January 18, 1939

CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, first of all I should like to join with other hon. members who have already spoken in congratulating the mover (Mr. Mat-

The Address-Mr. Coldwell

thews) and the seconder (Mr. Chevrier) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne.

The address itself covers a wide range of subjects. I do not propose this afternoon to traverse the whole of it, but shall confine myself to several topics indicated therein. It contains in respect to unemployment a new confession of failure. The amendment moved by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) quite properly condemns the government for its failure, just as the Liberal party in opposition in 1935 condemned the government of which the present leader of the opposition was then a member for similar failure.

Hon. members in this group maintain now as they did then that only intelligent planning and control of our monopolistic industries and financial corporations will help us to find a way out of our own domestic difficulties. That is why the subamendment was moved yesterday by my leader (Mr. Woodsworth).

In our view social and economic progress is possible to-day, despite the difficulties which confront us. This statement is proven by what has occurred in New Zealand, where a government with a philosophy and ideals similar to those to which we adhere has been able since 1935 to assist the people of that country to solve problems which, according to the speech from the throne now before us, seem insoluble. In New Zealand in the three years following 1935 something like a miracle has occurred, because the government in that country had a plan and a determination to put it into effect. Unemployment has ceased to be a grave problem in New Zealand. The actual number of unemployed officially reported in August of this year-the depth of winter in the Antipodes, may I add-stood at only 1,273. In 1935 large numbers of the farmers of that country, the other major class suffering from economic difficulties, faced bankruptcy, the statement being made by their organizations at that time that at least 50,000 New Zealand farmers were in a very bad financial position. Three years later, however, it was very largely the votes of the agricultural community which in November last returned the Savage government to power, with a new mandate.

In 1935 schools were closing and school grants were being reduced, just as they have been in our western provinces during the past few years. To-day new schools are being built, teachers' salary schedules have been restored and improved, and educational facilities are being extended all across the country. Contrast that condition with the condition of

schools and teachers in the province of Saskatchewan. I suggest we cannot be proud when we make the comparison.

With respect to housing the fact is that in Canada we have signally failed to provide any volume of new homes for the Canadian people. In 1935 not a single house was built in New Zealand by the government, but since that time thousands have been built. Last year 3,500 were constructed. Multiplying their population to equal ours would mean that on a similar basis the government of this country would provide over 30,000 houses this year for the Canadian people. Not only have government houses been constructed in New Zealand, but in order to prevent increases in rents by those who built houses privately, rents are being controlled and restricted by legislative enactment. In 1935 pensions for the veterans and the blind in New Zealand had been cut by one-third. The sick and the aged were dependent largely upon charity or their own friends. These pensions have been restored and pensions are now granted to widows. The old age pension has been increased from $20 to $30 per month, and the age limit has been lowered to sixty years.

What effect has all this had upon the business of our sister dominion? Business in this country languishes while in New Zealand it has shown a steady advance during the past three years. The figures for bankruptcies show that last year New Zealand had the smallest number of business failures in sixty years. Since the present government took office, more than a thousand new shops and six hundred new factories have been opened. According to a government report which I have studied, the railways of New Zealand had a record volume of business last year. Another indication of what has occurred under a policy such as we recommend is the fact that last year the number of automobiles in New Zealand increased by twenty-five per cent, while the number of new telephones installed last year exceeded all previous records. This improvement was due, at least in some degree, to the fact that the government of New Zealand, under the leadership of the minister of finance, the Hon. Walter Nash, used the newly nationalized central bank of that country, not as a social credit instrument but as an instrument of public policy.

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SC

Archibald Hugh Mitchell

Social Credit

Mr. MITCHELL:

What is the difference?

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

I hear one of my Social Credit friends asking what is the difference. There is a great difference between those two conceptions. Under economics that are sound

The Address-Mr. Caldwell

the issue of money by the national bank of New Zealand is intelligently related to the actual production of the country.

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SC

Archibald Hugh Mitchell

Social Credit

Mr. MITCHELL:

What is the difference between that and social credit?

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Mr. COLD WELL@

States and Great Britain were signed. I picked up the western United States papers, and I could find very little in them about those treaties except that the agreements represented a great gain for the United States wheat grower, that once again he had been able to get back into the British market, and that Canada's unfair advantage, as he regarded it, had been eliminated.

Moreover, though the price of wheat has been fixed in Canada, eighty-cent wheat does not meet the average cost of production. This is substantiated by figures prepared not by me but by our universities, and by figures presented to the Rowell commission, not by members of my party, but by speakers on behalf of the Liberal governments in western Canada. What we want to know to-day, and what I am asking the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), if he participates in this debate, to tell us, is this: What is the government's wheat policy for the coming year? Surely a policy, and a very direct and certain policy, is needed in face of the world situation; for the appalling picture painted by the International Bureau of Agricultural Economics is one which we in this parliament and in this dominion cannot pass over lightly. I have on my desk the figures supplied by that organization, and they show that for the current crop year there is available approximately 1,175,000,000 bushels of wheat to meet an estimated import demand of

545.000,000 bushels. If the United States winter wheat belt has only ah average crop this coming summer, then there will be on hand ready to supply the world next July before a binder turns in one of our western harvest fields, enough unused wheat to meet the present world demand for two whole years. I can see no indications of that condition improving in the near future.

What does the government propose to do? What proposals has it to offer at the forthcoming world wheat conference? What policy is it prepared to support at that conference? I submit that the parliament of Canada, which is held responsible for marketing policies, ought to be told what the government proposes to do in this connection. What we who represent western Canada, and have a very direct interest in this problem, are anxious to know is what the government proposes to do during the coming year.

Some say that our farmers must change to mixed farming. If they did, what would be the effect, I wonder, upon eastern agriculture and the eastern farmer? Already our western farmers are producing large quantities of dairy produce, and if they went into such production in a big way, into the production

of butter, for example, of which we already have a surplus running into many millions of pounds, what would be the effect upon the eastern dairy farmer, having regard to the present world demand?

But I think this can be said, that over large areas of the prairie provinces, particularly south and southwestern Saskatchewan, lack of water and peculiar climatic and soil and growing conditions make it unprofitable for our farmers to enter that field, and consequently we have to regard that part of the prairies as a wheat producing area. So we ask again, what does the government propose to do in relation to this problem, which is becoming more acute as the days go by?

Again, if our farmers are to grow wheat, they must secure good seed. We now know that good seed must be of some rust-resistant variety, and that is perhaps particularly true this year because moisture conditions are above normal over a large part of western Canada, and normal moisture next summer, -with certain other climatic conditions which are not unlikely to occur, may encourage rust in heavy crops. Last year the rust-resistant varieties stood up well, and there is plenty of seed to seed the land with rust-resistant wheat provided it is properly distributed. But the government's exchange plans are not satisfactory to the western farmer. They require two or three bushels of low grade wheat to be given in exchange for one bushel of good seed, and I am informed that the wheat board is selling commercial wheat for feed purposes on the basis of the open market price less the freight. Many farmers throughout the west have only low grade wheat of an inferior quality, and in view of this, farmers and municipalities are urging upon the government a policy of the distribution of good seed.

I have received, and I have no doubt the same is true of other western members, a number of resolutions dealing with the matter. I shall quote only one-to get it on the record -which I received from the municipal council of Perdue, Saskatchewan, in my own constituency. It reads as follows:

That the Canadian' wheat board sell to the farmers of Saskatchewan the rust-resistant varieties of wheat of such quality as to be usable for seed, which are now held in store in the dominion government interior elevators, at the same price as it now sells commercial wheat to the flour mills for milling purposes; that is, at Fort William open market price less freight charges; and that the said wheat could be coloured with some substance not injurious to germination so that it could be easily detected if offered for resale to the wheat board and, as a further protection to the wheat board, that a farmer's application to purchase such

The Address-Mr. Coldwell

seed wheat l>e first approved by a responsible municipal official who would know the acreage cultivated by the applicant and the quantity of rust-resisiant wheat required by him.

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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

May I ask, for information, whether the hon. member can tell me who the father of that resolution is? I have received a number of similar resolutions from municipal councils, all couched in the same words, and I should like to know whence they emanate.

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Mr. COLDW ELL@

Air. Speaker, I am as ignorant of the person who drafted this resolu-tinon as my hon. friend from Swift Current (Mr. Bothwell). I have received, as he has done, a number of these resolutions, quite a number from my own constituency, and because I have received them from my own constituency and know who the movers and seconders are, and the officials who forwarded the resolutions to me, I am placing this one before the house.

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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I do not want to interrupt my hon. friend, but may I ask him this: If that policy were adopted by the wheat board would it not mean that a farmer who had sold his wheat to the wheat board at eighty cents would buy it back for himself at sixty cents and make a profit of twenty cents?

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

I understand the government will not distribute seed now to farmers who sold wheat to the wheat board. It seems to me that the policy could be carried out so that the sales could be safeguarded. I do not know how practicable all the suggestions in this resolution are, but I believe the principle involved is a sound one, and I would recommend it, not for adoption in toto but for the consideration of the government as a constructive proposal.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

If the hon. member does not mind, I might point out to him that the proper way really to deal with that resolution is to send it to the government of Saskatchewan. This government does not conduct any of the transactions referred to in that resolution; they are all carried out by the provincial government.

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Mr. COLDW ELL@

No, but the government of Canada, Mr. Speaker, set up the wheat board. The wheat board is a creature of this parliament, and this particular resolution involves the proposal of a method of operation of the wheat board.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

There are already negotiations between the provincial government and the wheat board, and the wheat board has been instructed by this government to'

continue to carry on the negotiations, with authority to deal with the matter if and when a policy which can be properly applied is developed by the province.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

That is all the more reason why a constructive proposal of this sort should be placed before parliament and the Minister of Agriculture at this time, and I am glad I had the opportunity to bring it to the minister's attention this afternoon.

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

I signed about a dozen replies to resolutions this morning.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

I permitted the Minister of Agriculture to ask me a question, but I would ask him not to interrupt.

The whole problem, may I add, is one which parliament must tackle this session. A solution is imperative in the interests of western agriculture, and I hope to say something more about it when a resolution on the order paper in my name is debated. I realize that the problem of wheat and of marketing is made more difficult because of the present international situation. Threats of war and recurring crises have resulted, too, in a decrease in the value of the pound sterling. We remember the disastrous effects of the decline of the pound sterling in 1932 and 1933. Our attempts then to retain parity with the gold dollar penalized very severely the primary producers of this country. A year ago the pound sterling was worth five dollars in Canadian money; to-day it is worth approximately S4.70, which means, of course, that if we sell a pound's worth of goods in Great Britain, instead of getting the five dollars in our local currency which we got last year we are getting only S4.70. There might be a much more severe fall than that. In the years to which I referred the governments of Australia and New Zealand took exactly the opposite view to ours, with the result that the farmers of those countries received higher prices in their own currency for their own produce, enabling them to meet their own local obligations in that currency. That, I submit, is an aspect of the agricultural situation which ought to be considered by the Minister of Finance and by the government before it is too late.

I do not wish to deal extensively this afternoon with the international situation. We were assured by the Prime Minister that the house would have ample opportunity to discuss international affairs, and I am looking forward to that occasion. But I do want to say something this afternoon about one of the results of the recent tragic series of events.

The Address-Mr. Coldwell

To-day the victims of fascist and nazi terror cry aloud to all civilized people for consideration and for aid. I am wondering what is going to be Canada's response to that cry. Pro-nazi papers printed in Canada and pronazi literature printed in Germany and widely circulated in Canada are trying to poison us with anti-semitic propaganda. It strikes me as being a strange thing that again and again in this chamber and other legislatures of this dominion we hear of communistic propaganda, and the need, so it is said, to meet it, to keep it out of the country; but so far nowhere in parliament or in any legislature has an attempt been made to keep out this vicious nazi propaganda which is attacking a minority in the country in which we live. Bear in mind that two-thirds of the refugees who today suffer in central Europe are non-Jews. I do not suggest of course that with our present problems of agricultural depression and unemployment we can open wide our gates to all who seek admission. The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, in common with others in this country, has always opposed immigration schemes fostered by certain vested interests that had an economic axe to grind, land to sell, transportation facilities to use, and so on. Canada, however, should to-day be willing to join with other democracies in offering asylum to a fair quota of sufferers, both Jews and Christians, in a broad humanitarian effort to relieve their distress and with proper safeguards that they will not become public charges or increase our problems of agriculture and unemployment. I submit to the government that this policy will conform to the principles of what we sometimes call traditional liberalism.

What is "traditional liberalism?" Last evening I read an old Montreal newspaper file regarding Canada's reaction to similar but much less serious atrocities in Russia in 1905, now thirty-three years ago. At that time a great protest meeting was held in Montreal and a resolution of protest and of horror was passed unanimously and forwarded to the Czar. Protestants, Roman Catholics and Jews in the province of Quebec joined in expressing their abhorrence of crimes which pale into insignificance before the cruelties of nazi persecution in Germany and the areas under Hitler's iron heel. Many notable people who could not be present sent messages. Here is one written at that time by his excellency the Archbishop of Montreal to Mr. D. A. Ansell of that city. I will read the English translation. It is dated at Montreal, November 15, 1905, and is as follows:

Sir:

I have received your letter of the 13th instant. I greatly deplore, as you do, the massacres that have taken place at Odessa and in other parts of Russia. Such massacres are contrary to the spirit of Christianity and to the laws of humanity.

However, I do not consider it advisable for me to take part in the meeting to which you invite me.

Yours sincerely,

Paul, Archbishop of Montreal.

I understand that the last sentence simply means that as a rule high ranking prelates of the Roman Catholic Church do not participate in public demonstrations. The Anglican Archdeacon of Montreal wrote a very fine letter at that time:

The Archdeacon of Montreal and Mrs. Norton regret that another engagement will prevent their being present at the meeting on Monday evening. They beg to enclose ten dollars as a small expression of their sympathy, and of the disgust and horror with which they regard the massacres in Russia of law abiding and innocent Jews, whose nation has in God's good providence given to the world its greatest moral and spiritual instructors, and has contributed enormously towards the upbuilding of the British empire by the loyalty and genius of such Jews as Lord Beaconsfield, Lord Herschei and Lord Goschen.

After over thirty years more of education and Christianity are we going to say anything less than our predecessors did thirty-three years ago?

May I place on the record a telegram forwarded from this city by the great man who was then the prime minister of Canada? I have before me the original telegram from Sir Wilfrid Laurier, dated at Ottawa, November 20, 1905. It reads:

I beg you to accept expression of my regret that other duties will not allow me to attend meeting to be held this evening to protest against recent massacres in Russia. I heartily sympathize with the object of meeting and I earnestly concur in your laudable efforts.

(Signed) Wilfrid Laurier.

Thus some of the leaders in church and state in Quebec and in Canada thirty-three years ago expressed themselves forcibly and freely; and I wondered when I read that telegram what Sir Wilfrid Laurier would say if he sat in this house as prime minister to-day. At that time Great Britain was endeavouring to bring about an entente cordiale with Russia, having completed one with France; yet in spite of the fact that negotiations may have been difficult, the prime minister of this country at that time did not fear or fail to express himself in the terms I have just read. To-day we are granting most favoured nation treatment under our tariff and other treaties to Germany,

The Address-Mr. Deachman

and when we make a concession to other countries Germany participates. Therefore Germany gets her chromium, her nickel and other supplies from this dominion under most favoured nation terms, while the victims of the fascist terror hammer at our gates in their desperate search for refuge.

The Canadian people are democratic. They are warm-hearted, and I believe we have an opportunity to demonstrate our humanitarian-ism now. We are urging the Prime Minister to take the house into his confidence and tell the house immediately whether this country will receive-not a large influx, unregulated, of the victims, because there are a million and a half of them, but whether in common with other democratic peoples we will take our fair quota of those who are suffering from the terror in central Europe. May I add that under a proper policy, just as in days gone by when our forefathers received the Huguenots from France and exiles from other places, these refugees may do much to help us in this country to build up a balanced economy. And may I say that in the suggestion I have just made I am expressing not only my own views but those of the national council of the movement of which I have the honour to be the chairman.

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LIB

Walter Edward Foster (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

May I just read this resolution passed by the national executive:

The national executive of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation expresses its sincere sympathy with the victims of religious, racial and political persecution in central Europe, and requests the government to admit, on humanitarian principles, in the same manner as other democratic nations are doing, a reasonable number of the victims of persecution to this dominion.

That is all we ask the government to do.

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LIB

Robert John Deachman

Liberal

Mr. R. J. DEACHMAN (Huron North):

I listened as I always do with a great deal of interest to my hon. friend the member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell). In regard to his statement of the situation in western Canada I have of course the deepest sj'mpathy. I lived there for twenty-five of the happiest yearn of my life, and one of the pleasantest memories I have is' that of my association with the people of the west. I am not so sure that I can follow my hon. friend in his picture of conditions in New Zealand. I imagine they are now experiencing what may be termed the honeymoon of inflation, and the bright and vivid story we have had of their situation to-day may change somewhat in the next year or two. I have before me a copy of the London Economist.

Before I quote from this I want to answer the reply that can readily be made that this is a capitalistic journal and looks at things from a capitalistic viewpoint. Of course the countercharge might be made that the statement we heard from my hon. friend is from a socialist viewpoint. But there are two points of view, and I submit this one from the London Economist; I do not know myself whether that view or the view expressed by my hon. friend is right, but I suggest that hon. members keep these things in their minds for a year or two and then pass judgment when the test of time has brought its result. These are the words of the Economist'.

In other words, it is evident that the success of the New Zealand government's control scheme depends, not so much upon the effectiveness with which it is worked, as upon the manner in which the fundamental economic problems of New Zealand are tackled. If the New Zealand government temper their grandiose public works schemes and their progressive policy of social services with caution, and if they have the luck of good export prices, the exchange control scheme may happily prove to have been a valuable, but temporary, expedient to tide over a difficult period. Mr. Savage however has gone far to shatter this hope by his declaration that these measures were intended to form a permanent part of the government's plan for "insulating the economic life of New Zealand from outside disturbance." If, in the course of this insulation policy, the control scheme is merely used as a means of evading the fundamental issues involved, if it serves only to "plug the clinical thermometer," it will land the patient in a much graver crisis than that in which he finds himself to-day.

I call attention to that proposal to "insulate the economic life of New Zealand." I call to mind the fact that the United States tried for a number of years to insulate the economic life of the United States. They succeeded in "plugging the clinical thermometer," but when the time came the crisis was thereby made much worse than it would otherwise have been. I ask the house not to accept my judgment or the judgment of the Economist or even the judgment of the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar. Time gives the answer to most of these questions.

I was very much interested in the speech delivered by my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) the other day. I cannot help but think how greatly the conditions of this world would change if our foresight were as good as our hindsight. The hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. Stevens) was a candidate in the city of Vancouver in the anti-reciprocity campaign of 1911. Yet in 1936 he voted for the reciprocity agreement, and at that time, in a speech in this house, he stated that his work in the Department of Trade and Commerce

The Address-Mr. Deachman

had convinced him that an inquiry ought to be made into the idea of expanding trade with the United States, and that he believed the expansion of trade would result in the betterment of conditions as between the two countries. As I read the speech of the leader of the opposition to-day I thought that if only the hon. gentleman could have worked in the Department of Trade and Commerce for a few brief months he too would have found that to be time; and instead of having one dissenter from the party, or perhaps more, we would have a united vote on the part of the Conservative party in favour of the policy which they condemned in 1911.

It would be pleasant if these memories could come to Sir Wilfrid Laurier. It must be a great thing for the leader of the Liberal party in this house (Mr. Mackenzie King), when he recalls the campaign of 1911, in which he took part; when he recalls how the Conservative party at that time fought as they never fought before, how they wrapped the flag around them, how they came weeping with every eye they had, bleeding in every pore, talking of patriotism and telling of the disasters which would follow if we accepted the suggestions made in 1911. Now, with softened tones, I read these words from the speech delivered just the other day by my hon. friend. Referring to the Canadian manufacturers he said:

Some of them appear to think it would be more or less unpatriotic to express an opinion against the treaty.

What a marvellous change indeed! But if we have a change in view we still have the old arguments. The other day we heard the story of the balance of trade. That was first brought up in Canada, I think at the time of the first reciprocity treaty, in 1854. We have had eighty-five years of it. In all friendliness I suggest to the Conservative party that they spend another fifteen years discussing the balance of trade and then let the matter drop. The other day we heard that we should have our trade balanced with the United States, that we should reduce our imports from that country so that the trade would have an approximate balance. There is no man or woman within sound of my voice who balances his or her trade exactly. No man has a favourable balance of trade with his tailor. Every man buys where he can buy the cheapest, and the balance of trade is what is represented at the end of the year, regardless of whether it is carried on with one person or a thousand persons. Well, when one cannot balance his trade, how can the combined trade of eleven million

people, with every nation with which they do business, be expected to balance?

I am not going to discuss this suggestion for very long, but I want to give a few brief facts in regard to the balance of trade. Since confederation we have had twenty-seven favourable balances of trade, of which sixteen were under Liberal governments and eleven under the Tories. I have left out the years 1919 and 1920, because then we were under a war economy, shipping munitions and other war material which affected the result. In 1925 and 1926, under the Liberals, the favourable balance of trade exceeded all the favourable balances of trade under all Tory governments from the time the dominion was formed right down to 193S. I am suggesting, in kindness to the Tories that they drop this suggestion, because the argument is entirely on our side. The greatest adverse balance of trade which ever took place in the Dominion of Canada was in the years 1912, 1913 and 1914, under a Conservative administration. I went through the files of Hansard for those years, but I found nothing, not a word, about the balance of trade. Why should they worry about it? Every Conservative in the house kept repeating to himself, "Why should I fear? The Tories are in power." Yet they come back with this story to-day, and that is why I suggest that they take another fifteen years and then get rid of it for good.

But there was one delightful thing in regard to the remarks of the leader of the opposition that I cannot miss. My hon. friend the Minister of Fisheries (Mr. Michaud) suggested that it was a fifty-fifty deal, one horse and one rabbit. At once my hon. friend said, "That is it. We ship a horse to the United States and get back a rabbit."

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

No, I did not say any such thing. Stick to the book.

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LIB

Robert John Deachman

Liberal

Mr. DEACHMAN:

All right; for curiosity's sake we will stick to the book.

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January 18, 1939