December 2, 1940

NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

May I say to my right hon. friend that no one has seen these resolutions except myself, and I have just been able to glance through them. They will not be printed and available to hon. gentlemen until noon to-morrow. How can anyone intelligently discuss the principles involved in these resolutions when he has not had time to study them? I do not think we are asking too much when we request that they be allowed to stand over until Wednesday. That would be the usual thing in a budget debate. As a matter of fact more time would be given. The amount of exchange to be saved is not as large as I had hoped, and I do not think the matter is so pressing that we should be asked to proceed with the discussion to-morrow afternoon. If, however, the government insists, I suppose they can force us to go on.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

There is no disposition on the part of the government to attempt to force my hon. friend or any other hon. member in the matter of time. Would he deem it wise to have the resolutions referred to the committee at once with a view to having a full discussion later?

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I think we ought to have a discussion on the general principles involved, which discussion may not take very long. It may be that after hon. members have digested the minister's statement they will feel that they have some observations to make. I fancy that some hon. members will be hearing from the country as soon as these particulars are published. We usually do. I do not like to commit myself to permitting the motion to be carried without any discussion. I do not think the matter is as pressing as that. On previous occasions when war budgets have been quite pressing we have allowed them to go through, but I think this ought to be done in a more orderly way. We should study these proposals before we give approval.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

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

Before the motion is put, I should like to say that I support the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson). I think we should be given time to study these proposals and I object to the procedure suggested by the Prime Min-

The Address-Mr. Rowe

ister (Mr. Mackenzie King). I do this because of what happened during the last budget debate. A similar request was made to which we agreed, but subsequently when it was desired to stray outside the particulars of an item under discussion the Deputy Speaker who was then in the chair reminded hon. members that he could not be bound by any understandings which might have been arrived at between the whips or members of the house. He felt that he was bound by the rules, and therefore the hon. member for St. Paul's (Mr. Ross) and the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. Wright) were prevented from discussing certain matters which they wished to bring before the committee. I make this objection not because we wish to delay the consideration of these important matters, with the bulk of which we are in complete agreement, but to ask that we follow the procedure provided for by the rules.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I thought I

made it clear that I was not trying to impose any restriction on the house. The suggestion I made was made in the light of experience of debate in this house and also, I confess quite frankly, with a view to helping to economize the time of the government and of hon. members. Speaking on behalf of the government I am quite prepared to have matters follow their regular course without any restriction. Perhaps the house would be agreeable to this debate being now adjourned and our continuing with the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne.

On motion of Mr. Hanson (York-Sunbury) the debate was adjourned.

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GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed from Friday, November 29, consideration of the motion of Mr. Brooke Claxton for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Hanson (York-Sunbury) and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Blackmore.


NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Hon. W. E. ROWE (Dufferin-Simcoe):

Mr. Speaker, this rather sudden deviation from our usual course emphasizes the tragedy of the present occasion. In resuming the debate which was adjourned on Friday I wish to say that many ably presented and carefully considered speeches have been made in this somewhat prolonged debate. I feel I should compliment the mover (Mr. Claxton)

and the seconder (Mr. Jutras) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I realize that their task was not an easy one. I think the house will agree when I say that despite the crisis through which we are passing, the speech from the throne was very vague indeed. It was more conspicuous for what was not in it than it was for what was in it. I do not think I have heard one delivered in this house which told so little of what had passed and indicated so little as to what we might expect in the future.

It is my purpose to avoid as much as possible repeating what has been said already, it is my desire to restrict my remarks more to a discussion of the general principles underlying the government's policies than to endeavour to go into the details of administration and the difficulties connected therewith. I am confident that no old political differences that exist among us can obscure the problem we all face, that of winning the war. Political distinctions may have existed in the past, but I feel that to-day we stand on common ground, facing a common foe with our eyes turned toward one definite goal, namely victory. It is therefore with deep concern and sincere purpose that I even venture to question the policies of the government with reference to our war effort.

As has been said quite often in this house by members of the government and by other hon. members, these are serious and tragic days through which we are passing. I agree with that, but it appears to me that the people throughout the dominion do not thoroughly understand what must be done to achieve victory. I think it was Kipling who said:

When king and people understand each other past a doubt

It takes a foe and more than a foe to knock that country out.

I doubt if the people and the government of Canada thoroughly understand each other. We must have this understanding if democracy is to survive this terrific crisis. The hour has come when we must throw off the old mantle of what might be termed political camouflage and don the suit of political truth. I urge the government to take the Canadian people into their confidence and tell them where Canada stands in this far-reaching and devastating struggle.

I realize what has been pointed out on more than one occasion, namely, the tragic dangers that lie ahead, and I cannot help feeling that our people have been to some extent misled in the past. The government's

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repeated boast of winning the last election is not good enough to meet the present situation and the terrific task that lies ahead of us now. No one within the sound of my voice will, I am sure, say that any of those old-time political slogans have much bearing on our present situation. Those old slogans about economic appeasement, "our status as a nation," the election slogan of "national unity," and the promise of "no conscription," recruiting for "home defence only," the "pay-as-you-go policy"-all these have indeed been convenient mile-posts on a road which, however convenient in times of peace, is of no more use to-day than last week's dream.

This is not a war between two countries. It is not a war even between two great parts of the world. It is a war between two ways of life, a war between freedom and slavery. Many countries which had much greater military preparations than Canada has ever had, and which were much more strongly determined to hew to a line of home defence only, have one after another fallen before that gigantic dictatorial force which has swept fourteen or fifteen countries to ruin and defeat. Let us not fool ourselves, and much less our gallant soldiers by conscripting them to fight for our common defence in Canada when the freedom and the very life of our' people depend upon the battles that are being fought by the British forces overseas. We are a nation within the empire. We do not stand if that empire falls, and our first concern must be to fight the battle over there, even if our last effort should eventually be home defence here.

May I suggest that a more vigorous policy for Canada of total war for victory rather than the more popular plan of home defence for Canada would do much to encourage our great friends and neighbours, the United States of America, to enter this war whole-heartedly. The only sure home defence of this British dominion is a British victory and our continued protection by the British navy. Indeed, that is, I believe, the only permanent defence upon which our great neighbour to the south depends. I say, therefore, that Canada's front line of home defence and her front line for victory are one and the same, and that line to-day is in the English channel and in the Mediterranean sea, as has been well said already by many hon. members. If by any chance the battle that is being fought over there were lost-and by the way we are proud indeed that we have noble volunteers in that battle-Canada's next line of defence would lie within the protection of the United States of America. Even our great friend, the United States of America,

is rapidly beginning to realize that her only sure hope rests in an all-out victory 'by the British forces.

May I now be permitted to refer to one or two editorials by an important United States writer. They have appeared in the Chicago Daily News. The Chicago Daily News is a notable paper in the United States and its service is taken by some twenty-five or thirty papers in the United States and by many papers in Canada. Last May, in an editorial headed " The Hour of Decision," it says:

If these vital interests can best be served by aloofness from any participation in the crucial struggle now in progress in Europe, then we should remain aloof and inactive.

If, however, our vital interests are involved and we will be critically and perhaps disastrously affected by a defeat of the allies, and a victory for Germany, then indifference to the outcome and pursuit of a policy of rigid isolation not only is cowardly and despicable, but is as well a betrayal of our vital interests.

Then again:

Here is a life and death struggle for every principle we cherish in America for freedom of speech, of religion, of the ballot and of every freedom that upholds the dignity of the human spirit.

Here all the rights that the common man has fought for during a thousand years are menaced.

The time has come when we must throw into the scales the entire moral and economic weight of the United States on the side of the free peoples of western Europe who are fighting the battle for a civilized way of life.

In another editorial published in the same month of May, and headed " Time to Face the Truth," the Daily News says:

We are already lending aid to the allies: Why?

Because our own national interests demand it, because it is against our vital interests to have Germany emerge from this war with complete domination of both land and sea in the eastern hemisphere.

But this is not all. The conquest of Britain by Gei'many -would destroy the British empire. That empire would disintegrate. Canada is a part of it. Lacking the protection of the British fleet, Canada would be unable to maintain its independence. Would we permit it to become a colony of the German empire? We would not. As an act of self-preservation we would forthwith go to the assistance of our northern neighbour, and forcibly prevent German aggression directed at Canada.

To show that the great majority of the people of the United States feel that they are dependent, as I have said, on the British navy almost as much as Canada is, I quote from another article by a writer who knows the foreign situation very well indeed. Writing in September on the warship deal, he said:

The chief defence of the United States, our real ability to make and keep the Monroe

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doctrine effective has, since 1823, depended upon Anglo-American domination of the Atlantic.

In the absence of a fleet immensely more powerful than ours is now, hemispheric defence, many experts believe, would have proved difficult.

Britain's contribution to America's sea defence was, until we finally built a great fleet, far more important than ours. It consisted and still consists primarily in keeping any other European fleet from entering the Atlantic ocean in force. This is the importance to us of preventing Britain from going under and, what is equally important, of seeing that the British fleet is in a position to control not only the North sea and the channel, but Gibraltar and the west African route as well.

Germany has now taken possession of the low countries, temporarily at least. But friendship with the United States has remained and is apparent in the present exchange of bases for destroyers which may ultimately save Great Britain and, thereby, conceivably the United States as well.

On November 18, he also wrote in an editorial which is of interest in other respects:

Under the terms of our joint defence agreement with Canada, we have an equally clear right to make our southern fields available to the regular Canadian training plan.

The Canadians may wish later to send some of these pilots overseas to fight for Britain. Thus, indirectly, we would be aiding Britain by training Canadians here. But of course we are already committed to a policy of aiding Britain, and that policy rests wholly on the assumption that by aiding Britain we contribute to our own defence and the defence of the hemisphere.

I wish to compliment the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the government upon having secured a joint defence agreement with the United States, because I realize fully, and I hope the country realizes, that if the need for the home defence of this country arises, we can have no hope except in a joint defence by the United States and Canada. We have heard almost daily from an anxious press and from a large department of governmental publicity that old hackneyed slogan of recent months, "Let Us Face the Facts." I believe, Mr. Speaker, that we must face the facts and tell our people that if the battle of Britain is lost in the eastern hemisphere, the only dismal hope that is left to us of security is in a joint defence of the western hemisphere by Canada and the United States.

Our purpose should be, not to place so much emphasis on home defence but rather to follow the leadership of that great British statesman, the Right Hon. Winston Churchill- "on with the war to victory." I am confident that we can achieve victory, but we can do so only by standing together and looking at our problems realistically. Instead of conscripting a vast army for the defence of Canada, in order

to fight only in Canada, when the war is being waged somewhere else, we should rally behind the British in prosecuting the war on the battlefield. I say that in all fairness to the government, and I believe the Canadian people will endorse that view. It is more important to conscript men, if one should wish to use that term, to work in our factories in order to provide the war equipment and munitions essential for the successful prosecution of the war overseas than it is to conscript men on the assurance that they will not have to leave the shores of Canada, that they will merely have to fight in a country where there is no fighting; for we must remember that, as has been said, Canada is a peaceful country; and when the battle comes to Canada the victory is lost. If we want to win the war, if we want victory, then we must not put the emphasis on home defence in the sense of having armed forces over here.

We are thankful for all those noble men who have volunteered to serve their country without any regard whatsoever to government policy. These men have been only partly equipped by Canada. The war has been going on now for fifteen months and we have only

50,000 men overseas. Canada wrote a glorious page in the history of empire progress in the years from 1914 to 1918. The Royal Canadian Air Force, composed of the best air men in the world, is writing as glorious a page in our history to-day. I hope that when the war is over, we shall not be charged with having prepared an army for the purpose of fighting where there is no fighting while we have neglected to support those who are bearing the burden of the struggle. There are other factors of vital concern if we are to achieve victory. The sudden and spectacular deviation this afternoon from ordinary procedure is. further evidence of these other vitally important issues; for we see the necessity of maintaining our basic industry, the business and commerce of the nation, and all that contributes to the prosecution of this terrific war..

We are told in history-I do not know what gold standard they had in those days-that war in Caesar's time cost seventy-five cents a head. In Napoleon's time the cost was $375 a head. As nearly as we can estimate, it was $20,000 in the last war, and it is estimated by some leading economists to-day-I have heard many of them talk in this house- that the per capita cost in this war will be $50,000. That being so, surely we can face an additional cost which the government estimates at something like $1,500,000,000 a year. The old policy of pay as you go, which we heard so much about a year ago, and which sounded so politically popular at the time, is of little

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use to-day. Indeed, it sounds as foolish now as if a man whose house was burning down refused^ to turn the water hose on the fire until he had paid his water rate. We realize that there are enormous obligations on the government, and these obligations will become still greater. In meeting them it is at -times as dangerous to pay as you go and to collect taxes for the purpose as it is to mortgage the future. There is a limit beyond which the government cannot go without completely strangling industry and destroying the initiative which makes for industrial expansion.

Another very important phase of our war policy, has, in my opinion, been to some extent neglected. I refer to the present position of agriculture. The other day we listened to the speech delivered by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). We expected him to bring down some information that would be of use to us. He told us a good deal about his trip overseas and it sounded as if, while he was over there, he had found an old Liberal campaign handbook. He told us that the farmers will be expected next year to produce more for less. He told us that there was an agreement, which he has not yet presented to the house although he has been asked for it on many occasions, which would enable us to sell over $100,000,000 worth of agricultural products.

I agree with my hon. friend, my colleague and desk mate (Mr. Bruce), in what he said the other day, namely, that we should not bargain too much with the old land at this time when she seeks credit from foreign countries. Our government should ask the people of the mother country how much she requires-not how many hundred million dollars worth, but how many pounds of foodstuffs-and how much they can pay for those foodstuffs. If they cannot pay more than eighty cents on the dollar, then let us give them those foodstuffs at that lower price and pay the farmer the difference. We are giving them little that they are not paying for now.

I suggest that this government would be well advised to add to the $1,500,000,000 a year war programme a little more in order to carry on the war properly. We are not encountering the obligations which the old country has to face; we are not enduring the bombing that the people over there have to put up with; we are not separated from our children as they are; we are not paying the taxes that they are paying.

We have wide-open spaces, idle farms that can be made productive; and there is no more loyal class of people in Canada than our farmers, who have struggled through adversity in the years that have gone. Many of these people are from the mother country; others

have come from other lands, but they have been assimilated and have come to respect our British traditions. They are proud of the freedom that they now enjoy under the British flag. Well, this freedom must be paid for now; it must be safeguarded; and I submit that if the government is to carry out its full duty in this war, it should make possible the disposal of foodstuffs to the mother country at reasonable prices.

But the government have a responsibility to the great basic industry from which that supply must come, and if they understand the public, as I know that many of them do, they must realize tha-t during the last ten years Canadian farmers have gone through very difficult times. Canadian agriculture might well be called the "loss leader" of Canadian prosperity. -Our farmers have produced at cost-and, if they had the capital, they would produce at less than cost-until thousands of farms have slipped away from underneath their feet.

I know what our rural people have endured and are now enduring-great hardships and losses-and I can tell the government that they have been greatly disappointed. Last year they were assured that they would receive certain prices for their products. Several boards were established to safeguard the production of vital foodstuffs for the war requirements of Britain. Some of the boards set up were: the agricultural supplies board, the fertilizer supply committee, the fruit and vegetable committee, the dairy products board and, last but not least, the bacon board. I have no doubt that prominent and capable men were named on these different boards.

The farmer was given to understand, through the bacon board, that he could figure on around nine cents a pound live weight for his hogs. But what happened? The Minister of Agriculture the other day said that the farmers were quite capable of marketing their own products successfully. Yet we find that on these various boards-there are twenty-five or thirty men on them-there is not a single farmer or producer representing our great basic industry. Is it any wonder the farmer now says, with a great deal of justification, that he is the forgotten man in this new type of Canadian politics? I do not wish to suggest that a sop was not thrown out to him. He was told, "We will name a couple of you on the advisory board." But what did that really mean? That board has no authority but sits merely as an advisory board to advise other boards that have the authority.

I would point out that there are many other processors, such as the meat packing interests

The Address-Mr. Rowe

of Canada, who are named on these boards, and rightly so. The meat packers of Canada should have representation on the board. The canning factories should have representation. But the meat producers of this country have an equal right to be represented on that board with the meat processors.

I want to leave a few suggestions with the Prime Minister, who has extended to me the courtesy of bearing with me for these few minutes. There should be a full-time minister of agriculture. That does not come as an original suggestion from me; it has been put forward by several other hon. members. I say that with all respect for the ability of the present Minister of Agriculture; it is a full-time job. If agriculture is a basic industry of this dominion; if our war effort depends as much on the foodstuffs as on the munitions and war equipment we produce, as we were told by the Minister of National War Services the other day, then the agricultural industry is entitled to the attention of a full-time minister, no matter how capable the present holder of that office may be.

It has also been suggested, and I agree with the suggestion, that the government should give serious consideration to changing the control of the marketing of agricultural products from the Department of Trade and Commerce to the Department of Agriculture. The other day the Minister of Agriculture said that this would not be as good as the dual control which they have at present, but that statement seemed strange, especially in view of the fact that he as Minister of Agriculture had just returned from overseas where he had been trying to market our farm products. It certainly is not in keeping with the evidence and recommendations of the Shaw report of two or three years ago when a group of men were sent to the old country for the express purpose of finding out how this dual control worked. On their return they reported to the government by the Shaw report that they were not in favour of dual control. We have seen many clumsy examples of this dual control, and I am not sure that those inside the government have not seen more than clumsy handling of the department, because I do not believe that at all times it runs as smoothly as may appear on the surface.

I realize that the minister has already told this house that he has secured an agreement for some 112 million pounds of cheese required overseas. I do not intend now to take much time in discussing what might be done in that regard. I have strong convictions as to many things that could be done to help cheese production in this country and the H873-37

consumption of it elsewhere. I find that the price for this increased amount is going to be something like two-fifths of a cent higher than it was last year. It is going to be 14-4 cents a pound. If there is an hon. member in this house who has had anything to do with dairying, I would ask him, does he not think the government might give careful consideration to the small encouragement that this offers the farmer in producing milk at $1 per hundred pounds-and less, as it represents.

In view of the fact that Canadian farmers received less last year than they were assured for their bacon; that they have been told they are going to receive less this year than last, and that although they are engaged in the only basic industry in Canada that is important to our war effort, that has been asked to produce more for less and pay 13 per cent more for the products they require for the operation of their farms, the government should give careful consideration to the measures for making the farmer prosperous.

May I clarify my position, if it needs clarification. I am not appealing for war profits for the farmer, but I am appealing on behalf of our empire war effort and the war services that the farmer is ready to give, but cannot continue to give indefinitely by producing at less than cost of production. Therefore it is essential to the security that we owe to Britain, essential for the foodstuffs that may be required sooner than we expect, even though we 'have a few surpluses, to place agriculture in a position where it will have some incentive to produce to capacity. Consequently I suggest that the government, whether it be by way of a subsidy or a bonus -call it what you will-a war subsidy, a war bonus or war assistance, give assurance to the farmers that they will not be asked to produce essential war commodities, the foodstuffs that are vital to our own life, the life of Britain and, indeed, to the life of Europe later on, at less than cost of production, but that they should be on a basis with the munitions manufacturers, on a cost-plus basis rather than a cost-minus basis.

It is unsatisfactory for the farmers in my riding and elsewhere when they know that under our present plan for victory amateur carpenters, some of whom can hardly drive a nail straight, have been getting ninety cents an hour with double pay for overtime, while the farmer is told that if butter goes any higher the price will be fixed. I think it was only the other day the Prime Minister himself assured labour that any concessions they give now will not be forgotten, that they will not lose anything by their contribution to the war effort. With that I heartily agree; the

The Address-Mr. Rowe

labouring man is entitled to his hire; it is essential for him to be satisfied and that we shall not have strikes but have a real effort on the part of labour to achieve maximum production.

I submit in all sincerity that it is equally essential that the great basic industry of Canada be given some assurance of economic security, not for the sake of the profits the farmer may make but in order that he may give still greater service to the empire and further justify his place in the economic life of this country. That is essential also to the future prosperity of this dominion, because one cannot realize that we have in Canada over 750,000 farmers without realizing also that increased purchasing power in the hands of the farmers generally would go a long way toward solving the very problem with which the government is confronted to-day. Without that purchasing power I do not see that there would be much hope for prosperity even if we did not have a war.

I know there are those who will say that this is a drastic proposal, but we have paid peace-time subsidies on many products. We have fixed the price of wheat; I think it is fixed too low, but I am not going to state the figure that I think should be set. I would ask the government, however, at least to give serious consideration to putting agriculture on a war basis, though not for the benefit of war-time prices. If they think the price is going too high let their boards function in order to keep it at a reasonable level. I know something about agriculture; at least for a long time I have been trying to learn something about it, and I submit that under present conditions we are in grave danger of a curtailment in the production of pork, cheese and other vital commodities. Unless some action is taken or unless these prices rise without governmental action, we may find ourselves unable to furnish the quantities that the Minister of, Agriculture has assured Britain.

I hope I have not laboured this point too greatly or delayed the house too long while dealing with it. I had not intended to speak at this length, but I should like to tell the government once more that in my opinion we have placed too much emphasis on home defence and to no small extent have let that idea becloud our real war effort. I believe we must develop, not only in the minds of those who may be conscripted but also in the minds of those who stay behind, the mothers and close relatives, that a man may be just as useful in a factory, producing essential supplies for the carrying on of the war overseas, as he may be while waiting for a war that we pray to God may never come here.

In conclusion, if the government can place agriculture on a firmer war basis and give the farmers greater security than they have at the present time; if we stand together with one common purpose in mind keeping victory first and home defence second, then I am confident that we shall win over there a victory that will make unnecessary Canada's home defences over here.

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LIB

Joseph Miville Dechene

Liberal

Mr. J. M. DECHENE (Athabaska):

It is with a good deal of diffidence, Mr. Speaker, that I rise to speak at this stage of this debate, which has been going on for quite some time. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity that is given me at this time to be, for a few moments, the voice of a part of Alberta which for the first time in many years is represented in this assembly by a Liberal supporter. In listening to the young members who moved and seconded the address this year, as I listened to those who moved and seconded the address last session, I was struck with the ability displayed by the young men who have joined the Liberal forces. It occurred to me that it must be very gratifying to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), who for so many years has led the Liberal party in this country, to see attracted to the party young men of this type, who can present their ideas to this house and to the country in such impeccable language and with such force and conviction. It must be consoling, not only for him but for the people of Canada as well, to see these young men active in the ranks of the Liberal party, which as a result will remain a living force in the affairs of Canada not only during this war but also after the war is over.

As the lone representative of the French-Canadian race from Alberta may I be permitted at this point to address a few words to my compatriots who form such an important part of the representation in this assembly.

(Translation): Mr. Speaker, allow me, on

behalf of my compatriots of the province of Alberta, to bring a message to imy colleagues, so numerous and influential, who represent the mother province, the ancient province of Quebec, and the other eastern provinces. While we love the -province of Alberta as a well-bom man loves his wife, we love the province of Quebec as a well-bom man loves 'his mother. I bring you this message from my compatriots who inhabit an immense area where, in the parishes as in the villages, although the French Canadians are in a minority, the language of

The Address-Mr. Dechene

their fathers has been religiously preserved and remains in high honour. I thank the hon. members of this house for the generous reception they have accorded to a representative of a part of the Canadian land where our French-Canadian compatriots can use their mother tongue and continue magnificently to defend their rights and preserve the language which has come down to them from their forefathers. I trust that the Frendh-Canadian members from eastern Canada will, when the occasion arises, use the influence which I have just referred to for the benefit of their compatriots from Alberta.

(Text) May I be permitted to say a few words respecting the constituency which has honoured me with membership in this chamber? My constituency runs west from the boundary of Saskatchewan, where it adjoins the one represented by the lady member (Mrs, Nielsen). It follows the Saskatchewan river between the fourth and fifth meridians, and extends to the extreme north of Alberta to a point near Fort Smith, the capital of the Northwest Territories.

Listening the other day to the observations of the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Claxton) in moving the address in reply, I was reminded that in my constituency even to an extent greater than in his we have a cross-section of the population of Canada. That population was well and ably described the other day by the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. Thorson). In Atha-baska we have peoples from almost every nation in the world who carry on peacefully in that vast country. Some are engaged in farming, some in ranching, some in mixed farming, some in trading and trapping, some in lumbering, some in fishing-all producing a great share of wealth to help this nation while engaged in her war effort. In addition, a large percentage of the young men in that constituency have enlisted in the forces of Canada to fight overseas.

I am not one who believes that democracy will die. I was not pleased to hear the leader of a party in this chamber repeat the unfortunate words allegedly stated by a man living across the border line.

In this session, and particularly during the last session, we have been shown that the people throughout the commonwealth are engaged in a fight described by all as a fight for liberty and freedom. We are fighting not only for freedom of religion and thought, but for freedom by representation in parliament, as exemplified in this chamber. During the progress of the war the Canadian people gave their clear and emphatic decision 14873-371

as to leadership. I have been astounded, however, to note that no sooner had the votes been counted than a number of those who claimed to be the greatest patriots and the greatest defenders of democracy in Canada proceeded to attempt to interfere with the will of the people. There was an attempt to deny the people their right. After they had chosen their Prime Minister and a government formed by him, an attempt was made by some hon. members and through the press-and there is still talk of the kind- to have another man and another government lead the country in its time of war.

I have said that the votes were hardly counted when that happened. The reason given for advocating a change in government a few weeks or months after the election was that the situation overseas had changed greatly since the time of the election. I remember well the words of the Prime Minister at the time of dissolution in January. It was because he felt that the situation overseas would change vastly, because he was convinced there would be a great offensive by the axis powers on the western front, as he declared openly on the radio and through the press, and because he believed a tremendous offensive would be lodged against Great Britain and France, that he considered it expedient to dissolve parliament so that a new government might be formed, and thereby preclude on the eve of an election the possibility of this house engaging in a debate which might become acrimonious. He believed the people of Canada should be called upon to choose a government. The issue was so clear that I found it surprising that any question arose either in or out of the house as to who should lead the government and the country during this time of crisis.

I have made some brief observations respecting Athabaska; permit me another one. In that constituency we have a large number of farmers and, like the hon. member who has immediately preceded me, because of the farm population in my constituency I have a keen interest in what happens to the farmer at this stage of the war and in view of world markets. I could wish only that my voice might be strong enough and have enough authority to reach many more hearers, not in western but in eastern Canada.

I resent keenly the libelling of the province in which I live and in which for almost fifty years I have made my home. I resent the libelling of conditions in western Canada, as preached in this chamber. I know there has been misery and poverty in some places. We

The Address-Mr. Dechene

must realize that western Canada, compared with the east, is a country of extreme weather conditions. While crops in the eastern part of this country may vary from year to year, the fact remains that in the western part we are exposed to drought affecting not only one part of a province but, indeed, affecting vast territories, as happened in 1937.

When I speak of 1937, despite what has been said by hon. members across the floor of the house, may I say that we in Alberta, and particularly the people in Saskatchewan, are thankful for the rescue of the vast numbers of farmers-nearly 66 per cent of the population of Saskatchewan-through the extremely precious help extended by the government and the Canadian people generally.

It is in that spirit that I approach the matter of farm prices. In the time at my disposal I would find it impossible to discuss in full the production of bacon, butter, wheat, live stock and other commodities of western Canada. The subject would be too great, complicated and diversified to be treated amply in a few minutes. As an hon. member from Alberta, however, I appeal to the goodwill and good feeling of hon. members and other persons from other parts of Canada in effecting a settlement of western problems.

May I repeat what I have said on other occasions, namely, that western Canada is not a land of IOU's; it is not a land of paupers; although it may have been for some time past, it is not a land of men who refuse to meet their just debts. It is a land of men and women of honour and integrity. May I point out to eastern Canada that under anything like normal conditions the farmer of the west is just as honourable, and just as anxious and desirous to meet his obligations as the farmer or any other person of any part of this dominion.

While there have been extreme weather conditions, and while a bad situation has arisen in some parts of western Canada, a situation which was made worse by the depression, I do know that a large number of farmers are doing well in the west. Many farmers in Athabaska resent being represented, through the observations of some hon. members, as men unable to earn a living, and as men living in a country in which it is impossible to provide the necessities of life. We have heard this sort of thing for twenty years, since 1921. We are on that account sometimes met with considerable antagonism and animosity in the eastern provinces.

Every fair-minded man in western Canada knows there is a difficult wheat situation to face again. The 1940 crop proved difficult,

and the 1941 crop will be difficult unless the east and the west get together in an effort to solve this problem. WTe know we can offer value. Only a few hours ago I was reading an article which brought tears to my eyes. It described conditions obtaining in some of the countries of Europe. Millions are being faced with starvation. In Denmark, Norway and the low countries they will have to kill off their live stock because they cannot import the feed necessary to keep them alive and bring them to market. Starvation will be stalking through the streets and lanes of France. In only a few minutes we shall be going to hotels and restaurants, and I ask hon. members to remind themselves that it is not fair for us to speak as we have been doing. Hon. members talk of the misery we are in, but we do not know what true misery is.

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Norman Jaques

Social Credit

Mr. JAQUES:

No reason why we should.

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Joseph Miville Dechene

Liberal

Mr. DECHENE:

May I say to my hon. friend that I know more about the situation in Canada than he does. The problem of financing the next crop, should it prove bountiful, cannot be solved by displaying the sort of spirit displayed by the hon. member. This problem should be considered in a national way. This is the thought I want to bring from the vast country of Athabaska. The federal and provincial departments of agriculture will have to get together on this matter. Complete information should be furnished to the farmers of the west. If I am correctly informed, there is no wheat problem in eastern Canada because last year's crop has all been sold. Our farmers should be told of the advisability of and the necessity for leaving greater acreage under fallow. This should be done in order to clean the land. A great deal of western land needs cleaning because it has been badly infected with weeds, and next year would foe a good time to undertake this work. A greater acreage should be planted with hay in order to clean it up and bring back the fertility which has been lost.

I do not think I am divulging any secret when I say that bacon is not considered a necessity by the British government. Great Britain can secure her requirements from other countries at lower cost, and we should be thankful that Britain has consented to renew the bacon agreement and to take a larger amount of bacon although at a somewhat lower price. It may be that this agreement was entered into as partial repayment of some of the sacrifices Canada has made. I was glad to hear the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. DECEMBER 2, 1940

The Address-Mr. Dechene

Gardiner) say-I remind him that we will expect him to live up to this-that better methods of handling and improved marketing will ensure the producers almost the same price for bacon as they secured last year.

I hope I am not taking up too much time in referring to my own riding of Athabaska, but it has been badly neglected in years past. First, I should like to refer to the tremendous undeveloped water power in that riding. There is the Peace river which flows in from the Rocky mountains, there is the Athabaska, there is the Clearwater. The potential water power of those rivers has never been fully estimated by engineers. At present those waterpower sites are too far away. There is a great need for the development of the natural resources of western Canada. The financiers of eastern Canada will not invest their money in the west unless we meet our just obligations. The investment of capital has stopped and our resources are lying dormant.

I should like to give hon. members some idea of the amount of tar sands which are to be found in the vicinity of Fort McMurray. There are billions of tons of these sands, and one of the finest sights one could see is to travel down this river in a boat on a sunny day and see the tar sands on the banks throw back the reflection of the sunshine. Some of these banks are 300 feet high and they extend for miles. Millions and millions of barrels of gasoline, lubricating oils and other by-products could be produced from these sands, and they would provide sufficient paving material to pave the streets of every city in Canada.

The main problem is that of transportation. Within three miles of Fort McMurray there is a modern salt factory, and in spite of the higher freight rates which have to be paid, this industry has been able to compete for the markets of Alberta and part of Saskatchewan. It turns out one of the best table products which can be found in that part of the country, but relief is needed in the form of reduced freight rates between Edmonton and Port McMurray. On a shorter haul by ten miles we pay a forty per cent higher rate. This goes a long way towards retarding the development of our tar sands and other natural resources. I might say, Mr. Speaker, that a small refinery is already in operation testing the tar sands, and their development has been proved feasible. If the transportation problem were settled, we would be producing vast new wealth in northern Alberta.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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Joseph Miville Dechene

Liberal

Mr. DECHENE:

I regret very much that I was unable to conclude before six o'clock and must therefore inflict myself upon this august audience for a few minutes more. I will, however, try to be as brief as possible.

I wish to make one more reference to the extremely important subject of wheat. I agree with the hon. member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Leader) that, in order to enable our farmers to carry on with a smaller acreage, after the campaign which I attempted to describe briefly before the recess, a higher payment for a limited acreage might prove a solution. I have every confidence in the officials of the departments concerned, both agriculture and trade and commerce, and I refuse to get excited by anything that our friends across the way may say. They appear to know more about this subject than those who have been at it for years.

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John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

The hon. member

will know a little more after a while.

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Joseph Miville Dechene

Liberal

Mr. DECHENE:

The hon. gentleman will never learn, it seems. Take, for example, the system of financing which he advocates- and I did not wish to speak about this. Apparently he does not know that any system of financing, no matter whether it be private or public, ultimately rests absolutely upon the integrity of the individual or of those bodies comprising the government.

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John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

What makes the hon. member think that?

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Joseph Miville Dechene

Liberal

Mr. DECHENE:

Any party which repudiates, in its first act of political power, its sacred obligations without attempting to make any kind of arrangement to meet them, is unable to understand this question and should not be entrusted with the settlement of any financial question.

This afternoon we heard the Prime Minister in another of his comprehensive statements on the war situation. May I be allowed to say a few words with reference to our views-I say "our" as representing the people who sent me here. It was with the deepest of emotions that, a few days ago, we heard Mr. Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain, speaking to the people of France; and a few days later, in quite as eloquent an address from this side of the Atlantic, another able man addressed the French people. He is a representative of those who for over three centuries-since

The Address-Mr. Dechene

1632-have played their part in the development of this country. It was at that time that my ancestors came to Canada, and I think I have some right to say that it was with feelings of pride that I heard this able voice from our side of the Atlantic. Many of us believe that it had a great influence on the decision of the Vichy government.

Some of our sons have already made the supreme sacrifice; already many of them lie at the bottom of the ocean. They have shown what this young and virile nation can accomplish on the sea; for now we have a navy. The other day, walking down the street here, I stopped to see a company of soldiers pass by. What splendid men they were! They came from the farms, from the factories, from industry, from every part of the country, free men who had voluntarily enlisted because they wanted to defend something they held dearer than life. I was never so proud of being a Canadian. I realized then that we were out to do our share, that while the British lion was roaring its defiance on the cliffs of Dover, the cub, almost fully grown, was standing by his side.

We may disagree with regard to the work of this government, although I have not heard one real criticism of the way in which it has conducted the war, but when I return home after the house adjourns for the long recess, I shall be prouder than ever of the support I have given to the King government. I am returning home, too, with the thought that now Alberta has an important representation in the Liberal party. After the last election the strength of the Liberal party in that province was greater than that of any other. After all, Liberalism stands for unity and understanding and now there will be no more of fighting between east and west. I must admit, however, that the fault was our own.

I have known the province of Alberta for a long time; I knew it as a boy. What a lovely country, what a marvellous country to a young fellow! The opportunities seemed to appeal to youth, from its plains and forests, its rivers and mountains. Everything in that vast and rich country appealed to a young man. On one occasion an orator expressed this fancy, that when the beneficent Creator had made the universe, after throwing into space stars and planets and suns, and when He decided on the seventh day to rest, casting a look over His work, with which He declared Himself satisfied, He must at that moment have noticed particularly Alberta with its fecundity of soil, its mountains, its vast lakes, its coal mines, that almost limitless province which now

appeals to the whole nation for a better understanding. We know that we cannot carry on as Albertans; we do not want to, we want to carry on as Canadians.

A few weeks before the grand old chieftain of the Liberal party, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, passed to his reward, a group of ten or twelve young men from Alberta visited him. They were students from the university of Alberta and some of our higher schools of education in the west, young men of different languages and different descent representing the typical soul of that province. They came to Ottawa, and before going home they called on that grand old leader of Liberalism just a few days before his death. One of these young men recounted to me his interview with that great man who said to him that day, "I stand speaking to you with a foot already in the tomb." My belief-and I do not fear to express it here; it may sound foolish to some but it does not to me because I believe in something beyond the material things of life-is that when a man has served his people as Sir Wilfrid Laurier and other leaders have served them-I suppose Sir John A. Macdonald had that vision-and has devoted his life, his talents, his soul and the best that is in him to the service of his fellow men, he comes nearer to God. That is democracy, as opposed to any kind of autocracy, whether of a man or of a group.

Such men seem to get a vision of things to come. This young man told me-and he repeated it to me recently-that Laurier foretold exactly what is happening now. He said, "Young men, I am so pleased to see you, to see that you have the training given by our best schools and universities, typically, truly Canadian; that you have been taught the principle that the life that is worth while is founded on sacrifice more than anything else since the great sacrifice." He said, "Before you are of mature age, long before you are as old as I am, you will have lived through such terrible happenings as no one could ever describe. The struggle will be stupendous and terrific." That was more than twenty years ago. He said, "Arm yourselves with this thought, to prepare yourselves for this struggle which will be one for the salvation of humankind."

As we have been told so often, it is a struggle for liberty and freedom. More than that, as the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) said at Toronto, I think, during the adjournment of parliament, it is a struggle for the very soul of things that belong to the inner life of man. The great chief said to these boys, "You are going to see these things; I am too old. I have tried to lead my people, like Moses, at least as

The Address-Mr. O'Neill

far as Mount Nebo where I may see the promised land." Let me express the hope that more than this will be granted to our present leader. Sir Wilfrid said, "Young men, things may look very bad, but do not get discouraged; carry on. Take my word, as a man near the last step; justice and right shall triumph in the end."

Yes, Mr. Speaker, these prophetic words are true to-day; justice and right shall triumph in the end. May I express one wish before I take my seat; I wish that the present leader of the Liberal party, who also has given his life, not to his party but to his country, may not only see the promised land-and not from afar, not in a vision from a mountain top- but after a victory for freedom and democracy may lead his people into the promised land and to better days.

Mr. T. J. O'NEILL (Kamloops): The

mover and the seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne have received well merited praise; may I, however, add my congratulations upon their able speeches?

This debate has been carried on now for about three weeks, and we have listened to some excellent speeches from all sections of the house representing all shades of political opinion, to most of which addresses I listened with interest if not at all times with approval. I feel safe in saying that last fall when we received the news that parliament was to be reconvened on November 5 for the express purpose of formal prorogation and that the next session would be held some time in January, the majority of hon. members in western Canada received that news with approval. Later we were told that this programme had to be abandoned; that we would be convened on November 5 and should come prepared to stay; that the opposition were to ask certain questions and for information for which the vast majority of the public were supposed to be clamouring and that at the same time the government would take the opportunity to give an account of their stewardship.

Well, Mr. Speaker, the vast majority of the people of Canada at the time of the election were quite satisfied with the Mackenzie King administration, and I am of opinion that they have not changed their mind since then; they are still clearly of opinion that the Mackenzie King government could not be improved on very much at the present time, at least from those now seated in this house.

We have heard from some quarters quite a clamour for a national government and a good deal about leadership and about this

being a Liberal war. Such statements and accusations emanating from this house do not help to unite the people of this country. As far as national government is concerned I cannot agree that this is not a national government. With respect to leadership, Canada is very fortunate at the present time, and so is the Liberal party, in having such a leader as the present Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). There is no parallel to such leadership as his in the British commonwealth of nations to-day. No man has held the leadership of his party longer than our Prime Minister has in Canada. And I can assure hon. members that at times it is a difficult job to hold the leadership of that party.

The other night the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank) made an excellent address to which I listened with keen attention. But he made one remark with which I cannot agree. He said that this house should sit almost constantly while the country is at war. I do not agree with that view so long as the government follow the present policy of depending for advice upon a number of high salaried executives recruited from the ranks of industry. In many instances these industrial leaders are not sympathetic to Liberal policies, and some of them are unfriendly and unsympathetic toward the labour class. England has found it a great advantage to take labour men into the cabinet, even though they held different political views, because they understood the viewpoint of the labouring classes, and it helped to give confidence to the labour people if they thought they were well represented in the government. I think it is high -time the government of Canada gave more consideration to the views of labour and the farmers.

At this point I should like to congratulate the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) upon the restrictions he is imposing on luxuries and non-essentials of war. Much has been said about equality of service and of sacrifice. The restrictions introduced to-day probably will bring about some of that equality of sacrifice, but I believe we are using the wrong yardstick when we measure that equality. I maintain that equality of sacrifice must not and cannot be measured by the amount of money you take away from a man by means of taxation. It should be measured by how much you have left him when you are through taxing him. That is the yardstick you must use if you are going to have equality.

This brings me to suggest once more to the government the advisability of relieving low paid workers from payment of the national defence tax. I refer particularly to those people who are receiving less than $750 and $1,500 annually, for single and married people

The Address-Mr. O'Neill

respectively. An increasing number of people are asking, who are the financial advisers of the government? Many people consider that salaries far too high are being paid for the belt-tightening advice these financial experts give, especially to people who have had to tighten their belts to the last notch during the past ten years. I have in mind now the farmers and the unemployed. Many reasons have been advanced for the lack of interest and enthusiasm in the last war loan, but it seems to me that very few of those who have dealt with that question have even touched on the real reason why the last loan was not received as enthusiastically as it Should have been. At this time I think the government might well pay heed to the repeated warnings that an overhauling of our monetary system is long overdue.

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John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Hear, hear.

Mr. O'NEILL: My hon. friend in the far corner says, "hear, hear." Well, I am not in agreement with everything that is advocated by my hon. friend, but I know there are many people-and the number is increasing daily- who ask why we should continue to pay tribute to private individuals and companies for the use of something that already belongs to us; I refer to the credit of the country. Unfortunately, when this subject is broached, we are usually ridiculed by shouts of "funny money," or the authorities take refuge behind the bogy of inflation. A few days ago a very good editorial on this subject appeared in the Ottawa Citizen. I hear someone behind me make a remark not quite complimentary to the Citizen, but that newspaper does contain some admirable editorials, although I do not always agree with them. In speaking of "funny money," however, the editorial asked what [DOT]could be funnier in the way of money than digging gold out of the mines of northern Ontario and then taking that gold and burying it in the hills of Kentucky or Virginia for safe keeping. That seems quite ridiculous, and in my opinion some of the things that are done to-day in the name of high finance are just as silly.

Inflation is a word that is heard a great deal these days, and with regard to which there is a great deal of misunderstanding. I care not how well educated or well informed a man may be, before he can carry on an intelligent discussion of the subject of inflation he must first agree on the definition of that word. In my opinion inflation exists when there are in circulation more currency and credit than are necessary to consume the products and services of any country in any given time. We were told also that inflation could not be controlled. To-day any man

who is a traitor to his country is put to death. In my judgment any man who would do anything to sabotage the finances of this country when we are at war should be put to death in the same way as the man who would give away our military secrets.

I now come to the question of government employees receiving less than a fair wage, with which subject the hon. member for Fraser Valley dealt aptly the other night. In my opinion those receiving less than $60 a month are not receiving a fair wage. The government should consider increasing their wages, and should see to it that industry follows its example. Then there would be no unfair wages paid in this country. A few days ago I saw in the press a paragraph reporting that the civil service commission said it would not be good business to increase these low salaries because then they would be out of line with wages paid by private enterprise. I do not know that anyone has ever suggested that wages paid under the civil service commission in the high brackets are in keeping with wages paid by private enterprise. Certainly I am not of that opinion.

My constituency has not benefited in any way since the war broke out. The people in my constituency do not wish to benefit, but they are definitely of opinion that they are not being permitted to contribute to the war effort the share of which they are capable, so long as so many who are willing and anxious to work are still unemployed. In one of the best newspapers in Canada, the Kamloops Sentinel, I noticed this paragraph:

Increase in transients is noted by city police. A considerable increase in the number of transients travelling from the prairies to the coast is noted in the October report of police activities filed in the city council last week by Corporal E. A. Jarvis. . . .

People in the west do not consider they are being permitted to contribute the share of which they are capable, so long as those people are unemployed. I do not consider that there is any case for unemployment at all, so long as there are people in the east working overtime, as they are doing at present. That time ought to be more evenly distributed than it is.

There is one other matter about which the people of Kamloops would like some explanation, in addition to that forthcoming from the Department of National Defence. According to the records, Kamloops has more hours of sunshine and less precipitation than any other place in Canada. It is on the main lines of both transcontinental railways. It has an airport capable of handling everything, except the very largest bombers. The soil

The Address-Mr. O'Neill

condition at Kamloops is such that in no more than two hours after a very heavy rain the ground would be dry enough for troop marching and manoeuvring.

All these points have been explained to the Department of National Defence, but the reasons given for moving the troops from Kamloops to New Westminster are not sufficient. With all due apologies to the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid), let me point out that ever since moving to that city the troops have been more or less ill. They have not been able to train and drill as they should. We are told by the department that the idea in these days is to get the men in the very best physical and military condition in the shortest possible time. If that is so, then I say that the proper place to keep those men is the place where they can drill the greatest number of hours in the outdoors. That place is Kamloops, British Columbia. I say that we are entitled to some further explanation. The explanation I did receive

and I say it is not good enough-was this: "Selection was made on the considered recommendation of responsible officers who gave due regard to the factors which are considered important in the national training scheme."

In my view the department should consider the arguments we put forward as to why training should be kept at Kamloops. Incidentally may I mention that the first battalion of the Rocky Mountain Rangers- by the way, the oldest battalion in Canada- trained at Kamloops for four months and never had to interrupt their schedule for a single day on account of adverse weather conditions. But since they have moved to New Westminster there have been nothing but interruptions. Of course, they moved to New Westminster at the wrong season of the year. Had they been there in June, July, August or September they would have had fine weather. But from September on, it rains eternally at the coast, just as it snows eternally in Ottawa.

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Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

Not this year.

Mr. O'NEILL: Ottawa would be a better place in which to train, because training could be carried on once the snow was removed. But nothing can be done in the rain, except keep the men in the huts-and that is what they have had to do.

In corroboration of that, may I refer to an article from another famous newspaper in my constituency, namely, the Salmon Arm Observer:

Pte. George Boutwell of the R.M.R's was home on sick leave over the week-end. A great many of the boys are suffering from 'flu down at the camp in New Westminster.

I now come to the question of Christmas leave for soldiers. This is a matter which I have taken up before. I have letters on my file going back as far as last April, and addressed to the late Hon. Norman Rogers, then Minister of National Defence, calling his attention to the fact that many men on leave were riding freight trains, and asking that something be done. At that time I suggested that these soldiers should be given tickets which would not be transferable and would be good only for men in uniform.

I bring this matter up to-night because I have before me a petition signed by 1,700 citizens of Kamloops, asking that this should be done. Most of the men in camp at New Westminster have come from the interior of British Columbia. Some people will argue that having reduced the fare by half we have already done enough for the soldiers. Well, they cannot come home on a half fare any more than they could if the fare were doubled. They receive $1.30 a day or $39 a month. Most of them send $20 or $25 a month home. The result is that after they buy their tobacco, shaving soap and other necessities they have very little left. They have no money to pay railway fares, no matter how small those fares may be.

When we speak about fares for soldiers we have always been confronted with the excuse that the cost would be too great. Well, for ten years prior to the outbreak of this war, whenever any suggestion was made for social reform we were always met with the same question: Where is the money to come from? Everybody knows that each year we have a heavy railway deficit. May I remind the house that when I make these observations I am not in any way casting any reflection on the railways. Nothing can be said against either the men or the management of either of our Canadian railways. But a good deal can be said about the dead horses for which the Canadian railways are still trying to pay. As a result, each year we are faced with a heavy railway deficit. I maintain that the pajT-ment of fares for soldiers involves only the transferring of an entry from one account to another. It would not entail the outlay of any money. Instead of its being paid by way of fares for soldiers, it would be paid by way of railway deficits.

I maintain, therefore, that the government should give consideration to the question of giving free transportation to soldiers. I quite appreciate that it must give consideration to what military officials may say respecting the number of men who would be permitted to go home. I appreciate, too, that it could not be expected that men now located at

The Address-Mr. O'Neill

Valcartier could in all fairness be permitted to come home. They would have only six days leave, and they would require seven days to make the trip. Therefore there is no use in talking about men going from Valcartier to British Columbia.

But there is no reason in the world for urging that it would cost too much money to send a man from New Westminster to Kamloops, from Calgary to Kamloops, from Kamloops to Calgary, from Winnipeg to Regina, or distances such as those. By no stretch of the imagination can the soldiers be expected to pay those transportation costs, when they make only such a small amount of money.

For many months past hon. members have advocated an increase in payments to those receiving old age pensions. Living costs have increased. I realize that they have not increased to any great extent, and I agree that the government is to be highly complimented upon the fact that it has kept down the cost of living. When we consider the increased cost of living at the time of the last war, we realize what has been done by the government in the present instance. It is to be highly complimented upon the fact that there has been an increase of only 4-6 per cent in the cost of living. But to people receiving S20 a month old age pension, such an increase means that they will have to deprive themselves of some of the necessities of life. Any democratic country, whether at war or not, should be ashamed to have such a condition existing. It might be expected to be found among the people from whom we took this country, but we should not permit it.

I come now to the question of dependents' allowances, and I should like to congratulate the chairman and the members of this board upon the wonderful cooperation they have given to me. I expect that all other hon. members have received the same service in connection with dependents' allowances. I appreciate that when a country changes from peace time to war time and increases its military strength to the extent which we have, it would be an almost insurmountable job for any man or body of men to conduct the necessary investigations in order to have these matters adjusted in the manner we would like. But there are some things which should receive attention.

I have the particulars of one case upon my desk at the present time. The allowance of a widow whose son had enlisted was cut from $20 to $10 because she had an unmarried daughter who was earning $70 a month. I do not see why the government should

attempt to shift its responsibility to the shoulders of an unmarried daughter. Because her work was so far from home it was necessary for this girl to room and board, and she paid $30 for this accommodation. Then she had uniforms to buy, laundry to pay for, carfare and other incidentals to take care of, as well as the dribs and drabs by way of taxation, such as the defence tax and the provincial tax of British Columbia. The result is that this girl has nothing to give to her mother, and very little left for herself. Such reductions should not be made.

In conclusion, I should like to make a few comments with regard to the 30-day training period. To my mind this period is not long enough, although it is better than no training at all. I was glad to note that the Department of National Defence is contemplating increasing the training period to four months. We should look into the future as well as consider the present. There are a number of young men of sixteen and seventeen years of age who are coming out of our schools every year and who, for various reasons, are not intending to continue their education beyond the high school. These young men should have a year in camp, during which time they would receive three months' military training, while the other nine months would be given to vocational training of their own selection. Eventually this war will be over, although that day may be some time away. But we will win because of the determination of our people. When that day comes, there will be a tremendous amount of construction work and trained men are going to be required. Many of these men object to going into military camps, but if they knew they were going to receive vocational training I am sure they would go in willingly, realizing that they would learn something that would be of value to them after the war was over. I think the government should give consideration to some such plan to train our young men.

For the ten years before the war these young men were permitted to drift round the country. Not long ago when it was necessary to build a military camp in British Columbia it was found that carpenters, or even men who could handle a hammer and saw, could not be procured. Yet there were plenty of idle men around. I think these things can be corrected, and they should be corrected. Plans should be made now looking to the future. A country like Canada, richly endowed as it is, should be the last place in the world where a man who wants to work should be out of a job.

The Address-Mr. Furniss,

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LIB

Stephen Joseph Furniss

Liberal

Mr. S. J. FURNISS (Muskoka-Ontario):

Mr. Speaker, at this time in the long debate it is not my intention to indulge in any preliminaries, other than to join heartily in the felicitations which have been so generously extended by the hon. members who have spoken to the mover (Mr. Claxton) and the seconder (Mr. Jutras) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne, as well as to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), and the other ministers of the crown who have spoken in this debate.

May I also say that I am in agreement with the suggestion which has been made so often in this house that free transportation should be provided for our soldiers at Christmas time. I do not think there is any way in which we could better show our appreciation of their services or which would bring more joy to our soldiers and their relatives than by providing them with free transportation to their homes during the Christmas holidays. In connection with transportation there may be difficulties of which we know nothing, but I should like to see the government give every consideration to this suggestion.

Parliament has been called at this time so that the government may lay before members of the house and indirectly the country the record of its war activities since adjournment last August. This has been clearly done by the ministers who are most concerned with war work. It would be expecting the superhuman of any government to have it transform a nation from peacetime work to war-time effort of the present magnitude in so short a time without some possible errors being made. I have no doubt that if the government had to do this work over again, with the knowledge they have gained from experience they would do some things differently. But during all the debate there has not been a single charge of wrongdoing laid against the government. That is a record of which any government might well be proud. It is something which will give the country continued confidence in this government.

Perhaps no other branch of the war service department has done more efficient work than the price control boards According to the last report I saw covering one year of the war, the price of living had gone up only 4-6 per cent, an increase that might well take place in an ordinary year when there was no war incentive to high prices. The work of the price control board has been

conspicuous by the absence of the high prices and profiteering which characterized the last war.

I wonder how many members of the house recollect what happened to the price of sugar in the last war. I am reminded of something that the hon. member for Huron North (Mr. Cardiff) said about sugar in his address to the house a few days ago. At page 474 of Hansard he is reported to have said:

I should like to direct a few questions on this point to the government. I do not know the answers, but I should like to know. Did the sugar interests subscribe to their funds?

If exorbitant profits are an indication of where campaign funds come from, then certainly we know exactly where the Conservative party got their campaign funds in the last war. Let me go back to that time. Sugar is a commodity easily controlled between the manufacturer and the wholesaler. When the last war broke out, the price of sugar began to go up and up, and finally the government pegged the price at S12, or a little over, per hundredweight. Then the government undertook to enforce restrictions on the use of sugar. It was doled out in teaspoonfuls, wrapped up in little packages in our hotels and restaurants, and no housewife could get more than twenty-five cents worth at a time even if she had. to drive five miles to the nearest grocery store to get it. Sugar was made to appear very scarce. It was delievered to the retailers in half-dozen bag lots.

When the price control was taken off, sugar sky-rocketed to $24 and in some places to $28 per hundred retail. I know of one merchant who bought a carload of sugar at the beginning of the war. As the price increased, he bought small quantities to get a mark-up from his invoice and when he had sold his carload he had netted a profit of $4,000 on one car. Yet, all the time this was going on, sugar was being piled up to the roof in every available warehouse in the city of Toronto, waiting for the price to go higher, and in the meantime the consumer was forced to pay the higher prices and to suffer from lack of sugar.

Thanks to the foresight of this government in appointing the price control board shortly after the beginning of the war, that cannot happen and will not happen while this government is in office.

The other day I listened with a good deal of interest to the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker). These are some

14873-3Si

The Address-Mr. Furniss

of the statements he made. I shall quote only a sentence or two. At page 226 of Hansard he is reported to have said:

Then there is a suspicion-

He does not say there is any evidence.

-that contracts are being awarded in some instances to mushroom companies which have sprung up in recent months, and whose main capital is political fitness.

On the same page he said:

I remember some conditions of 1914-18, but I remember that when there was wrongdoing those who did wrong were punished, under the orders of the then Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden.

I have some recollections of the war of 1914-18 and I should like to refresh the hon. gentleman's memory. I wonder whether he has any recollection of the fuse contract which the Minister of Militia of that time-not a spurious company, but the Minister of Militia -got from the government. The matter was investigated and it was disclosed that the minister had not a particle of equipment with which to make fuses. He took the contract down to the United States and got the fuses made there, and to obscure his profits from the Canadian people he banked his money in a United States bank. I have no recollection of that gentleman being punished. On the contrary, I think he was knighted for his services during the war.

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December 2, 1940