May 15, 1947


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Hon. ALPHONSE FOURNIER (Minister of Public Works):

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) inquired as to the intentions of the government concerning new wharfage facilities at North Sydney. Llis question was based on a telegram he had just received. The hon. member for Cape Breton North-Victoria (Mr. MacLean) had received a similar telegram at the same time, and handed me a copy of it so that I might make an investigation.

I understand that at North Sydney the government has two wharves, one of which was completed last year at a cost of $500,000. Any new project contemplated for North Sydney would be part of the post-war reconstruction programme; and if the government decided to build a new wharf, an item would appear in the estimates.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   PUBLIC WORKS
Sub-subtopic:   WHARF FACILITIES AT NORTH SYDNEY, N.S.
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INQUIRY AS TO DATE OF ESTABLISHMENT OF FLOOR PRICE


On the orders of the day:


PC

Robert Earle Drope

Progressive Conservative

Mr. R. E. DROPE (Northumberland, Ont.):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask about a matter of urgent public importance, as a result of a number of telegrams and letters I have received. Will the Minister of Agriculture name a definite date on which the floor price on butter, if any, is to be announced?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO DATE OF ESTABLISHMENT OF FLOOR PRICE
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LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Right Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture):

I must agree with the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), that I cannot speak for the whole government.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO DATE OF ESTABLISHMENT OF FLOOR PRICE
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PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CASE:

Think of that!

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO DATE OF ESTABLISHMENT OF FLOOR PRICE
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POSTAL SERVICE


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Ronald Stewart Moore

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

Mr. RONALD MOORE (Churchill):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask a question of the Postmaster General, arising out of several telegrams received this morning. Will the minister recommend that an air mail service be included in the new air service to begin June 1 between Winnipeg and Flin Flon via Dauphin and The Pas? The present mail service by railway is very slow.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   POSTAL SERVICE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR AIR MAIL SERVICE BETWEEN WINNIPEG AND FLIN FLON
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LIB

Ernest Bertrand (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST BERTRAND (Postmaster General):

I shall take the question as a notice, and have the department look into it.

The Budget-Mr. Zaplitny

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   POSTAL SERVICE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR AIR MAIL SERVICE BETWEEN WINNIPEG AND FLIN FLON
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THE BUDGET


The house resumed from Wednesday, May 14, consideration of the motion of Hon. Douglas Abbott (Minister of Finance) that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair for the house to go into committee of ways and means, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Macdonnell (Muskoka-Ontario) and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Coldwell.


CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. F. S. ZAPLITNY (Dauphin):

Mr. Speaker, I regret that the Minister of Finance is not with us today, although I realize he may be more usefully employed where he is.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CASE:

Where is he?

Mr. ZAPLITNY': Every budget I have heard delivered so far has had its forgotten man. This one is unique in that the "forgotten man'' is more than half the people of Canada. Never have so many waited so long for so little, and never have so many waited in vain. If one strips the minister's budget of its flippant optimism, nothing is left but a sop to private enterprise. In my view there will be keen disappointment in the ranks of those who are faithful to the government, and who had expected that two years after the war the government would finally have launched its much-tooted new social order.

Few people throughout the country today would deny that if the government had any intention two years ago of implementing its talk about a new social order by 1947, by this time they have discarded the idea and have relegated it to the limbo of forgotten things.

There are those of course still faithful to the government who say it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. But the government's acquaintance with the new social order was of such a casual nature that I doubt if the romance ever developed at all. I do not think any single factor has contributed so much to the regression of government policy within the last several months as has the Minister of Finance himself. It will be admitted that the present minister has launched a new government policy which conforms to this government's old fashioned laissez-faire and drift policy, and this do-nothing budget characterizes that policy.

Since taking office the present Minister of Finance has done a beautiful hatchet job on the whole price control structure of the country. It is common knowledge that the 1939 dollar is worth only about 62 cents. If one takes into consideration the deterioration

in the quality of the commodities that we buy today he will realize it is no exaggeration to say that the 1939 dollar is worth only 50 cents today. In the face of those facts the Minister of Finance blithely got up in his place in this house and with a great deal of cheer and beneficence announced to the house how fortunate the country was that more than half the population had the privilege of earning so little that they fell below the income tax exemption limit. I do not know how the people of this country will ever repay such left-handed generosity as that.

As I said, more than half the people of this country are the "forgotten man" as far as this budget is concerned. If we check the position of people such as farmers, casual labourers, clerks, fishermen, trappers, civil servants, school teachers, clergymen, and small business men, we will find that they are in an income group which does not benefit in any way from the cut in income tax. I will leave the income tax end of it at that point and deal with another factor in the budget which I think is more serious. I refer to the almost complete lack of any plan for the stabilization of income, particularly that of western Canada.

It is well known, and I think the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) will bear me out in this, that if western Canada is to have a stabilized economy it must have more industries. The years of the war brought temporary prosperity, but the figures placed on Hansard the other day by the Minister of Agriculture do not tell the whole story. Although there has been a large increase in the gross income of the farmers of western Canada, there has been a more than corresponding increase in the cost of production. Therefore, their position is not as good as the minister made out. We must admit that their position today is better than it had been for many years; but as I said, it may be of a temporary nature. If there is to be permanent stability in the income of the western provinces we must have more secondary industries, particularly processing industries. This is a field which has hardly been scratched. I see no reason why the government should not take the initiative in establishing such industries in the towns and cities of western Canada. They have done a little bit along that line, because the hon, member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Miller) referred to the flax fibre mill which had been established in his town. That is a start in the right direction, but not enough of that sort of thing has been done in Manitoba or Saskatchewan. We are perhaps a little more fortunate in Manitoba than they are in Saskatchewan because we do not depend quite

The Budget-Mr. Zaplitny

so much upon grain farming. We have a mixed farming economy, and to that extent there is a little more stability in our prospects of income.

The lack of secondary industries in western Canada has had another serious effect. The recent prairie census revealed that the prairie provinces are losing population instead of gaining it. In my opinion there is no reason why such a wonderful country as we have west of the great lakes should be losing population at this time. If we are ever to have a stable economy and a united nation there will have to be a greater increase in the population of western Canada than there has been so far. The past few decades have not shown the increases in population that should have been shown. In the next twenty or thirty years there should be an increase of millions in the population of western Canada. The resources are there; the opportunities are there in the way of primary production, but what is keeping the people away, what is causing the drift from the west to the east, which is the exact opposite to what the drift should be, is the lack of secondary industries. It is a serious thing, and I believe this government should take steps to arrest that trend. There is only one way I know of in which that can be done. Apparently western Canada has no attraction for private capital; therefore it is up to the government to use public investment and public enterprise to develop secondary industries, particularly processing industries, in order to provide something around which the population of the towns and cities of western Canada may live.

There are those who say that this is a private enterprise country, that we have free enterprise and if people do not like western Canada, they have a perfect right to go somewhere else. That is perfectly true, but let us not forget that this has not always been a free enterprise country, and it is not now in actual fact. Ever since the first prime minister of Canada introduced what he called a national policy, which meant the subsidizing of the industries of central Canada to provide Canada with manufacturing industries, this has not been a free enterprise country. When the tariff policies were instituted, all the people of Canada, regardless of whether they lived in the east, in the west or on either coast, contributed through the tariff structure to the building up of industries in central Canada. We are not objecting to that, because we realize it is desirable that Canada should have manufacturing industries in Ontario and-Quebec or wherever else it is possible to have them, But we should not be deluded by the

story that this is a free enterprise country, that those industries grew up through their own efforts. That is not so, because they were heavily subsidized for many years, and they are still being heavily subsidized through our tariff structure. The taxpayers are still paying for the manufacturing industries of central Canada.

If that is a desirable policy for central Canada then something of the sort is desirable for the west. I am not suggesting that we institute a new tariff policy for the west, but I do suggest that the government should consider using public investment and public enterprise to initiate industries in western Canada where the people themselves are not able to do it because of a lack of capital. I am saying these things because I believe there is a serious trend in present government policy away from public investment and public enterprise. During the years of the war the government were forced to use public enterprise in order to create a war effort. It was a struggle for survival, and although many of the members of the cabinet of that time were private enterprisers and did not believe in public enterprise, yet events forced them into the position where they had to use it. It must be said to their credit that they used it with great success.

Today the trend seems to be the other way. In this connection I should like to quote a few passages from a speech made by the Minister of Finance, I think on January 27, when addressing the Toronto board of trade. I think his remarks indicate the regressive policy of the government. Here is what he gave as his method for preventing the next depression-and I would point out that in this case he used the word "depression," which he has shied away from ever since:

If at any time in the future a recession or depression is threatened, it may be far wiser and far cheaper to make drastic cuts in income and corporation taxes in order to expand consumer buying power and stimulate private investment than to embark, let us say, on an ambitious public works programme which is bound to be wasteful and would tend to perpetuate itself.

That was a statement of policy by the Minister of Finance, who said in plain language that his solution for a depression would be to cut the taxes of the corporations and thus in some mysterious fashion extend the buying power of the people. Then he goes on to say that he does not advocate a public works programme because it is bound to be wasteful and will tend to perpetuate itself. Why should any public works programme be wasteful? No one- in this house has asked for public works which are unnecessary or

The Budget-Mr. Zaplitny

useless, or which will not return a value to the country. Surely the government must have little faith in itself if it admits that any public works programme it might undertake is bound to be wasteful.

The other objection is that it might tend to perpetuate itself. What is wrong with a public works programme perpetuating itself as long as it is useful and producing something for the benefit of all the people of Canada? That is regression back to the laissez-faire drift which characterizes the present trend of the government. To emphasize that limitation the minister said in his speech:

We believe that government should create conditions, a climate, if I may use that term, within which initiative can be exercised and enterprise flourish. To create such conditions, we believe it should be made possible, through reduction and simplification of taxes, and in other ways, for private enterprise to operate boldly and courageously, and, in doing so, provide most of the employment; and that government should, by direct action, fill the gap in employment-when, but only when, there is a gap to fill that would not otherwise be filled.

There are two parts to that statement which are very important. First of all he would create those climatic conditions for progress by reduction and simplification of taxes. I do not know what simplification of taxes would have to do with creating a proper climate for industry. But what will reduction of taxes mean to more than half the people of Canada who do not pay income tax today because they have not enough income on which to pay taxes? Surely the minister can see that under his programme the very people who would most need a shot in the arm, so to speak, would be the ones who would not get it, and the ones who would get it would be the corporations which would have their taxes reduced.

The minister went on to say that the government would take direct action to provide employment when, but only when, there is a gap to be filled that would not otherwise be filled. In other words the government is quite satisfied to leave everything to private enterprise, to let private enterprise decide not only how much employment there shall be, but in what particular industries, where it shall be and what the wages shall be; and the government itself will stand to one side as a sort of referee and only take action when there is a gap to be filled. That sounds all right, but it is not practical, because the government if it follows that course will never be prepared to do anything until unemployment is upon us. The last depression surely taught us this much, that if full employment is to be provided it takes planning. The

government will have to plan their public works projects for the good of the people many years ahead, and not sit around and wait until the last moment, until private enterprise has broken down and failed, and then try to rush in and fill gaps by establishing camps in the hills where men can cut cordwood at twenty cents a day. But that is the policy the minister is trying to bring forward.

In contrast with that I want to quote what the Prime Minister said in his speech in 1942 to the American Federation of Labor in Toronto. He said:

When the war is won there will be an immense task to repair the great physical destruction caused by the war . . . but the work of repairing and restoring the ravages of war will not be enough.

He recognized that, and went on:

Fortunately, we are also learning that the only limit to our productive capacity is the limit to our resources, and our will and skill to use them to satisfy human need instead of human greed.

That is a statement which implies a great deal more than the Minister of Finance implied with his gap-filling statement. There is a statement by the Prime Minister which implies that it is up to the government, and was even in 1942 when the war was still on, to start looking towards the future and start planning for full employment. I like the words the Prime Minister used:

. . . the only limit to our productive capacity is the limit to our resources, and our will and skill to use them to satisfy human need instead of human greed.

That does not sound very much like private enterprise. It sounds like public enterprise, that the objective of industry shall be to satisfy human needs. The objective of profit-making industry is to satisfy their own urge for profits-I will not call it human greed, although that was implied by the Prime Minister.

In contrast with that, the policy brought forward by the Minister of Finance looks puny. I think he should go back and read over some of the speeches made by the Prime Minister in 1942, 1943 and 1944 and try to follow them out in his budget. Surely when the Prime Minister admits that the only limit to our productive capacity is the limit of our resources and our will and skill to use them, it means that the government should undertake to see that our resources are developed to satisfy the needs of the people and that employment should be the right of the working man.

The Budget-Mr. Zaplitny

I want to emphasize this point further by quoting from the Prime Minister. Speaking at that same convention he used these words:

The era of freedom will be achieved only as social security and human welfare become the main concern of men and nations.

Those are fine words. He went on:

I would mention the following as a national minimum: useful employment for all who are willing to work.

All right; I am quite willing to accept that. But let us see what is taking place in practice. This may be only a slight indication, but I think it shows the attitude of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mitchell) towards this national minimum of every person having the right to work. On April 18, after the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) had asked the Minister of Labour some questions about the employment of persons from Nova Scotia in other parts of Canada, the hon. member for St. John-Albert (Mr. Hazen) asked this supplementary question:

Will transportation be provided by the government to the place of employment for persons in New Brunswick who -are unemployed to accept employment that is offered elsewhere?

The Minister of Labour replied:

As my hon. friend is well aware, my department is not in the business of providing Cook's tours for everybody in Canada.

That is how they implement their promise of the right to work and the right to full employment for all the people.

In addition to the promise of full employment there was also the definite promise of social security for all. I have already quoted and I continue to quote from the Prime Minister's speech in 1942:

It is necessary that social security and human welfare should be expressed in definite terms.

Those words were quoted as recently as May 9 at Niagara Falls by the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin), and he added these words of his own:

If we are to justify some of the promises and assertions we made during the war it is necessary that Canada as a nation enact a programme of social welfare.

1 agree with him. If we are to carry out the promises that were made, the government, according to the minister, should enact a programme of social welfare now. But what do we find in the budget? Look through the budget and through the whole social security programme of the government, and you will find that when it comes to implementing the promises made and repeated so often, only as recently as May 9 by the Minister of National

Health and Welfare, even the minister himself is a little doubtful as to how well the government are succeeding, because he said:

Some people may say some of these objectives have not been realized, but it is important to have a statement from the head of a government in these terms.

I agree that it is important to have that statement on social security in these terms, but I contend it is far more important that the government should now be presenting their social welfare legislation to the house so that the curtain will at least be lifted a little to give us a peek into this great new era of freedom promised by the Prime Minister in 1942. But so far what have we got? We have a mystical resolution on the order paper which promises something for old age pensioners, but no amount of prying or questioning can bring out what is going to be done. The government's programme seems to be well hidden, although some of the newspapers seem to be better informed on it than members of this house. So far as a broad general programme of social security covering the needs of certain classes of people, whom I shall mention later, is concerned, practically nothing has been done so far and nothing is in prospect. What the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) laid down when he said that that era of freedom will be achieved only as social security and human welfare become the main concern of many nations was in reality the basis of a socialist society, because it is the objective of a socialist government that laws shall be made for the benefit of society as a whole. Under a capitalist economy laws are made to protect the rights of capitalists, to protect the rights of privileged classes, and it is not surprising that in the house we hear hon. members who believe in capitalism make long speeches for certain classes of people; but when it comes to making laws for society as a whole, when human welfare becomes the objective of the programme, then you have socialism in practice. The Prime Minister laid down a socialist theory; the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin)-as recently as May 9-is beginning to doubt w'hether we are carrying that objective out as we should. We shall have more reason to doubt before we are much older.

I wish to deal with another point which I think is important, namely, the repeated references which have been made by members of the Progressive Conservative party, and particularly by the official financial critic of that party, to what they call the middle class. The hon. member for Muskoka-Ontario (Mr. Mac-donnell) was the one who introduced it in

The Budget-Mr. Zaplitny

the house when he made a plea for what he called the great middle class, which he characterized as being the backbone of the country. That same idea has been reechoed by many other hon. members who sit around him. I want the house to pause for a moment and realize what this actually means. What is a middle class? What is it in the middle of? Surely as soon as we begin to talk about a middle class we are automatically accepting the fact that there must be an upper and a lower class; otherwise there could not be a middle class. It must be in the middle of something. What the hon. member for Muskoka-Ontario said when he introduced this idea in the house was accepted without question and condoned by his speech. He tried to prove that there was a vertically stratified conception of society, something which I repudiate from the beginning. I cannot for a moment accept-I cannot understand how any hon. member living in a country such as ours could accept it-the idea of a vertically stratified society in which we shall have lower, middle and upper, middle upper and middle lower, and so on. classes. Thousands of people, yea, millions of them left beautiful spots in Europe to accept hardships and poverty in this country as pioneers in order to escape from a stratified class society. They came to this country and now in the house we hear hon. members say that we must have a strong middle class because that is the backbone of the country; we must therefore have an upper class, a lower class, and it shall be the duty of the lower class to keep alive the upper class with the middle class acting as a sort of referee in between. What sort of conception of society is that? I cannot accept it. I repudiate the very basis of it-and I am speaking for myself.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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?

Mr. COLD WELL@

And for all of us.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. ZAPLITNY:

I say that if the Creator who conceived the earth and its population intended that there should! be an upper class to rule and a lower class to be ruled, then he would have brought into this world an upper class with spurs on their feet and a lower class with saddles on their backs. We all have the urge to stand up straight; we will not bend our knee before any class. If we do, we are not worthy of the name of Canadians. I repudiate the idea, and I hope that never again in this house shall we get into a squabble about a middle class and their incomes and say we shall legislate for them. Let us for once accept the fact that there is only one class, namely, the Canadian people. There is only one class in the world and that is humanity. Let us legislate for humanity in

this country and we shall be laying a basis for what the Prime Minister called in such fine words, "an era of freedom which will be achieved only as social security and human welfare become the concern of men and nations." He did not say: As the welfare of the middle class becomes the main concern of men and nations, only then shall we have the real basis of human society.

_ Mr- JACKMAN: That is a complete distortion of the remarks of the hon. member for Muskoka-Ontario.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. ZAPLITNY:

I did not hear what the hon. member said.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PC

Harry Rutherford Jackman

Progressive Conservative

Mr. JACKMAN:

The remarks of the hon. member are a complete distortion of the remarks made by the hon. member for Muskoka-Ontario. What he referred to was the fact that some people have larger incomes than others, and that those in between are middle incomes.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr. Golding):

Order.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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May 15, 1947