on this planet depended upon three essential elements, air, water and food, that now has changed with our industrialized and very highly developed civilization, so that the truth is now that the three elements required to sustain life and to enable one to enjoy all its privileges on this earth and in this civilization are, air, water and money. Without money it is not possible in this complex civilization to obtain even food. I wonder how many of us would have our dinners to-night if we did not have the wherewithal to pay for them. And if that is true, and in all common sense it is true, then surely somewhere in this problem of money lies the key to the answer that we look for to solve the problems which we are trying to solve with trade and commissions and one thing and another.
Any man's property and civil rights, his ability to live and to enjoy living in the world, are closely linked up with his ability to pay for what he needs, and to pay with money, because to-day men do not tender bags of wheat and fleeces of wool in payment for what they consume; in this country they tender dollars. The grim spectre of want disappears just as soon as money is available, and it so happens that it is of enormous importance not only in a nation's life but in the life of the individual-no less in my life than in the life of Canada. It is because of the need for money in order to have the right to live that men steal, lie, cheat, fight, murder, and die. They do all these things for money because of what money gives them. It is fair
to say that if you are looking for the devil incarnate, the father of lies, you will find him somewhere around money. And so the remarks of my right hon. friend on Friday last made me feel like saying in this house that what is being done in Alberta is being done for the first time in history, and that is that a government elected democratically has undertaken to challenge the authority of those who control the supply of money-not lumber and wheat and coal and all these things, but money, which is necessary for the exchange of them. It has never been done before, but the challenge has not yet been sustained. It has been made, however, and this is something of the procedure that was followed.
Rightly or wrongly it is a fact that the government of Alberta ultimately went to that system in which all money originates, the banking system, and said to them: Here is a problem. Here is a naturally productive and wealthy area, extremely productive, which is not overly populated, and the people are not able to consume to the limit of their appetite all the things they are able to produce. In effect the Alberta government said to the banks: If all that the people of Alberta are able to produce were in one end of the province, and the people with appetites to consume were in the other end, and the problem was then a transportation problem, we would not approach you, the bankers, at all; we would approach a transportation company and ask it to perform the function for which it exists in the state. But of course it is not a transportation problem. The problem is that while the people are able to produce they are not able to consume, not for lack of appetite but for lack of money, which you and you alone now control. So the Alberta government said to the banks: Will you admit your responsibility in this connection and set about righting this difficulty as quickly as possible? That was the purpose of the letter sent by Hon. Solon E. Low to the branch banks in Alberta. Or failing that, will you admit, if that is the case, that you do not know how to solve this problem of money? Will you admit, for instance, that there has been built up a Frankenstein which has got out of hand, if that is what you think? If you admit that you do not know how to solve this problem, there are men who say they do know how; so employ them, bring them in with you and attempt to solve the problem together. If they fail fire them and get others, until the solution is found. The banks replied that they were willing to cooperate within the bounds of this act and that and so on, which was all very fine. A questionnaire was sent out as a feeler to find
The Address-Mr. Mitchell
out how much cooperation could be expected. It asked for the names of certain people. No replies were forthcoming, which showed the amount of cooperation that was available.
Then a third course became necessary, if the source of money would not admit its responsibility and set about correcting the evil, or in the alternative admit that it did not know how and acquire assistance in effecting a remedy. In that case it becomes necessary for the Alberta government within its own limits to pass such legislation as will demonstrate that the institution which now has the monopoly of banking does not intend that the problem should be solved, nor will it relinquish that monopoly. That is the meaning of the legislation which was passed by the Alberta government. Personally I think mistakes have been made; any government, being human, makes mistakes. But I agree with what was said by the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Hvndman) a day or two ago, that in Alberta they are at least attempting to do what needs to be done and therefore are to be admired.
Will the hon. member permit me to ask what names were wanted from the banks?
Merely a list of employees, a very simple matter. I wonder why it is so difficult for people to recognize that there is an acute problem in connection with money. Perhaps an illustration such as this may be helpful. As a farmer I am able to produce certain goods. When I sell them for money I take that money just as much for granted as I do the goods. A government-this or any other-is not able to acquire money in any other way than by taxation or by borrowing. Those are the only two ways, according to the statutes now in effect. For that reason the policy of any government must of necessity be satisfactory to those who provide the means of payment.
Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):
Does the hon. member refer to Canadian national money or to Canadian government money or to bank money or to any money, money as such?
I do not follow the
the question, but I think perhaps my meaning will appear as I proceed.