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.
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY