March 8, 1949

?

An hon. Member:

He has not started yet.

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LIB

Ralph Melville Warren

Liberal

Mr. Warren:

I have not been having as much practice as some hon. members at this session. However, 1 shall not occupy much of the time of the house this evening. There are a number of matters I am going to discuss at a later time, but not tonight.

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SC

William Duncan McKay Wylie

Social Credit

Mr. Wylie:

Tell us about that $400 house.

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LIB

Ralph Melville Warren

Liberal

Mr. Warren:

I will have a word to say some time later about that, and also a word about the old dairy cow.

However, my main purpose in rising this evening is to discuss an old subject, one which I have brought before the government, and particularly the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier), on many occasions since coming here in 1937. We have not got action yet; but I propose to continue to pester him until he gets around to the point where, for the sake of getting rid of me, he will build a bridge across the Ottawa river by way of Morrison's island. I hope the minister heard me.

There can be no argument whatever as to the value of such a bridge, because it would connect Quebec highway No. 8 with Ontario highways 17, 41 and 62. All of these are important roads. This would offer one of the finest trips not only for United States tourists but for Canadians who' like to take a pleasant drive once in a while. However, that is only a small part of the urgency. The island has an area of about a thousand square miles of fertile land, and on it are many farms and homes. They have their own schools and churches; and their chief place of business is Pembroke.

A recent survey has shown that thousands of pounds of honey, butter, fruit, pork, beef, lamb, horses, wool, hides, potatoes, grain, pulpwood and fuel hardwood are transported from the island to Pembroke. Those products bring the islanders approximately a million

FMr. Menary.]

dollars each year. They take home with them supplies and groceries of an equal value, making a fair exchange.

It is true that we have a ferry service. But there is one thing wrong with it, namely, the fact that there are two breaks in that service during the year. When the ice begins to form in the early winter the ferry cannot operate. Then there is a period of time when it is safe after the ice has formed. This is always an indefinite length of time; it might be a month or it might be longer than that when it is not safe to cross the ice. One can well imagine, however, that during the break-up in the spring of the year the people are practically isolated. If people want to get to the mainland two or three miles away they have to drive ninety miles to the nearest bridge, which is pretty nearly isolation. In the wintertime the roads fill up with snow. Their roads are not very good for plowing. They are narrow, and, if you cannot drive a car over them, ninety miles with a team of horses is a very long distance. The same thing happens again in the spring. Once the ice begins to rot and is not safe to cross there is another period of perhaps a month without any connection between the island and the mainland.

That might not appear to be so serious if you think only of the inconvenience of not ' being able to get to market. However, it is necessary to keep in mind the fact that the people of Allumette island sometimes need a doctor. If he is afraid to cross the rotting ice he has to go all the way around for a distance of ninety miles whereas if there were a bridge it would only be a distance of two or three miles. For patients who have to go to hospital the nearest hospital is in Pembroke. I have known some very fine persons who narrowly escaped death because they were almost too late in getting to hospital because they had to be taken there by this roundabout way.

Considering the need and the urgency, I do not think the cost would prove at all excessive. I should like the minister to come back over here and listen to my suggestion, because if I misquote him I should like him to correct me. After all, this is a very short speech, and I should like him to listen for a part of the time. I want him to hear my suggestion.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowies:

It is far better for him to

stay over here.

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LIB

Ralph Melville Warren

Liberal

Mr. Warren:

As I recall the minister's

statements last year, and in previous years, he suggested that if either of the provinces would approach him as Minister of Public Works with a suggestion that they would be willing to contribute one-third of the cost, and ask him to take some action, he would

then be in a position to go to the cabinet and talk to them about the possibility of a bridge across the Ottawa river by way of Morrison's island. If my memory serves me correctly, that was the attitude of the minister.

Two or three things have happened since then. I am not sure if any person approached the minister directly, but I have been informed on good authority that the present leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew), who was then premier of the province of Ontario, made a speech in Pembroke and, as premier of that province, definitely committed himself to contributing Ontario's share of the cost of building a bridge across the Ottawa river. Recently I have noticed that the present member of the Ontario legislature for Renfrew North made a speech in the legislature in which he definitely advocated a bridge across the Ottawa river. We have those two gentlemen in favour of it. A short time ago I read in one of the local papers an article about the member for Pontiac in the Quebec legislature. As I recall his statement, he was organizing a five-year plan, and among the propositions that he was putting forward was a bridge across the Ottawa river by way of Morrison's island. To me that seems a pretty fair approach by the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. In view of that, I am going to make a suggestion to the minister, and I hope he will pay particular attention to what I have to say in this regard. I suggest to him that he place in the estimates a specific sum, let us say $400,000, and add a proviso "or one-third of the cost." I think that is a reasonable request, and it would be a start. I hope the minister will consider that and give these people a break. While technically it may be the proper thing to wait for the provinces of Ontario and Quebec to come to the minister, considering the urgency of the situation and the need for the bridge I do not think that we should bother about technicalities at all. Let us have the bridge. Give these good people a bridge, for they have had an undeserved delay of at least fifty years.

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Andrew Ernest Robinson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. A. E. Robinson (Bruce):

Mr. Speaker, during the remarks that I am about to make I hope to pass out a few bouquets, and I hope I will not throw any bricks even if I do feel like pitching a few at the government. The people whom I represent are people who do not throw bricks very readily, so I shall try to represent them in such a manner as would be pleasing to them. I may say that we had our centennial last year, and the members of the House of Commons received an invitation to be there. Many were able to attend and many sent their

8, 1949

The Address-Mr. A. E. Robinson regrets. I am sure the ones who attended were made welcome, and had a very good time.

As to the bouquets I should like to pass out, the first will go to the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent). I think he deserves great credit for having attained the position that he occupies today. The second bouquet will go to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew), a man whom we are proud to have lead us. I should also like to extend my congratulations to all new members of the house, not forgetting the new member for Digby-Annapolis-Kings, and the new member for Nicolet-Yamaska, who have made history, and will help to make history in the coming election. I should also like to extend my congratulations to the mover (Mr. Brown) and the seconder (Mr. Demers) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. They did a very good job considering what they had to work with.

Getting back to Bruce, which is dear to my heart, as you know, Mr. Speaker, it is a rural community and we love it as such. I must say, though, that it is not holding its own in population, in common with many rural communities. The population is going down, which is not a good thing for the country at large. I might quote a few words by the city solicitor of Windsor-

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An hon. Member:

Hear, hear.

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Andrew Ernest Robinson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robinson (Bruce):

There is a Windsor man in the house, I believe. This was in connection with the housing situation in urban municipalities.

There is an apparent lack of effective regulation and control of mushroom growth around urban centres, and a "clear inability to enforce elementary building standards." "Far too many of our suburban areas are rapidly becoming congested suburban slums," Mr. Cummings' report said.

When that situation prevails in our urban areas we ask ourselves why this should happen. I believe a great deal of the blame must go to this government because of the way it has been legislating over the years it has been in power.

Both the last speaker and the speaker before him were farmers; I have spent most of my life on a farm. Therefore I have a word or two to say on conditions in agriculture today. I would say the farmer receives less for all the work he and his family do than is received by workers in industry. The wholesale prices of food have never been as high as they should, in relation to the cost of the things the farmer must buy. Owing to government controls the farmers are facing a very uncertain future. This government, which has controlled the farmers out of producing enough butter to supply the people of Canada, deserves the censure not

The Address~Mr. A. E. Robinson only of the producers of that butter but also of the consumers. During the last five months the price of cattle has dropped by twenty per cent, yet in the same space of time the cost of living has gone up. So the cost of living cannot be blamed upon the prices the farmers are getting.

Right here I should like to say that I believe it is time the farmers were given a chance to have something to say about the marketing of their own products. I would be in favour of legislation that would give the farmers a chance to have producer marketing boards and a say on how those boards should be run. It is quite apparent, in Bruce county in any case, that veterans of the last war are not settling on the farms. That is not a good condition, because those boys deserve the best that life can give them, and I am sure they are not getting it in many of the cities where they are located today. I would make a plea that we all keep in mind how important are our rural people and those who live in small towns, and I believe something should be done for those places far distant from the large centres. We should remember those immortal lines of Kipling:

From little towns in a far land they came

To guard their honour in a world aflame.

By little towns in a far land they sleep,

And leave to you to guard those things they died to keep.

We in Bruce county are progressive and, thanks to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), that is now a restricted area and T.B. testing is being carried on, which is a wonderful thing. It is not so good, though, to have such a small staff doing the work, which is proceeding very slowly. About a year and a half ago I made the suggestion that they permit local veterinarians to take part in the program, but apparently there was some reason why that could not be done and it is not being done now to any extent. I should like to read a resolution which was passed by the electors of Saugeen township at their annual meeting:

We the ratepayers of Saugeen township in Bruce county T.B. testing area find compensation on reactor cattle too low to allow for replacement, and ask the dominion Department of Agriculture to make adjustments in line with present prices.

I am quite in agreement with that resolution; and I hope that it, together with the many other resolutions that have been forwarded on the same subject, will bring about some results. I have in my hand an itemized account of one man who had his herd tested, and these figures show that he is the loser by approximately $1,000. That is not an isolated case, either. I suggest to the minister that in considering the compensation for cattle they should try to arrive at something that will help the man who has a

great many of his reactors go to the tank. I am not advocating that there should be higher prices for those who are able to sell their beef cattle on the market after they are turned down in this test, but I do believe something should be done for those who are so unfortunate as to have a large number of animals not fit for beef purposes. A couple of days ago I had a question on the order paper in this connection, and the minister was a bit evasive in answering it. I asked whether, when this compensation was raised he would consider making it retroactive, to cover the heavy losses sustained by some of these people during the last couple of years, but the minister did not answer my question.

Up in Bruce county we have two Indian reserves, and during the period the Indian committee was carrying on its work I had the pleasure of meeting some Indian representatives who were visiting here. They felt quite happy because something was going to be done in connection with a revision of the Indian Act, but right now I am wondering what is the hold-up. They are very disappointed because nothing has been done. The hon. member for Grey North (Mr. Case) is more familiar with this matter than I am because he served on that committee and traveled extensively. He made recommendations here in the house the other evening which I believe should be accepted by the government. Those Indians on our reserves in Bruce are very good citizens; and in his remarks the other evening the hon. member for Grey North said something well worth repeating, at page 970 of Hansard for February 28:

In the second great war, not only did their male members offer their services, the Indian girls came forward and offered themselves. One Indian reserve, Cape Croker, adjacent to my riding, showed an enlistment in relation to population larger than any other community in Canada.

I would be very much in favour of having that revised act brought into operation just as soon as possible.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I should like to say a word on the vital question of social security. We of the Progressive Conservative party have a platform on social security which, when we get into power and put it into effect, will solve many of the difficulties being experienced throughout Canada today.

First, I should like to say that, in my opinion, any social security scheme should be contributory. When I reach the age of sixty-five and I put my hand out to get a cheque, I should like to feel that I had contributed something towards keeping me in my old age. It is unnecessary for me to enumerate the different items in the social security program

advocated by the Progressive Conservative party. You will hear enough about it at a later time, so there is no need lor me to put it on the record. If anyone wants to look at it, I have a copy of it here.

The blind are also very deserving of some consideration, probably more consideration than they are receiving today. I understand they are included in the administration of the Old Age Pensions Act, and I do not think that is proper. I believe the blind people would be happier if they had a special department to administer their aid. I know there are many blind people who are quite capable of administering such a scheme.

I come now to what is known as the health news service, from which I should like to quote one or two extracts. The heading on this pamphlet is, "Alcoholic illness developed by one in twenty drinkers." The first excerpt I wish to quote is as follows-I might say this is given by Dr. Bell, the medical director of the Shadow Brook Health Foundation.

There are few physical or mental ailments causing greater pain or torture than that associated with alcoholism.

At another point, he says:

In spite of this, while most communities accept the causative agent, intoxicating beverages, the majority still fail to provide the means of helping a victim.

Such being the case, I am surprised at the member for Sherbrooke (Mr. Gingues), who stated in Hansard on March 2, page 1080:

We could, for example, levy a higher tax on, alcoholic beverages-

For the benefit of those within hearing of my voice, I might say that my views on liquor taxes were given on May 24, 1948, at page 4438 of Hansard. I have had no cause since then to change my opinion.

I am very glad to see the smiling face of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) tonight, as I have a few remarks to direct to him from which I hope he will benefit. In Bruce we have many small industries which are giving employment to many people. These employees enjpy living in the county of Bruce.

I would ask the Minister of Finance to try to treat these industries gently. This double taxation which the present government maintains in effect weighs heavily on the small industries such as we have in Bruce and the other rural communities. More should be done towards helping these industries than is being done at present. There is no doubt about it, the double taxation makes it difficult for the employer and is, therefore, not very good for the employee. It also contributes to the high cost of the product, which in turn contributes to the high cost of living.

I should like to mention, Mr. Speaker, the vicious sales tax about which we hear so

8. 1949

The Address-Mr. A. E. Robinson much today. In my speech in 1948 I stated that such taxes helped to raise the cost of living. I still think that is true. It is not a fair tax. I shall read an excerpt I have which I think will explain it better than I can. Speaking of the eight per cent sales tax, it says:

Because it bears more heavily in proportion on the poor man than on the rich, the sales tax is, in effect, a graduated income tax reversed, for under it the smaller a man's income the larger the percentage of it goes to pay the tax.

A worker or a farmer spends something like half of his total income for consumer goods on which sales tax is levied. A rich man may and often does pay as little for these same goods as five per cent. There is no justice in such an arrangement.

The income tax on farmers has been threshed out in this house, but I should like to add my voice to what has been said. The farmers are worried, but the sad part of the situation is that many of these hard-working farmers mentioned by the member for Wellington North (Mr. Menary) are not eligible to pay income taxes. When I was at home one week end I met a man on the street and congratulated him on his eighty-fifth birthday. I asked him how he was. "Well," he said, "I am not enjoying it very well." I asked him what the trouble was and he said, "I received a registered letter to file my income tax return. I do not know where I am. I reared my son and he lived with us after he got married. He has two grown-up boys and the property is split up in such a way that we do not know whether we are breaking the law in making up our income tax return." I said, "Do not worry over that. You have come through life up to now with a pleasant face, so do the best you can and carry on." That was the only advice I could give, and it is the only advice I can give to the farmers of Canada until we get a new government in office.

The member for Wellington North (Mr. Menary) mentioned the soft-drink tax, and that is another vicious tax which is a nuisance to the youngsters and others who have to pay these two pennies. It is a nuisance to the soft-drink distributors who have to keep the necessary forms in connection with the tax. Finally, may I say that our present tax structure in Canada is driving many of our educated young people over to the United States where they believe they can do better -and possibly they can.

I should like to say a few words about the tourist trade. I want to compliment the member for Lambton West (Mr. Murphy) on the speech he made in connection with tourists and the recommendation he made to the government. He suggested that a standing committee be set up on the tourist industry because that trade is going to grow. Just

The Address-Mr. A. E. Robinson recently at Niagara Falls Leo Dolan, the director of the Canadian Travel Bureau at Ottawa, said:

Competition Is now so keen that it passes all indications of recent years. Bermuda, the British Isles, Europe, Mexico, Latin America and the West Indies are putting on a tremendous drive for tourists. We must meet that competition.

When I read that article I thought there really should be an inducement to bring United States tourists to Canada. We read about the millions of dollars the United States tourists bring to Canada, but we must not overlook the fact that a great many Canadian dollars are spent in the United States and Mexico. I would offer the suggestion that if ever a tourist bureau is set up in Ottawa it would do well to adopt the slogan, "See Canada First". Many of the people in Canada have not been outside their own province. We visit a good many places close at hand, but we do not do much interprovincial visiting. I would suggest that such a bureau examine the possibility of having special rates on tours from one province to another so that the people would become better acquainted with Canada. This would make for a better understanding between the people of the different provinces.

I have, Mr. Speaker, a copy of a speech made by a school girl in a competition in Bruce county. This is the first-prize speech, and was made in Tobermory, that great fishing and pleasure district, in 1945. As it is a rather lengthy piece I would ask if the house would give me permission to have it included in Hansard in the report of my remarks.

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Some hon. Members:

No, no.

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LIB

Maurice Hartt

Liberal

Mr. Harit:

Let us hear it.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Read it to us.

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Andrew Ernest Robinson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robinson (Bruce):

That is what I was hoping to be asked to do. The title of it is "Bruce county, the Tourists' Playground". This is the trophy-winning address as delivered by Lois Edmonstone of Tobermory, at the Bruce county public speaking competition in Paisley, on November 1. It reads as follows:

Mr. chairman, judges, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls: The subject I have chosen to speak on is "Bruce county, the tourists' playground."

Have you ever wondered why thousands of people come from all over the United States and Canada to spend a vacation in Bruce county? It is because Bruce county has so many attractions and such wonderful scenery that it draws people from miles around.

If you prefer plenty of rugged coast line, the sound of waves pounding on rocks, thousands of beautiful flowers, and trees not tampered with by axe or saw, miles of sandy beaches which you can enjoy, nature as nature was meant to be, then Bruce county is the place for you.

Let me tell you of some of these beauty spots. Wiarton is the "gateway to the Bruce peninsula," and is the largest town in the northern half of the county. With its modern hotels, tourist accommodations and its proximity to inland lakes, Wiarton attracts a great number of tourists. Nearby is Colpoy's Bay, a lovely spot to camp and fish. Then, there are Cape Croker, Lion's Head and Dyer's Bay, which are small communities which attract their full quota of summer visitors. At the very tip of the peninsula is Tobermory, a small and picturesque fishing village. Here there are good hotels, cabins and cottages. There are guide boats to take you trolling for fish, which are plentiful. Near Tobermory, or "The Tub," as they call it up there, is Flower Pot Island. This island is named after the two large rock formations which have the shape of huge flower pots. Persons the world over have come to marvel upon these unique formations. Then there is Cove Island lighthouse. Only recently there was a write-up in the Toronto Daily Star regarding the first marriage on Cove Island, and there were pictures of the bride and groom, and of the stone lighthouse, which is 100 feet high.

I may say that I am about halfway through, and I should like to table this material.

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Some hon. Members:

No, no.

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Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

It is most interesting.

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LIB
LIB

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

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Golding):

Order. Has the hon. member permission to table the document?

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Some hon. Members:

No.

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Andrew Ernest Robinson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robinson (Bruce):

The prize-winning address continues as follows:

The lighthouse was built in 1859, and ever since, through the intervening period of 89 years, this great light has shone to aid sailors and fishermen on Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. This light can be seen by sailors aboard vessels fifty-four miles distant. The beam emanates from a lamp of but 300 candlepower, which is raised to 300,000 candle-power by putting it through six large prisms which revolve about the lamp, and making the light appear as though it were flashing. The lighthouse also has a radio beam, which can be heard as far as Toronto, and a fog horn which is heard for twenty miles. Cove Island marks the boundary between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.

The Lake Huron shore of the peninsula is indented by many little bays and inlets. One of these is Pike Bay, a very pretty place where many people go to camp and fish. There is a general store in the community, .where you may buy your supplies. Nearby is Red Bay, which is very similar to Pike Bay. Oliphant is a most attractive resort, with many summer cottages and an extensive and pleasant beach. It, too, is served with a general store. [DOT] The Sauble Beach is one of our best-known tourist attractions, and its exceptionally fine, broad beach draws great multitudes of summer visitors to enjoy the bathing, boating and fishing. With its modern accommodations, Sauble Beach has become very popular among summer visitors to Bruce. Nearby are the Sauble Falls, where additional numbers of tourists gather to enjoy a quiet vacation.

Further south along Bruce county's long coast line lie Port Elgin, Southampton, and Kincardine, Inverhuron, Bruce Beach and Point Clark, all of them most attractive resorts with fine sand beaches, and excellent accommodations. The first three named are all thriving manufacturing centres, but

;ater to a tremendously vast tourist trade. Bruce ;ounty is unsurpassed for the number and the Deauty of its inland lakes. These can be found all ;he way from one end of the county to the other, and who hasn't heard of their scenic beauty and ;he excellent angling which they provide for resi-ient and tourist alike.

In conclusion, it is my sincere hope that I have been able to impress upon you the fact that Bruce county is, indeed, a veritable "playground for tourists."

I implore the government to seek means of improving farming conditions, and thus help to decentralize industry and population. I concur in the following views on decentralization:

. . . one comes to the same conclusion as Mr. Lattimer, i.e., that decentralization would be a great help.

On this subject, he makes the following comment: "Analysis of conditions and the cause of the conditions should suggest the remedy. It does. Where yearly earnings are lower it should be easier to carry on business. That is the reason why so many industrialists urge decentralization as a remedy. This should come about naturally and probably would were there no hindrances to overcome. Some of these hurdles to take in securing decentralization may be custom, vested interests and monopoly practices.

"Certainly decentralization of industry would simplify this problem. To the extent that such decentralization may be brought about, this problem may be changed. In this connection it may be pointed out that perhaps some of the centralization has developed as a result of public policy. If this be correct then the way to decentralize may be to reverse some policies that have contributed to centralization."

I think that is sound advice for the future governments to look into.

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Albert James Bradshaw

Progressive Conservative

Mr. A. J. Bradshaw (Perth):

In taking part in this debate, Mr. Speaker, I first must join in congratulating the mover and seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I extend congratulations to the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) on his election as leader of the Liberal party and head of the government. To the new members who have taken their seats for the first time in this parliament I bid a warm welcome. I sincerely congratulate the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Drew), who has accepted the leadership of this party. Because of what he has done in the province of Ontario I know that his assumption of that position augurs well for the future of this dominion. I feel that I would be negligent if I did not express to this house, and through you, Mr. Speaker, to the country, some of the ideas that the people of my constituency of Perth have, not only as to government policies but as to those things that we feel would be conducive to a better economic condition in Canada.

I represent a riding which is partly rural and partly urban. The urban districts of our riding are prosperous, industrious centres. One thing which pleases me is that so many of these industries have been bom in the 29087-81

The Address-Mr. Bradshaw county, and by careful management have grown to dominion-wide status. Stratford, a city with a population of some 19,000 people, is situated in the centre of the county of Perth on the banks of the Avon river. It inherits its name from that famous English city, Stratford-on-Avon. It is a business centre of many industries. I can name many of these. There are six furniture factories, three textile factories, one packing plant, besides numerous other plants manufacturing leather goods, articles of brass and many other articles.

We also have the Canadian National railway shops, which in themselves employ some 1,500 employees. Then there are within the county three smaller towns which also have numerous industries. Probably the principal among these is the town of St. Mary's, which has one of the largest cement plants in the Dominion of Canada. Most of the factories are examples of industry, ingenuity and careful planning by many of the older citizens of the city and county. Many of those have passed on. These are things which have made Ontario prosperous. Our people have built up local industries which provide the farmer with a local market, and there is no farmer who will not admit that the local market is the most profitable one for disposing of his products.

In Canada today we are faced with many great and serious problems. I would not be so unkind as to say that all of these problems are of government making, but I have no hesitation in saying, Mr. Speaker, that many of the major problems with which we are faced today are a direct result of the policies of the present government.

The farmers of my constituency, like those of other parts of Canada, are deeply concerned about the markets to be available to them in the future. They viewed with considerable alarm the statement of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), at the last dominion agricultural conference held here in Ottawa, that the government could no longer assure the farmers markets in Britain for what hogs they could produce. Their memory goes back also to the statement of the same Minister of Agriculture when he told this house, as recorded at page 409 of Hansard of September 24, 1943:

If we in Canada can produce 450 million pounds of bacon a year, over and above what we require in this country, for the years that are ahead of us, we shall just about be able to supply that part of the British market which we hope to retain after the war is over.

In that year we shipped to the United Kingdom a little over 675 million pounds of bacon. Our current contract for bacon to the United Kingdom has been reduced to less than 25 per cent of that year, and is down by approximately 950 million pounds from the

The Address-Mr. Bradshaw peak year of our shipments to that market for the past ten years.

This is of vital concern to the farmers of the county of Perth who contributed materially to Canada's bacon production in the years when they were urgently requested to do so. Let me give you some statistics of our own county. According to the hog marketing at inspected slaughter plants, in Perth county we marketed in 1942 127,340 hogs with a percentage of grade A's of 38-3. I shall give these figures down to 1946. In 1943 we marketed 138,360 hogs with grade A's of 40-4 per cent. In 1944 we produced 138,355 hogs. We fell down in the percentage of grade A's to 40-1. In 1945 we produced 135,000, and rose in percentage of grade A's to 41. In 1946 we produced 138,000, and our grade A's were up to 42 per cent. I took these figures for the five years. You will notice that our percentage of grade A's rose from 38-3 to 42. Perth was the highest county in the province of Ontario in each of the above years in bacon production, and also the highest in grade.

During the ten years, 1939 to 1949, Canada negotiated 142 contracts for foodstuffs with the United Kingdom, and had as many as twenty-two in effect in 1946. In 1947 this was reduced to fourteen; then to five in 1948. For 1949 we have three, excluding the wheat contract. We have not lost these markets because of the inability of our farmers to compete with prices of imports to the United Kingdom from other countries. On November 22, 1940, the Minister of Agriculture said, as reported at page 346 of Hansard of that date:

We accepted with no bargaining the prices that Great Britain offered us.

A review of United Kingdom food imports for the past two years indicates clearly that we have carried out that policy. United Kingdom statistics, giving the average value declared for customs purposes, show that in 1947 our wheat was sold to that country for $3.96 a hundredweight, as against an average price of $6.33 a hundredweight for wheat from other sources. In 1948 our wheat was sold for $4.09 a hundredweight as against an average price of $6.25 a hundredweight for wheat from elsewhere. In 1948 we sold our bacon for $40.52 a hundredweight as compared with $45.83 a hundredweight that the United Kingdom paid as the average price for bacon imports from other countries. The same holds true for other exports of foodstuffs with the exception of condensed milk for those years.

Prior to 1944, agreements for the shipment of foodstuffs were for one-year periods. In 1944 agreements for bacon, cheese, eggs and beef covered a two-year period, while other contracts then in force remained on the oneyear basis. Today our contracts in this market have been reduced to four from a high of twenty-two in 1946. It is worthy of note that, on January 20 last, food minister Strachey informed the British House of Commons that on that date Britain held forty long-term contracts for the purchase of foodstuffs, ranging in duration from one to ten years. Mr. Strachey further said that he could have shown that long-term contracts had prevented the United Kingdom from having to pay prices for essential food over the past three years which it would have been quite ruinous to have paid. The Canadian producers can confirm this statement, Mr. Speaker, because no one has sacrificed more to make this possible. A review of the present situation indicates clearly that, when foodstuffs were difficult to secure, Canada had a considerable number of contracts, but as supplies elsewhere became available the demand for Canada's foodstuffs was reduced.

We are told by the Minister of Agriculture that this arises from a shortage of dollars which leaves the United Kingdom unable to purchase from us. To a degree this is true; but our farmers should be told what this government is doing to encourage the United Kingdom to export goods in short supply here to this country, which the British trade figures for 1948 indicate are being sent to Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Yugoslavia and elsewhere for foodstuffs, at a price in almost every case in excess of the price paid to Canada for similar produce.

Some explanation is due to the farmers of Canada as to why contracts for foodstuffs are now being made by the United Kingdom for periods of from one to ten years, whereas the contracts negotiated by our Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) were largely for one year and at best two years.

The United Kingdom has always been a stable market for our farmers. Will the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) give our farmers an assurance now that representation will be made to the United Kingdom government on their behalf, to the effect that these long-term bilateral contracts, which the British Minister of Food advises run for a period of one to ten years, and which protract this principle of barter far into the period when we all hope trade will return to a normal basis, will not serve to exclude our farmers from the United Kingdom markets which they have supplied so well in the past.

The farmers in my constituency are waiting for some pronouncement from this government as to what they may expect in the way of United Kingdom markets in the future. They are wondering also what will happen to prevent purchases for that market which are

today paid for out of ERP funds, should these products be declared surplus in the United States, as presently indicated, and what the government proposes to do if this should happen.

These are problems of vital concern to our farmers, who feel that, if nineteen foreign nations can get together and work out a formula such as the Marshall plan has done, Canada and the United Kingdom and other parts of the commonwealth can surely sit down and work out a solution to our present difficult trade problems before those markets are lost to us, possibly for years to come.

One other matter I would like to refer to at this time is the present taxation on farmers mutual fire insurance companies. Effective January 1, 1947, there was placed on these mutual companies a tax of 30 per cent of the yearly earned surplus. At that time, I brought to the attention of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) the adverse effect such a tax would have, and pointed out that the McDougall commission, which had gone into this matter, reported as follows, under section 5:

We consider that mutuals in certain specialized fields are rendering a service which is not provided by other organizations, notably in insuring farm and other unprotected rural risks. These mutuals tend to keep their rates as low as is consistent with the risk involved. We consider that it would not be in the public interest to impose income tax upon these insurers whose activities are primarily in these fields.

For the past two years, the government has been taking from the Canadian people in taxation $600 million to $700 million a year more than was required to cover the costs of government, that tax has been applicable on mutual fire insurance companies, and I submit the time has come for the minister to reconsider his position on this matter.

There are in Ontario alone sixty-six of these companies with about 225,000 policyholders, who are unfairly affected by this tax.' I say unfairly affected, because these companies, and their members which compose the companies, are not in the insurance business because they want to be, but because they have banded together to provide the service that stock and other companies do not wish to undertake, namely, to provide insurance coverage to isolated farmhouses, farm buildings, and public buildings such as schools, churches, and community halls, where little or no fire protection or facilities exist.

These companies operate in comparatively small areas, and because of this are always subject to the danger of some major calamity which, although from a national or provincial point of view it would be considered a local-29087-811

The Address-Mr. Bradshaw ized problem, in their case might involve 50 or even 100 per cent of the limited area in which they operate. These companies are able to protect themselves only by reinsurance and accordingly must build up reserves.

When the provisions of the Income War Tax Act were passed in 1946 the minister stated, as reported in Hansard of August 13, 1946 at page 4737:

I think the mutuals will find in practice that there is very little, if any, tax involved to them in this provision.

That statement would be quite factual in cases where reserves are already adequately built up. The tax would not be applicable because the earned surplus not being required would be paid back to members as premium refunds. But that is not the case for many of the smaller mutual fire insurance companies who are rendering service in a specialized field, and one that otherwise might go unserviced by the stock companies.

Under provincial legislation these companies are required by law to retain liquid reserves amounting to 80 cents for every $100 of insurance coverage. Today, with property values increased as they are, these companies find it necessary to increase their reserves, and in doing so they are taxed by the government to the extent of 30 per cent of earned surplus retained as necessary reserves.

I would ask the Minister of Finance, now that he is in the process of preparing his budget for this year, to reconsider this tax.

There is mutual agreement on the principle that no organization in our economy should be exempted from taxation merely for the purpose of building up unwarranted reserves. Nor is any special consideration asked for farmers mutual fire insurance companies for this purpose. But I think in all fairness some amendment to the present act should be provided that would allow these smaller companies to bring their reserves up to an amount considered adequate and necessary under present conditions before they should be subjected to this present tax of 30 per cent.

Last year I presented to the house an amendment which, if I am not out of order, I should like to place on Hansard. It was:

That section 57, subsection H be amended by adding to the present clause (ii) "a mutual insurance corporation in which the excess of assets over liabilities at the end of the taxation year in dollars per thousand dollars of net insurance in force at the same date is less than the amount set out in the following table:

When total net amount at risk exceeds $25,000,000 -$6.00.

When total net amount at risk exceeds $10,000,000 -$7.00.

When total net amount at risk exceeds $5,000 000- $8.00.

The Address-Mr. Hodgson

When total net amount at risk exceeds $2,000,000- $10.00,

When total net amount at risk exceeds $1,000,000- $20.00.

When total net amount at risk is less than $1,000,-000-$30.00.

For example, a company in excess of $25 million risk can have assets of $6 per thousand dollars of net insurance without being subject to tax. Over that they would be subject to the extent of 30 per cent. That would allow the small companies to live, and to carry on at their usual rate. Of course, that amendment was ruled out of order.

After all, these companies are not in the same position as where you pay a premium to an ordinary commercial company, and that is the end of the obligation.

The circumstances of their business which made them necessary in the first place leaves them in a position whereby, should abnormal losses be incurred the members insured may have to put up some part or all of the premium note to which they are a part. Under such circumstance, and in view of the fact this is a specialized field into which commercial companies are not anxious to venture, it seems hardly fair in the essence of democratic taxation that small companies such as these should be subject to a 30 per cent tax when they endeavour to build up an adequate surplus against the risk involved.

In view of the fine record of these small companies in the past, and the very necessary and efficient service they are performing in our economy, I would suggest to the government that in all fairness here is one place where taxation is in effect doing what was never the intention of the act, which is contrary to the recommendation of the McDougall commission report, and accordingly warrants reconsideration at this time.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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March 8, 1949