April 28, 1941

NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

If the hon. member will permit a question, would he be good enough to define to this house what is national income, because that question has been bothering me for some months.

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LIB
NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Neither am I; that is my trouble.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

-though I think I am perhaps as much of an economist as a good many of the people who say they are. Let me enlarge on that.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

What is the national income of the farmers?

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

I do not think the hon. member or anyone else knows, because only about one per cent of the farmers keep books in order to know what their own income is.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

You do not need to go to the farmers' books. All you need to do is to go to the bureau of statistics.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

I respect and honour the bureau of statistics, but neither the bureau of statistics no.r anyone else knows how much I make on my farm.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

They know what you get for what you sell, and that is your income.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

Well, I got some of it, anyway, and as long as I get the return from what I sell I am satisfied.

Then Miss Macphail went on to say that the average income of the Canadian farmer during the last ten years was about $473. That is just an estimate, but even if it is true,

Supply-State of Agriculture

I believe $473 is just about as good, living on the farm, as the average yearly earnings of people living in the city. That figure comes from the bureau of statistics; it may not be any more accurate than the other, but it is given as $956. Well, Mr. Speaker, if I am going to live in poverty I would rather live on a farm than in the city; and I think $473 on the farm is just as good as $956 in the city.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

That is the gross income, is it not?

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

I did not interrupt the hon. member; and anyway, I cannot hear what he says.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

Is that the gross income or the net income?

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

The hon. member will have to ask Miss Macphail.

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LIB

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Order. I should like to remind hon. gentlemen that we are not in committee and that the rules do not allow the speaker to be interrupted, except with the speaker's leave, in order to put questions. The debate will become disorderly unless we adhere to that rule.

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

I appreciate your kindness in defending me, Mr. Speaker, but if I can make any contribution to the intelligence of hon. gentlemen in the far corner I am only too happy to do so. From what I have heard coming from that side I think they are badly in need of some enlightenment; and if I can help in any way I shall be glad to do so even if I do not follow the rules exactly.

With regard to agriculture I yield to no man in my desire to serve the farmer; but at the same time there are those who make statements that should not be made-and we have had an exhibition of it here to-night-who sometimes defeat the very purpose they set out to accomplish, though they may be sincere. I should like to refer to another statement by Miss Macphail:

The thing I'd like to see the farmer do in war time is go on strike, and I think something like that will have to come.

Much as I respect the author of this article, I wish to say that it is dangerous to make statements like that. I do not suppose Miss Macphail will welcome any guidance or direction from me, but I still have an opinion of my own, and I believe that in the agricultural districts we still have sober, sensible, straightthinking people who do not take kindly to assertions of this kind. Last December the president of the United Farmers' Cooperative, who is also secretary of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture-of which I am a member -made the statement that he would recommend that all farm boys leave the farms.

Of all the bad speeches that have been made in the Dominion of Canada I think that was the worst, because it created a great deal of dissension between farmers and their sons. I am inclined to take the view that some of these people who claim to be interested in the farmers are more anxious to make speeches, and that sometimes their tongues run a little ahead of their minds and they say things they really never intended to say.

My experience has been that the farmer whom I would want to guide and direct my business, the farmer from whom I would be prepared to take advice, is the man who is so busy minding his own business that he has no time to prepare speeches. That is the unfortunate thing. We as farmers should be in a position to obtain the services of some of these outstanding men. They may not be able to make very good speeches, but if you sit with them round a table you will get a sound philosophy of life which I am prepared to say I cannot get from men of any other profession or occupation. I believe that the solution of the problem of the farmers lies with the sober, straight-thinking farmer. I want to warn the federation of agriculture not to allow these other people to become too prominent by making statements of the kind I have mentioned, which is a form of fifth-column activity, a kind of sabotage as far as Canada is concerned. I do not hesitate to say that. I do not object to honest-to-goodness criticism; that is quite proper. But anything which lends itself bo upsetting the economic order, and undermining our institutions, does not lend itself to the best interests of national unity.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. NICHOLSON:

Does the hon. member infer there are hon. members in the house responsible for sabotage?

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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of National War Services; Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. GARDINER:

He has named them.

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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. NICHOLSON:

Does he sajr hon. members are a party to it?

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LIB

George Ernest Wood

Liberal

Mr. WOOD:

I have given certain quotations in which statements have been made. I do not wish to stipulate respecting every person in Canada, as to whether he or she did not make it. I say it was bad business to make those speeches. Hon. members in the house are at liberty to make their speeches. They have the protection of the house to say what they wish. But I would not want to be responsible for some of the statements which have been made by some hon. members.

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April 28, 1941