February 16, 1943


Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government


In Canadian War Orders and Regulations, volume 1, number 4, of February 1. 1943, will be found the announcement of the reappointment of a board of civil servants headed by Doctor W. C. Clark, over which the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) presides, to consider questions of rehabilitation.

Are we to understand that this board is to supersede the committee on rehabilitation and post-war problems headed by Professor James of McGill university? This newly appointed board appears to consist of the same group of civil servants who imposed upon the country the economic bureaucracy and price and wage control principles which have been subjected to so much criticism. It is the same group of men, very worthy, no doubt, who were in the same position of influence during the depression, men who then said that we could not afford large-scale undertakings on account of lack of credit. Will there be a greater amount of credit available after the war? The hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres (Mr. Cardin) was right when he said that parliament was being side-stepped, for here we have another example of an important committee being appointed upon which there is not one member of parliament.

If this means that business is to be subjected to the control of these professional theorists, I fear it will have the effect of drying up all business enterprise and that the post-war reconstruction period will get no help from business. Is it not time that the government made plans for large-scale public works to be undertaken as soon as the need arises after the war? If the government has no plans, it is surely high time they made them. I submit, however, that instead of economists from the finance department and the Bank of Canada, the men who are best qualified for such a job are experts from the departments of Public Works and Trade and Commerce, and like departments, who should be able to bring forward large-scale plans which should form a

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foundation for reestablishment and reemployment. I have no doubt that provincial and municipal governments could be interested also in the development of plans of their own for public works, if assured of assistance by way of subsidies from the dominion government.

If the government takes the lead in matters of this kind, private business will automatically and speedily make its own contribution. The ultimate result would probably be that for every dollar spent by the government on public works, private enterprise would spend ten. If, on the other hand, these economic "high-brows" are to tell business what it is to do, I venture to say that not ten per cent of private enterprise will cooperate.

The principal trouble with Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930's was that, instead of confining his efforts strictly to public works, which were out of the field of private endeavour, he entered into all kinds of projects, which had the effect of destroying the confidence of business people. I fear that the appointment of this committee, while well-intentioned, no doubt, will be inimical to the best interests of our war effort-certainly a detriment to labour and the farmer.

After the disturbance of the public mind caused by strikes in some of our steel plants, which strikes must have interfered with our war production, it was refreshing and encouraging to read the advertisement in the Hamilton Spectator of January 23 last, published by the employees of the Steel Company of Canada at their own expense. It was a fine expression of independent labour. The C.I.O. unions have become notorious as trouble-makers in war industries. We all remember the strike of C.I.O. workers in the automobile plant at Oshawa in 1937. It is an organization which came into Windsor fresh from acts of violence in the United States, and there began at once defiance of constituted authority. In spite of this, the Prime Minister has appointed its solicitor and sponsor, Mr. J. L. Cohen, as the representative of labour on an industrial court. I wonder whether the labour unions will accept this without a protest and, as the Globe and Mail said in an editorial yesterday:

If C.I.O. methods are to be reproduced in this code, industry in Canada may as well prepare for the end of stability and the people for the sort of chaos introduced in the United States.

No one, I am sure, would quarrel with unionism in this enlightened age, but those of us who have watched the policies and tactics of the C.I.O., will not confuse this organization with any real honest labour movement. I do not believe that the cause of the worker will ever be permanently advanced by such dishonest practices and low ideals of fairness and decency as those which seem to guide the C.I.O. effort.

I should like to pay a tribute of respect to the employees in the plant of the Steel Company of Canada for this evidence of their loyalty, for in these days of strikes and unrest one is apt to forget that there are many workers who wish to be let alone to do a good job of work to help our war effort, and who object to being pushed around by C.I.O. organizers.


Ernest George Hansell

Social Credit

Mr. E. G. HANSELL (Macleod):

Mr. Speaker, I believe I read somewhere recently that a ceiling should be placed upon platitudes. I think it was the Ottawa Journal, which said editorially that the growing propensity of our political leaders to use all sorts of vague, high-sounding words and phrases without attempting to define what they mean has become a pest. The speech from the throne delivered in 1943 at the commencement of this session differs very little in this regard from any other which his excellency has read during previous sessions in which this country found itself under Liberal party administration. I fail to see in the speech from the throne anything that will positively guarantee security to our armed forces when they return after the battle is over. In fact, there is very little mention at all of the returned soldier. I read merely these few lines from that part of the speech which seems to deal specifically with the returned soldier:

Every effort must be made to ensure, after the close of hostilities, the establishment, in useful and remunerative employment, of the men and women in our armed forces and in war industries.

It stops there. It seems as though this is the very best that the government can put into his excellency's mouth to tell the people's representatives in parliament what the government will do for those who spill their blood, or offer to spill their blood on the battlefields of Europe or in some other theatre of war. These young men who, we have often said, are the cream of the land, offer their all. I ask through you, Mr. Speaker, what are we now offering them? A noted journalist has written a book entitled, "The Time to Act is Now." The time is now. If we are to do anything for our returned men, the time to act is now. Yet what are we doing for them? When a young man returns he is offered the magnificent sum of nine dollars a week until he can find some remunerative employment. It is about time that we should be ashamed of ourselves to offer a man who has offered his life a sum of money which is not equal to the wages of. an office boy.

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While the speech from the throne was being read there was an elderly lady in my office. Her husband fought in the last war, and she has been living on charity and relief ever since. We are asked to discuss this speech from the throne which offers nothing to the returned men, but we have the audacity to say that we are giving them nine dollars a week. The startling thing is that parliament seems to be powerless to do anything about the matter. We have not come to the place where we in parliament can positively guarantee, without any uncertainties whatsoever, that when the boys return they will be given absolute security.

I wish to remind the house of what the hon. member for Trinity (Mr. Roebuck) said the other day in this particular debate when he was speaking on the same subject. He was pleading for better treatment of the widows of those who had fought in the last war and had since died. He said, as reported in Hansard, at page 141:

I think I can speak for every private member on this side of the house . . .

He could have said he spoke for every private member in this assembly, but he said:

I think I can speak for every private member on this side of the house, when I say that the dire necessities of these soldiers' widows should be relieved, and relieved immediately. *

There he was voicing the sentiments of the private members on the government side of the house; yet there they sit, helpless, powerless, impotent to move their own government on behalf of the widows of returned soldiers I felt like asking him at the time, Do you mean to say that although all the members of the opposition, combined with the members on the government side of the house, want something which is most reasonable and most desirable, they cannot get it from the government? That is just the position. I wonder what has become of our parliamentary institution. Instead of being a parliament of the people which represents the views of the people and asking the government to put those views into practice, we find that it is the parliament of a party, where the government of that party says, "This is the legislation which parliament must accept and pass. You must do it because we say so." Instead of parliament telling the government what legislation should be passed, the government tells parliament what legislation it must or must not pass.

To come back to the problem of the returned men, we are not yet feeling the full impact of these returned men because there

are very few of them returning. The former leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) said this afternoon that our soldiers had not yet seen the action which they will see. But if we can read correctly I am certain, and every hon. member will agree with me, that before nazism is destroyed from the earth there will be a terrible and tremendous slaughter somewhere; and the time will come when hundreds and thousands of our soldiers will return, and are we going to say to them, "We will give you a little bit of a hand-out, nine dollars a week"?

Not so long ago I was at a convention in Edmonton where this group ihad a part and where the Social Credit members of the Alberta legislature also participated. There we drew up a number of resolutions which should form a basis upon which we could discuss post-war reconstruction. In respect of the return of our fighting forces this clause appears in that resolution:

Therefore be it resolved that the minimum measures for the rehabilitation of tbe men of our fighting forces and their dependents shall be:

1. (a) On demobilization, persons who have served in the Canadian armed forces or merchant marine shall, while domiciled in Canada, receive a monthly income equivalent to not less than the full pay and all allowances, including subsistence, for a private in the army, for a period of not less than three years, to enable the individual to become established in the economic life of the country.

I heard some remarks, after this resolution reached the press and the public, that this, of course, was far too big a promise. Let us see if it is. Let me ask this question: How much money are we spending every year for war purposes? I think it is reasonable to say that in round figures we shall spend this year about five billion dollars. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Usley) is not at the moment in his seat; the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) is not in his; but if any of those who are present representing the government wish to answer the question, all right. If they do not, all right. Let me ask this question: If we are spending five billion dollars this year on the war, supposing the war lasts for ten years, will the government continue to find at least five billion dollars a year for the next ten years? No reply. I suppose silence gives consent. I will answer the question for them. If the war lasts ten years, certainly we shall find fifty billion dollars with which to fight it-yes, and more. For if this year we are spending five billion dollars and the war lasts ten years, our productive capacity will be greater and we may have to find more than that. Certainly we shall find the money.

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My second question is this: Suppose the

war lasts only one more year. Oh, well, it will be said, that will be fine; we shall need to find only five billion dollars more. Then would the government say this: Therefore, because these men of our fighting forces have offered their lives, have risked their lives, some coming back maimed, wounded, shellshocked, we will place forty-five billion dollars at the disposal of the armed forces of Canada to guarantee them security just as long as any of that amount of forty-five billion dollars remains. I do not think anyone will dispute my logic there. But instead, what does the government do? They write a speech, to be delivered by his excellency, and they say:

Every effort must he made to ensure, after the close of hostilities-

Who says that every effort must not be made? Does anybody question that?

Every effort must be made to ensure, after the close of hostilities, the establishment, in useful and remunerative employment, of the men and women in our armed forces and in war industries.

That is quite a document, is it not? Anybody would say that. There is nothing startling about it. Why cannot the government stand up and say, without any uncertainty whatsoever: We will absolutely see that no soldier, no dependent of any soldier, be she widow or child, will ever, ever, ever go in want, but will be given the highest possible standard of living which our administration is able to give. But they do not make any such assertion. That is the sort of thing that is causing people to lose confidence in political parties. That is the sort of thing that is causing people to lose their respect, or the respect they should have, for this institution known as parliament.

The speech from the throne suggests some plan of social insurance. Let us not permit ourselves to be fooled by terminology. Social insurance is a nice phrase to use, but social insurance does not mean social security. It does not even mean social assurance. I happened to refresh my memory to-day on the meanings of these two words, "assurance" and "insurance", and those meanings are not identical. They are sometimes used interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. The dictionary I happened to pick up said that ""insurance is an act or system by which pecuniary indemnity is guaranteed by one party, as a company, to another party in certain contingencies, as of accident or loss, upon specified terms." Sometimes in Great Britain the term "assurance" is used for that, but when I turn in the dictionaiy to the meaning of the word assurance, this is the

definition it gives: " the act of assuring; any encouraging declaration; a promise; full confidence; undoubting conviction."

Let us not be fooled by the terminology that is used in the speech from the throne. The speech from the throne deals with a proposed plan of social insurance, and then it glides off and tells of certain little things we have done over the years to bring about a certain type of social security. There is all the difference in the world between the two terms. Why does the government not say outright: Here is the guarantee we will give, a guarantee of economic security for those who return after the battle is won.

Then the speech from the throne moves on to the platitudes of the Atlantic charter. I must beware lest I commit sacrilege in speaking of such an important document. I do not know particularly what makes it so important. I do not see that there is anything new about it. The other day I picked up a little bit of a poem-I regret that I am unable to give credit to the paper from which I cut it. Evidently it was printed not long after the signing of the Atlantic charter. It is entitled, "Footnotes to the Four Freedoms":

"Freedom of speech"; well, even slaves may chatter

So long as they're unarmed it doesn't matter.

"Religious freedom"; well, what are the odds?

So long as Mammon heads the list of gods!

"Freedom from want"; no breeder would deprive

Good cattle of the means to keep alive.

"Freedom from Fear": a counsel of perfection?

Not if there's always ample police protection.

Freedom to act, to choose or to refuse?

Ah that's a "very different pair of shoes!"

I have often wondered what is so particularly startling about the terms of the Atlantic charter. There is nothing new about it. I wonder what makes it famous. What makes it famous is that the president of the great democracy to the south and the Prime Minister of Great Britain met in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, secretly, but on the other hand perhaps with all the pomp that such dignitaries deserve, and drew up the charter under these circumstances. All they did was simply to assemble a number of words together to explain a principle with which everyone agrees and has agreed for years. The Atlantic charter of course will go down in history; it will go down in United States history, it will go down in British history. I do not know so much about Canadian history, because the Prime Minister of Canada was not at the meeting. The Atlantic charter will go down in history nevertheless, in spite of the fact that it enunciates no new principle. If it did, then the Atlantic charter becomes a condemnation of every pre-war

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government that has existed in those two great democracies. I repeat that; if the Atlantic charter does enunciate some new principle, that charter becomes the condemnation of every pre-war government that has existed in this dominion. Why? What have previous governments been aiming to do? Have they not been aiming to bring about freedom from want, freedom from fear? The answer is obvious; of course they have. Then there has been no new principle enunciated in the Atlantic charter.

While the representative heads of those two great democracies got together and returned to their countries with this that has come to be known as the Atlantic charter, have we any reason to believe that existing governments can do next year what they were unable to do the year before? Have we any reason to believe that existing governments can do in post-war days what they were unable to do in pre-war days? That is a question which bothers me. Personally I have no confidence that they can; I have no confidence that they will, unless they change the present system. I do not wish to become too satirical at this point. The other day when the Prime Minister was speaking he gave us to understand that he was very careful when he chose men for his cabinet, men who had to work with him in the administration of the affairs of this country. He said. There are three rules that I follow; I choose them first because they have character; second, because they have ability; and, third, because they have brains. That is very wise. I hope the Prime Minister did not forget that we must conclude that it takes brains to choose brains. I suppose he took that for granted.

I am not going to question for one moment the character, intellect and ability of those who sit on the treasury benches. We all agree that they are capable men. But even if we recognize that, there are yet some things that I cannot understand. A few years ago the hon. member for Battle River (Mr. Fair) gave a very simple illustration here, and I am going to use it again. I have not his words; I do not know whether he read it, but he gave this illustration. He said, Here are ten men; their clothes are worn out, they have no money, and they are hungry. And over here are ten loaves of bread. Yet the government cannot get those ten loaves of bread over to those ten hungry men. In pre-war days that illustration was a very apt one. Even the Prime Minister, who had the brains to choose the brains, could pool all the brains and yet there were not enough

brains there to devise a way by which those ten loaves of bread and those ten suits of clothes could be given to those ten hungry men, when they had no money. If we use that illustration, one of two things is true: either that pool did not have any brains, or there were more powerful brains influencing them not to do the thing they should have done.

While I am dwelling on that point, things do bother us a little sometimes. I recall in March, 1938, we had, I think I may say, a very intelligent gentleman as finance minister of this country in the Hon. Mr. Dunning. In the course of debate the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore) suggested that there should be an expansion of credit in order to end unemployment and take men off the relief rolls. He was interrupted by an hon. member on the government side, and I should like to read what happened in that little discussion as recorded at page 1125 of Hansard of March 8, 1939:

Mr. Martin: I have followed the hon. gentleman very carefully and sincerely, and I should like to ask him a question, because he has given this matter a great deal of study. To what extent would he advocate that we should go? . . .

Mr. Blackmore: In the first place we must

not enter into too many technicalities here.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Blackmore: It is all right to laugh, but the details I have given here this afternoon are quite sufficient. At another time I shall go into those details along that very line, if I am required to do so. In the first place we can say this: No one would be afraid if the banks throughout this country were to take a notion to lend $300,000,000.

Mr. Dunning: I would.

Mr. Blackmore: Would the minister be


Mr. Dunning: Yes; I am afraid of notions

like that. I would want to know what was back of it.

Mr. Blackmore: Would the minister be afraid that $300,000,000 loaned to farmers and various other producers throughout the country would cause inflation?

Mr. Dunning: I would want to know precisely what was back of it.

Those are the words of a Minister of Finance in this government, the words of a man who had intelligence. Those words were spoken just a year before the beginning of the war. What do we find now? Well, the war broke out; and over night half a billion dollars sprang into existence. We are now spending every year in the neighbourhood of five billion dollars. Did somebody say something about brains?

Those are the things that bother us. I say once more I cannot help thinking personally that the Minister of Finance and

The Address-Mr. Weir

perhaps other responsible ministers of the government are ill-informed by their advisers. When I read statements such as that of the Minister of Finance of that day I feel like saying, "Hast thou said it of thyself, or did some other tell it to thee?" I am suggesting that somewhere in the picture there is the personification of elements more powerful than governments. Somewhere there is a powerful government which governs government.

The other day, having an interest in postwar reconstruction, I read from a newspaper where, by order in council, a committee of men had ben chosen to examine matters pertaining to post-war reconstruction. This is a Canadian press dispatch dated at Ottawa, and is headed, "Ottawa men will plan for post-war." I do not wish to be too harsh, nor do I wish to be mistaken. Certainly I do not want anyone to mistake my meaning. I have every respect for any man who is doing his best to solve the problems of this country. But what do I find about this post-war committee? Evidently it is a departmental committee. Doctor W. C. Clark, deputy minister of finance, is to be chairman. One of the members of the committee is Donald Gordon, chairman of the wartime prices and trade board, and one time deputy governor of the Bank of Canada. I find also on the committee Mr. Graham F. Towers, governor of the Bank of Canada, and Mr. R. B. Bryce, of the Department of Finance, is to act as secretary.

These are honoured gentlemen, and I am not being sarcastic when I bring their names ' to the attention of the house. But when we come to the terms of reference we find that the committee is to prepare reports and recommendations respecting measures to deal' with post-war problems. The thing bothering me is this. The same honoured gentlemen were advisers to the government in the pre-war depression days. Have we any confidence that those men, who could not solve pre-war problems, are any better fitted to solve post-war problems? That is the difficulty in which I find myself. Those same advisers have been advising the government for many years. They were the men who were advising the Hon. Mr. Dunning when we challenged the ability of Canada to absorb 8300,000,000 of bank credit, something which the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore) said could be done. His words have become true, because we have issued amounts far greater than that.

It seems to me that the present situation might be compared with an old and patched pair of trousers. The trousers are patched

from top to bottom, and we are now choosing a post-war interdepartmental brain trust and delegating them by order in council to sew a few more patches on the same old trousers and, as one of my colleagues suggests, in the same old place.

Why can we not tackle the post-war problem as it should be tackled? Why can we not tackle the problem of the returned soldier as it should be tackled? We have a land settlement scheme, and we have now had suggested a scheme of social insurance. Last year a committee of the house discussed postwar reconstruction. They did good work at the beginning of their discussions, but before they had completed their work they turned their attention to the subject of nutrition. They did not seek to find ways and means of finding the fundamental wrongs in the system, but ended up by trying to mea-sure the size of each other's belts. Let us get right down to business and find out, first of all, the fundamental cause of the failure in pre-war days. When we have found the cause let us look for a solution.

I notice Mr. Speaker is indicating that my time is up and, although I have a raft of notes before me, I shall have to deal with them at a later time. Let us really get down to the fundamental principles of giving real security to the boys when they return from the war.

W. G. WEIR (Macdonald): Mr. Speaker, in rising to-night to contribute a few observations to this debate I wish my first words to be of appreciation of the two hon. members who respectively moved and seconded the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I do so not only on account of the splendid contribution they made, but also on account of what they represent in the house. It is gratifying to the country and particularly to hon. members on the government side of the house to hear the comments now being made with respect to Canada's war effort. Listening to the observations thus far made, I think it can be taken for granted that on the whole the country is magnificently impressed by the effort which has been made. We are hearing little criticism to-day with regard to developments which have taken place along those lines.

The contributions of the mover (Mr. Harris) and the seconder (Mr. Halle) of the address remind us that the war is still going on, and that the end is far from sight. We are reminded that our first and real job still to be done is that of cariying out the war effort to its successful conclusion.

The Address-Mr. Weir

Having said that, I should like to discuss one or two other matters. Perhaps it will not be considered out of place if I remind the house that, since last we met, a national convention has been held in my native province, and that from that convention emanated a brand new political party under the title of the Progressive Conservative party. Sometimes I take a little amusement from the attempts of hon. gentlemen opposite to become familiar with their new title.

It reminds one of the new bride and her attempt to become accustomed to her new name. I should like to go one step further with respect to the development that has taken place in connection with our hon. friends across the floor of this house. I took the liberty of looking up a dictionary in order to ascertain just what these two names had in common so that they could be tacked on to the same political organization. The dictionary that I have gives the following meaning to the word "Progressive":

One who believes in and works for changes and reforms, especially in political matters.

With respect to the word "Conservative", this definition is given:

One opposed to hasty changes in political, religious or civil institutions as the Conservative is seldom progressive. A member of a political party in Great Britain opposed to radical reform as distinguished from Liberal and Labourite.

I mention these definitions merely to indicate the contrast. To me it is comparable with that between water and gasoline, and I fear that as enthusiasm cools off, the one will likely freeze to the extent of clogging the mechanism, so that the other will not work. Perhaps it is not out of place to say a word or two with regard td the early development of the Progressive movement, upon which our hon. friends opposite are attempting to capitalize. May I say that the Progressive movement of 1921 originated many long years before. It originated in the little red school-houses all over western Canada; it originated in the farm homes; it developed into community and district conventions and then into provincial conventions which became known in western Canada as the farmers' parliament. It finally was headed up in the Canadian council of agriculture as far as national issues were concerned.

Contrary to what many people think, the success of the Progressive movement in 1921 hinged largely on two matters of policy. First, there was the reinstitution of the Canadian wheat board and, second, the fact that candidates were nominated at properly held conventions and that their election

expenses were paid by the electors. Those were the two things that appealed to the electorate of western Canada and other parts of the country as well during that election campaign. May I say here that whatever else history may say with respect to the development of the Progressive movement, it did more to purify politics in this country and to develop and further the true spirit of our democratic institutions than anything else ever did. Unfortunately that fundamental principle of our electoral system has been departed from to some extent in the meantime. My point, however, in commenting as I have so far is to show that the Progressive movement as it has been known had developed over a period of thirty years. It was rooted deeply in the soil. It had fundamentally far-reaching principles, and its development came from the bottom up, not as an organization already existing having that name attached to it.

I should like to say a word with respect to one matter referred to in the speech from the throne, namely, redistribution. If redistribution is gone ahead with, two of the western provinces will lose seven of their members in this House of Commons. These members will be lost through no fault of those provinces. The drouth condition which prevailed in western Canada did its part in moving the population. On top of that, those provinces have contributed in a magnificent way to Canada's war effort, both in the armed forces and in all forms of industrial and agricultural production. It seems to me most unfortunate, after having made the contribution in the manner they have, that they should be penalized to the extent of seven members in the Canadian parliament. I hope the government will decide not to proceed with redistribution at this session of parliament. Conditions will change in the course of a few years, particularly when the war is over, which we hope will be soon, and then those two western provinces can again gather up their population and be entitled to full representation in this house.

Coming as I do from a rural constituency, I should like to point out that the representation affected will be rural representation. This only goes to show how we are tending to further the representation of our industrial centres and larger towns and cities at the expense of our rural representation. I merely wish to impress upon the government my hope that they will not proceed with redistribution at this session.

I am constrained to say a word or two largely on account of the remarks made a few days ago by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Claxton). I

The Address-Mr. Weir

think one of the things we are all desirous of having in this House of Commons is as true a representation of the Canadian people as it is possible to secure. As far as elections are concerned, if I may refer to them, there are two main difficulties. First, elections are too expensive-I do not think anyone disagrees with me on that point-and, second, too few of the people go out to vote. What I am saying in this regard does not refer only to the federal parliament; it applies also to our municipal and provincial governments as well as to school boards and so forth all down the line. I am afraid that this apathy toward our political institutions may lead to our people being prepared to accept some other form of government less representative and certainly not as democratic as the one we have.

Something must be done, although I do not know what it is. This institution, both in its own interests and for the preservation of democracy, must do something. Perhaps our political organizations could do more than has been done. At the present t-ime there are people who recognize this difficulty and who suggest that we should adopt a system of proportional representation or the single transferable vote. They claim that these methods of voting give a truer representation of the people. My fear with respect to either one of these systems is that it would lead to group government with a consequent lack of stability which is necessary if a government is to carry on. I do not know wrhat the solution is, but something more is necessary.

I can see a place for proportional representation and the single transferable vote in our municipal and in our provincial governments where the work and duties are largely administrative, but I doubt the wisdom of their application in the national field. In the larger fields of national and international policy I am afraid that we must rely on the philosophy of a government supported by a political party.

It was gratifying last night to hear my hon. friend the member for Regina City (Mr. McNiven) refer to a resolution which the Liberal organization of Saskatchewan had put on record. I am not referring to its contents, but it indicated to me a degree of activity on the part of a political organization that was doing its duty and keeping its organization intact, preparing to do its part in making democracy function. That is a responsibility which should attach to all political organizations in the country. On one occasion I had the pleasure of doing something along that line, by way of promoting an essay-writing competition. It is neither here nor there what use was to be made of the essay, but the title of it was, " Our Canadian democracy, what it

is and what it demands." I emphasize "what it demands." We were attempting to bring home to those who took part in the competition the demands that democracy makes upon the citizen and how he should endeavour to prepare himself to make his contribution under our democratic system of government. Something more along that line is probably necessary. Some have advocated compulsory voting. I recall that a committee of this house dealt with that question a few years ago, but decided that it was not practical, particularly in a country like Canada, and I am inclined to agree. Nevertheless something of that sort is necessary. I have often wondered whether we could not institute a system whereby political organizations would be obliged to incorporate themselves, and be required to hold annual meetings called in a proper manner, and along with that there might be a campaign directed by the state itself to impress upon the people what a democratic system of government means and what their obligations are with respect to it.

There are two or three matters to which I wish to refer and which the debate on the address affords about the only opportunity of doing so. The first reference I wish to make is with respect to our control boards. One of the first criticisms I would make with regard to these control boards as a general principle is that for the most part they are not composed of trained civil servants and therefore in many instances they are very poor public relations people. I say that from some experience. I do not know who they are or how they got their appointments, but that is a general observation which I think can justly be made with respect to many of these control boards.

Second, I believe the authority of these boards is too much centralized. In a country such as Canada with its wide diversity of conditions, I do not think one can satisfactorily centralize control in any one place and have one policy applicable in the same degree throughout the whole country. I suggest that these boards should recognize the difference between different parts of Canada and give greater power or direction and authority to provincial and local boards. Let me give two illustrations, two experiences that actually came to my notice.

A farmer's stock-watering pump went out of order. The repair for it was in the neighbouring town, but when he went to purchase it he was informed that he would have to get a priority which must be secured from a town 150 miles away. It would take at the very

The Address-Mr. Weir

least three days to get that priority, and there was that farmer with all his live stock waiting for drinking water! Surely conditions like that were never intended under this control system.

The second case is that of a hospital which had its pumping equipment break down. The hospital authorities knew perfectly well that the repair was available, but they could not get it because they could not secure a priority rating.

These two cases illustrate the point I wish to make, that the authority of these boards should not be so much centralized that the system breaks down and people condemn it out of all reason.

I do not want to be considered provincial or local or anything of that kind, but there are one or two things which should be said with respect to rationing. I refer first to tea, coffee, sugar, butter, of which in the main I think we have enough for our needs. But I point this out, that the town or city dweller has an advantage over the rural dweller in that some member of the family in a town or city, if not all of them, is able to go to a restaurant or hotel for one or two meals a day. That applies scarcely at all to the farm population. The townspeople can go to a hotel or restaurant and save on their sugar and tea, but the country person cannot do so. Again, we know that if a man goes out into the country to repair some farm equipment, he seldom brings his ration card with him, and the consequence is that he has to be fed out of the farm family's rations. Therefore I am suggesting that there might be a little more leniency for the people in the country who are thus situated.

I wish to make a plea with regard to beef, which from present indications is to be rationed. If there is to be rationing of beef, the authorities in charge of the matter should have regard to the fact that people doing heavy manual labour require a heavier meal than people who are doing lighter kinds of work. Farmers, bushmen and coal miners, in fact all those engaged in heavy active work, should receive special consideration when a product such as beef is being rationed. I do not want to be misunderstood and have people think I am making a plea for rural people as against city people. Personally, I think I am simply making a request that is logical.

There is another regulation which does not work well in view of our western conditions. I refer to the fifty-mile limit on bus travel. Anyone who has been in the west and also in the east knows that the situation in the west is entirely different, and a regulation provid-

FMr. Weir.l

ing for a fifty-mile limit on bus travel in western Canada simply does not get one anywhere.

With regard to gasoline rationing-I am not pressing this at the moment-there is, nevertheless, a good argument, I believe, in support of western people being allowed a larger gasoline ration .than people in the more thickly populated parts of the country. The distances are greater in the west; the towns are farther apart, and for that reason the people are entitled to additional consideration. I have mentioned these items largely for the purpose of supporting my argument that there should be more localized control.

Another matter to which I wish to refer is the payment of income tax by farmers. I do not wish to be misunderstood in my argument. The farmers are willing to pay income tax when they are taxable; but here I want to make a distinction between a farmer and a business man. The farmer is not only in business, but his business is his home, in contrast with the ordinary business man. We have heard arguments on all sides of the house regarding the plight in which the agriculturist finds himself. Perhaps up to now he has not been obliged to pay income tax to any great extent, but many farmers are now going to be called upon to do so. When we look back over last year and the year before, when the quota system of delivery applied to grain, many farmers were obliged to market most of two years' crops in one year, which brought them into the higher income ratio and made them taxable.

In the period from 1930 on, farmers all over the country, and particularly in western Canada, took a terrible licking. With the personal income tax in operation they are not going to be able to recoup very much of the losses they sustained at that time. Moreover, we know that a farmer can suffer a substantial loss in one year and have a bumper income the next year, but he cannot recoup himself for the losses of the previous year, and the result is that all he makes is taken up in taxation. My suggestion is that the income tax as applied to real farmers should be applied on an average of three or five years, so that they will not be taxed for everything they make if they happen to have a good year. I know that some farmers were shrewd enough to delay the marketing of some of their products this last year until after the close of the calendar year. Hogs, for example, were held back, and marketed overweight. I know of a man who would not sell his flax until after the new year. That is indicative of what the

The Address-Mr. Weir

situation is with respect to the application of the income tax. We cannot blame the farmers for that, because this year the same men may have no income at all. I think the suggestion I have made is worthy of consideration.

The next reference I wish to make relates to the income tax as it applies to our cooperative marketing institutions, and what I have to say in this regard applies equally well to our credit unions. In the main these institutions have been established in this country for years. So far they have considered themselves not liable to pay income tax. Recently two or three of them in our province have been assessed income tax, and the matter has been taken to the courts and still remains there. My contention is that a cooperative, a true cooperative, should not be required to pay income tax. Such institutions are established by the farmers themselves. Their capital set-up is built largely on a revolving plan. It is savings which they make on the type of business they are doing. It is not a profit. They

have simply banded 'together in order either to sell or to purchase collectively some of their necessary requirements, and any saving they make is, I repeat, not a profit. They are associated without any thought of profit, interest or dividends. If the present situation is such that this cannot be established so that they can be declared to be nontaxable so far as income tax is concerned, I suggest to the government that it is time we should have a cooperative act in this country defining the status of cooperative organizations and requiring them to live up to it, and thus determine whether or not they are taxable. Personally I think most of them will get around the income tax, but they may hurt their own business in doing so and not carry on upon as sound a basis as they are now doing. What they are doing at the present time is simply adding to the wholesale price of the goods which they are buying, not knowing exactly what their handling risks may be. If they have anything left over at the end, they are simply redistributing that saving back to themselves. I contend that a cooperative organization is just as much a part of the farmer's machinery as is his horse and buggy, his tractor, or his automobile.

One other thing, and it is of the nature of a complaint: I refer to the application of the Foreign Exchange Control Act. I have under my hand the serial number of a tractor which was imported into this country in April, 1940, before the foreign exchange control tax was

enacted, and was sold to a customer in August, and in the sales sheet there is an item of war tax, so many dollars. I contend that the company selling that implement had no right whatever to include an item of tax in the case of that implement, for it was a tax which they did not pay to the government. Moreover, the minister, when he introduced that tax, said that it would be done away with at the close of the war. Very well; what is happening? Take the farm implement industry. Their warehouses were full at the time that this tax was applied. To-day they are depleted and certainly not likely to be stocked when the war is over. The result will be that these people have been able to gain materially through the application of that tax. Therefore I suggest that the application of the tax is entirely unfair. I know the minister will say that so far as the Department of National Revenue is concerned the importation complied with regulations and that if there is responsibility beyond that it belongs to someone else. That is hardly a good enough answer, because farmers all over Canada, particularly in western Canada, have been obliged to pay the added amount, which did not come to the state. I am not saying that all implement companies or all other businesses took this procedure, but in the one case I have under my hand that is certainly what has taken place.

A word with respect to the farm labour situation. There is not any doubt that an agricultural labour problem exists. To-day most of the farmers in western Canada, and I assume all over Canada, are short of efficient help. Not only are the farmers short, but there is a shortage in the mines and the woods. At the same time there are reported to be several thousand men and women in Winnipeg who are unemployed. Along with that, we have the newspapers advertising jobs in the woods, in the mines, and on farms; I am told that there are positions for some five hundred domestics in Winnipeg alone, and I venture to say there are thousands of farmers who would gladly accept the services of a domestic. What is the situation? These people want war jobs; they do not want jobs which are on land. What are we going to do about it? Are we going to turn to compulsion and oblige them to go where there is work? I do not know the answer. Moreover, I fear, and I think it is not unreasonable to assume, that these people for the most part would be inexperienced farm help. That being so, I doubt whether their services would add greatly to the productive capacity of any of our farms in western Canada. After all, the chap with

The Address-Mr. Weir

the real knowledge of our western farms is to-day in the army; it is his old dad who is left behind, who does not know much about running a tractor, and is not so able to plough around through the deep snow in the cold weather as he used to be. It is the man to take his place who is required. It is not an easy job, and I doubt whether the suggested women's land army can perform the services needed at the present time.

I wanted to say a word with respect to another matter raised in this house, namely, the question of conscientious objectors. I hold the view that our conscientious objectors in the age groups called for military service should be required to perform some service for the state the same as others. I think it would be for their own good to do so, and moreover I think that they themselves have no objection. I am prompted to make this reference on account of a clipping which appeared a few days ago in one of the Winnipeg newspapers. Unfortunately I do not have it before me, but the report stated that fifty or sixty conscientious objectors were being sent up to Riding Mountain national park, and that was all it said. That bare statement is the most misleading type of statement that can be made. The fact is that these men were sent there to cut wood at fifty cents a day for the people in the surrounding country. That is the contribution they were making. They were not sent there to clear the park for tourist purposes or anything of that sort. These men can and should be used for useful work but not for work that is unnecessary. More than that, I think they could properly be given a little further consideration. I do not think we are going to get full efficiency out of a man doing a day's work at fifty cents a day even if he is getting board and clothing, and while they may be performing some service for the state, I think they would perform a greater service if they were given some further incentive.

I suggest that so far as the man-power situation in the west is concerned, it will depend a good deal upon the season and the size of crop. Last year we had a large crop, and with the assistance of women and childreil and townsfolk and other help we could get, that crop was taken off in a reasonably satisfactory manner, but no extras were taken care of, and the fall work this year is considerably behind. Moreover, the spring season will be approached with a good deal of hesitancy as to what they can do this season. I can go further than that. If it had not been for bringing the Japanese to our province there would not have been any sugar beets produced

this year, so that I submit to the government that steps will have to be taken to see that a more adequate supply of farm labour is provided.

I had hoped to mention two or three other matters, but my time is passing. However, in the few minutes left, I should like to make one further reference, namely, to the Atlantic charter and the declarations made therein. The Atlantic charter and the circumstances that surrounded its presentation to the world are heralded to-day as the ideals of the united nations with respect to the war and what may follow. The question that has occurred to me, looking at these declarations, is this: What part is Canada going to play with regard to these declarations? What interpretation are we going to place on the different sections of these declarations? What is going to be Canada's attitude toward the carrying out of these declarations? I come particularly to clause 4, which declares that they will endeavour, with due respect for their existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all states, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access on equal terms to the trade and raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity.

That, I submit, is where Canada must be concerned. I have listened to and read a few articles with regard to Canada's position at the close of this war, and it seems to me that the whole emphasis is pointed in the direction of what we are going to be able to dispose of to keep up our production. WThat are we going to be able to sell? I suggest that if we are going to sell, if we are going to try to keep up our production, we must be prepared to buy because there is no other way by which we shall sell. I think the government can take a lead and take it immediately in its attitude to the Atlantic charter and should start now to make provision for what we shall buy from those people to whom we hope to sell goods in the future. I think we can give a lead in that direction, and we are in a magnificent position to do so. It comes down to this, that we must determine whether we shall industrialize this country further, or recognize the position of agriculture. If we are to recognize the position of agriculture, the one thing it needs for social rehabilitation, or anything else we wish to attach to it, is an opportunity to produce and market its goods at a reasonable price.


Liguori Lacombe

Independent Liberal

Mr. LIGUORI LACOMBE (Laval-Two Mountains) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, the speech from the throne reveals at last some apprehension on the part of the government

The Address-Mr. Lacombe

concerning fundamental post-war reactions. We have so often warned the government against them that we disclaim any share of responsibility for events which they have prepared quite freely and of their own accord.

In the face of rationing applied to essential goods and food products in a country disposing of a 600 million bushel wheat surplus, have we not a right to doubt the efficiency of the so-called economists guiding our administration?

In the face of homes being abandoned by mothers and the consequent breaking up of families, the very foundation of society, one is at a loss to visualize any possible efficiency connected with the social security plan contained in the speech from the throne.

Our first duty is to safeguard the family, failing which any social legislation is without avail in a moribund society.

May I be allowed, Mr. Speaker, to quote from the January issue of this year of Canada at War, on page 6:

There are approximately 3,970,000 women in Canada over the age of 15, and about 1,350,000 of this number are in paying jobs.

There are about 225,000 women working directly or indirectly in war industry, an increase of 45,000 from last September.

The proportion of women thus employed is soaring and Canada looks to women to bring its new and great war industrial machinery to peak output this year.

It. has been estimated that 80 per cent of the jobs in industry can be filled by women. Canada does not expect to reach anything near this proportion in industry as a whole, but in some new war plants the percentage of women employees to total employees is already near this mark.

The number of mothers now at work has increased to such an extent that day nurseries are being opened in every locality of any size.

What will be the effect of this nefarious policy upon future generations? This is a cause for deep worry among more experienced sociologists. I wonder if the government has even any thought for it. Let the government adopt every imaginable social measure; they cannot substitute for education and a mother's care the framework of their secular legislation.

Ever bent on legislating, the government is now proposing to coordinate Canadian and American agricultural production. Why go to so much trouble for the farmer whom the government persist in taking away from the farm and sending to military barracks? Let them first put their house in order before worrying about the neighbours. Some will claim that farmers get postponements. A certain number of them, after all kinds of formalities, after being subjected to every annoyance, have obtained postponements of a few days, weeks

or months. But, Mr. Speaker, I know farmers' sons, farm hands and even married farm owners who, after returning the request for postponement, duly filled, sworn to and addressed to the registrar, received for answer a notice to report to the training camp and a transportation warrant. To support my claims, I could give the names of hundreds of draftees: the Giroux of St. Eustache, the Beaudoins of Ste. Rose, the Ouellettes of St. Augustin, the Laroses of St. Eustache, the Girards of Oka, the Daousts of St. Benoit, the Cyrs of Ste. Scholastique, the Jolys of Ste. Rose.

How can there be coordination of agricultural production while our dairy stocks are [DOT]being thinned out, our farms abandoned, our production reduced through the acts and errors of our own leaders?

Let us keep our farmers on the land; then it will be possible for us to feed our troops and civilian population. Instead of coordinating the production of the United States with our own, let us ensure production at home by granting complete exemption from military service to our farmers.

Since the adoption of the mobilization act, on June 19, 1940, how many times have I requested the government to grant such an exemption? I have never ceased asking for it, in keeping with the firm stand I have always maintained against mobilization, which is and always has been a hypocritical and camouflaged form of conscription. The alleged postponements the farmers are supposed to get are nothing but a ridiculous and cynical kind of deception. It is a new falsehood added to the series of broken promises. Thus spoke the hon. member for Richelieu-Vercheres (Mr. Cardin) a few days ago, in this house. My hon. friend, who is now smiling, the hon. member for Chambly-Rouville (Mr. Dupuis) recalls this perfectly well. He is well aware of this, representing as he does an agricultural constituency. Let him state if this is true or not.

The registrars persist in calling farmers for military training without even using the measure of discernment which we have a right to expect from smart and shameless officials.


Liguori Lacombe

Independent Liberal


Thus, through the fault,

neglect and rank prejudice of a government who accumulate on their shoulders the most formidable responsibilities, the people of the cauntiy are headed toward starvation. And our so-called economists, our would-be statesmen remain impassive witnesses of the

The Address-Mr. Lacombe

I have done everything in my power to prevent our participation in this war. I had previously opposed the increase in our military budget, which I knew was intended for our participation in the war. On September 9, 1939, seconded by the hon. member for Quebec-Montmoreney (Mr. LaCroix), I moved an amendment against our entry into the war; later on, I moved two amendments against the mobilization act, which was nothing other than conscription. In spite of the sole support of my hon. colleague, I never ceased fighting. Now, in order to avoid a greater disaster, I appeal to my colleagues from Quebec in favour of understanding, union and harmony. By all means it is most important to avoid conscription for overseas service. It would be detrimental to the defence of Canada, and it would mean the death of the last remnants of national unity and of the liberties for whose conquest we have had to fight so. stubbornly.

One last word. I would not be fair toward the hon. member for Gaspe (Mr. Roy), if I did not express all my gratitude for the generous support he has granted me during the last session of parliament. Together with a few of our colleagues, we have fought for a policy which would be exclusively and honestly Canadian. I shall never forget the memorable day of February 19, 1942, when a dozen members of this house voted with us to oppose the drafting of farmers' sons. Also, I shall never forget the memorable night of July 23, 1942, when a greater number of our colleagues voted in favour of the Roy-Lacombe amendment which opposed the granting of discretionary powers which would have given the cabinet a free hand to impose conscription for overseas service by order in council. Subsequent events justify our position, and the future will prove that we were right.

Before taking my seat, allow me to congratulate the newly-appointed member for Charlevoix-Saguenay (Mr. Dorion) upon the magnificent future which can be forecast from his maiden speech on the floor of the house to-day.

Mr. BERT H. SOPER (Lanark): Mr. Speaker, after listening to the many fine speeches we have heard in this debate in the last two weeks it is with some reluctance that I rise to say a few words. First I should like to congratulate the mover (Mr. Harris) and the seconder (Mr. Halle) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. These two young men in uniform bore out what has been often told me by men who have returned from overseas, that our armed forces have wonderful equipment and wonderfully trained armies on all the battlefronts.

I also wish to congratulate the new leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon) and of the Conservative party in this house. It is a very fine tribute to that young man to be asked to lead his party temporarily. Might I also say a word in tribute to the late leader of the Conservative party. While the hon. member for York-Sunbury (Mr. Hanson) was critical at times of government policies I think he was always fair, and I know that he had the admiration of a great many members on this side of the house. I am also glad to note that if the Conservative party had to have a new leader they chose one from my native county of Leeds-although the new leader is not really showing the traditional fighting spirit of the people of that county or he would be here in the house.

The constituency which I have the honour to represent in this house is in the rural section, very much of a dairying county, and it is on behalf of the dairy farmers that I wish to say a few words. We have heard a great deal from the farmers of the west, the wheat growers, and we have heard of the difficulties of the raisers of beef cattle in our own province, but really the farmer who is to be pitied is the dairy farmer. He has a job 365 days in the year. Other farmers, I admit, have their busy times, but they do not have the long and arduous hours that the dairy farmer has, and with the present shortage of farm labour I am sorry to say that we are losing some of our best dairy herds. The farmers' sons have joined the armed forces or gone to work in munitions plants, the fathers and mothers are getting older and find it harder to carry on, but in spite of all that we had an improvement in our dairy production last year and the year before. But do not forget that the fathers and mothers are getting older, are more worked out, and cannot be expected to handle the work unless they can get more help. I should like the government to be as considerate as possible regarding the dairy farmer and the price he receives for his goods.

In manufacturing, our county, I think, has been very well used. We have at the present time about fifteen manufacturing plants which are engaged chiefly on war work, probably to the extent of ninety-eight per cent; the people working in them are well paid; and although at times, no doubt, there have been some disagreements, they consider they have been fairly well treated by the Department of Munitions and Supply, and are receiving a reasonable share of raw materials and contracts.

I also have in my county one of the largest line divisional points of the Canadian Pacific

The Address-Mr. Soper

railway. Probably some hon. members are aware of this fact because they spent considerable time with us yesterday when they were snow-bound. The people who make up that vast army of Canadian Pacific workers are very loyal; a great many of them have sons in the army. We never hear of labour troubles; all they seem to think of is, get on with the war effort and win the war. But I often wonder what is the present opinion of those people who a few years ago were advocating the amalgamation of our railroads. I am sure that everyone, whether or not of the same faith of our Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), agrees that he was a man of vision when he said, "Amalgamation never, cooperation ever." If a certain number of our lines had been torn up and much of our equipment scrapped, in what position would we be to-day? At the present time we are using every last line and every bit of equipment which both railroads can muster. The car in which I came to Ottawa this morning has been on the Canadian Pacific railway for twenty-five years and is still going strong.

The butter situation has been mentioned in the house two or three times. I must say that I was very sorry that, in a dairy country such as Canada is, it was decided to ration butter. I do not believe that it was necessary. If the wartime prices and trade board or whoever was in authority had not talked so much about it and given so much information to the newspapers, thereby getting the public scared and thinking of hoarding, I believe we would have come through without any such restriction. I am sure we shall get our reserves back to where they should be, and I hope that the order will be cancelled as soon as possible.

A word about potatoes, because the situation has been very bad in the last month in our cities. I do not want anybody to think that I am not in favour of the wartime prices and trade board. I am; I think they are doing and have been doing a wonderful job, and that without them we should have very hard times later on. My county is about half industrial and half farming, and they are the two classes of people that are hurt the most by inflation. However, 1 am afraid that the economists gave the wartime prices and trade board some bad advice with regard to the distribution of potatoes. It looks to me as though they had advised them that they could get along without the middleman. Anybody who knows anything about the distribution of farm products knows that we cannot dispense with the middleman, and had the wartime 72537-31

prices and trade board called in some of the members of this house they would have got better advice. One hon. member I have in mind ho this connection is the hon. gentleman who represents Victoria-Carleton (Mr. Hatfield) on the opposition benches, and who has had a great deal of experience in the distribution of farm products. I know also that there are hon. members on our side who could have given the board good advice along that line.

Another question to which I would briefly refer is, where are we going in the matter of erecting temporary buildings in this city, where living accommodation at the present time is taxed beyond all reason? I understand that in many instances girls who are not in very good circumstances have to live three and four in a room. I do not see why the government could not have moved some of the departments which are less essential to the war effort to some of the fine towns in the surrounding country. We have a number of cities wherein buildings could have been adapted to office use at a reasonable cost, where housing accommodation would have been more adequate, and, no doubt, much cheaper. There are, for example, four fine towns in my own county-Almonte, Carle-ton Place, Perth and Smiths Falls.

I was pleased to see in the speech from! the throne some reference to social security. It is a matter about which I feel very strongly, because I am sure nothing makes for a better feeling among our people than the knowledge that they will have economic security in their old age. I should like to see the allowances raised to old age pensioners, to the blind, and to disabled veterans. A few years ago we thought that forty dollars a month was quite a generous allowance to those entitled to the old age pension-I am sorry that any of them have to draw it-but the situation is quite different to-day and these people are entitled to much more.

I trust that when the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) brings down his budget he will have some announcement to make with regard to the Ruml plan. Although I am not very well qualified to speak about it, I have read through the proposal, and I am sure that anyone who has done so will agree with me that it is an advanced step and one that should be taken in this country. Why should we be paying next year on something we have earned this year? It is bound to catch up with us some time. Some people say we are dropping a year's taxes, but we are not. We shall have to pay, and the only time that we shall be dropping a year's taxes is when we die.

The [DOT] Address-Mr. Rickard

We have had a great many controls, but one control which I hope will never be relaxed is the one that stops people from instalment buying. Instalment buying was one of the worst things that our people ever had. A man could go in and with a slight down-payment, practically nothing, buy something, paying an extra carrying charge. He has to keep on paying interest, because no one is selling goods to-day without getting payment for the use of his money, and the bookkeeping which that system involves.


Wilbert Franklin (Frank) Rickard


Mr. W. F. RICKARD (Durham):

It is

not my intention to dwell at any length on the address in reply to the speech from the throne. We have listened to-night to two farmer members speaking in this house. While the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Soper) is not perhaps directly a farmer, he is very much interested in farming, having operated a dairy farm. The hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Weir) is a real farmer. With what these two hon. gentlemen have said I am in total agreement in a great many respects, particularly with the views of the hon. member for Macdonald on the controlling of some of our produce. I am not going to repeat what he has said. I did intend to say a great many of the things that he has said, but as he has said them I will take them as conveying my ideas.

At the risk of repeating what has been stated already, I wish to congratulate the mover (Mr. Harris) and the seconder (Mr. Halle) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne, not because these hon. gentlemen did a really good job, as in fact they did, but because they represent the armed forces of this country. They are two men who have served in the forces overseas and who expect to go back and serve there again. They are worthy of our commendation.

The speech from' the throne has given us a summary of our war record during the last year and of what we propose to do in the post-war period, and I believe it has given us, as individual members, something to think about, and has given us a place in the economy of the country. That is very necessary because the ordinary member of parliament has been, perhaps, too much forgotten in the past. The ordinary member of parliament, no matter how humble he may be, can offer the government some suggestions which would be of some assistance, and I often think governments, if they paid more attention to some of the things which ordinary members of parliament say, would not get into so many difficulties. There are

many people to-day who think we have too much government by order in council and too much government by those who are outside the administration, and I am inclined to believe that they are not very far wrong. I hope the day will soon come when we shall get away from this kind of thing and get back to a little more democratic government by the members themselves. I can understand that it is necessary, in war time, to pass orders in council and have legislation of this kind, but when the house is sitting, and when we have an opportunity to say what we have in mind, we should be given that opportunity. *

The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has given us a fine record of the war effort during the past year, and to my mind it is a record of which we can well be proud. When we think of a country with a population of less than twelve millions and compare our war effort with that of any other country in the world in this war, it is nothing less than a miracle. When we think that in 1939 we had practically no army, no navy, no air force, and that to-day, in less than four years, we have in the active army about

420,000 men, in the air force about 160,000, in the navy about 47,000, and 500 ships, as well as at the present time nearly 95,000 men on active service who have been called up under the mobilization act, it is a wonderful achievement. In the first five months of 1942, we had enlistments in the army of over 10,500, in the air force of over 3,900, and in the navy of over 1,350, and in the second five months, in the army something over 12,000, in the air force over 7,500, and in the navy, something over 2,000, or nearly double that of the first five months of 1942. This speaks well for the plan that has been adopted by this government.

The house leader of the Progressive Conservative party (Mr. Graydon), in his splendid speech-and I wish to congratulate him upon his promotion to that important position- spoke for nearly two hours and enunciated the policies of that party, what took place at Winnipeg and what took place at Port Hope. To my mind the winning of the war is the most important thing. That is what we should centre our attention on to-day, and not on the political ambitions or policies of any party. He offered some suggestions which I am sure will be received by the government, but for the most part he dwelt on the policies of the party. The leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation party (Mr. Coldwell) and the leader of the Social Credit party (Mr. Blackmore) did the same. That is all right so far as politics are concerned, but we have

The Address-Mr. Rickard

a more important job. I am not saying that we should not give some consideration to postwar problems, because I think we should. I believe that this country-should be in a position to offer to the men who come back from fighting our battles overseas something worthwhile so far as social security is concerned, but I think we have a long time yet to discuss those problems and put them into shape before the war is over, because I do not think it will be won in a year or two.

What I am most interested in is agriculture. Being a farmer, I know something of the condition of the farmers and particularly of how they feel in the riding which I have the honour to represent. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) made' a very fine speech. I do not think there is any man in this house who can make a better speech. But I think he will have to go into every riding-I was going to say in the dominion, but in Ontario at least-and show the people that what he said is right. I am not disputing that what he said is right, but there are a great many people to-day who think something more might be done than what the Minister of Agriculture told us in his speech. Farmers to-day think we have too much government by men outside the government. They may be good men in their own line but I am afraid that they do not understand the problems of the farmer and the condition of agriculture. For years farmers have not had an even break with industry. They consider that with this war on and their produce in so much demand they should be given a little better deal. I believe that the Minister of Agriculture should be more responsible for the distribution of food and for the prices that the farmers are to get for their produce, now that we have started paying subsidies. To my mind there is no man in Canada who knows agriculture or the problems of the farmer better than does the Minister of Agriculture, and I do not believe there is any man in Canada who is more sympathetic to the farmers than he is. I should like to see him the head of a separate food board.

The farmers feel that they are working more or less in the dark. I mean by this that they have no assurance that when they produce they will get the same price for any length of time. I do not mean, as some have said here, that they have not been given direction by the government or by the Minister of Agriculture and his officials, who I believe have done a wonderful job in that regard. But the farmers consider that they have no assurance that if they produce they will over a period of time get anything like the same price.


Agriculture is a long-range business. We cannot produce cattle, hogs, milk, cheese and eggs overnight. We want reasonable returns over a period of years. We cannot understand why cattle should be fifty cents or seventy-five cents higher one week than the next week when there is a scarcity of beef. The same applies to hogs; why should hogs be twenty-five cents a hundred pounds dearer one week than the next when we are shipping seventy per cent of our bacon overseas and have a good market?'

Much has been said about butter. I do not wish to repeat anything along that line particularly, but I believe there is discrimination' between the farmer who produces butter, whc sells his cream to a creamery, and the farmer who makes butter at home and sells it to the storekeeper if he can. The circumstances must be considered; roads and conditions of different kinds, the distance from centres where cream trucks do not go, all have a bearing on the price that the farmer should get.

Mention has been made of rationing. I have before me a copy of the rationing of the people of Great Britain. There is no comparison between the way we are rationed and the way they are; they are rationed far more than we are in everything. But I think that if there were not so much advertising of shortages, whether it be beef or butter or whatever it be, over the radio and through the press, we would not have so much hoarding and so much scarcity; there would be a more even distribution.

I believe we should have a floor as well as a ceiling for farm produce prices. As far as live cattle are concerned, the farmer to-day would,

I believe, be satisfied with twelve cents a pound live weight for the winter months, perhaps a little less for the summer months, but around twelve cents a pound would, I think, satisfy the farmer. Then the price would not go up and down from week to week.

A board should be established that would take care of any surplus in any of these lines.

I have an instance of a farmer who bought some Plymouth rock pullets. He bought these pullets at SI .40 each, ready to lay. The pullets and feed cost him $720. In October he was selling his eggs at 47J cents for grade A large; the last of January he was selling them at 33 cents, a drop of 14i cents; yet we are told that we want more eggs, that we should' produce all the eggs we can. I know another man who bought six hundred Plymouth rock pullets and sold them to a Jew for $1.60 each for meat, figuring he could make more money in that way than by keeping them for laying.

These are the things that trouble the farmer to-day, no stable prices. We consider that

The Address-Mr. Rickard

we have a good market. Scarcity of labour on the farms is of course an important factor, but I believe that is not so much because the boys from the farms have joined the army. They have done so in goodly numbers, but that is their privilege in a democracy. The reason for the scarcity of labour is that industry has been allowed to pay too high wages, especially when contracts are on a cost-iplus basis. Every farmer wants to see his son do has duty to his country; the boys want to do their duty, and as I have said, have done so in many instances. But a farmer cannot compete with industry so far as wages are concerned. We have about a million men and women in industry to-day, and that is a big drain on agriculture. The hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. Rowe) the other evening said that we should have more men on the farms. But I well remember that in one of his speeches or if not, in the policy of his party at the beginning of this war, they said that we should have a million men overseas. If we have a million men overseas or in the army at home, where will they come from? Some of them must come from agriculture.

Just a word about the selective service board in military district No. 3. I believe the board ;there has been most fair in its consideration [DOT]of farmers' sons. Some mistakes may have '.been made; some boys may have been called -.that should have postponement, but all in all I believe that the board have done a really good job, and where the proper information has been supplied to the board they have in nearly all instances been giving good consideration. I still believe, however, as I said here before, that farmers' sons could very well have been given total exemption, that is, farmers' sons who have always remained on the farm and made their living on the farm. There would not have been nearly as much dissatisfaction or nearly as much interference with agriculture as there has been.

The new regulations brought down by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell) should be of some assistance. The minister has said that wages should not be allowed to decline, and on the other hand not allowed to rise unduly, on account of the danger of inflation. With that I entirely agree. Farmers to-day do not want inflation, although through inflation they stand to lose less, perhaps than any other group of men. They are willing to send their boys to fight the battles of this war. They are willing to give their money, if they have any, to victory loans, and to all .charitable organizations-as they have done.

XMr. Rickard.]

They are even willing to pay their income tax, if necessary. But they do want a more definite price, and a more definite programme over a period of years.

I am leaving these few observations with the government, and particularly with the Minister of Agriculture, in the hope that something I have said may be of some assistance to the farmers of Canada.

Mr. L.-PHILIPPE PICARD (Bellechasse): Mr. Speaker, it is most gratifying to all hon. members that the present debate on the address in reply should, with few exceptions, have been kept on the higher plane of national service and national policy, thereby indicating the sincere belief on the part of most of us that we shall be appreciated according to our realization that our foremost thoughts should be the efficient performance of our share of that effort necessary to ensure the liberation of the world of to-day from oppression, and of the world of tomorrow from fear and from want.

Our discussions have been marked by an apparent desire, whether by praise or constructive criticism, to strengthen the hands of the government in its pursuit of the war effort. With but little petty criticism and untimely recrimination, all the more noticeable by its scarcity, there has been an evident desire by all to serve in the execution of our mandate, in order to remain worthy of those of our compatriots who have the greater and nobler task of serving in a more arduous and meritorious way.

The example given to us by the mover and the seconder of the address in reply, both of whom have had the privilege of serving in the house as well as in the army, has evidently been felt in the debate. They deserve our praise and our congratulation, not only upon the splendid way in which they worded their sentiments and thoughts, but also upon the higher tone which they imparted to this debate.

The care showed by most to cooperate and to render constructive even their criticism is a welcome improvement on some of the bitter exchanges of yesteryear.

In the same spirit I intended to make a study of the speech from the throne. However, at this advanced stage of the discussion, I might even say at this advanced hour of the evening, I have decided to leave for future debates such considerations as I should like to make on the broader aspect of the man-power question as well as on the administrative set-up of Canada's industrial war effort. I shall therefore limit myself to-day to general observations on a few questions.

The Address-Mr. Picard

One of the important references in the speech from the throne is the social security problem, a study of which may well lead one into an analysis of the different possibilities of reshaping the world of to-morrow. This first step toward a full study of necessary social reforms is one in the right direction, and it must be comforting to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) that most parties seemed to agree on that, the opposition criticism appearing to be that some part of their programme had been stolen, while we are of opinion that this is but the normal sequence to a number of measures for which the Prime Minister may claim credit. The decision to refer this vast question to a special committee is to be commended in that it will take it, right from the first, away from political controversies in this house and enable anybody, any group or party to refer their plans and their views to the committee for close study and careful consideration, thereby saving precious time for the house to carry on its work.

Another question which has already been the subject of many comments is the lease-lend appropriation advocated by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley). When a measure of somewhat similar nature was presented to us last year in the form of a grant of one billion to the United Kingdom, I agreed to it because I felt that a country that had been spared the actual sacrifices of war on its own territory, a country that had not been invaded and trampled and massacred as had Russia and China, and a country that had not been subjected to the most horrible aerial warfare, as had Britain, could make further financial sacrifices as a sort of compensation, I may say, to those who had been in the path of the monster and who had delayed so much, as to render it nearly impossible now, his direct assault on us. Those were the motives which made me accept last year's proposal. The way in which it was presented and the poor and insufficient explanations given to the public were such that many still think we took one billion in gold from our treasury and gave it to Britain. What we did was to provide the tools of war for those who were in the front line of defence and could not pay for it. That money was spent in Canada, provided work for Canadians and used Canadian materials. What I did not like about it was the way in which it was done, handing everything to Great Britain, which took the credit for transferring afterwards part of it to China and Russia. If there is truth in what has been published in a Canadian paper lately, to the effect that part of it was directed by Britain

to Australia and New Zealand who paid Britain for it out of their credit balances in Britain, I like it less.

But the way in which the lease-lend appropriation is presented to-day should not provoke the same objections. It appears to be an improved, more dignified and more nationally conscious form of financial help to world freedom.

The motives are the same as last year, but the method of doing it is greatly improved. We thereby take one more step to manifest our complete independence from and equality with Britain. We appear no more as the vassal bringing tribute but as the equal partner who puts his assets in a common pool with those of his partners, the United States and the United Kingdom, so that they may jointly decide where they may be better used for the safeguarding and ultimate victory of the united nations. The deciding voice as to the allotment of the goods produced in Canada by Canadian workers and with Canadian materials will remain in the hands of the Canadian government, and rightly so. This makes me more enthusiastic for the vote I shall give, if needed, in favour of this appropriation.

I did not intend to speak on the man-power question, but I should like to say a few words about agricultural labour. It has been comforting during this debate to hear so many members from all sections of Canada, in all political parties, the opposition as well as the government, urging the necessity of keeping all possible hands on the farm in order to maintain the level of agricultural production as high as possible. In the early days of the war it was not considered to be the right thing to speak about exemptions or deferments for any special class of the population. At that time it seemed to be the monopoly of the Quebec members to remind the house of the urgency of ensuring better farm production by exempting or deferring farmers' sons and farm hands. I did so myself on two occasions, but I was criticized for it. We were told that we were overdoing it. Therefore it is a real pleasure to know that so many members from all parties and from every province have indicated one plan or another to ensure a proper flow of labour to the farms of Canada.

In this regard I wish to commend the director of national selective service and the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell) for their letter of February 3 to the mobilization boards explaining the future policy of the government with regard to bona fide farmers.. However, much more enlightenment will have

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to be given before the situation can become clear and the decisions of the board based entirely, not on certain peculiarities of a case but in the general interest of agricultural production in a given district.

In order to illustrate my point I should like to cite a story of a farmer boy in my own constituency. This boy has worked all his life on the farm; from the time he left school until he reached the age of twenty-four years he had worked on his father's farm. His father had no other sons except some younger children, aged fifteen, thirteen, eleven and nine years of age, respectively. The father operated a farm of 195 acres, of which 185 acres were in cultivation. He had ten cows, four horses, thirteen hogs, and sheep and poultry. Last year he produced 700 bushels of oats, 8,000 bales of hay, fifty bushels of barley and 200 bushels of potatoes. This farm is considered to be quite a large farm in that part of Quebec.

The boy was called up on July 15, 1941, under the mobilization act, and he reported for medical examination. He was classified as B2 and received a nice letter from the registrar stating that since he was in a class not yet callable, he was at liberty in the meantime to engage in any other pursuit. During all that year of 1941, when he had been classified B2, he worked on the farm with the exception of six weeks during the winter when he went to a lumber camp.

In 1942, at the end of June or early in July when most of the early work on the farm was done, he met an agent of a shipbuilding company located near Quebec, about thirty miles from the farm. This agent wanted to know why he had not called'on him because they were in need of men. The farm work was finished for the spring and the wages were good, so he went to work for the shipbuilding company near Levis. This company was making corvettes and other ships for the United Kingdom, the United States and other united nations. He worked there except for a week or so during the fall when he went back to the farm to help gather the crop, after which he returned to the factory.

In the meantime he had arranged for a young man to take his place on the farm and help his father, and he paid this young man out of his wages. He remained at the factory until December. Late in December or early in January his category B2 was called, and he reported again. Under the plans entered into between the department and certain industries, about which there seems to be great secrecy, the reason for which I cannot understand, he was con-

[Mr. Picard. 1

sidered to be in a class not essential to the pursuit of the war. Therefore he reported to his mobilization board and asked to be assigned to farm work for the next year. They denied his request because out of his life of twenty-four years, or out of ten years of usefulness, on the farm he had spent less than six months, apart from the week spent gathering the crops, in an industrial plant.

Here is a boy who has spent all his life on the farm except for six months. He is needed on the farm, and the board admits that the farm is of a size that would warrant' the employment of more than one man in order to have it operated efficiently. The board admits that there are no other sons in the family, that the father is alone and that he is, let us say, twenty-five per cent incapacitated by sickness. Yet this board has ruled that because the boy worked six months in an industrial plant he shall not be permitted to go back to the farm where he belongs. That is his punishment for having left the farm for those six months. They decided that he should go back to the army and then in the spring put in a request for six months holidays from the army in the busy season, which request could be vouched for by the father.

On motion of Mr. Picard the debate was adjourned.


At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. [DOT] Wednesday, February 17, 1943.

February 16, 1943