My friends question that. If I wished to take the time I could read them; some of them are in the records of the house already and hon. members can see them. But I think if they go to any department of the government and look up the records during the time almost any minister was there they will find that what I am stating is correct.
They will not find it in the Department of the Secretary of State for five years.
Having established the fact that this has been the practice, all I wish to say is that when the hon. member for Kings sent in a declaration over his signature to the effect that of his own personal knowledge these men had been politically active, his word was taken, as the word of other hon. members of the house has been taken, and acted upon. As far as the one individual is concerned, about whom most of the discussion has taken place, the one who was employed continuously during a period of some years, while it may be very difficult for an hon. member to go before a commission and prove his contention, judging from my own experience over twenty-five years in meeting with civil servants and examining files I would conclude without any further investigation that the member was. quite justified in making the statement he did make, and for that reason as minister of the department I would not have required any further examination or investigation in that particular case.
But the general practice has been established, and so long as it continues to be the practice' we shall act upon it in my department. When it is decided either by this house or by the government that a different practice is to be followed,^ then as a member of the government I am quite prepared to follow that practice.
May I ask the minister before he takes his seat whether the order in council to which I have referred is still in effect?
The order in council referred to is still in effect, but it deals with a different class of cases.
use of Canada's financial resources for
ELIMINATION OF POVERTY-AMENDMENT OF MR. BLACKMORE
Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):
Mr. Speaker, I am not altogether satisfied with the progress which is being made in our dominion towards removing poverty from the midst of the potential abundance which exists in this country. It is the duty of every hon. member of this house to express his opinion and give the reasons for that opinion, and I merely undertake to discharge my duty in this respect.
As I see it, the government of the day has not only unsuccessfully grappled with the problem which confronts it; it has not even discovered the principles upon which a solution should be based. We still have a disastrous unemployment problem, as I think every-
Use oj Canada's Financial Resources
one will grant quite freely. We have a far greater unemployment problem than ought to exist in a country like ours, so munificently blessed with resources. Our standard of living, even among the vast majority of those who are employed, I think all will agree is shamefully low. Our primary producers are crucified because of the fact that they must sell their products on an unprotected market while they buy what they need in order to produce on a protected market. This is causing universal suffering, particularly throughout the west, and apparently nothing is to be done about it. We are suffering from insufficient markets, and in order to get markets we are obtruding our products into the world market, displacing the products of other countries and engendering unfriendliness, while our own people are suffering for want of the very things we are seeking to sell. We have a debt burden which I think anyone who thinks about it calmly must realize is utterly appalling. Let us ask ourselves, as plain, straightforward, common sense, ordinary people: Can we see any way in which this country can ever get rid of the debt which is now hanging over us, if we go on as we have gone for the past ten years? Let us be perfectly honest with ourselves; let us face right up to the question in an unflinching, manly way. I think everyone will agree that our chances of getting out of debt, even if we have no great calamity in future, such as a war, are almost entirely negligible. There ought to be some way by which we can get out of debt, considering the natural wealth of this country. Surely some means can be discovered.
We are uncertain as to whether we ought to have a high tariff or a low tariff. I think even hon. members of the government party will agree that one of the greatest causes of contention among them is whether we should have a high or a low tariff, and no one seems to know. All we do is simply contend about it, and as long as the present system continues that is going to be the case in regard to every hon. member of this house, no matter what party he belongs to, which indicates that there is clash of interest between east and west, between primary and secondary producer, which certainly ought not to exist at a time like this. Surely there is some way of getting over this difficulty. Some people say that economic nationalism is the solution of our problem. Others arise and declaim against economic nationalism as an abomination, as the cause of war, and so on. All these people have been nurtured in Canada; they are even members of the same parties in parliament. I say as long as such conditions exist hon. members will readily realize, I think, and
frankly grant that we are far from any sort of solution or even any conception of what the solution might be.
I do not wish to declaim against things as they are without being prepared to offer a suggestion as to how they might be bettered. In Canada we have plenty; that is beyond any question. There may be one or two who will question that statement, but I think there will be very few. I believe almost anyone will readily grant that we can produce all the food, all the clothing, all the housing and all the fuel we need in Canada. An excerpt which to some extent bears upon this question can be found in the Chart of Plenty, published by the national survey of potential productive capacity of the United States. I am willing to grant that this does not apply strictly to Canada, but remembering how closely we resemble the United States in our natural resources and our industrial and railroad equipment we must concede that conditions here must be very similar to those in that country. Therefore when we read on page xiii of Loeb's Chart of Plenty that the United States, without adding to its existing plant or man power, could easily produce for the people of that country $4,400 per family in goods, even we must realize that some such principle must apply to Canada. In the same connection I am going to refer to another quotation which is to be found in The Condition of Britain, by G. D. H. Cole, which was published very recently. At pages 376 and 377 he refers to the findings of the Brookings Institution, again applying to the United States, and reaches the conclusion from their findings that in 1929 only four-fifths of their actual productive capacity was being bought.
Right here, I maintain, is the crux of the situation. They are producing the goods but the people cannot buy. Now the question is why can the people not buy, and how men can manage it so that the people will be enabled to buy. If the goods are there and the people are unable to buy, the problem is clear. The question is how to deal with it. We have the factories; we have the workers; we have the transportation; we have the distributive agencies in Canada, the wholesalers and retailers, and every other thing that is necessary except the means to make them operate. Mr. Henry Ford may not be an authority but nevertheless he is a very successful man; consequently his opinion ought^ to have a great deal more weight than mine. People who might object to my opinion because I am not successful ought to listen with respect to the opinion of Mr. Ford,
Use oj Canada's Financial Resources who is successful. Recently Mr. Ford made this statement: Money is just part of society's transportation system for moving goods from man to man: it breaks down so often it is time our financial engineers developed a better model. I am not saying that any great credence is to be placed in Henry Ford's opinion or that any great respect is to be given to it, but it is significant, as a point of departure, that this is what he says. I have also a quotation by Paul H. Douglas, which in the same way' indicates that money is the cause of the trouble. I shall not trouble the house by reading it, but it is very emphatic. We, as a group of social credit people, think the solution of Canada's difficulties lies in money, and we believe that the particular kind of money is state-created money, or king-created money. From past experience I feel sure that hon. members now will not jump to conclusions. May I commend the members of this house for their general tolerance of the opinions expressed, and I should like to thank them for that. Since my experience in the past has been so pleasant I think I am safe in assuming that to-day, when I speak of a warm, quiet, beneficial kitchen fire hon. members will not immediately begin to think of a vast conflagration consuming a city. I say that because in the past whenever we have spoken of government or state-created money, people immediately have talked about Germany. You do not have to have a great conflagration destroying a whole city or a world in order to have a fire. A controlled electrical current will light your home, will warm your toaster, heat your iron and perform many other services, but when you think of electricity you need not think of the lightning flash. If you did, you would back away from electricity at once. W hen you speak of a shower of rain coming down graciously and beneficently to moisten the ground and all that is growing therein, you need not think of a cloudburst which would destroy everything in its path. In the past the reaction to the question of money has been something of that kind. In advocating more purchasing power we are not commending the cloudburst or the conflagration or the lightning flash; we are commending rather the kitchen fire, the electric current under control, and the shower of rain. The government have tried everything but money reform. I am ready to say what I have said in a hundred places in this country, both on the platform and elsewhere, that as far as I can judge the government in power to-day has done everything u ^ould possibly conceive of under the present system to improve the condition of our people. It is my judgment that the ministers are as energetic, as honourable and as earnest as men could possibly be. It is my belief that the members are ready to do their utmost. They disagree among themselves with regard to high and low tariffs and with regard to the advantages of trade with this and that country, but as far as they can see and come to agreement, they are doing the best they can. I do not hesitate one moment to say that. We have tried having our banks independent, we have tried keeping them under a very rigid central control, but neither one of these methods of handling our money has succeeded. On every hand we are faced with frustration and the threats of fascism and communism. There is stress and strain among the provinces. If you travel from one end to the other of the province from which I come you will find a very sad and disheartened people.
It is all right to say "No wonder," but that is the fact. Alberta is one of the nine provinces. If you go to those places in Manitoba where people are thinking most you will find that that province is facing frustration and is absolutely at a loss to know what it is going to do. That is the condition existing in two of the western provinces; but I do not intend to go into this in detail. Hon. members are just as aware as I that there are stresses and strains. Surely there must be some way out. In a land such as ours, with people such as ours, with equipment such as ours and in an age such as ours, there surely is a way of escape.
We have a suggestion to offer. Inasmuch as I have been dissatisfied with the progress made by the present government, not so much in its application as in its indisposition to try new things, I move that the motion now before the house shall be treated thus:
That all the words in the motion after the word "that" be struck out and the following substituted therefore: "This house is of the opinion that for the effective removal of poverty from Canada this government has neglected and is now neglecting to use the resources of the dominion as adequately as the people of this country have a right to demand.
Although I am introducing this as a want of confidence motion, I hasten to say that we have no desire to make this a political question. We felt that we should discuss this matter fully and frankly and dispassionately. We have canvassed with a great deal of care the methods which could be used to bring up this problem on the floor of the
Use oj Canada's Financial Resources
house for consideration, and of all the various means which have been suggested, this one seemed the least objectionable and the most likely to bring about the kind of discussion that we wished. I hasten to urge upon the members that they do not consider this a political move.
We do not consider ourselves a political party at all; we consider ourselves everywhere as just an economic league. We have no desire to establish ourselves as a political party, as a group in the house or as a league outside. I want to present my case as modestly and yet with as much assurance as should be fitting. I have been told that sometimes in the past we have spoken with such confidence and, shall I say, such cocksureness, that we have in a measure offended some hon. members of the house. May I urge this in order that you may feel less harshly towards us: Anyone who does not believe sufficiently strongly in his opinion to get up and fight for it with all the energy and vigour of which he is capable, is probably not very sincere. We are very sincere. We believe with all the power of our beings that there lies along the lines which we indicate some chance of solving the problem.
It is my belief that R. F. Irvine, professor of economics at Sydney university, was saying a true thing when he used these words:
I believe the principles put forward by C. H. Douglas are not only sound but that they provide the only practical way of escape from the tragic fate which otherwise awaits the whole western civilization.
We have never made any statement more positive or more assured than that since we came here. That is a statement by a professor of economics of a great university in one of our sister countries. He has had twenty-five years experience as an orthodox economist, and surely his word should be considered of some importance, whether we agree or disagree with what he says. I urge that you attribute my zeal or ardour, not to persuasion, not to enthusiasm, but to genuine conviction. In further extenuation of my attitude, may I say that hundreds of years ago Bishop Berkeley, who is looked upon as one of the greatest minds in English history, was in favour of exactly the principle which we are advocating-
That is not true.
My hon. friend is at liberty' to come to me and satisfy himself to the full after I have completed my speech. Disraeli recognized the faults in our money system; he referred to it as the Dutch finance system and had a great many things to say
about it which I do not think have been promulgated among the youth of this land for a long time. Gladstone realized the weaknesses of the system, and in 1932 the London chamber of commerce roundly condemned the system we are under and suggested the very one we now advocate. Irving Fisher, professor of economics at Yale, has the same attitude to money. G. D. H. Cole, an eminent professor of Oxford, while he does not exactly favour dividends or the just price, is in favour of national money. That is the thing which we are going to discuss here this afternoon.
Surely my hon. friend
is not quoting those names as supporters of the Douglas theory of social credit.
Not by any means.
Oh, thank you.
They are simply the
names of men who support the first fundamental of Douglas, and that is that your money shall be state-created, king-created, and shall be debt free. There is no doubt about that point; if anyone questions it I could bring plenty of evidence to bear me out. But I think everyone accepts that because it is well recognized by everyone *who understands the Douglas system.
In order to determine for ourselves whether or not the system advocated by Douglas has a chance of succeeding in Canada, there are a great many considerations which we must canvass with some care. I am going to say, first of all. that Canada has tremendous financial resources. When the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) the other day, in all seriousness and earnestness, made the statement that there was no way in which you could get money except by taking it away from someone else, he was, according to our view, entirely wrong.
My hon. friend must
not qualify what I said by leaving out part of it.
I shall be delighted
to have the minister straighten it out if I have not quoted him correctly.