Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)
Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
may be true, but it is rather sickening to me.
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
may be true, but it is rather sickening to me.
It comes with ill grace for us to make comments of that kind when we are doing everything we can to let the people of the United States understand the nature of our problem so that they can give us, as they are giving, every possible assistance in this hour of our trial.
Several members from various parts of the country-from the west, from the maritime provinces and from Quebec-have applauded the decision of the government to implement in its essentials the Rowell-Sirois report. Coming as I do from the province of Ontario, which seems to be singled out for special reference, for reasons that are not too clear to me, I regret the suggestion that this province is not willing to place the interests of Canada above its own special interests. I believe I speak for the vast majority of the citizens of the province from which I come, certainly for that part of the province from which I come, southwestern Ontario, when I say that we are anxious that when the dominion-provincial conference is convened there shall result from its deliberations a common understanding as a result of which we can go on with a greater measure of unity in Canada. The hon. member for Swift Current (Mr. Graham) said he would like us to place ourselves in the position of those who framed the constitution of Canada. I would join with him in that wish, and I think he will find that the largest province of Canada-and it is not because it is the largest-is as much interested as any western province or any maritime province in seeing that the confederation, which is the binding bone of the country, shall not be destroyed or disunited. And if that is true in peace time, surely we are anxious that no loss of effort in our war programme shall take place; we are particularly anxious therefore that the conclusions of the dominion-provincial conference will result in carrying out at least in certain of the essentials the recommendations made in the report.
It seems to me that at this time of war we require certain essentials for victory: First, the maximum of national unity; second, that the money cost of ordinary
government functions be as low as possible so as to leave our citizens as much money as possible to pay the enormous costs of carrying on the war; and third, the opportunity of creating conditions as favourable as possible for efficient industrial production to serve the war. In my opinion, the Rowell-Sirois report meets these essentials in a very large measure. For that reason, speaking for myself, speaking I am sure for those whom I represent in this house, I say that we sincerely hope that above the interests of any province will come the interests of Canada, and that we shall not re-make confederation but re-oil it in its effective workings, so that our country may go on to greater and greater achievement and glory.
I do think-and this is only a personal view-that the collection of income and corporation taxes, succession duties, administration and unemployment relief by a single authority is what this country wants and what I trust it will receive. I am interested in unemployment because my constituency is largely an industrial one. We have had a constant shifting of responsibility between the provinces and the federal government for the past ten years. Unemployment and problems kindred to it are national and we should deal with them through the national authority. We should thus be able to handle the problem in the light of its national and not of its provincial aspects. I trust that hon. members who have complained of the absence on the part of Ontario members of references to the adoption of the Rowell-Sirois report, and other members from the province of Ontario, will subscribe to the view I take. Much as we love our province we love 'Canada more.
The hon, member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), speaking in this debate in reference to t'he general observation made by the Prime Minister, said that the time had come when we should make a clearer definition . of why we are fighting. That demand has been made in England of the government, composed of Conservatives and of members of the English Labour party. Mr. Churchill, I presume, spoke as head of the government, in his own name and in the names of Mr. Morrison, Mr. Bevin and Mr. Attlee, when he said that the time had come not for bowing to that public demand but rather for instilling in the minds of the people that, in so far as the clear aim of the war was concerned, it was a definite and worthy one.
The danger in the sort of suggestion that has been advanced by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar is this. He leaves the impression that in the absence of a clear
The Address-Mr. Martin
definition of war aims our people may be led to the belief that all we are fighting for is to remove Hitler, and that then we shall not be able to have our people follow us. I do not agree with that. I believe a distinction should be made between the aims of war and the aims of peace or, if you will, between what we are immediately fighting for and the kind of world we hope we shall have after the war is over.
There is no misunderstanding or difficulty as to why we are fighting. We are fighting for one thing, and I believe that justifies the terrible sacrifice the world is prepared to make. We are fighting that above the law of nations shall come the law of God. We are fighting that free men and women may be allowed to live their own lives within certain restrictions. We are fighting that no nation, no matter what its form of government, shall be permitted to plunge an innocent people into misery and death simply because its leader says so. The other day I came across a statement which I had never seen before, which I think clearly indicates the reason for this war, not the kind of world that we are hoping will result from the war but the immediate justification for the war, and it is just as great in its spiritual quality as any justification could be. Here is what Hitler said to Herr Rauschning:
I am the greatest German who has ever lived. Mankind led by the German race is now in a period of transition, just as it was when men first began to pass from the ape-like into the human stage. Now, they are passing from the human into the superhuman stage. I have preceded them. In so far as there is a God in this world, I am he.
Surely that sums up the reasons for this war. The assumption underlying any demand for war aims would be this, that we could trust Hitler and Mussolini to give the working people of the world, the common man and the common woman, an opportunity to make their way in life; to give them security. No one knows better than the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar how difficult it was for me to rise in my place in September of last year and vote, together with other hon. members, that this country should go to war. But I say that this world would not be worth living in if we had to undergo another siege of barbarism as we know it under Hitler and Mussolini. Surely the job is not only to get rid of these two men, but more particularly to get rid of the instincts of which they are the product; then, after we have done that, go ahead and try to rebuild an international organization, upon Hitlerite ruins, if you will; go ahead and deal with such questions as the accessibility of raw materials, equality of opportunity, and so on; go ahead and restore
Czechoslovakia, France, the lowr countries and all the other subjugated nations, and in our own countries have domestic policies that will give new hope and new vigour to our people.
The hon. member is
giving war aims now.
No; I am giving peace
I agree with those
aims, and I hope the government will.
I am giving peace aims, but I say that to confuse the aim of this war with peace aims is to misinterpret the real force, the real conflict, of the two ideologies that are now striving one against the other. For what are we fighting? We are not merely fighting Hitler. When we have got rid of Hitler, of Goebbels and of Goering, we shall not have got rid of that thing for which the German people have been the philosophical prey for two hundred years. We do not forget that there was a Kant, a Beethoven and a Bach, but we know there was a Frederick the Great, a Bismarck, a kaiser and an Adolf Hitler. We also know that until such time as we can rid a potentially great people of those abuses of false power, there can be no hope, no decency, no civilization in the world.
In this house I represent, as do many other hon. members, a constituency in which there are a large number of French-speaking people, of whom I am proud to be one. French-Canadians, as well as English-Cana-dians and citizens of central European origin, have their first loyalty to Canada, within the British commonwealth of nations. But it would be unnatural for them not to have a deep affection for the humanism of France, and the fall of France has left the French-Canadian people in my section of the country particularly, I think, with the desire to associate themselves with remarks of the kind made to the people of France by the right hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) and by Mr. Winston Churchill, who on October 21 spoke to the French people in their homes, in high and low places, in these memorable words:
Good night, then: sleep to gather strength for the morning. For the morning will come.
Brightly will it shine on the brave and true, kindly on all who suffer for the cause, glorious upon the tombs of heroes. Thus will shine the dawn. Vive la France! Long live also the forward march of the common people in all the lands toward their just and true inheritance, and toward the broader and fuller age.
That is one of our war aims, the restoration of France and all these other countries, but
The Address-Mr. Castleden
let us not confuse that aim with the immediate provocation that has brought us to arms.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I know those whom I represent in this house would want me to say that while there will be dark days ahead, bringing with them ruin and death, there will be brighter days. The enemy is not invincible. He has been strong but also he has been fortunate. The day of reckoning will come. Then our forces will go from Dover, from Folkestone and from Croydon across the green fields of France, through her villages, her towns and her cities, mellowed by time and civilization, on into the heart of Berlin and of Berchtesgaden. They will go on not to the heart of Rome, for that eternal city belongs not to Caesar but to God; they will go on to the heart of the Palazzo Venezia, standing as it does opposite the monument to Victor Emmanuel, and to the heart of that also. By these various penetrations the victory will be sealed, and free men and women and their children will cry out, " Liberty and Christianity shall not perish from the earth."
Mr. G. H. CASTLEDEN (Yorkton):
Mr. Speaker, as has been repeated several times, we have been summoned so that an opportunity might be accorded for the fullest consideration and discussion of Canada's war effort, and to discuss the national problems which the war has served to intensify or to create. I think we will all agree that this is a big order. I believe it will be also agreed that this has been one of the dullest and most ineffectual sessions imaginable. I see very little in the way of results. I wonder why.
Does it not appear ridiculous to try properly to discuss Canada's war effort before we have had statements from the responsible ministers and before we have had access, through our various committees, to factual data and contract material? Ministers have been giving their reports, one each day we have been sifting, and still, three weeks after the opening of the session, those statements are not complete. How can we expect a full consideration of the problem without these two essentials, and without the full reports of all the ministers?
By this time, however, sufficient information has been given the house to indicate certain definite trends-and some of them I fear are not very good ones. The first is the wholesale recruiting of a noble army of controllers from organized industry in Canada. About thirty-seven boards, committees, bureaux and panels have been set up, and if we read through their personnel we might conclude that we are reading "Who's Who" in Canada's big financial and industrial interests.
In the most important department of government, that of munitions and supply, these people have been taken in and clothed with all the power of state. The administration has geared big business into government officialdom. I should like to warn the administration now that the same tactics and plans were followed in Great Britain, and they failed. I suggest the reasons are obvious- not that we are charging unpatriotism, but man is naturally a creature of his own environment. Unfortunately for the common people in Canada, in recent years big business has become almost a law unto itself, and its representatives are nourished and trained in the atmosphere of greed and selfishness. Profits are the big thing to them. Dividends, the ruthless wiping out of small opposition, cutthroat competition, even restraint of production are encouraged, so long as they bring big profits.
What we now require is efficient production and, above all, the delivery of goods. There should be no patronage and no profit. Industry, finance and labour should be working together in this great effort so ably outlined by the last speaker. Has there been a complete change of heart in these men who represent big business? I believe that it was the armament business in Europe which was largely responsible for our present plight, and that Germany was armed because there was money in it. I believe that France was betrayed because there was money in it. Has Canadian big business become repentant, since its conduct in September, 1939, when it refused to touch our contracts, when profits were limited by statute to 5 per cent? Has it suddenly decided that profits are to be only secondary from now on?
These men find themselves in a rather impossible position. Their loyalties are divided. In the past they have subscribed to the creed that "patriotism is a very fine sentiment but that it must not be allowed to interfere with our sacred duties as the trustees of our shareholders." We do not believe in these sudden conversions; they never last. But we will have to remember that, if we are going to Be successful, that motive must go. It was that greed and profit motive which ruined Canada in the time of peace. That is what brought unemployment upon our country, and made it necessary for us to spend a billion dollars upon relief. That is what turned one million of the eleven million people in Canada to relief lines, and caused us to have a forgotten youth without opportunity, and to have starvation in the midst of plenty.
The Address-Mr. Castleden
We in this group have pleaded for the taking over of the essential industries, under experienced supervision and efficient control. That had to be done in Great Britain. After they passed their mobilization act, they went to work and did it. I believe that ultimately we, too, are going to have to do it. We repeat that plea to-day. It was only after that was done in Great Britain that they performed the miracle in production with which they thrilled the world. They are equalling to-day the accomplishments of that great man, Mr. David Lloyd George, in the days jf the last war. Assure the people of a square deal; assure them of some equality in the sacrifice, and you will make the greatest contribution toward a united people.
The signs of what is happening may be revealed by an article which appeared on the front page of the Regina Leader-Post of November 15, 1940, under the name of B. T. Richardson. It is in these words:
Reports heard in Ottawa indicate that chaotic conditions are threatening along the industrial front unless a large measure of broad and intelligent planning is applied to war industry, because shortages of labour, of industrial capacity, of power and of raw materials have appeared. The situation that is developed is due basically to many branches of industry, all well loaded with large war contracts, competing without regard to any central plan for the sinews of production.
Is it not significant that the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) rose in his place in the house on November 20 and, after giving the membership of the board, stated that it had been appointed on Friday, November 15? This appointment was made fourteen months after the war began. It is said to be a board to coordinate the war effort with regard to the requirements and sinews of war. Does it not seem obvious that it should have been one of the first boards to be appointed?
The actions of some of these war-time boards in western Canada are subject to some question. If one were to review briefly the history of the grain trade in the west, he would find that for years the grain exchange exploited the western farmer. In my humble opinion, the amount of money they took from western agriculturists is about equal to the debt which now weighs so heavily upon those people, and which threatens to crush them entirely. It amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Trying to solve this problem, the people organized their pool elevators and pool organizations. After years of struggle and fighting they built up a tremendous organization for the purpose of handling grain. At the present time they handle almost fifty per cent of the
wheat delivered at country points, in spite of the fact that they have much less than 50 per cent of the elevators built in that western area. The government control boards, by the very simple operation of alloting cars for the handling of grain to those country elevators in proportion to the elevator space at those points, instead of on the basis of the business handled last year by the companies at those points, have compelled many of the growers to use the facilities of other companies.
It is most important that a cooperative pool organization should keep its membership at the highest possible point. So, to save any loss of customers, they spent millions of dollars in order to provide this year extra temporary storage space. In spite of that, we find that the percentage of the grain handled1 by them to October 31 of this year had dropped to 40-8 per cent, compared with the 45-51 per cent which they handled last year, and the percentage handled by them had been increasing for a number of years. This experience causes some alarm. The greatest threat to profiteering industry is the cooperative, and we do not like to see these cooperative organizations being sabotaged in this manner. I hope before this session is completed we shall have further legislation to stop this kind of thing, and I hope we shall have no more of the type of legislation passed at the last session to impose the processing tax.
It will be remembered that when the resolution was before the house we were assured that the millers and bakers would absorb this processing levy, which would amount to about $7,500,000 on 50,000,000 bushels of wheat. Before the bill got through the house and became law, the millers were simply made the collectors of the levy, they having to collect it from the purchasers of the flour. The levy being passed on to the bakers, we then found the bakers boosting the price of 'bread by one cent a loaf. Immediately the price control board came into operation, as it should, and stopped the increase in the price of bread', and the bakers were told to sell their bread at the same price they had charged previously. Had that not been done, the bakers would have stood to profit by about $12,000,000, which is considerably different from a loss of about $7,500,000. This figure is based upon a consumption of 50,000,000 bushels and the fact that about forty loaves of bread can be made from one bushel of wheat. A few days after the house adjourned last August, an order in council was passed rescinding the order of the price control board. Apparently we shall have to be constantly on the alert to see that the price of this commodity does not rise.
The Address-Mr. Castleden
The second thing which the people of Canada are asking this parliament to do is to see that during this war the money they pay in taxes is not wasted. Investigation of these matters is quite impossible until the different committees are functioning. I should like the government to tell us why the public accounts committee is not functioning. Contracts are being awarded by the thousands, and we have been told by the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) that about $500,000,000 worth have been let in Canada. The public accounts committee should be reviewing the war expenditures and the type of contracts that have been let, as well as the organization of the new government plants and any other plants to which the government has lent money. All we have had made available to us are the contracts let to September 1, 1940, which information is contained in several volumes, most of them containing over 600 pages. What do we learn from them? We learn that a number of new companies have been organized, and the parentage of these companies should be the subject of investigation. Opening a volume at random, I find the following at page 235 of the record of contracts awarded to the end of July:
File number: A8568.
Name of contractor: Kenwood Mills Limited, Arnprior, Ontario.
Date of order: July 15, 1940.
Delivery: Commencing August 10, 1940, or sooner, at rate of 3,000 or more weekly, completed September 30, 1940.
Destination: National defence inspection
room, 138 Queen street, Ottawa, Ontario.
No. of order in council: 3965.
What is the price being paid per blanket? What quality of blanket is being furnished? This information is not given. The Minister of Munitions and Supply has said that we may ask any question we wish, but does he want 200 of us to ask him questions about each one of these thousands and thousands of contracts? We should have this information. This public accounts committee has not been functioning. One of our duties this session should be the reviewing of these contracts. That is what the people want to know. I understand that this committee has not functioned for years, but the people want to know these things now. This information will fortify their faith; it will go a long way towards clearing up the mystery and suspicion that surround government action. I think it is the duty of every hon. member to demand that as a representative of the people he be told the facts.
In spite of the fact that agriculture is in its present terrible condition, the agriculture 14873-274
committee is not sitting. I understand that this committee has not sat for at least eighteen months. Last session we were promised a health committee, but I do not see that committee in the list of committees we were given the other day. The railway committee is not sitting, nor is the committee on marine and fisheries or the committee on banking and commerce. There have been no sittings of the committee on mines, forests and waters. This information should be public property. The facts which could be brought out by these committees should be brought out now.
We in this group have been attacked during this session by hon. members who should know better. We cannot say, as the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) and the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) can, that we are surrounded by a galaxy of constitutional lawyers. But we can say that we are fighting for humanity, that we are fighting in order that the people of this country may be given an opportunity to live decently and well. We are still fighting for freedom and democracy. We have been trying to build up an order of society in which cooperation may live. We are pleading for social security. We do not mean security for the upper groups in any community, or for the middle class or for those in the lower brackets; we are pleading for social security for the whole community. AVe are fighting the battle of those who toil and suffer, of those who, while they produce the wealth of the country, find themselves in a disgraceful condition of unemployment and insecurity. Lack of opportunity has existed' for many of these people simply because-they have been dispossessed.
There now exists in the minds of many people the suspicion that intimidation and discrimination are being practised in connection with the enforcing of the defence of Canada regulations. There is still much to be desired from those regulations. The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) and the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) stressed this point. The other day I was pleased to hear the hon. member for Parry Sound (Mr. Slaght) voice his approval of the suggestions which had been made, and I feel quite sure that his opinion will have considerable weight with the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe). But I should like to quote what he said as reported on page 309 of Hansard:
We hear these regulations attacked, sometimes with much vigour, on the ground that they are not in accordance with British justice -great stress is laid upon that phrase. They are attacked in the press and elsewhere, and
The Address-Mr. Castleden
I wonder whether those who attack the regulations on that ground are aware that, so far as the internment of subversive elements is concerned, our regulations are patterned precisely upon the British regulations as they exist to-day.
I should like to point out to the hon. member that our regulations are not analogous to the British regulations, particularly British 18b which corresponds to our section 21. I would point out the difference to him. There is a difference between the British regulations and ours, and I offer the suggestion that an early review and an amendment of these regulations be made in order to remove some of the evils which exist in their application in their present form. That is most imperative. The first consideration that I should like to suggest is that a sufficient number of committees be set up to deal properly with the large number of cases that are passing before those responsible for review, and that provision be made to assure that objecting persons have sufficient factual material to justify their charge against the accused.
Let me give a concrete case of abuse. It is a case that occurred in this very city last summer. On the 6th of July a certain Ernie Myerhoffer, a resident of this city, was arrested on the allegation that he had said something in contravention of regulation 39. Bail was set, but being poor he could not pay it and he had to remain in gaol. The unfortunate part was that it was the 30th of July before his case came up for review. The hearing lasted only a few minutes because the only witness for the prosecution upon whose information the arrest apparently had been made had no evidence to give. He had not heard the accused use the language in question, let alone the particular statement he was alleged to have made. The crown attorney apologized to the magistrate and the case was dismissed. But in the meantime that poor man's family had been evicted from their home, and hardship had been suffered. Such things are disgraceful and should not occur.
I am going to repeat the recommendations *which have been made by others and which, I think, should receive serious consideration by the government. First, there should be an enlargement of the reviewing committees in order to satisfy the public that there can be no discrimination. Second, there should be a widening of the scope of the information to which the accused may have access so that he might know his crime and the charge laid against him, and the evidence so far as that is possible.
I want to pay tribute at this time to that portion of the Canadian press-I am afraid
it is mostly in eastern Canada and mostly west of here-which has fulfilled one of the great functions of a free press, that of the defence of liberty when it sees it attacked. We do not seem to have that kind of press in certain parts of the west, but elsewhere when there has been a great duty to perform in Canada there have been editors of newspapers who in their press and in their position as editors have seen fit to draw attention to the serious defects in the defence of Canada regulations. They seem to realize that democracy can be maintained only so long as the people have faith that the ends of justice are being properly served.
One of the national problems which this war has served to intensify is agriculture, and I wrnnt to tell this administration that the country feels this severely. Other industries are booming. Every report in financial papers and industrial magazines shows a tremendous upcurve in industry. Agriculture alone is forgotten and kicked down. I would recall to the Prime Minister his words Which appear at page 48 of Hansard of this session, when he was speaking of what Hitler's regime would be like were he to subjugate this country. He said:
Their economies will be economies that satisfy the greed of their masters; their farmers will be peasants, and their workers, slaves.
Let me inform the house that to-day thousands of farmers in Canada are peasants and thousands of our workers, slaves. There is every evidence of a determined effort in certain mining and industrial areas in the east to keep the workers slaves. There seems to be a determined effort to prevent the organization of unions. It seems to me that if those who are opposing the organization of unions would look into the facts, they would find that where labour is organized there are fewer strikes and more peaceful and efficient operation of industry than where labour is not organized.
With regard to agriculture I have seen a great people in the west, a free people ready to make their contribution to the world and already making it, turned into a peasantry under the actions of the present Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) both in the west and in Ottawa. Things look extremely desperate for the people in the west now, and they are feeling the full force of the policies or lack of policies of this administration.
The report of the Minister of Agriculture on his return from Britain was a slap in the face for many people who had put their trust in him. Agriculture is a national problem for Canada, and it is a calamity for many people engaged in it, particularly in the west. We find that in the average community the
The Address-Mr. Castleden
whole economic structure is slowly collapsing. Doctors are moving out of many districts. Store-keepers can no longer advance credit to keep the people producing, and the producers under a lower standard of living are moving out. The ordinary social activities of many disctriots have largely ceased. Schools in many parts are becoming mere slum schools. The municipalities are so hard pressed that they are forced to prevent the farmer from selling his crop until the municipality has seized its share. The municipalities have their taxes hypothecated by the banks; then they have to go back to the banks in order to borrow more money to carry on their ordinary activities, and the bankers direct their policies-the amount that shall be spent on relief, how much shall be granted to a school district, how much shall be made available to the municipality to carry on. Mortgage and machinery companies cannot collect their accounts in many areas this year. They cannot get blood out of a stone. They could not make the farm pay by running it themselves, and so they just add on the interest and wait for the break to come.
I am fearful that if agriculture in the west becomes a business proposition where profits can be made out of the growing of grain, many of our farmers will find that they are no longer possessors of their land. I would remind the house that 90 per cent of the farms in Saskatchewan are mortgaged, and less than 5 per cent of the farmers of the province are out of debt. Crops in Saskatchewan have been meagre for years because of lack of efficient machinery and power, and the land has become weedy. The consequence is that the homes are suffering deterioration. In less than 1 per cent of the farms does one find buildings with much paint on them. Clothing is scarce, and the farmer who in better times carried life insurance finds that this, too, has gone. He can no longer protect himself against hail. Medical and dental attention is required in the family in about three out of five cases. This year there is a harvest, but what the farmer can get from his crop on delivering his first quota will in many instances, scarcely pay for the cost of harvesting.
The Minister of Agriculture, after visiting the mother of parliaments, says on his return to Canada, "Why should the government change its policies with regard to agriculture? The policies are Liberal; they were endorsed in peace time by the farming population when proposed in 1935; they were put into practice for four years and endorsed in war time no later than March 26 last." His crowning contribution to the house in this time of stress was to gloat over his power to create unemployment among those who had presented
themselves as candidates for the opposition. I wonder whether that is, if I may use the words of the Prime Minister, the "armour of God," with which the administration is clothing itself at this time.
Speaking last Friday, the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. MacKinnon) said this:
I hope that what I have said this afternoon will not be construed as an argument that all the wheat growers are in a happy position to-day and that little need be done for them. They are not unmindful of the responsibilities that Canada is assuming, and although the 70 cents per bushel advance payment may not give many farmers even a meagre profit over cost of production they are accepting this as part of their contribution to the war effort.
And he ends with this remark:
We are undertaking to see that they do not bear an unfair share of the burden.
I should like to remind the minister that he has there made a great promise. I wonder whether he realizes the full significance of it.
The growing of grain at a loss in the west means that a debt is being piled upon these people which they cannot surmount. Making that contribution at this time may mean, in a few years from now, the entire loss of everything they possess. Unless you give them protection; unless they obtain some form of moratorium; unless the seizure of their homes by mortgage, finance and machine companies is stopped, the contribution which they will have to make will be the loss of everything they possess.
I was glad to get the minister's promise. We in the west, particularly our farmers, have been promised a great many things. In fact, to many of these people Canada is really now a land of promise. They were promised lower prices on machinery, but they did not get lower prices. For a number of years they have been promised real debt legislation, dollar wheat, interim payments and final payments. Township 23 in, I think, range 5, was promised a bonus on March 26 last. I should like to know from the Minister of Agriculture if that bonus has yet been paid; it was not paid last July. There must be a moratorium placed on debts, a parity price fixed for those commodities which the farmer is growing, a payment on his stored grain, and some of those payments which were promised to him less than a year ago. If that is done, there will be some recovery. There will be a recovery of homes, which is important, a recovery of hope, which is of more importance, and a recovery of morale, which is of the greatest importance. Our population will then be able to make an effective contribution to the war.
The Address-Mr. Castleden
Many young men in the farming areas were unable to make homes for themselves. Several years ago it was announced that they would be allowed a payment of $5 a month; that grant was given to them so that they could go out and work and make homes for themselves. That was the way in which this government treated the young men who were to constitute the next generation of a great Canada. And they read in the records of this house that ex-members of this parliament were to be granted $200 a day and their expenses.
Consider the situation of a young man, say about twenty years of age, wondering what he can do towards the building up of Canada, and in love with the girl over on the next farm. He finds that he cannot make a living; his father cannot help him to get started. So he goes out to work for a neighbour at $5 a month paid by the government; and when he learns that some other person, now a member of this house, is to receive $200 a day, he starts to figure up what that person could earn at that rate in a month and finds that it amounts to $6,000. He then starts figuring out, "How long would it take for me to make that much?" and he calculates that it would take him just 1,200 months at his then rate of pay, working twelve months a year. In other words, in one hundred years from now, when he is 121 years old, he will be able to celebrate his birthday by coming home, marrying the girl with whom he is in love, and living happily ever afterwards.
This young man, however, now finds out that his country needs him. He is willing to fight for his empire when he sees it attacked, and to-day he is in the army, the navy or the air force. As he lined up to go to camp, he wonders again whether his services are going to be appreciated. If he is successful in passing the medical examination, which many years of privation have made it difficult for him to do, he is sure at least of sufficient food and clothing. He is now in camp, Christmas is approaching, and he wants to go home on leave; yet he finds that under existing regulations his transportation will cost him anywhere from $30 to $50, depending upon the distance to his home.
I spoke during July on this matter, and I have been pleased to see that since that time hon. members in all parts of the house have been advocating that something be done in this regard. These men are giving everything; they are willing even to sacrifice their lives. Are we in Canada not prepared to show at least as much appreciation as is expressed in this small concession? I feel I Mr. Castleden.]
sure that the administration will do something, and I am going to leave it at that. I hope that it will not be confined to Christmas leave. I hope they will see to it that our railways will carry free of charge any member of our forces when he is on official leave.
May I refer briefly to another matter before I close?
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:
I am sorry to have to remind the hon. gentleman that his time has expired.
With the permission of the house I will finish, briefly, what I had to say. In the constituency I represent there are several Indian reserves. I was called upon by some of these Indians to meet representatives from the reserves, and I found that conditions were rather terrible. On one reserve, namely the Gordon reserve at Pun-nichy, there are fifty families of Indian farmers of whom, I believe, less than sixteen are producing sufficient of any commodity to keep themselves alive. Trapping, fishing and hunting, which used to form a large portion of their means of livelihood, are almost gone. The health, education and morale of these people are low. There are some fine people on these reserves; there are fine qualities of character which are capable of development if these people are given a chance, but there is no one to present their case. No one will speak for them; they have no votes. Last winter there was a tragedy at the school in that reserve. I hope the minister responsible will take the first opportunity to look into the matter of the reserves in that area and improve the conditions which now exist.
In, conclusion, I would say this. I agree with what Mr. Ernest Bevin said recently, that "one of the biggest factors contributing to this war was the failure after the last war to erect an economic structure of society w'hich was based on humanity." I wonder whether w*e are going to learn anything from that. I submit that we should be seeing to it that we plan and start erecting such a structure in Canada now.
Mr. W. B. MacDIARMID (Glengarry):
I should like to say a few words with regard to the problems of the farmers in mydistrict. I wish I had some of the oratoricalability of the late Sir Wilfrid Laurier and also some of the foresight, diplomacy, tact and gift of repartee of Sir John A. Macdonald, so that I might place before this house the problems that beset our farmers at this time.In my opinion food was the chief factor
in the wanning of the last war, and lack of
The Address-Mr. MacDiarmid
food was the cause of the collapse of Germany. The food blockade of enemy countries and the production of food in the allied countries constituted one of the chief means of winning the last war, and we are all of the opinion that the same means will be responsible for victory in this war.
There is one thing on which, I believe, this house is unanimously agreed, and that is the winning of the war. We all want to win the war; I do not think there is any disagreement on that score. And we all want to win it as speedily as possible and with the smallest loss of life not only to our Canadian soldiers but to the soldiers of Britain who are fighting for the freedom and the liberty of the world.
These soldiers of ours are fighting against the savagery and barbarity of Hitlerism. If Hitler were here to-day, how many of us would be living? I would have been shot days ago, or perhaps months ago. None of us would be living if we dared to express our thoughts against the government in power or against those directing our affairs. We do not appreciate our blessings. We rise in our places in this house and argue and criticize, but if we were under Hitler it would be execution for us. That is one reason why, I say, we do not appreciate the work of our soldiers and the work of this government.
This government was elected on the platform that it would carry on the war. Its members were elected from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the people having elected the government, the government is responsible and it should carry on. It should carry out its platform, and I cannot see why all of us cannot concentrate and cooperate with the government to that end. Let the government carry out their promises and, if they do not, then we can do the same to them as was done to the last war government. These are the views of a newcomer, one who is inexperienced1 and unable to express himself as he would like.
A noted general once said that an army cannot fight on an empty stomach. The morale and courage of any people who have been bombed incessantly for the last few weeks and months cannot be maintained as it should be if those people, and especialy the women and children, are hungry. Therefore it is our duty to produce food and send it to them to the limit of our capacity to do so.
That is the problem we have to deal with in my constituency. Our farmers are of Scottish and French descent for the most part, and I do not want any member to rise
in his place, either on this side or on the other side of the house, and tell me that I do not grow wheat or -raise cows or -hogs or produce milk. I have been raised, and I practise my profession, among these people, having lived among them all my life, and I am qualified to discuss their trials and their problems. Our farmers work from early in the morning until late at night, twelve months a year. I can vouch for this because in my night visits in the practice of my profession I see lights burning in their barns hours before daylight and long after dark. They are patriotic and loyal, and many of our farmers' sons are now in uniform.
The trouble with our farmers is that they have to pay too much for the commodities they buy in comparison with the prices they receive for the produce they sell. In my district the majority of the farmers depend upon milk and hogs. The production of milk in the winter months depends upon bran, middlings and feeds of that sort from the west, and prices of these articles have risen very high. It is said that the reason is that the millers have unlimited quantities of the best flour in the world, but they cannot send it to Germany or to France. They cannot unload it, and so they raise the prices of these necessary foodstuffs which our farmers require. Thus our farmers are penalized.
Last year our farmers were not receiving SI a hundred for cheese. They were getting 87 cents and now they are getting S1.10. Mr. Singleton, the agricultural representative, said that the farmers should produce more, that they should produce all that they could, because the old country needed our cheese. How will they produce more if they do not receive more for their milk? It is a serious question in my constituency.
At six o'clock the house took -recess.
The house resumed at eight o'clock.
As I have said already, Mr. Speaker, our farmers are having great difficulty in maintaining the production of milk and cheese, which is so necessary at this time. Our farmers are very loyal and patriotic. Many of them in my constituency come to me with their problems. One or two have 'been widows, with only sons twenty-one years of age, who were running their farms. If these boys have to take military training, the work on those farms cannot be done, and production will be lessened. As you know, farmers work on
The Address-Mr. MacDiarmid
schedule. The other day I heard an hon. member ask what was schedule. To us it means on time. I know at least one farmer who has a clock in his barn. His cows are milked at a certain hour at night and a certain hour in the morning, and it is necessary that all these matters be attended to by experienced people.
If there is no one to take the places of these young farmers when they are taking military training, production will suffer, because to-day no one wants to go on a farm and feed cows, clean stables and so on for the wages the farmers can afford to pay. It is utterly impossible to get any help. With the wages being paid in the munitions factories it would be foolish for a man to work on a farm for a dollar a day and his board. And then, when he works in a factory, he is through at five o'clock in the afternoon.
This is one of our great problems. I understand there are to be no exemptions from military training. What is going to happen, then? These widows to whom I have referred are unable to do the work on their farms. What are they to do? They have asked that the military training of their sons be postponed, but I would suggest to the government that if they want to maintain the production of milk and cheese they should adopt some regulation which would permit these men to stay on the job.
That is one suggestion I have to offer. Another would be that in view of the high cost of winter feeds, such as middlings and bran, that are necessary for increased production, the farmers should be given an increased premium on both cheese and pork, in order to stimulate greater production. Only last Saturday a farmer was in my office. He said he had sold six pigs and that he had to take a cut of S10 each in the grade. Another man told me that on each of seven pigs he was cut $4.50, which took away all the profit. Perhaps that does not seem very much to some hon. members, but it is a good deal of money to the farmer.
Another matter into which I think the government should inquire is the exorbitant prices farmers have to pay for their machinery. Just a few days ago one farmer told me that he had paid over $400 for a binder, while another said that he had paid over $300. Those machines are used for only a few days, and then are put away in the shed. The same thing applies to mowers; all these machines cost three or four times their old prices. I cannot see any reason for such tremendous increases in the cost of these implements which the farmer has to buy in order to carry on his work, especially when
many of them are used only for a short time during the year. So I think this government should take some steps to reduce the cost of the machines the farmers have to buy. If that cannot be done, the government should increase the prices of the commodities the farmers produce, in order to make up for the increased cost of the articles they have to buy.
I agree with the hon. member who said that it was necessary to have our boys properly equipped and trained before sending them overseas. I would add that we do not want our boys to go over there with paper-soled shoes, the wrong rifles, the wrong ammunition, and without proper training. In the last war I think some of our men were sent overseas before they were ready. I do not blame the government of that day, because they did what they thought was best, but I know personally of many fine young Canadians who were sent to France in the last war with insufficient training and improper equipment, and who simply became living targets for the guns of the huns.
Last winter I received a visit from a soldier, a private, who also served in the last war. I asked how the equipment compared, because we had heard so much criticism in that regard. He showed me his boots and said, "These boots are wonderful. You cannot get anything better." Then he showed me the warm clothing, the socks and so on, and said there was no comparison between the equipment he received in the last war and the equipment issued in this war. That is a concrete case; I know what I am talking about, and am not repeating anything from hearsay.
Another hon. gentleman said that our first line of defence was in England. I think we will all agree with that statement. But would it be good military tactics to have only one line, with no second and third lines behind? I do not think so. I believe the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of this country should be fortified, because we do not know what may happen. I do not know personally, but I believe the government are doing just that without saying anything about it, and I think they are wise in doing so.
We have heard the statements of the various ministers, and I do not think any men, no matter where you chose them, could have done better work. We have heard criticism of them-very weak criticism- pointing out what should have been done two or three years ago. But what government would have dared go to the Canadian people at that time and say, "We want $500,000,000 to spend on armaments here," when France, Belgium, Denmark and all the other countries did not themselves know enough to start fortifying? Would it not
The Address-Mr. Turgeon
have been ridiculous for a country with ten or twelve million people to take steps to protect the countries of Europe from themselves, when they were doing nothing at all about the matter?
It has been said also that from 1930 to 1935 the defence estimates were reduced. I believe the government then in power acted for the good of the country in reducing those estimates; they helped keep our taxes reasonably low. So I do not think we can criticize them for what they did, just as they should not criticize this government for not having done certain things three or four years ago.
As I said earlier in my remarks I have carried on my practice in three agricultural constituencies, Glengarry, Stormont and Prescott. I have been among these people all my life and I think I know them pretty well. I have heard something said in this house about starvation. I have never seen anyone die of starvation through lack of food. I have seen people die through starvation arising from some malignant disease, or through some wasting disease which would not permit them to assimilate food, but I have never yet seen anybody die of starvation from lack of food. Those who say that w'e are undernourished and are not fed when, in fact, we have plenty, are giving Canada a bad name. I know our farmers and other residents, if they knew what was happening, would never allow anybody to go hungry or to be cold. The people in my community would n-ot rest if they thought there was anybody among them starving or cold. I know the residents of my constituency, and I know that they are composed of both Scotch and French.
We have heard it said that people in certain districts of Canada do not receive proper medical care. I know of medical men in my district who have attended people for years without any remuneration. They believe, as I do, that if the Almighty has given them strength to practise the medical profession they should go out to heal the sick and to relieve the ills of this land, whether or not they are paid for it. I believe, along with those medical men, that they should go out and do good by attending the needy, when it is necessary so to do.
Time and again I have had occasion to ask services from doctors in this city of Ottawa. They have always helped, and they have not been paid for it. Then, medical men in Montreal have given service when patients were not able to pay. Some who speak are very much exercised about the condition of people in the wide-open spaces, people who are far removed from civilization and medical attention. Well, if we look at it from the other side of the picture we might ask ourselves 14873-28
this question: Is it not criminal for a young man to take his bride away from civilization, and attempt to rear a family under those circumstances? I do not think we should blame the municipal, provincial or federal authorities, if those people wish to take a chance. If I choose to go on a hunting expedition and get hurt, I should not blame the authorities if they have not the proper medical attention for me. That is up to me, entirely. The Lord has given me sense and has given most people sense, and we ought not to attribute our difficulties to any government if we are not looked after, under those circumstances.
As one hon. member has said, we in the House of Commons are friends; we want to cooperate. If Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who was at one time the revered leader of the Liberal party, and if Sir John A. Macdonald were in this chamber to-night, facing each other in this time of stress, as the representatives of the two great races in Canada, I am sure they would cooperate, no matter which one was in office. I believe they would both put their shoulders to the wheel to do their best for Canada by submerging all political aspirations and ambitions. I believe that should be done by those who sit in this house to-day. Criticism is all right, but at this time I believe we ought to cooperate.
Possibly I am not speaking according to Hoyle, but I do not believe any party, whether in office or not, should now support the enactment of legislation which would entrench them at a time of any future election. Neither is it the time for any political party which has been travelling under an assumed name to revive, resuscitate and rehabilitate itself. Neither is it the time for any party to have passed any social legislation which would not be in the best interests of the country.
Mr. J. G. TURGEON (Cariboo):
Mr. Speaker, it seems to me one point which has arisen directly from the fact that Canada is at war is that parliament is coming back into public esteem. People and newspapers that urge to-day that parliament should be sitting constantly, only a short year or two ago were regarding parliament as a public nuisance, a device through which the money of the taxpayers could be wasted. The participation of a member in this supposed waste of the money of the taxpayers was measured by the time consumed by him in speaking to the House of Commons upon public matters; costs were calculated in dollars and cents.
I believe any person who is truly in love with British principles and the British system of government will not only welcome this
The Address-Mr. Turgeon
change but be delighted by it. In totalitarian governments there is no such thing as public opinion. In a government such as we have in Canada public opinion is the most sensitive and at the same time the most vital force in a government, whether legislative or administrative.
There are many phases of public opinion I should like to discuss this evening. Time will not permit my discussion of all of them, but for a moment or two I shall deal with something which for several generations has been close to the aspirations of the Canadian people. It is true that it has been discussed so much at this session and throughout the country during the last six months that it would be worn threadbare now, were it not for the richness of its texture and for the fact that it has been and will be the most strengthening force in Canada's conduct of the war. I refer to what on many occasions has been eloquently described as unity of thought in Canada. It is my personal conviction that this is a unity of thought and action which will continue to abide with us when war is over, and when the problems of peace are before us for solution.
Like every other hon. member who has mentioned the matter of unity among those of different race and language, and like many thousands of people throughout the country I give the greatest credit and express the highest appreciation to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) for the work they have done in bringing about this condition of unity not only between Ontario and Quebec, but among all phases of our population, whether they be divided economically, as by classes, geographically, between the east and the west, or by race and language, as are the people of Quebec and those in other parts of Canada.
Addressing for the moment hon. members from the province of Quebec, and speaking as one who knows well the Pacific province in the extreme western part of Canada, I say that in the work he has done in bringing to a head all the efforts which have been made toward unity of , purpose, the Minister of Justice has certainly touched the heart-strings of the people in British Columbia. Continuing my talk to hon. members from Quebec I say that no man excels the Minister of Justice in public estimation in British Columbia despite the fact that he comes from the French-speaking, French-thinking province of Quebec.
But to these two men whose actions I extol, all credit is not due. There has been leadership which has brought about certain results, but leadership comes from inspiration. I should like to take a few minutes
of the valuable time of this house in attempting to discover the root of the inspiration which has brought about this leadership. Many years ago when the wars on the north American continent were finished, this country -which is now ours was bom in a manifestation of true British justice which at the same time was a stroke of imperial genius. I>t was Lord Acton, who said in
an essay on freedom that the greatest thing in a hundred years of progress on the part of the British people was that true freedom which recognized and gave liberty to others as a matter of justice and charity, not merely in satisfaction of a claim of right. That was the spirit which animated the people of Canada. That is the spirit which gave birth to this country before the British colonies of north America united as the Dominion of Canada.
While I am dealing with this particular spirit of liberty, which naturally embraces good will, tolerance and the absence of bigotry, may I take a few moments to relate my own experience? I do this not for the purpose of speaking of myself, but as one of a minority to pay a tribute to the great majority that exists in Canada. I do this for the further purpose of refuting what a great political philosopher once said, that democracy was the most cruel of all forms of government, because the minority was always in the power and under the control of those who happened to be in the majority. My experience is the exact opposite; it tells only of good will and the lack of anything like intolerance.
Thirty-four years ago I went to the then new province of Alberta and settled in a district which happened to be one hundred per cent English-speaking and about ninety-nine per cent Protestant in religion. The people there knew that I was at least partly French because they had trouble in pronouncing my name. They knew that I was Roman Catholic in religion because when we were successful in having a priest come in, we celebrated mass in my home, except on those occasions when there were more than my little home would accommodate. We then celebrated mass in the Masonic hall.
Six years after my arrival I was elected to represent those people and to speak for them and in their name in the legislature of Alberta. To show that this was not just an accident, may I say that in the late fall of 1921 I went to British Columbia, not knowing a living soul in that province. To-day I represent in this house the district of Cariboo, which is overwhelmingly Englishspeaking and nearly overwhelmingly Protestant in religion. I have won elections and I have
The Address-Mr. Turgeon
been defeated; but never on any occasion, either in Alberta or in British Columbia, have I lost a single vote because of race or religion. It is a great pleasure for me to-night to have this opportunity to speak as one who is in a double minority, as it were, and praise the freedom and the love of tolerance of those who form the majority in Canada.
Many matters having to do with public opinion naturally arise during a debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I listened the other day to the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson), and I have listened to others who followed him, directing the attention of the ministry to the fact that there has been a concentration of industry in central Canada in connection with our war effort. It is stated that the people of the maritimes and the far west have not been treated fairly. I do not bring up this matter for the purpose of adding to the complaints or to the denials; I rise simply to say to the Prime Minister and to his colleagues that I believe that what they are doing is being done by reason of the fact that time is an element in the supplying of equipment, aeroplanes and munitions, that I believe that all these things are required, not for themselves alone but because they are needed in a hurry. Therefore I stand here without hesitation and say in the name of my constituents that if that is the reason why there has been this concentration of industry, then continue that concentration.
I speak now on behalf of a constituency which has received nothing whatever from the war effort of Canada. Our young men are enlisting and the moment they sign up they are whisked away to the coast. Our grain growers have been told that they cannot sell their grain because the war has destroyed their market. No industrial effort has been started in my constituency. But if the desire is, as I sincerely believe it is, to help people who are harassed and beleaguered in the old country, then I say, continue.
While the criticism which has been offered may be justified, I am reminded of the fact that a new doctrine of justification is finding birth in the minds of some who are ready to speak without reflection and reckon with the consequences only after they see the results of the impact upon public opinion of what they have said. This doctrine holds that criticism is justified because this government is supposed to be a one-party government. Leaving aside for the moment any comments that might be made on that thought, I think I am right in drawing this inference: If we had what is usually called a union government, then there would be no criticism. If
the basis for the justification for criticism is the fact that this is a one-party government,, then the establishment of a union government would eliminate all criticism. Then that which has been proclaimed from the Atlantic to the Pacific about the majesty of parliament would disappear immediately.
I understand that preparations are again being made to exert further pressure to bring about a union government. I intend to say nothing about that beyond throwing out the suggestion that whatever good points there might be about a union government, and doubtless there would be some, it is a good thing for the people of Canada that when the opportunity presented itself and advantage was taken of it by this government to make those excellent arrangements between the United States and Canada which were made at Ogdensburg, there was not included in the the Canadian government at that time any public man whose philosophy of politics and whose past made it impossible for him to participate in any closer or more intimate relations with the United States.
Whom does the hon. member mean by that?
I mean several, and when my hon. friend asks the question he knows exactly whom I mean or he would not be disturbed by my statement.
I am not disturbed at all.
But if it was a good
thing for Canada, Mr. Speaker, how magnificent a thing it was for the people of the British isles! That reminds me that to-day because of certain criticism which has been directed against the Ogdensburg agreement entered into between the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States, a feeling is gradually developing against the construction of joint defence works in the two countries.
Naturally time will not allow me to go fully into the question of joint defence works, but first let me throw out this warning. Ever since the beginning of the war we in Canada have tried to convince the people of the United States of the danger that would be theirs if, by any chance, Great Britain should be defeated, and of the danger which would be theirs if, by reason of the downfall of Great Britain, Canada should be invaded. To-day Great Britain as well as Canada are asking for' still further aid from the people of the United States, aid which is required by the people of the British isles who with such sublime courage and against odds unparalleled in military history are withstanding an aggression unequalled in brutality in the whole history of the world. The warning that I give not only
The Address-Mr. Turgeon
to this house but to all newspapers and public men is, let us say nothing and do nothing that might lessen the enthusiasm of the people of the United States in their effort to help us and the British people on the other side of the Atlantic ocean.
History will write much of the right hon. the Prime Minister and most of it will be good, but no deed of his will be written of more proudly than the one he has accomplished during the last few months by bringing the people of the United States, the people of Canada and the people of Great Britain closer together. I say to those of us who are married men with families that when we have passed and gone and the history of these times is being read, our children will be proud that their parents had the opportunity and the privilege of sitting in parliament with the Prime Minister to share his toils and his trials, and by their friendly advice and constructive criticism help to shape his policies and to put Canada in the position in which she is to-day.
In connection with the joint defence works by Canada and the United States, and having particular regard to what was said a day or two ago by Lord Lothian in connection with the financial position of Great Britain, I wish now to make a suggestion to the ministry, which, because of its nature, I make to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Usley) and to the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie King). It is this. Every dollar that Canada can provide for munitions and equipment and the other commodities which the people of the British isles need so direly to-day, must go to that effort. There must be no diversion except such as may be absolutely essential. Our aim must be to help the people on the other side of the Atlantic ocean.
Canada is a gold-producing country, and I suggest that these two ministers give consideration to making an arrangement with the United States, that rich country which to-day is in possession of nearly all the gold of the world, whereby she will make available to this dominion a credit, not in terms of money, but in terms of ounces of gold, to be drawn upon by us in payment for the cost of construction of any joint Canadian-United States defence works that may be undertaken.
I further suggest that the liquidation of this obligation should commence when the war is over, and that each year there should be set aside from the gold production of Canada a certain percentage of our output in order to extinguish that obligation which we shall have incurred to the people of the United States. Someone asked me when I was making this suggestion at Regina some
weeks ago whether I meant by that to give the United States a mortgage against our gold production. Naturally not. But when you borrow money-and states are continually borrowing money in war and peace-you arrange for a sinking fund and set aside year by year a part of your income in order to make certain that the debt will be extinguished. That is all I am suggesting in connection with our production of gold, that every year there be set aside a certain percentage of our gold production so that in course of time the total debt will be extinguished. I suggest, naturally, that it be a non-interest bearing debt and that a certain amount of our gold production be earmarked for the purpose of a sinking fund.
This other thought I throw oui in that connection. When the last war was over, Great Britain found it impossible to pay off her debt to the United States except by way of trade and commerce, which the United States did not find it convenient to accept, and a feeling of tension, strain and bad will grew up between the two countries. We do not know, you and I who are here to-day, what is going to be the economy of Canada or of the United States or what is going to be the economy of the world when this war is over and peace once more is Shining upon us. We do not know what the price of gold will be then. It may be much higher or it may be much lower. But if our indebtedness to the United States is in terms of gold by weight, there can be no possibility of strain or ill will arising because we owe them gold, just as we might owe them any other commodity.
It may be suggested that the neutrality act will make this suggestion of mine impossible to carry out, but my opinion is that the neutrality act would not make a credit in terms of ounces of gold impossible. But even if it did, I still feel, by reason of what has been taking place in the last few months, that the people of the United States are ready to-day to advance such a credit to us in order that we may pay for our share of joint Canadian-United States defence works. I also feel that when the necessities of the motherland grow greater, the people of the United States, having gone with us part of the way, will foe glad to go the whole distance, and that we shall have no further trouble in carrying on the work for lack of a credit or the provision of money.
In that regard I should like to say a word of commendation to the Prime Minister and also to his colleague the Minister of Finance, with reference to the statement made by the Prime Minister a couple of weeks ago, that only physical and moral capacity to
The Address-Mr. Fair
sacrifice and to produce would be the measure by which we would determine our help to the people of the motherland and our efforts to defend ourselves. I have here a statement, which probably hon. members have seen, made by Colonel A. A. Magee, president of Barclay's bank. In speaking to the bank shareholders he says, among other things:
The pressing problem at the moment is the placing of the war effort upon the most efficient basis within our power. The maintenance of the value of the Canadian dollar and the prevention of price inflation are of economic significance, but subordinate to the essential function of contributing to the utmost towards the winning of the war.
I have quoted that statement because that same man, president of Barclay's bank, is executive assistant to the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston); and that determination, expressed so wisely and so well by the Prime Minister, to let nothing interfere with Canada's effort to help, has permeated1 all departments of government, as is indicated in the statement of the president of Barclay's bank. I congratulate the government upon it.
One thing disturbs me. I am afraid there is not existent in Canada to-day that realization of what this war means to us, without which a proper determination to win it cannot be built up. When I say that, I do not want any confusion of thought. I do not mean that there is any lack of confidence in the government, because I know that in the history of parliumentarianism no government has held the confidence of the people of Canada in spite of war to a greater degree than has the government which is in office to-day. What I fear is that we have not paid sufficient attention to what is going on in people's minds.
We have been talking about this being a war for democracy. There is no truer lover of democracy in this House of Commons than I am; but I remember, as all hon, gentlemen here do, that the same thing was said during the last war, and1 we all recall the expectations which were built upon what was said at that time but which did not work out. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, and through you to every person who hears my voice, that while it is true that we are fighting for democracy, we are fighting for life itself. Just imagine what would happen to us in Canada if by any mischance the people of the British isles should fail in the defensive struggle which they are waging against Hitler and Mussolini and their other actual and potential friends! Imagine what would happen to us! We are fighting for
life. We are not fighting for democracy; we are fighting for national existence, for the life of the individual as well as for our life as a nation; and that is the truth which, it seems to me, should be brought more vigorously home to our people.
May I say a word, not of censure, but by way of asking whether it is wise to-day to demand, as some hon. members have done, that instead of prosecuting the war with all our force, we should get into a conference with the other nations of the commonwealth and our allies to determine what our war aims will be. Do those hon. members feel away down in their bosoms that their suggestion is a wise one? We cannot determine what our war aims will be, except in the general sense.
Therefore, in closing, Mr. Speaker, may I say through you, particularly to those hon. members who are asking for a conference or a council so that war aims can be determined and expressed, that if we win this war properly-not as we won the last war, and how much could be said on that-with the help of all peoples of British stock and of the' people of the United States, and with the help of the glorious people of the little kingdom of Greece, and any others who may join her and ourselves-if we win the war properly, as I pray God we will, because winning it incompletely would not be much better than losing it, then we shall have a democracy such as man has only dreamed of and has neither seen nor experienced before. We shall have a democracy in which the class distinctions which have been imposed upon us in the progress of our industrial and agricultural eras will be washed away. We shall have a democracy in which the arrogance of race will no longer be permitted to subject the peoples of neighbouring states to a condition of slavery. We shall have in Canada and the other free nations of the world a democracy in which man will be distinct and free because he is a human being. Those are the peace aims and the aims for the end of the war which I hold and which I express to the house to-night, speaking, as I said at the beginning, for myself and my constituents of Cariboo.
Mr. ROBERT FAIR (Battle River):
Mr. Speaker, I want to add a few words to this debate, which has now been carried on for nearly three weeks, in speaking to the amendment to the amendment moved by the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore), and reading as follows:
And this house further regrets the failure of the government to adopt a monetary policy
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that would permit a maximum war effort without either increasing debt or reducing the standards of living below that necessary for maintaining maximum efficiency;
Furthermore this house is of the opinion that a continuation of the present financial policy will further destroy the precious liberties so essential to, and recognized as being inherent in a true democracy.
Since the address in reply to the speech from the throne was moved, we have heard quite a few speeches-some good, some not so goodi-a very much diversified line-up, and all purporting to be given with honest intentions. During the last war, I believe, the same condition existed. People were shocked at things which happened during that war, as a number of us are shocked at what has gone on since its conclusion; and when the next war comes, as it surely will unless conditions are changed, those who come after us will again be shocked at what we are doing and what we shall have failed to do at the conclusion of this war.
Looking back over a number of years to the time when I left my native land, I can remember several hard things which were said about the people of the country of my birth. The same things are being said to-day about people belonging to other nationalities. Before anybody here or anywhere else in Canada ventures upon such ground, I suggest that he get the facts.
Last night we heard an able address from the hon. member for Vegreville (Mr. Hlynka), who spoke on behalf of the Ukrainians and other minorities in Canada. Those who were not here to listen to his speech W'ould, I suggest, do well to read it in Hansard. Knowing the Ukrainians as I do, and having the honour to represent quite a number of them. I compliment the hon. member upon his address in their behalf, and I add my own words to his. The Ukrainians are misunderstood to a great extent simply because people do not take the trouble to find out anything about them. I have been a neighbour to Ukrainians for a number of years and I have also gone through districts in which there were few people but Ukrainians. It is true that the older people who came from the old land and slaved to make millionaires of some people in Canada, do not speak English as well as some of the rest -of us do, but that is no fault whatever of theirs. I can imagine several members of this house going to a foreign country and trying late in life to learn the language.
With regard to the young Ukrainians, those in school, university or business, I can say that we of the English-speaking and Frenchspeaking races have nothing at all on them. They are pretty intelligent and industrious.
Moreover, as far as I have been able to find out, they are honest, which is one of the main things, I believe, in getting along. I said one of the main things in getting along and someone says, " humph." I am not surprised to hear that, because quite a few people across Canada are saying the same thing when we talk about honest dealings in connection with our war effort.
I have received several letters suggesting incidents that are occurring throughout the country. In connection with the war effort, we were told by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), when we came here a year ago last September, that people who profiteered would be classed as belonging to the underworld. I am sorry to say that to-day we have quite a few who belong to that category, according to the Prime Minister's statement.
Last night the hon. member for Rosthern (Mr. Tucker) gave an address. On previous occasions we have also had addresses from the hon. member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Leader) and the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid). I am glad to say that the Liberal party has at least some men who have backbone enough to rise in their places in this house and express their convictions. There are several men here representing constituencies who do not say a word from one end of the session to the other. In the few years I have been in the house I have known that to be true, and I have often wondered -whether the people who vote for these members on election day know just what is being done on their behalf. If a man is dumb he has no business here, and the sooner the people realize it, the better it will be for all concerned.
A number of speeches have dealt with the war, and mainly with the war. I am not going to say very much about the war to-night. I do not like war, and I hope that something will be done after this slaughter is finished to prevent another such war from occurring.
Industry, banking and several other subjects have been discussed, and a number of other questions have been left untouched. I will touch upon one or two and offer a few suggestions. One matter that should have been looked after twenty years ago is the position of the returned soldiers who came back after the last war. On other occasions I have spoken of their condition, particularly that of the men on the land. I have produced figures showing that for a number of years, perhaps ten or eleven years, there has not been collected from the soldier settlers enough to pay the interest on their loans and meet
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cost of administration. On their behalf, therefore, I suggest that the government do something about giving them free title to the lands they hold at the present time.
These men went overseas and offered everything they had. They were ready to give their lives, and that is the most we can offer. They came back and, instead of being treated as the government had promised, before they went overseas, that they would be treated, we find that deals characteristic of the underworld were put over on them. I say characteristic of the underworld and I know what I am talking about. I know of instances in my own neighbourhood. Somebody made blood-money out of the deals and these men were made to suffer and are continuing to suffer. This matter is under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Mines and Resources (Mr. Crerar), who is in his seat. I ask him to take particular note of the condition of the soldier settlers and of their present financial standing. He is reading a paper, but I hope he will take note of the matter anyway.
The question of old age pensions is one that must be dealt with. The people in England are paying very heavy taxes and they have reduced the age limit. We are still on the seventy-year basis, allowing $20 a month, provided the recipient has no other income. If he has an income, the amount is cut down, and if he happens to have a little house in town or anything of that kind, he must sign it over to the government. Therefore the picture is not a pretty one. Our laws make it impossible for these people to accumulate anything in their working days to carry them over the period when they should enjoy a holiday in the later years of their lives, and I suggest that at the earliest possible opportunity the government bring down a measure reducing the age limit and increasing the amount of the pension.
I notice that some of the soldiers who have been overseas in this war have come back. They went away A 1 and were discharged because they were no longer fit, and now they are refused a pension. We are starting now to deal with the men who are coming back. Let us deal justly with them. We are creating precedents; let them be just. We have heard many appeals being made to have Christian principles upheld. I say, let this government, the spokesmen for the upholding of Christian principles, put these principles into effect at once.
A number of our young men have enlisted. Many of them from western provinces are at present stationed in Ontario. Christmas will shortly be here and a number of them will
get leave. Three waaks ago one of my neighbours, a young man with a wife and four children, who because of economic conditions could not make a living on the farm and could not get work to keep himself and his family, was forced into the army as a last resort. He has a wife and four youngsters in a little town outside Edmonton. He came here on a week-end leave and telephoned me, and I had a talk with him. He wanted to know whether they were going to get free transportation home for Christmas, or on their last leave before going overseas. I told him that members belonging to all parties in the house had spoken in support of this suggestion, but that I did not know just what the government were going to do. I hope that, as has happened in other instances, public opinion on this matter will become strong enough to compel the government finally to yield. I believe there are enough people across Canada who want these men to have a free trip home to justify that action being taken. In this particular instance this young man, even if he gets a return ticket for half fare, will have to pay no less than $47.SO in order to get home to see his wife and family.
I believe we have plenty of railroad crews and trains. Let us make use of them. Do a little extra bookkeeping; that is all it amounts to.
I should now like to get back to hogs for a little while; I mean the four-legged ones. Not very long ago the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) returned from the old country, and according to his own speech he brought home the bacon. I do not believe, however, the farmers of Canada thought he brought home the bacon as far as they are concerned. I have in my hand a news item dated Toronto, November 18, as follows:
Hon. P. M. Dewan, Ontario agriculture minister, in a statement to-night described slumping hog prices, due to the price reduction in the new Canada-United Kingdom bacon agreement, as "hard medicine" for Ontario farmers. Western farmers stood to make a "reasonable profit" with their stocks of low value feed grain, he said.
I notice that Mr. Dewan holds the same opinion as a number of gentleman farmers in -this house, Because grain prices are low in both eastern and western Canada, these experts with figures calculate the cost of raising hogs and say that the farmers should be able to make a profit. They all seem to lose sigh of the fact that grain is being produced at far less than cost of production. Apparently it is not enough to lose in producing the grain; we are supposed also to lose when we come to sell bacon. Under the old agreement grade A Wiltshire sides sold for $18.01 per hundred at seaboard; under the
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new agreement the price is $15.82. But the minister told us that because he was able to get rid of so many more hogs, the new prices would compare favourably with the old rates. This means that if the farmer this year is going to get as much money as he got last year, he will have to feed several extra hogs. I do not think this is very good business for the Canadian farmer.
In many matters our Prime Minister and this government try to follow the example of England. Over there they subsidize the farmers, and I would suggest that the same thing be done here in connection with the raising of hogs and the production of several other commodities. I do not object to giving our goods to Britain; that is part of our contribution, but I do not think the producers should take the rap. I believe the country as a whole should bear that burden, because when the war is all over and the taxes have to be paid, the farmer will be caught both going and coming, and will have to pay a double share of taxation.
We find that the cheese men also are not satisfied. I quote another Toronto dispatch dated November 20:
Directors of the Ontario Cheese Producers Association to-day endorsed the sale of cheese to Great Britain announced by agriculture minister Gardiner but took the stand that the price is out of line with present cost of production. . . .
A special committee was appointed to draft a memorandum, incorporating views of the producers, to be presented the minister. The committee, it was understood, will suggest that government assistance be considered for the producers in the form of a subsidy.
I wandered away from the hog question, but cheese is not very far from hogs in any event.
I should now like to refer for a moment to an article which appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press last week. I do so because time after time fifth columnists have been referred to in this house, and I wish to put the Free Press in that category to-night, not only because of the article I am going to quote but because of other articles published which have not been fair to the producers of Canada. This article states:
Mr. H. H. Hannam, president of the Canadian 1 ederation of Agriculture, is indignant and declares that the Canadian farmers will also be indignant over the reduced price for bacon fixed m the new bacon agreement.
Indignant against whom? Not against Great Britain, Mr. Hannam hastens to explain. Then the indignation must be directed against the Canadian government. On what grounds? Obviously on the ground that the Canadian government did not say to the government of
Great Britain: Pay the price that our distinguished and patriotic Canadian, Mr. Hannam, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, demands, or go without bacon.
No doubt Mr. Hannam will resent having the matter put thus crudely; but is it not pretty much to this that it boils down? A man big enough to hold his position ought to be able to look at this transaction in its entirety, instead of from a narrow angle. Thus examined, it might be found to have a great many good points. But Mr. Hannam is in the business, in which he is not alone, of trying to stir up grievances in the hope of being able to capitalize on them later on. It is a discreditable business. Also dangerous.
As president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Mr. Hannam represents a number of the producers of Canada. The Free Press, in accordance with its old practice, now seeks to disrupt that farmers' organization. The Free Press, and those who contribute financial support, see what would be the result if Canadian agriculture were organized and educated as it should be. I believe the statement I have read is an unfair one for this newspaper to make. A number of farmers subscribe to the weekly edition of this newspaper, and I would suggest to them that if they want truth they should subscribe to a publication that tells the truth. I hope this will be read by a number of those farmers.
I heard and have read the wonderful speech that was delivered by the Minister of Agriculture on November 14. He made quite a number of statements, with some of which I agree and with some I do not agree. During the discussion he had this to say-and it would be amusing, were it not so very expensive:
I shall continue to fight the battles of the farmers of Canada. No adding to or taking away from duties or prestige will remove my Jife-long association with and love for farmers and farming.
I heard of a man at a meeting, who rose to support a motion he had voted against the year before, say, "Some of you may wonder why I am now supporting the very thing I opposed a year ago? At that time," he said, "I had a reason; now I have lost my reason." I believe that applies very well to the Minister of Agriculture.
I think just the same as I did a year ago.
The minister knows quite a lot about wheat-some say he grows it; I do not know. On April 5, 1939, however, he is reported to have made the following statement at page 2623 of Hansard:
It has been proven over and over again that twenty bushels to the acre of wheat can be produced at a cost of from 30 to 40 cents a bushel. We have had a great deal: of discussion
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about the cost of producing wheat. It costs a certain amount to work an acre of land whether you get any wheat off it or not; it costs a certain amount to harvest it if you do get any wheat off it. It has been proven over and over again, I say, that twenty bushels to the acre of wheat can be produced at a cost of from 30 to 40 cents a bushel. For every bushel a man gets over twenty his costs per bushel decrease. When he has a crop of twenty bushels or more per acre, his other crops are usually good in proportion.
Read it all the way