April 29, 1941

NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Mr. Speaker, the motion before the house, moved by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) is that you do now leave the chair in order that this house may resolve itself into committee of supply. It is under such a motion that the official opposition has the right to bring before the house and the country any grievances which it thinks should be remedied before supply is granted. An amendment to this motion has been moved by the official opposition. This amendment reads:

-it be resolved that the government should take immediate steps to create a parity of prices as between agricultural and other products in order to improve the condition of Canadian agriculture and in order that it may receive a just and fair return, and thus be enabled to make that contribution to Canada's war effort which is so desirable, and which our agricultural population so greatly desire to make.

An amendment to the amendment has been moved by the hon. member for Weybum (Mr. Douglas) in the following words:

1. That the minimum price for the 1940 wheat crop be set at 85 cents per bushel, basis No. 1 at Fort William;

2. That a processing tax of 50 cents a bushel be levied on all wheat processed for consumption in Canada, the proceeds of such tax to be added to the minimum price of 85 cents a bushel.

The jurisdiction of this parliament over agriculture is concurrent. If the dominion votes money for agriculture, it must be on the basis of equality of treatment for all provinces. We cannot just single out one province for special treatment. I believe it is the desire of every good citizen that agriculture should be placed in a prosperous position, but how can any business be put on a prosperous basis when we had, first, the great war, then the huge depression and then another war? There has been a dislocation, not only of agriculture but of all business. The business men of Canada are not objecting to the granting of proper aid to agriculture; no one is objecting to it, but it should be on a non-partisan basis. This whole problem was debated at the last session for three weeks, and it has taken up a great deal of time at this session. In fact, more time has been taken up in the discussion of this matter than in the discussion of our war effort, Canada's first and only real interest until victory comes. This whole matter should be dealt with by the agriculture committee. I urge that that committee be authorized to make a survey of the whole problem. The action taken in each province should be on a non-partisan basis. This matter cannot be allowed to drift any longer. Because of the war, the situation is changing from day to day, and many are suffering as a result.

I have been a consistent supporter of protection, and I believe that the application of the principle of protection during this war would solve the economic ills of all the provinces and bring about equality of treatment. The party in this section of the house has been traditionally associated with agriculture for many years. Since confederation it has been the policy of the party in all the provinces to preserve our own markets for our own products and to provide our own work for our own workmen.

Hon. gentlemen opposite have been on the tariff and wheat everything by fits and starts and on nothing long, or of any real help, to solve this great problem. As I said away back on May 5, 1924, as reported in Hansard, when similar matters were brought up by the council of agriculture:

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On the 2nd April this year the Canadian council of agriculture came to Ottawa and presented a memorandum to the cabinet in which they urged that relief be granted to the agricultural industry. They stated that protection has been an unmitigated evil for many years, and that the farmer has been exploited and plundered by those who enjoyed special privileges under it. They asked that the farmer be relieved of the artificial burden which it was claimed had been unjustly imposed on him. A declaration was made in favour of reciprocity with United States, and an immediate abolition of the tariff on the implements of production was asked.

And again:

Ontario has not yet recovered from four years of free trade preaching and blue ruin prophecy. Ontario gave a negative answer to the question, "shall a province that was saved by a Brock be ruled by a Drury?" Ontario sent the Ontario end of the Progressive party about its business. Ontario has learned that a few months -will not suffice to bring back the business opportunities that were driven away from Ontario by Hon. E. C. Drury and the other would-be Progressives who called themselves farmers.

The question of reciprocity was also raised. Here is what I said in that connection on May 5, 1924:

I may say further to the Canadian council of agriculture that free trade and reciprocity with the United States would make a Lazarus out of a country that Sir Wilfrid Laurier proposed to have made a nation. That proposal would exhibit the Canada of Queenston Heights, or St. Julien, of Vimy Ridge, of Passchendaele. of Amiens and many other fields of glory, as a heggar for the poor favour of reciprocity and free trade.

Again:

I plead for a departure from this free trade law of supply and demand and acceptance of the principles of the old National Policy in our dealings with all provinces from Yukon to Prince Edward Island. I plead for a departure from the free trade law of supply and demand and an application of the principles of the old National Policy to other industries in this country from the manufacturing of agricultural implements up to wheat growing. Leave the wheat growing industry of the west to the workings of the law' of supply and demand and that law would not fill the west with wheat growers. If that law did fill the w-est with wheat grov-ers, wheat would not be worth fifty cents a bushel.

Those were words of prophecy. I continued:

I am advised, and believe, that free trade conditions supported by those free trade organizations, the grain exchanges, keep $25,000,000 per annum out of the pockets of Canadians who raise high quality wheat, and put that $25,000,000 per annum into the pockets of the native and alien exploiters u'ho handle high grade Canadian wheat.

In connection with this matter I stated further:

The best friend of the western wheat grower is the policy of protection, as that policy has been and should be extended and administered

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by the founders and soldiers of the National Policy, the Conservative party of Canada. The western wheat grower has eaten the sour grapes of free trade. No wonder the western -wheat grow'ers' teeth are set on edge. The western wheat grower has taught himself to believe, or has allowed so-called leaders to persuade him, that wheat growing in western Canada is a continental industry, an industry that must prosper by reason of the admission of the product to the United States market or perish because of its exclusion. I submit that wheat growing in western Canada is the most truly national, the most widely imperial of all Canada's great industries. The markets of the British empire mean more and the markets of the American section of the North American continent mean less to the wheat growers of Canada than to any other class of Canadian producers.

That was proven to be true. I am not objecting to generous aid for the agricultural industry in order that it may function and be put upon a proper basis, provided the country is able to do it. But we have a war on at the present time. I have thought that during the period of the war we would forget these domestic matters and bury the party hatchet. During the last session we spent three weeks in a discussion of this matter, and much the same thing has occurred this session. In my opinion, party boundaries are flimsy things during grave times like these. The battle of London, the battle of Britain and the battle over Plymouth are continuing while this debate is going on. The enemy has been more brutal and spiteful during the past twenty-four hours; he has carried on his beastly cannibalism while we sit here and talk politics in the way we have. Party advantage should be put into cold storage for the war.

Since I have been in the house after the great war, from 1921 on, it seems to me that everyone in Ottawa has had his mind saturated with the Geneva theory. The result was that during the years when we should have been preserving our market for wheat in Europe and fortifying the Balkans, Egypt and the Mediterranean, time was wasted in peace talks and peace conferences and agreements entered into by hon. gentlemen opposite at Locarno and Stressa. There was the Kellogg pact, collective security and the League of Nations. Collective security and the league have proven to be nothing but a sham, and are dead and buried. Collective security is all right in principle, but unless there is a powerfully armed Britain behind it, it is not collective security at all. And we may find that out right here in Canada, where at the present time everything is going on just as usual, as if there were no war. We are too sanguine yet. We do not yet know to whom this country will belong a year from now, because help may come too late.

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I wish to tell the government and hon. gentlemen opposite that the time which has

been taken up in the discussion of this question does not commend itself to the wisdom or judgment of the people of this country in view of the primary grave great danger confronting us and Britain at the present time. Canada should wake up to this danger before it is too late. One might think, listening to the debate that has been going on here in the last two days, that there was some royal road to victory. There is no royal road to victory; there has never been one but service and sacrifice, and the people of this country are at this moment very much alarmed. During the Easter recess members visited their constituencies and found that there was a great deal of dissatisfaction with Canada's on-again, off-again, war effort and the way Canada has been spending money, half of it not for primary war purposes at all but for home defence. More than two-thirds of the money we have spent-and it comes to nearly two billion dollars-does not amount to a snap of the finger as far as beating Hitler is concerned. These bonuses, subventions and subsidies for grain and agriculture are all right in their way, but questions of this sort should be dealt with by a committee of the house.

Hon. gentlemen opposite have had their trade policy for this country, and it has been everything by fits and starts and nothing long. The free trade hall in Manchester was destroyed by the Huns the other day. Almost every prominent politician in Great Britain since 1860 has spoken in that hall. Free trade is forever dead in Europe. It helped to cause this war. The people over there were led to believe that free trade was the policy for Great Britain, and the farmers on the Canadian prairies were led to believe the same thing. But Richard Cobden divined the danger, and he said:

I doubt the wisdom, I certainly doubt the prudence, of a great body of industrious people to allow themselves to continually live in dependence on foreign powers for the supply of food and raw material, knowing that, at present, a system of warfare exists by which at any moment, without notice, without any help on their part or means of prevention, they are liable to have the raw material or the food withdrawn from them-cut off from them suddenly-without power to resist or hinder it.

Britain may be starved out, because she imports 80 per cent of her food, 100 per cent of her raw materials, and all her oil and gasoline. Yet we have had hon. gentlemen opposite contending for years that the graingrowing industry of western Canada was a free trade industry. The object of this debate, as I see it, is to peg and raise the price of wheat, and give it increased bonuses, subsidies

and subventions. We are so told in the articles that are being written in the Globe and Mail by the former member for Southeast Grey-rap on the door of parliament and make them boost up the price. It is all very well for us to go as far as we can in ensuring the farmer a reasonable price for his product, but there is a limit commensurate with the ability of the country to pay and having regard to the consideration that must be given to other industries, and agriculture in the other provinces as well as the prairies. The country is not pleased with our war effort.

There is no doubt that a man who has served his country splendidly in time of peace may be totally unfitted to lead it in time of war. They are two different things. Many of our political executives have not done well since the war started. It could not be expected that they would, because they have been supporting peace pacts, collective security, the league and the like, to take the place of service and sacrifice-something which in the whole history of the world has not been possible. Some of our political executives in Canada lack the elements of courage and decision which are so essential in war time, and have acted only after being compelled to do so. The country has not been given the vigorous leadership which it needs. Party politics should have been put in cold storage for the duration of the war and one year after; for if we lose, life under Hitler will not be worth living.

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) visited the west in the Easter holidays. I should like to have the attention of some of the ministry. Three of the ministers on the front benches now are some of those who have been criticized for their administration, as well as the Minister of Agriculture. The Minister of Agriculture spoke in Regina in the heart of Canada's wheat belt on April 14, and this is what he said:

"There is no use sugaring the pill to try to convince you we are trying to do something for you", Mr. Gardiner said. "We are trying to do something for Canada and Britain and for the democratic way of living. It is not my intention to try to convince you that what we are asking you to do will help you financially."

If Canada grew all the wheat this year to feed "all the people Britain wants us to feed", only 230,000,000 bushels would be required. Anything over that figure, apart from some

70.000. 000 bushels required for use on the farms, could not be disposed of for three years.

Every 100,000,000 bushels produced above

300.000. 000 would cost the government $100,000,000 on top of the $450,000,000 already tied up in wheat.

But the minister said three years ago that Canada should get out of the wheat market-

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ing business altogether. We were told then by hon. gentlemen opposite that the graingrowing business was a free trade industry and needed no protection, that it operated under the law of supply and demand, and that we should get out of the wheat marketing business altogether. Yet the Liberal party came later and supported all kinds of protection and bonuses and subsidies.

In the sessions of 1938 and 1939, I saw the war coming and from these benches I urged the government to establish grain reservoirs in England. There had been a meeting of the British medical association in the city of London at which it was said that Canadian hard wheat was the best in the world and that it would last in storage for ten years. If my suggestion had been adopted then, we could have cleaned out the elevators of this country and carried and stored the grain in Britain in 1938 and 1939, before the war began. But look at the position to-day! No market for our wheat and the farmers suffering because the government of the day misjudged the whole world wheat and European war situation! The government were hardly in office when, in spite of their free trade professions, they came down with the most advanced kind of protection-a stabilization fund, pegging the price of grain, price fixing, subventions and bonuses and subsidies for storing grain, and, last but not least, this $35,000,000 vote, and nobody knows where that is going to end. If there is protection for one part of the country, I would point out that the people of Ontario are suffering just as much as the farmers on the prairies. I have seen the farms of this province and I know the conditions under which our farmers are labouring. Take the industrial workers-nearly fifty per cent of the population; they get little or no protection in this country. I am urging protection not for them alone, but for all our people, not just some, because I believe in the principle of confederation of all provinces, the old Cornish battle cry: "each for all and all for each." What is good for one province is good for all the far-flung provinces of this dominion.

There are two or three grievances on which I should like to touch, as is the right of every private member on a motion to go into supply. We in this opposition are not supposed to be a lot of yes-men. I am sorry that more members are not present in the chamber to-night. We have been sent here to represent our constituents. The rise of the dictators in Europe, in Germany and Italy, was because the yes-men and the nodders surrendered to the usurption of their rights,

privileges and prerogatives without any opposition at all to the dictators, and yielded to autocracy and surrendered to them. Once a dictator is installed, there is no way of unhorsing him except through war. We have seen the result in Italy, Germany and Russia.

It is the duty and function of this opposition not to let any prime minister, no matter who he is, go to Washington or other capitals, and sign a note or treaty on behalf of this country over the head of parliament, or the other dominions, or the mother country. Under our empire system we owe a duty to the mother country and the other dominions as well, to coordinate and cooperate, and all we have to do is agree to it because we cannot change a line. The trade with the United States treaty of 1935 was a mistake. It destroyed preferences and the duty we owed to our empire and the mother country. Our trade treaties should not be made by Washington over our heads. Even if I am the only member of this house to do so, I will oppose any proposal to substitute autocracy for the constitutional practice which has prevailed in the relations of this country with the motherland and with British connections and the other dominions of our empire. In 1844, Sir John Macdonald said that the future history of this country must be wrapped up with that of the mother country, the old mother country which up to a few months ago had to stand all alone across the seas against the beastly dictators and all their ways, and go it all alone for freedom and liberty and the generations yet unborn, and decide the fate of the world for the next 200 years.

I contend that it is the duty not only of the opposition but of all other hon. gentlemen in this house to see to it that our constitutional practices are followed in Canada. Without consulting the governor general, without consulting the crown, without consulting either house of parliament, a note is signed over our heads, binding us without any longdated foreign policy in America. I doubt if it means very much, because the first note which the government signed in the treaty of 1935 abolished preferences largely. It destroyed the preferences that had been built up under the Bennett agreements of 1932, preferences which, in my opinion, would have sounded the death knell of Hitler and led him to believe the dominions would be for isolation. But they were repealed, and the dominion, at this imperial conference, took further the stand that we would have nothing to do with shipping, that we would not follow Britain. The government supported the

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statute of Westminster, that empire-wrecking statute which practically put Canada out of the empire, and gave away the Eire bases. The government are co-founders and authors of the statute of Westminster, whereby we became a separate dominion, making our own treaties, and all that kind of thing separately from the motherland, and now following geography, and not history, which always repeats itself.

It is of the utmost importance that we should have amicable relations with our brethren, our kinsmen in the United States, and everyone, I have no doubt, rejoices to see the splendid help given, and the improved state of affairs in this regard for the freedom of the world, and the destruction of these savage dictators. We all rejoice that the United States have at last come to the help of the mother country with the lease-lend bill, although I hope that help is not too late. As I said when the war broke out, it takes two years to train a man and two years to get any munitions. The lease-lend bill has not gone as far as I for one would like to see it go. We are entitled to much more instead of half a loaf for our votes for America's protection. For one thing, it does not solve the exchange situation; according to the Prime Minister, it represents favourably S200,000,000 to

8300,000,000. He believes it amounts to that. The estimates given in the financial schedules are too rosy. The Ogdensburg agreement and the agreement of 1935 are related; one is the corollary of the other, as is the Hyde Park declaration. The first meant a loss of preferences to this country, preferences which increased trade between Britain and Canada by about 44 per cent, and between Canada and Britain by 43 per cent. I contend that we should have a treaty instead of a note, and nothing should be done over the head of parliament.

To come to some grievances with respect to the war, why was this important measure with regard to national military training delayed until now? In this connection it is interesting to note what William Pitt said in the British House of Commons in July, 1803, because the words he used then are relevant to-day. Perhaps I might make this observation in passing. Everyone seems to be afraid of the word "conscription". I am not afraid of it. Everyone runs away from that word, but I would point out that we already have conscription, imposed by hon. gentlemen opposite. On a previous occasion I have used the expression, recruiting on again, off again, on again. Now we have conscription on again, off again, on again. It was off again, on again, for thirty days, and now it is extended and on again to four months and made retroactive-in my

opinion, a most unsportsmanlike thing to do. I suggest that if we had had from the start any real effort to have a really good voluntary system which would have appealed to the enthusiasm of the youth of the country when that enthusiasm made itself manifest, instead of turning young men away when they sought to enlist, we would have had over 1,000,000 men to-day armed and trained-and this is the twentieth month of the war. This is what Pitt said on the occasion to which I have referred. It is a condemnation of our own government and their inaction and inertia in recruiting. Pitt said:

Why was this important measure, national military training, delayed?

I cannot conceive any excuse that can be alleged for such procrastination.

That was what William Pitt said in 1803, a.nd those words -are equally pertinent at the present time. Everything that Pitt said then is worth attending to. His problems were those that confront us to-day. The pace was different and the battle was waged nearer home than at present, but the difficulties were not different from our own. In 1793, as in 1939, we entered a war for our very existence. We were unprepared, and up to the last moment Pitt had hoped for peace. But when war came, then as now we were resolute. The vast international propaganda from which we have suffered has not yet touched the mass of the people. In Pitt's day it had not begun. Speaking in 1793, William Pitt made this statement:

This country has always been desirous of peace; we desire it still, but such as may be real and solid, and consistent with the interests and dignity of Britain, and with the general security of Europe. War, whenever it comes, will bo preferable to peace without honour, without security, and which is incompatible either with the external safety or with the internal happiness of this country.

The magnitude of this war calls for real sacrifice. Canada needs to wake up to the fact that there is no royal road to victory. We have been too late in everything. In my opinion, national service in the industrial field should be voluntary. Labour in the last war, and so far in this, has risen to the situation and labour must be free.

Away back in 1937, 1938 and 1939, I was urging national service for this country as a means of absorbing the high school youth and those riding the rods, and directing their energies into a worth-while channel of technical and vocational schools for youth, for peace and war alike. The country spent in all one billion dollars on the dole, dominion, provincial and municipal, without any result at all. Had the national service for youth suggestion I offered been adopted and put

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into practice, we would have had 300,000 men trained when the war broke out and 25,000 skilled air pilots and mechanics. The air training scheme began too late. I urged a compulsory national registry in 1937, and a survey of all industrial plants, but nothing was done in that connection. The government would not take any suggestions from within or from without.

We have a huge bill now, and we cannot meet it without economic reactions which will have their effect on our whole standard of living. In my opinion, if the ministry had only adopted a proper recruiting system, the situation with regard to military training would have been vastly different to-day. A great many young men, bent on giving their services to their country, went to recruiting stations only to meet with discouragement. The right spirit was there so far as these young men were concerned, but the government had not the courage to take advantage of that enthusiasm. The real spirit of service and of sacrifice was evident on the part of Canadian youth when war came, but there was no system and the respite of Munich went for naught. The fervour of patriotism on the part of Canada's youth was not directed into proper channels, and we failed in works meet for repentance in rearmament, to face the next crisis of September, 1939, which came less than a year after. The old phrase, "Strike while the iron is hot," was ignored, while the fervour for service lasted, and this fervour was wasted and allowed to cool-with recruiting, "on again, off again."

The respite should have been used after Munich to bring about national service, but the government did nothing. I saw young men going to the recruiting stations and they were rejected. Although fit, there was no place for them, and one youth said to me, "Oh, well, if they do not want us, I suppose it is all right." The initiative rested with the government and they refused to take it. The will for national service was there for the asking, but the government dampened all ardour. There were many other agencies that killed recruiting, which now no new civilian committees can cure. One of them is the hitch-hiking order, another the lack of free transportation for soldiers, another the lack of a policy with regard to soldiers' insurance. In this country everyone but the soldier is insured, or will be.

Who killed recruiting and the voluntary system? I, said the national service department. I killed it with my little hatchet of judges and juries and all that kind of thing, a department loaded with civilians who exempted wholesale; they killed recruiting. Who else

killed recruiting? I, said the railways they had such influence that they got the hitchhiking prohibition order. I, said the insurance companies. They prevented the government from bringing down an insurance policy to protect the soldiers of this country.

Gordon of Khartoum said that we are a wonderful people. He knew something about the politician. In connection with that campaign in which he lost his life he said:

We are a wonderful people. It was never our government which made us a great nation, our government has been ever the drag on our wheels.

That is found in Gordon's journal at page 191.

We do not know to whom this country is going to belong by the end of this year, or by the beginning of next year. The situation is very grave at the present time as far as this empire is concerned.

In my opinion, some of these grievances that I have mentioned should be remedied. We have such misleading information given us by the information bureau that some of these people should be dismissed. Just the other day some unknown person in the Department of National Defence gave an interview to the Toronto Globe and Mail, in which he said Toronto lags in recruiting; a falsehood, and when I made inquiry regarding it, I received a reply from the deputy minister of the department saying:

I have been able to trace the source of the "revelation" referred to in the article which accompanied your letter of April 19.

The basis of the article is a discussion between a reporter and someone here who thought he was speaking off the record, and who had no idea that he would be quoted. I am in a position to assure you that he was not speaking for the department, and that his statement was a very unofficial one, to say the least.

Why such damage to unity and recruiting? I have the enlistment figures for the last week, Ontario leading two to one. Then I have a return from September 1, 1939, to March 31, 1941, for the Canadian naval forces: Ontario, 516 officers and 4,550 ratings, total, 5,066. Toronto city has been the chief centre for recruiting.

It is for these reasons that on the motion to go into supply I assert my right to bring up these grievances against those in charge of publicity. The questions I want to raise are these: Under this Ogdensburg note a defence

board, to consist of five people, was appointed without any authority from this parliament. Then the mayor of New York comes to this country and makes a speech in Ottawa announcing Canadian defence votes and works, which makes this parliament a laugh-

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mg stock in the old land. He said, I will go out a thousand miles with our defences; I will do this; I will do that. He has nothing to go out with; he has no war experience; his country, like ours, was wholly unready for the war and unarmed. Why does he go over the head of this parliament and Britain, and our duty to the other dominions and to the empire, and make such announcements without consulting the mother country? To cost Canada millions with parliament meeting. Are we a separate country like Brazil? Canada since the great war has been the chief drifter from the motherland. I protest. We have a grievance in that connection. The time has come for Canadian politicians to cease being for Britain in a Pickwickian sense only, Britain and the other dominions should be consulted. We have a duty to the other dominions as well as to the mother country in this emergency, to act in union, and to cooperate with them. How can we agree to notes over the heads of other dominions and without the consent of the empire or of this house?

In connection with the lease-lend bill, a month or two ago I urged the government to do their utmost to qualify under it for all the money Canada has spent for American defences. We are very thankful for this measure, but it must be observed that we have got little or nothing out of it; in the end, Washington will have to be paid, because, according to the Prime Minister's notes, Britain will have to pay sooner or later, there will be a showdown and Britain will have to pay for everything she gets by this note. Britain has had to pay Washington for all her munitions and food in cash' and carry down to the passage of the lease-lend bill, because, under the Neutrality Act, the United States gave the dictators and the free countries equal rights and equal treatment. All this getting of parts from the United States free for us to manufacture the articles and send them when finished to the mother country must be paid for. The day of reckoning will come when a bill will be put in by the United States to the mother country for that. What is Canada's foreign policy in this and other matters? She has not had one since the great war.

The people of this country are entitled to know whither they are drifting. Where are we now? When I asked a question in this house as to the handing over of the West Indies-Newfoundland bases, I was told it was a matter for the British government alone. It is not. We cannot separate ourselves from the policy indicated in connection with this matter. We will be bound by it for the next

hundred years. No one says a word. The time may come when there will be trouble and war between Japan and America, because Japan has already signed an agreement with Russia and Germany, defensive and offensive, due in part to the actions of this country in the past. We should never have lost Japan as our ally, but this was done under an appeasement plan of Britain on Canada's urging in 1921. In the great war Japan was our ally; she took care of the Pacific and protected New Zealand and Australia. Yet, to appease another country, we drove this faithful ally into the camp of the enemy and into the German orbit; and Italy as well, and to appease another country we gave up the Irish bases. The other day Mr. Churchill told the British House of Commons about the sinking of 144,000 tons of shipping off the Irish coast and the lights of Eire, guiding Hitler's planes to the cities of Britain for the work of destruction. He regretted the fact that the British navy is debarred from using the ports of southern Ireland, which were of inestimable service to the empire in the great war. He said:

The fact that we cannot use the south and west coasts of Ireland to refuel our flotillas and aircraft and thus protect trade by which Ireland, as well as Great Britain, lives, that fact is a most heavy and grievous burden and one which should never have been placed upon our shoulders, broad though they may be.

Let there be no mistake, it was not northern Ireland that placed that burden upon the broad shoulders of Britain.

That was reiterated the other day by President Roosevelt, who said that he was not going to stand any longer the sinking of ships with their munitions and food on the Atlantic by the dictators, and would take steps to meet the situation. These ports belong to the empire. Without them we would have lost the last war. An empire conference in London is needed on this and shipping matters.

I believe the time is not far distant when the government will have to decide once and for all what Canada's foreign policy is. In America and in the empire, whither are we drifting? Hitherto Canada has never had any foreign policy. We would never have had this war if the dominions had had a foreign policy, and had not one of isolation and separatism. At the last colonial conference, what happened? Hon. gentlemen opposite were represented by the present Prime Minister. When the shipping question came up and it was shown that we had 2,000 fewer merchant ships than in the great war but

5,000,000 more mouths to feed, the Prime Minister said "We have no commitments; parliament must decide." That was Canada's

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policy of hiding. Talking of empire action, we in this house or the government never did a thing to try and influence Britain on these lines of rearmament and a vast merchant marine policy until too late. Canada led Hitler to believe that the dominions would not line up with the mother country as in 1914. It was clear from the last imperial conference that Canada never had a foreign policy. We have no foreign policy to-day. The government signed a note at Ogdensburg, another one at Hyde Park; yet we have no long-term foreign policy for this continent to-day. We are, without parliament's knowledge, bound by those notes; yet there is no reason why we should have any quarrel whatever with Japan, our old ally across the Pacific. If she has a war with America, we will be involved to protect America's shores. We were told that Canada's principle of defence was (a) home defence and (b) the protection of Canada's neutrality in case a foreign power invaded America.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE-AMENDMENT TO MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. T. F. DONNELLY (Wood Mountain):

Mr. Speaker, I must agree with many of the things that have 'been said with regard to the condition of agriculture in Canada; but I must add that many of the things that have been said are not at all new. This condition has existed in Canada for the last ten years; it is not something that has come up overnight or within the last few weeks or months. I have heard the condition of agriculture discussed in this house off and on during the last ten years, and always the arguments advanced have been almost the same as those we have heard during the last few days. But when this war began farmers throughout the country said, "Now our condition will be better, because in every war the first prices to rise have been the prices of agricultural products. The farmer will get a better price for 'his products; he will be better off, and all his problems will be solved". For a time after the war started, prices of farm products did improve; but after Germany overran the low countries and France, farm prices either slumped or stood still, and we have had no improvement, practically speaking, since that time.

While, however, the condition of farmers throughout the country may be bad and may be critical, one class of farmers has been a real war casualty. I refer to the wheat growers. Whatever may be said with regard to the mixed farmers in respect of cheese, butter, pork and cattle, at least they can sell these commodities even though the price may not be very good. The wheat grower, however, not only has to take a poor price; he can sell

only a certain quantity of wheat. This applies to western Canada and, in particular, to Saskatchewan, because something like seventy-four per cent of the income of that province is derived from wheat. No part of western Canada is suffering so much from the situation in which we find ourselves as the constituency which I have the honour to represent. We are entirely a wheat growing country. For ten years we had no crop whatever. For ten years we had to bring in our wheat for seed and our oats and barley to feed our chickens and pigs. We had to bring in our hay and straw in carload lots to feed our cattle and horses. Then, at the end of that period, we had two good crops, but we had to sell our wheat at low prices. Now we are told that we have been producing too much wheat and we have to cut down our wheat acreage. Well, it is not very pleasant to have to do that, but the people in my constituency and in western Canada are just as loyal as the people in any other part of this country. They realize that this is a war condition, and they are willing to put up with these things in order to help win the war.

This situation in which we find ourselves is not something that has been brought about in a day or two. It began something like ten years ago, when the central European countries began to pay bonuses to their wheat growers, to impose restrictions, to impose quotas in order to prevent other nations from shipping wheat to them. Then we began to lose our markets. They bonused their wheat growers more and more, until in certain parts of Europe wheat was selling for $2, $2.50 and $3 a bushel, while our farmers were getting 40 and 50 cents. In Europe they said to themselves, "If war ever comes we will be self-contained; we will not be dependent on the rest of the world. We will be able to feed our own people from our own wheat, produced in our own country". That began ten years ago, and for that reason we may find it harder to starve out Germany than it was in the last war. Germany has been preparing for just this eventuality. Therefore, when this war started, we found many of our foreign markets gone; prices were low, and so our wheat began to pile up.

Last year we decided that we had a wheat problem. At that time the government, realizing the extent of that problem, asked the wheat board to put into effect a quota system, under which only so many bushels per acre would be accepted by the board. That quota system was put into effect, and it worked well. I want to congratulate the wheat board on the manner in which the crop was handled last year; they made a good job of it. That system was satisfactory to most of the farmers

Supply-State of Agnculture

of western Canada, and they now say, "It is too bad we did not have a quota system in our good years. It would have taught us how to finance, and we would not have had the debts we now owe. In our good years we would sell our wheat in the fall, get our money and spend it, often foolishly. Then in the spring we would have no money, and would have to go to the bank or the loan company to borrow money in order to put in our seed. As a result we got into debt. If only the government had put in this quota system in our good years, it would have been a lot better for us in western Canada." That is what they think of the quota system. We hope the government will continue that system, because it has proved satisfactory and is working well.

The other step they took last year was to pay farmers for storing grain on their farms. In my opinion, the best and cheapest place to store grain is on the farm; that is where it should be stored. That plan worked well; the farmers are well satisfied with it, and they hope it will be continued in the years to come.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

And more of it.

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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

Yes, and we hope there will be more of it. On August 1 of this year we expect to find ourselves with a surplus of

575,000,000 bushels of wheat, with all our storage facilities filled to the roof, with no place to put any more wheat.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS (Danforth):

Build more.

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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

We did build more

storage last year. We 'built storage capacity for something like 70,000,000 bushels in annexes to our country elevators, and for about 50,000,000 bushels in additions to our terminal elevators. But the government realized that this could not go on indefinitely. It would be all right if we had plenty of storage, but we cannot go on building more and more storage space, because this war may continue for the next four or five years and we would only pile up more and more wheat.

Already we have something like 3400,000,000 invested in our wheat surplus. Therefore the government decided there would have to be a cut-off date, and fixed that date as the end of August. At that time the 575,000,000 bushels in storage will become a national responsibility, a national reserve. Then we will turn over a new leaf; we will start over again and take from the farmers only the amount of wheat we think we can sell abroad and consume at home, which will be something in the neighbourhood of 230,000,000 bushels. So the government has decided that

all it can be expected to take next year is

230,000,000 bushels. In travelling throughout the country, meeting people all over the west, I have come in contact with few who have found fault with that decision. They say they cannot expect the government to take more wheat than they can sell, and they cannot expect them to build more and more storage. I am sure I have read twenty-five or fifty different solutions for our wheat problem. Each man has his own solution; each has his own idea. One of the things we come up against, one of the stumbling blocks or bones of contention has been that of deciding what the price should be. We hear this discussed over and over again. We hear it in the House of Commons. Some are asking for 70 cents, but the majority are asking for 85 cents, 95 cents, $1 and even as high as $1.25.

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NAT
LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

Yes, some would like to stretch it to that. I would not be backward in taking all I could get, either. You cannot blame a farmer for taking all he can get. But there are certain arguments in favour of raising the price, and there are other arguments against raising it.

The contention is that if we raise the price of wheat so that it is out of line with prices of coarse grains-out of line with the price of barley, out of line with the price of oats or any other coarse grain-the farmer would then raise more wheat and less coarse grains. The result would be that we would have more wheat. Whatever our legislation may be, it should not be such as to induce the farmer to raise more wheat. The moment we raise the price of wheat too high, just at that moment we shall have every farmer go in for raising more wheat-and do not make any mistake about that.

The wheat problem in Manitoba is not a problem, at all. We have only two or three million acres of wheat in Manitoba out of a total of 28,000,000 or 29,000,000. They grow coarse grains in Manitoba. But the moment we say we are going to do what some people say must be done, the moment we say we will pay 85 cents a bushel for wheat, then just at that moment every farmer in Manitoba will raise wheat instead of coarse grains, with the result that we shall have more wheat, and a state of confusion worse confounded.

Saskatchewan would be in the same position. In the northern part of that province there are some 30,000 or 40,000 small fanners. They grow a little wheat, a few oats and a little barley. But the moment the government says, "We are going to pay you 85 cents" -or 95 cents, or $1 or $1.25-"for your wheat",

Supply-State oj Agriculture

Supply-State of Agriculture

build any more terminal elevators at the head of the lakes, they insisted that the government sign on the dotted line and agree to continue the storage charges for another two years. If there was any patriotism or any loyalty on the part of the pool organization or the elevator companies, they would have agreed to take $30 million instead of insisting upon getting $60 million, and agreed to give the other $30 million to our farmers. Our pool elevators are no more patriotic or loy^al than our line elevator companies.

We hear a great deal to-day about industrial labour. On March 31 the Minister of Labour made an announcement with regard to industrial labour. He said that they should have a wage rate equal to that which obtained in 1926-29, and that labour should be paid an extra cost of living 'bonus because the -cost of living rose from time to time. Since that statement was made, I have looked up certain figures published by the bureau of statistics. I find that the hourly rate paid to industrial labour in 1926-29 was *91 [DOT] 2 per cent higher than the rate paid in 1913-14. The present hourly rate paid to industrial labour is 98-3 per cent higher than it was in 1913-14. In other words, wages paid to industrial labour are higher to-day than they were in 1926-29.

Let us turn over the page and look at what we find on the other side. What about wheat? At the present time the price of wheat is 14 per cent lower than it was in 1913-14, and yet the rate paid to industrial labour is 98-3 per cent higher than it was in 1913-14. Is that equality of sacrifice?

But that is not all of it. Industrial labour has insisted that it shall receive an extra bonus as the cost of living goes up. But the cost of living to-day is lower than it was in 1926-29. If labour was satisfied with conditions as they existed in 1926-29, surely it should be willing that the whole thing should carry through, that the cost of living should rise until it was equal to the cost of living between 1926 and 1929 before labour asked for increased wages.

What does the bureau of statistics show with regard to that? It shows that the cost of living from 1926 to 1929 was SI per cent higher than it was in 1913-14, and that the cost of living now is only 36 per cent higher than it was in 1913-14. Therefore the cost of living to-day is lower than it was between 1926 and 1929, and I maintain that industrial labour should be satisfied not to ask for any increase in wages until the cost of living goes up at least to what it was between 1926 and 1929.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

If the hon. member will permit a question, does he think that, at the

[Mr. Donnelly.i

present stage, labour is getting too large a share of the national income?

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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

Yes, I do, and if there are any profiteers in this war, if there are going to be any profiteers when this war is over, the profiteer is going to be labour. I say that without any hesitation.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

No one else will agree with the hon. member.

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LIB

Thomas F. Donnelly

Liberal

Mr. DONNELLY:

My hon. friend may not think so, but I do. They have decided at a time like this to strike and ask for more wages. Is that equality of sacrifice with the wheat grower? No. I think the wheat grower is taking the raps and that labour is not.

There are many more figures with which I intend to deal later on, but to-night I wished to refer to just this one fact, that there is no equality of sacrifice when one compares labour with the wheat grower. It is the wheat grower who is making the real sacrifice at the present time, and he is willing to do so from patriotic motives. But I say that other classes of workers should also be ready and willing to make their sacrifices and to play their part.

On motion of Mr. Cleaver the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Crerar the house adjourned at 10.55 p.m.

Wednesday, April 30, 1941.

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April 29, 1941