Mr. Chairman, the
government is again asking the house to vote an enormous sum of money, almost four billions of dollars, for the prosecution of the war. Before Canada's participation in the war her unemployed population lived on direct relief, or public charity. There was no money available for construction projects, but there is plenty available now to kill and destroy. It is a frightful race toward the abyss. Some might say the country had never known such prosperity, and that never before have so many people worked in factories. This is true. But what wastage of materials, money and working hours do we not see!
Go into war factories and see for yourselves the output of those industries. One would be stunned by what he would see. Workers who are only too willing to work for their salaries are condemned to idleness, because of the lack of material and poor administration of the factories. Scandals unearthed in war factories, where pay lists were tampered with and swollen, as was the case recently in Montreal, constitute a condemnation of the war policy of the government.
Some company presidents had their salaries increased from $10,000 to $30,000. These shameful war profiteers completed their treason by entering fictitious names on their workers' lists. The government discovered these shameful abuses only after two years of speculation and robbery. Has not the administration any competent accountants and auditors who could supervise the operations of these factories? Why has fraud, wastage and robbery prevailed in those factories for many months, and even years? While the first necessities of life are being rationed to the defenders of the country and to the civilian population, why were soldiers' food and woollen blankets stolen from' certain camps? Will the government ever take steps, once and for all, to stop this deplorable state of affairs? When will it appoint experienced cooks to prepare all the food in training camps? Who can estimate the enormous quantities of meat, eggs, vegetables and bread which are wasted in the camps because of the ignorance and incompetence of the cooks? We are receiving complaints of . this type every day. These are not isolated cases. This seems to be general everywhere. The government are asking the farmer to provide the utmost production, and yet they deprive him of his best help. Requests have been made from time to time that the department concerned should send back to the farms the experienced farmers who have been called to the colours and are still in the armed forces. But nothing has beeD done. There is nothing extraordinary in this attitude; the administration seems to persist in continuing its stupid inconsistencies. On the one hand it advocates increased agricultural production, yet on the other hand it pays the prairie farmer to reduce his production. Such methods call for restrictions of all kinds. We have them.
Are our leaders satisfied with this work? The disastrous policy of the government is responsible for the rationing we now have in Canada. This is the main reason for the increase in the cost of living. Why must this untruthful propaganda which we hear every day over the radio be continued? Who will believe that in the last three months the price of meat, food and clothing has gone up only 1-8 per cent?
I have here a release by the wartime prices and trade board which was published in the Montreal La Presse on April 30, 1943. A translation reads:
The Price of Beef is Increased
The wartime prices and trade board to-day announces its official chart of maximum prices -a prelude to the coming rationing of meat.
In order to prepare for the rationing of meat and to protect consumers, the foods division of the wartime prices and trade board has just prepared a chart of the different cuts of beef authorized for sale and a list of the maximum prices for the districts of Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa and Hull. These prices are to be effective to-day.
The Montreal district includes a zone which covers a radius of twenty-five miles from the city hall. In all butchers' stores or wherever beef is sold to consumers, this list must be posted in a place where the public can easily read it or refer to it when the need arises.
Consumers will be protecting themselves and acting in their own interests by revealing to the board the names and addresses of butchers who do not comply with these regulations. Householders are advised to refer to this list before ordering any cut of beef.
Then follow the prices of some of the most popular cuts in the three first qualities, special, commercial and ordinary.