Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):
What type of
money does the hon. member refer to?
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):
What type of
money does the hon. member refer to?
Anything that pays
for goods and services is money.
Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):
At any rate?
Yes. This government
has given the banking system-the Bank of Canada now-the right to decide on the amount of money that shall be in circulation. Any time that the Bank of Canada sees fit to increase the amount of money in circulation it may do so, and any time it sees fit to decrease the amount it can do so. That includes both paper money and credit money, money of all kinds. Now there are only two ways of doing that. Suppose money has to be issued or the amount in circulation increased, the only way a bank can put out money is to spend it or to lend it. It does not matter who creates it. it can only got out by being spent or lent. The great flow of money from the banking system into public circulation is in the form of principal lent cooperatively to borrowers, and the demand back is in the form of principal plus interest. In any year if the interest on loans made is greater than the amount that the banks themselves spend on services, it is physically impossible to meet the interest, and debt naturally and normally must pile up. Of course over the long period of years that Canada has been in existence it has been necessary many times for the dominion to borrow money, because the tax income was not sufficient to meet the expenditures. So bonds were floated at different times. Those bonds are not repayable in lumber or wheat or coal or any of the commodities that we the people of Canada produce; they are repayable only in dollars, and dollars are produced only by the banking system. That being the case, whatever government is in power, it has to meet its obligations with a medium which is supplied by only one institution. So, until a third way of getting money into circulation is found, until this is done by means of a money technique which comprehends existing facts, and puts into circulation sufficient money to reflect accurately physical truths as they exist, our accounting system certainly needs enlarging.
Because control can be exercised by those who provide the means of payment; because this government must necessarily borrow in order to meet its obligations, and because in order to borrow it must be not necessarily friendly with the banks but at least in a relationship satisfactory to the banking system; I am sure its policy must be agreeable to the banking system. This will be true until such time as the government-that is to say, the people-recognize the subtlety of the control over their very right to live, as exercised through money, and demand that
The Address-Mr. Esling
the government of the day remove that anomaly and that monopoly from existence. Then, and not until then, will it be possible for the people of any society, in Canada or in Alberta, to produce and consume to the limit of their appetite and exchange the surplus after they have satisfied themselves. Then trade will really enter into the picture; but until we do that, trade alone, or any of these other palliatives that we are attempting, will not and cannot possibly solve the problems of unemployment and poverty. Until such time as this complex system that is ours, which requires men to depend upon money as much as they depend upon air and water, which has had that control of money handed over by the people, through their successive governments, to a private monopoly, has been altered, certainly we cannot expect that any of these problems of unemployment, poverty, debt and want will be solved. We may tinker with them, but if the system does not collapse under the weight of its own debt then we shall have found a way of preventing it from doing so by devising another method of bringing money into circulation to enlarge the methods we now employ.
So, Mr. Speaker, I did not wish to make any attack on the government, nor did I wish to defend everything that has been done by the Alberta Social Credit government. I simply wanted to point out to all earnest members present that Alberta is not playing a game. We are not playing a political game. Premier Aberhart and his ministers are genuinely and actually tackling a problem which, if civilization is to survive, must be solved; that is, the problem of making what is already physically true-that is, plenty-become financially true so that the plenty can be consumed by the people.
Mr. W. K. ESLING (Kootenay West); Mr. Speaker, in the debate on the address it is customary, desirable and practical for members to present such matters as are of immediate importance to their constituents, with the thought and hope that the government will deal with them, either by legislation or by regulation as the matters suggest.
Conditions to-day present a tragedy for youth. Thousands of boys approaching manhood graduate from high schools each year, and each year thousands are added to those unemployed. In the speech from the throne the announcement is made that the government proposes to extend the scheme for the training of unemployed youth, and certainly it will be interesting to us to learn just what that scheme may be.
In my opinion there is nothing that can contribute as much towards the relief of the
existing situation, so far as our young men are concerned, as the apprenticeship system. I believe that if the government would endeavour to cooperate with industry in order to bring about the taking on of apprentices, a very great deal of good would result. Thousands of young men would gladly take advantage of an opportunity, for example, to become apprentices in airplane construction, in piloting airplanes, and in the work of engineers, mechanics, groundmen or any other line of aviation. There is no doubt in the world that the government could contribute to that end. Why not persuade Trans-Canada Air Lines to take on so many apprentices? Why not endeavour to persuade other industries to do their share towards helping young men to fit themselves for work?
I suppose, Mt. Speaker, hon. members will think I too often bring up conditions in Trail, but there we have the plant of the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company, and it would be a good thing if the heads of other industries would follow the example that has been set by Doctor S. G. Blaylock in connection with apprentices. Doctor Blaylock is the man who put soul into industry, and that is what industry needs to-day more than anything else. There the sons of employees are given an opportunity to enter various departments of the plant, and to-day seventy apprentices are receiving instruction in twelve different trades. To further that instruction the best available instructors have been secured to drill and coach the boys in matters relating to their trade, taking them beyond the high school standards in mathematics and science, so that in the end they will be not only journeymen of their crafts but also efficient employees.
There is one more situation with which I think the government could deal in order to aid in the relief of unemployed young men. I refer to a class of young men who are handicapped, who have not even the opportunity to obtain relief through pick and shovel jobs. I have in mind particularly young men who are handicapped by lack of sight. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind is appealing to this government, to the various provincial governments and to the owners of large office buildings, for permission to install in various buildings concession stands to be operated by blind young men. These concession stands would not in any way mar the appearance of the building. They would be constructed along plans to be approved by the chief architect of the dominion. The woodwork and the tile work would be fitting to the surrounding conditions in the building. First of all, these stands are supplied with
The Address-Mr. Esling
The Address-Mr. Esling
it. He then received a letter, which I ask permission to place upon Hansard, as follows:
McCrossan, Campbell & Meredith,
Barristers & Solicitors.
April 10, 1937.
Mr. D. St. Denis,
Nelson Civic Commission,
Dear Sir: -
Re Canadian Radio Patents, Ltd.
Further to our letter to you of the 24th ultimo we beg to advise that we have now been instructed by our clients that in view of the fact that the receiving set which you purchased was for personal use only and apparently done in ignorance of our clients' rights we are prepared to waive our demands that you execute a formal undertaking.
We have, however, been instructed to point out that payment made by you was merely in the nature of nominal damages and that in the circumstances of the case our clients have endeavoured to be lenient with you. We have been instructed also to advise that any repetition of your infringement will necessarily be followed by appropriate action to protect our clients' property rights. We might say that our clients have the right to require surrender of infringing sets for destruction. It will, therefore, be obvious to you that our clients have acted in a most lenient manner.
(Sgd.) McCrossan Campbell & Meredith, Per K.M.B.
This letter informed the importer that the holding company had been very lenient. In view of the fact that the radio was to be used for his own personal use, they stated they would refrain from further action. They told this gentleman that had they chosen to do so they could have demanded the radio from him and destroyed it.
This is a serious condition to have existing in this country. The twelve manufacturers of radios in Canada have turned over the patents which they own to a holding company, which in turn issues licences to manufacture radios. The owners of the patents are really leasing the patents to themselves through the holding company. What is the result? The result is that the manufacturers combined can charge what they want to charge for radios. They can reduce the output of certain lines or increase the price on others. But the public has to pay for all this.
I induced a radio builder to give me certain particulars of the cost of radios. This man is not an amateur, he builds perhaps larger radio sets than anyone else in Canada for commercial purposes. He is thoroughly familiar with the industry and knows the cost of the different parts which go into a 6et. He told me that a six-tube radio which
costs $99.50 in Canada was being sold at a price sixty-seven per cent higher than in the United States. A 15-tube radio which was selling in Canada for $310 was selling just thirty-four per cent higher than it was in the United States. A 16-tube radio which was made by the largest company in Canada and which sells for $339 was selling only nineteen per cent higher than in the United States. The assumption was that modesty prevented them from tacking on the duty and the ten per cent royalty, or damages, as they call it.
Apart from all this the fact remains that this corporation has a strangle-hold on the people of Canada. Things have reached a stage where a Canadian citizen cannot bring a radio into the country, cannot have one in his possession or cannot use one without the permission of this corporation. When such a situation exists I submit it is pretty fair evidence that we are being absolutely dominated and controlled by a syndicate to an extent far beyond the conception of the general public.
I should like to cite one case in British Columbia. A dealer brought in thirty radios which were particularly adapted to the needs of his district. After he had sold these he was pounced upon by the Canadian Radio Patents Limited for damages to the extent of $2,500. This man had paid the duty on the radios and the natural supposition was that he was justified in selling them, since the federal government had accepted the duty. To cite another case, a well known firm in Winnipeg brought in a shipment of radios upon which they paid the duty. They were also pounced upon by this Canadian Radio Patents Limited and compelled to sign an undertaking similar to the one I have placed on Hansard. They were compelled to pay ten per cent damages, or royalty, plus legal fees, and they undertook not to bring in any more radios.
It is quite right to encourage Canadian industry, but it is not right to be dominated by a super-monopoly of this kind. It is not necessary for the government to take such a matter as this to the courts. Under the Patent Act, whenever the minister has an intimation that the production of anything is being restricted because of a patent or because the price is unreasonable, he can cancel such patent immediately if it has been in operation three years. The ordinary patent is valid for seventeen years, but what happens? It is well known in connection with these radio patents that the moment one of them expires it is again registered, but with another and more intricate description, so that it passes for a new patent. The government is not responsible for this
The Address-Mr. Bertrand (Prescott)
condition, but it enables those who are inclined to monopolize and to get all the money they can to take advantage of an opportunity afforded them by the Patent Act. It is the business of the government to stop it; for the bill is being paid by all the people of Canada. The sales production alone for the last twelve months of radios in Canada, without counting retailers' profits, was 823,000,000. It has been reliably estimated that the retail sales price will increase that amount to $38,000,000. To the cost of these radios they have added the duty and other things, including no doubt the ten per cent, and these charges are coming out of the pockets of the wage earner and everybody else in Canada who purchases a radio.
Another super-monopoly to which I want to call attention is under the Copyright Act. T commend the government for having appointed the appeal board, which has done pretty fair work; it would be willing, I am sure, to go further if it could. Remember that the government is interested in this business, for the reason that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation pays to the Performing Right Society $32,000 this year for the privilege of putting music on the air. To showr that this super-monopoly is not so conscientious about its charges, that at least they are very elastic, I may mention that its charges to the broadcasting stations of Canada for 1938 were $145,000, but the appeal board reduced the amount to $83,000, so it is evident that the board must have been satisfied that the Performing Right Society was not too particular about what it charged.
However, the point I wish to make is that the broadcasting stations pay for this music, and that the $83,000 which they will pay this year covers only radios for domestic service, radio sets in homes; it does not cover radios in hotels, in restaurants, in skating rinks, in stores, in cabarets or even in boarding houses. They all have to pay a minimum of five dollars, and they are required to make periodical reports, upon which increased charges are based. I am sure that the Minister of Transport (Mr. Howe) will be pestered with protests against the increased charge of fifty cents, but apart from that, let me ask what use is a radio if these small users cannot get the music without paying an additional fee to the Performing Right Society. They have purchased their radios; they have paid to the dominion government the fee of two dollars or two and a half dollars, as the case may be, for the coming year; and then 51952-20i
this Performing Right Society pounces upon them for an additional amount. I ask in all fairness every hon. member who has in his constituency-and they all have-a band, an orchestra, an hotel, a boarding house, or any kind of institution or public place in which music is performed, to give consideration to the unfairness of this levy of tribute by this additional super-monopoly.
I hope, Mr. Speaker, that the government w'ill give some consideration to what I have suggested for the benefit of the taxpayers of this country.
Mr. ELIE O. BERTRAND (Prescott) (Translation.): Mr. Speaker, may I add my own congratulations to those that have already been tendered to the hon. members who proposed and seconded the motion for an address in reply to the speech from the throne. We are most happy to welcome in our midst the hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Fran-cceur) and the hon. member for Renfrew North (Mr. Warren). The experience these two members have acquired as representatives of constituencies in their respective legislatures and their knowledge of their province will be a great help to us in the consideration of the matters of national interest which come before us.
This being the first session of this house since the coronation of our new sovereigns, I wish to assure Their Gracious Majesties King George the Sixth and Queen Elizabeth of the loyalty of the French-Canadian minority of the province of Ontario. We trust that their reign will be a long one and that it will be a reign of justice and peace for every one of the citizens of the empire.
May I also pay a passing tribute to the fellow-members who have died since last session. Three of them belonged to the Liberal party, two to the Conservative party and one to the Social Credit group. To the bereaved families I offer my sincere sympathies. I should like to make special mention of Sir George Perley. Although situated in the province of Quebec, his constituency was separated from mine only by the Ottawa river. The late member for Argen-teuil gave twenty-five years of unselfish service not only to his constituency but to the whole country. He enjoyed an enviable reputation in this house and in the whole empire. His constituents, whom he served for so long a period, held him in high regard and were deeply affected by his death. May I offer my sympathies to Lady Perley and to the people of Argenteuil county.
The Address-Mr. Bertrand (Prescott)
I do not intend to take up all the points raised by the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Esling), but I should like to refer to that part of his speech where he states that the taxpayer does not realize how much he is paying until he becomes overburdened with taxes. I am greatly surprised to hear such a statement made by the hon. member for Kootenay West, for was it not the administration which he supported from 1930 to 1935 that added during that short period nearly one billion dollars to the national debt? I say that the taxpayers are now conscious of the enormous sums taken from them in federal taxation. Indeed, one reason why the Liberal party obtains such easy victories at every byelection is that to-day the people realize that the Conservative administration of 1930 to 1935 was a nefarious administration. They are therefore glad to return to the policy of the Liberal party which better understands the needs of the taxpayers.
Mr. Speaker, I read with great pride in the speech from the throne of something which we have noticed ourselves in the past two years or more: the business improvement and the return of this country to prosperity. Any one of us can see in his own neighbourhood that business is better, that the people are recovering from the distressful state they have been in for some years past. Prices of farm products have increased; our trade expansion has assuredly stimulated lines of activity; the farmer's position is certainly better than it was a few years ago, although he is still confronted with an extraordinarily difficult problem to which I shall refer presently. In spite of the return to prosperity, I must say that the problems of the farmer and the workman are still most serious. I listened with pleasure to the plea made a few days ago by the hon. member for North Huron (Mr. Deach-man) on behalf of the farmers. The hon. member described the economic situation of the farmers of his district. I had intended to speak at length on that subject, but after what he and other speakers said about it during this debate, I shall only say that, according to the census of 1931, the average Ontario farmer owns a farm of about 120 acres worth about $7,000. This average farm yielded in 1930 products valued at $1 ,585 gross, that is without deducting operating and living expenses. This represents the value of farm products available for the markets or for the farmer's own consumption. In 1932. that production value had fallen to $964, which means a decrease of $621 in two years.
In 1936, when took place the return to prosperity to which I referred a moment ago,
the value of our agricultural production stood at $1,335, which was still a decrease from 1930, but a substantial increase of $370 as compared with the low level of 1932. Even with that increase the farmer remains in the red and the problem still calls for our serious consideration.
If we take the costs of farm production and submit them to the same analysis as that of farm income, we find that operating expenses, including interest on mortgages or on capital investment, amount to $973 a year. A survey of the 1931 census figures, as revised up to 1936, shows that the Ontario farmer is earning less than a dollar a day, both for himself and his family, and that his working hours are exceedingly long. His working hours are not controlled by any provincial or federal regulation. He must toil from sunrise to dusk, and in many cases, has to go on working late in the evening until forced to quit by darkness.
If we concede that agriculture is our chief industry, we must also admit that the farmer's services are the most underpaid. Such conditions exist throughout the country. Agriculture is therefore in a most deplorable state, as I have just shown and as statistics prove beyond possibility of contradiction. I should certainly not attempt to hold the government responsible for it. The present government has already done a great deal towards bettering agricultural conditions, but in order to have a united Canada, equal treatment must be dealt to every class of the population, and all should be afforded the opportunity of obtaining an adequate reward for their work and efforts so that they may secure a more or less equal share of the benefits accruing from our national wealth.
I could not stress the point any better than the hon. member for Huron North did, last Tuesday, and I would like to join him, as well as other hon. members of this house and the members of the provincial legislatures, in their endeavours to get that agricultural problem solved by the government, so that our farmers may have a larger share of the prosperity which now obtains in Canada.
Now just a brief reference to the unemployment problem. The commission appointed by the government, the so-called Purvis commission. certainly achieved an excellent task in gathering important statistics throughout the country to show the scope of the problem, to what extent each class of unemployed is being affected at the present time, and the obstacles, heretofore unknown, that we shall have to face in dealing with that problem. Nevertheless, as it is stated in the speech
The Address-Mr. Bertrand (Prescott)
from the throne, there are many of our people still unemployed, and that will have to be considered by the government for some time to come.
With regard to the constituency that I have the honour to represent and more particularly the city of Hawkesbury where 50 per cent of the people are affected by unemployment-people who would be glad to work and to support their families-I would ask that they be afforded some relief by way of employment, so that instead of depending on public support they may earn their own and their family's living, and be once more in a position to live through their labour rather than be on relief.
I was interested in reading the following paragraph in the speech from the throne:
In view of the success which has attended efforts to assist in the training of unemployed young people, it is proposed to extend the scheme during the coming year.
What has been done for the training of our young unemployed by way of vocational courses and technical schools with a view to fitting them for the future, ought to be appreciated by all our people. We are certainly happy to hear that the government will continue to assist, again this year, in the training of our unemployed young people. Whatever we may do for our youth will be that much that we shall leave them. It is absolutely necessary further to assist these training schools and prepare our young people for future years. Of course that will cost some money, and I hope that during this session means will be taken to ensure the continuance of this technical training by voting the necessary appropriations for the expansion of such useful work. Then we shall be able to place them in their proper sphere where they will be in a position to provide for their future and assist in the development of this country.
It is not a question of dealing with the immediate unemployment problem, but with the problems of the future generation who, before long, may enjoy the benefits of such training, for they will have the means to cope with their own requirements and take care of those who wish to establish a home.
You may have read also with some uneasiness the following words in the speech from the throne:
The international situation generally continues to give much ground for anxiety. My ministers have endeavoured, as opportunity has afforded, to promote international understanding and good-will. They have sought to join the efforts of Canada to those of other countries
which are seeking by cooperation and conciliation to effect a settlement of questions and issues which concern the world's peace.
I am certainly happy to say that the Canadian people have some reason to be less anxious. The message of peace brought last summer by the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and by the right hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) to the empire and to the countries of Europe certainly honoured us and evidenced the interest 'taken by Canada in the question of world peace. We are grateful to them, and the whole population of Canada agrees -with them that peace must prevail as far as this country is concerned, even should other parts of the empire at any time become entangled in European or world wars.
May I state, as it has already been mentioned by several hon. members who preceded me in this debate, that one way to remain on friendly terms with other nations of the world is to try and extend our trade relations with them. That is not the only way, but it is one which will benefit our population.
The hon. Minister of Commerce (Mr. Euler) and the bon. Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) have already submitted statistics; however, I should like to submit more figures in order to establish a comparison between our imports and exports for the twelve months ended November 30, 1935, and the twelve months ended November 30, 1937. Those figures show that our trade with the United Kingdom has increased by 33 per cent; with Australia, by 45 per cent; with South Africa, by 42 per cent; with New Zealand, by 121 per cent; and with the British West Indies, by 83 per cent.
Let us now consider the expansion of Canadian trade for the same periods with the other countries of the world. Trade increases were as follows: United States, 64 per cent; Japan, 70 per cent; Belgium, 98 per cent; Germany, 89 per cent; France, 8 per cent; Argentine, 104 per cent; Netherlands, 33 per cent; China, 16 per cent; Italy, 20 per cent; Brazil, 25 per cent; Norway, 31 per cent; Cuba, 60 per cent; Dutch Indies, 43 per cent; Poland, 93 per cent. I could go on indefinitely giving similar figures for many other countries.
An outstanding fact is that in its policy of trade expansion the government fostered particularly the development of our primary industries rather than that of our secondary industries. As a result, we find that for the twelve months ending with August, 1937, our grain exports increased by 42 per cent as compared with the twelve months ending with August, 1935. Other increases in our exports for the same period were as follows:
The Address-Mr. Bertrand (Prescott)
cattle, 105 per cent; cheese, 111 per cent; fish products, I am sorry to say, the increase was only 16 per cent; cured meats, 71 per cent. Our lumber and paper exports increased by 71 per cent and 43 per cent respectively. The export figures for nearly all products of our primary industries show somewhat similar increases.
These increased exports have certainly contributed to the development of our primary industries, which are entitled to our greatest consideration because they give employment to the largest number of people. They are the foundation of our prosperity and will continue to contribute in the greatest measure to the expansion of our trade.
In developing our trade, not only are we fostering more friendly relations with foreign countries, but we are also providing employment for Canadian workingmen, and helping in the solution of the unemployment problem and in the rehabilitation of the farming community. While there is absolutely no question about that, it is nevertheless true that the problems I have already referred to are still before us, owing to the conditions which confront the farmers and the workers in several parts of our country.
We have no Canadian merchant marine for carrying our goods; consequently, in order to ship them to foreign countries we must use the merchant ships of Great Britain or of those other countries which are willing to trade noth us. A thorough analysis of the figures I have quoted will show that, with the exception of the United States of America, the increase in our trade has been largely with overseas countries, or with countries quite remote from Canada. Consequently, we must necessarily ship those goods from our harbours to the farthest corners of the world. Many of those countries have not the same mentality as we have; each one of them is keeping close watch on the others with a view to its own protection. Such countries have raised walls for the defence of their territory, their people and their trade, and to ensure such protection these walls are watched by soldiers equipped with guns and other weapons. When such countries are making agreements for the purpose of increasing their trade with us, their viewpoint is not the same as ours. We are living near the United States, quite a peaceful country which is not trying to extend its territory, and which has no reason to fear our enmity. When those countries wish to trade with us, they are also desirous of being afforded, in our harbours, such protection as may enable them to enter them safely. That is why I say that we need a national defence
not only to protect our people, to preserve order, peace and good government in our country, but also to protect our trade. If a certain sum is to be appropriated for the improvement of our national defence, it will be used, among other things, for motorizing our transportation facilities so that they may be available in all parts of the country. If we spent money last year and if we spend some more this year on our coast defences, it is not because we expect the attacks of any enemy, not because we fear to become involved in war, but in order to show to the whole world that we are in earnest, that we are willing to trade with all nations, and are ready to give them the assurance that our harbours will be protected, that their ships may safely enter them and unload their goods in exchange for ours. It is not a national defence in terms of military operations, but a defence for the purpose of enabling us to increase our trade; it is not a defence for purposes of war and conquest but solely to protect our people and secure our own prosperity in this Canada of ours.
I should now like to say just a few words about our constitution. In the speech from the throne there is one paragraph which reads as follows:
The cooperation of the provinces has been sought with a view to an amendment of the British North America Act, which would empower the parliament of Canada to enact forthwith a national scheme of unemployment insurance. My ministers hope the proposal may meet with early approval, in order that unemployment insurance legislation may be enacted during the present session of parliament.
The speech from the throne, as every one may ascertain, clearly states that the government has endeavoured to secure the cooperation of the provinces with a view to amending the British North America Act so as to empower parliament to enact forthwith a national scheme of unemployment insurance. That necessarily means that if the British North America Act is to be amended, the amendments must be concurred in by the interested parties. At the present time, we notice in the press of our country comments of a most diversified character. In a certain part of the country, comments just as varied are made about what could be done in the way of an amendment to our country's constitution. Such amendment gives rise to comments that are quite conflicting. Unemployment insurance is a problem which deserves the attention of the government, and the latter should consider not only present but also future needs. In order to afford Canada the best possible protection against unemployment, there is nothing better than
The Address-Mr. Donnelly
unemployment insurance, just as life insurance affords protection for the dependents of policyholders, and just as fire insurance protects against fire losses. That is an important problem which claims the attention of the government.
The cost of unemployment relief is now borne by the municipalities, the provinces and the federal government. Should the latter accept the unemployment problem as its own, I think that no province would refuse to leave it entirely in its hands or to admit that it should be the object of federal legislation. Provided the federal government takes over the entire unemployment problem, I submit that there would be no objection to a national unemployment insurance scheme-but that would be an essential consideration. Otherwise, the constitution of our country must not be amended without the consent of all the contracting parties, and without the proposed amendments being approved by all of them.
The present government, under the direction of the right honourable William Lyon Mackenzie King, has certainly not shown any dictatorial attitude in the past; they have always been willing, under all circumstances, to give due consideration to local and national problems, and I say frankly that in the present instance also we have no fear. We know that every one of the problems of the day will be considered and solved by this parliament with proper regard to all classes of citizens.
For all those reasons I intend to vote against the amendment of the leader of the opposition and to support the present government so that it may continue to solve the problems of our country and to give the people the administration they want in this period of difficulties.
Mr. T. F. DONNELLY (Wood Mountain):
Mr. Speaker, I associate myself with others who have preceded me in this debate in congratulating the mover and the seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. These gentlemen have performed their allotted task with credit to themselves and their constituencies, and they should be a valuable addition to the debating ability of this house.
One of the first paragraphs that attracts my attention in the speech from the throne is that which refers to the recovery which has taken place in the Dominion of Canada. It reads as follows:
It is gratifying to note that, during the past year, there has been a further substantial advance in Canada's economic recovery. Revenues have reached new levels. Trade with other countries has materially expanded. There
has been a general increase in employment and a marked decrease in the numbers receiving unemployment aid.
I have verified this statement not only by looking over statistics but from my experience since coming east. I have talked to members from different parts of the dominion, and each has told me that conditions in his district are better than they had been for many years. Conditions are and have been improving, practically speaking, all over the dominion, with the exception of the district which I have had the honour to represent during the last few years. For nine years in that district I have referred in this house from time to time to the condition that has prevailed-we have been suffering from a terrible drought, which last year reduced crop prospects to nothing at all. I contend, as other members from that district contend, that nothing whatever is wrong with the district from which I come except that we need rain; we lack the moisture necessary to produce a crop.
Some time ago, looking over the Regina Leader, I noticed an article written by Grant Dexter from the Leader-Post London bureau. In that article Mr. Dexter refers to a man named A. G. Street, who has been giving lectures and speaking over the radio in England. I should like to read one paragraph from the article written by Mr. Dexter:
Street, in his articles and over the radio, painted conditions on the prairie in sombre colours. He mentioned the lack of rainfall but attributed prevailing conditions chiefly to selfish, short sighted husbandry. He indicated that the west's troubles were largely of its own making. Prairie farmers were condemned because it was suggested that they have mined the land, taking the good from the soil and putting nothing back into it.
No article could be more misleading. The farmers in western Canada are as good as the farmers in any other part of the world. In western Canada we have farmers just as industrious, just as hard working and just as intelligent as the farmers in the east, in any other part of the British Empire or in the United States. For a man to sit in his office in England and write a speech such as that, without ever seeing the conditions or knowing anything about them, is misleading and most unfair.
He ought to be chloroformed.
He is absolutely wrong in making such statements. There is nothing wrong with farming conditions; there is nothing wrong with our prairies or with the people on the prairies. All we need is rain. No
The Address-Mr. Donnelly
government can give us that, and we realize it. It is not the government's fault, but rather an act of Providence. Nothing can help us until Providence smiles upon us again and gives us rain. We believe that time will come.
The farmers in my district have been trying to grow wheat, but they have not had enough rain to grow it. When there is not enough moisture to grow wheat you cannot grow any other kind of grain, because it takes less rain to grow wheat than to grow any other crop. Therefore when we cannot produce a wheat crop we cannot produce any crop.
Let me point out that the drought area is not confined to Canada. It is roughly oval in shape, comprising about eight states and portions of nine other states of the American union. The southern part of the oval reaches Mexico, and the northern part of it extends into western Canada, taking in a large portion of Saskatchewan and parts of Manitoba and Alberta.
In the past year the drought area has been somewhat reduced. There has been some restriction along the edges, and the result is that in the past year we found practically no drought in Manitoba. But the central part of the drought area, found in Saskatchewan, is more affected than it has ever been. Conditions have -been so extreme that there have been no crops at all. In other years there had been a little crop, here and there, but in the past season there was practically no crop in Saskatchewan.
Then, there has been, a restriction in the affected areas in the United States. There has been some change along the edges and we believe the drought area is being brought back to a state of cultivation. The moisture which has fallen during the past winter and autumn leads us to believe that during the coming year there will foe a still greater reduction in the area, and that eventually we ' will reach a condition where we will have rains and crops.
The area from which I come was opened up in 1908 and 1909. Ninety per cent of the settlers in the district came in without any worldly goods. They farmed there from those years until about 1929, and during that twenty-year period they had pretty fair crops. In 1929, fifty per cent of those people had assets valued all the way from $10,000 up to as high as $100,000 and $150,000. The men who homesteaded in those early days have now reached ages of forty-five, fifty-five or sixty-five years. It is quite impossible to expect them to leave the good homes they have built, to leave the outbuildings on their properties or to leave the land, which lacks nothing but moisture.
We must not expect them to go out into the bush to carve out new homes for themselves. They simply cannot be persuaded to go. And in view of the good crops they had during a twenty year period, they cannot believe that Providence will not smile upon them again. They still have faith in the country, and so have I.
I believe we will have crops in there again. But in all fairness, I must say to the government, that while I believe it is justified in helping the old settlers to remain on their land, it is not justified in helping young men to settle there. They must differentiate between the young men who want to start farming in the district and the old settlers who have been in there for some years. Young men should be discouraged from settling in that area, and should be encouraged to begin farming in other districts where conditions and prospects are better.
I should like at this point to refer to what has been done for the people in that section of the country, but as the time before adjournment is getting short I should appreciate it if you would permit me, Mr. Speaker, to adjourn the debate.
On motion of Mr. Donnelly the debate was adjourned.
On motion of Mr. Lapointe (Quebec East) the house adjourned at 5.46 p.m.
Thursday, February 10, 1938