April 26, 1949

PC

Arza Clair Casselman (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Casselman:

Don't read the dirty parts.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CCF

Joseph William Burton

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

Mr. Burton:

You have now lost your place.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Sarto Fournier

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Maisonneuve-Rosemont):

trust that will be the only thing you will lose.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

William Albert Boucher

Liberal

Mr. Boucher:

These fellows can talk but none of them will be back at the next session. May I repeat the paragraph, Mr. Speaker? The Prairie Farm Assistance Act has already been of inestimable value to the economy of the prairie provinces, and indirectly to the whole of Canada. It is far in advance of anything ever suggested by the parties in opposition who criticize this government's policies. While socialism offers only to ration poverty and want, Liberal policy has given security and preserved a high measure of prosperity to the farmers, and indirectly to all of the people in our prairie provinces. This act is being still further improved and will be supported by the electors of Rosthern.

Everybody knows the policies of the Liberal party with respect to our older citizens. These pension policies were outlined in the proposals made to the provincial governments in 1945. While we remember that this comes within the jurisdiction of the provincial governments-it is administered by them-we of Rosthern constituency strongly urge that every support should be given toward a more substantial and contributory old age pension to commence at an earlier age than is now in force.

And we must not forget the part that family allowances-an act of this Libera] government-have played in the financial stability and prosperity of our country. They were first proposed by the Liberal government. They have been criticized often and unfairly by the opposition, but I would dare any hon. member of the opposition to carry his criticism to the point of voting against them.

When I speak of the social security measures of this Liberal government that have maintained progress and prosperity in our land, I realize that this prosperity for our people can only be built on the foundation of peace and security. For this reason, Mr. Speaker, I strongly approve of the courageous action of this government in promoting and signing the agreement which is called the Atlantic pact. I am sure that the electors of Rosthern-because they know how two great world wars were forced upon them-are unanimously in favour of the agreement for collective security. In the past the democratic nations fell into war because they allowed themselves to be divided. Now we hope to stand in peace by this act of unity. I know that the C.C.F., the socialist party of one province, has declared itself

against this pact. I do not believe that their stand is in the best interests of peace for Canada, or for the world.

It is only on this foundation of peace and security that we can continue to build the progress toward prosperity and happiness that is our lot in Canada today. The people of Canada do not need to be told by figures in the budget speech that they are better off under the policies of this Liberal government than they have ever been under the government, or the policies, of any other party. They know it by their own financial position, by the money that they have in their pockets, and by their freedom from unpayable debt. It is by their own individual prosperity and happiness that labour in Canada knows that employment in eight leading industries in Canada has doubled in less than ten years from 1,182,000 in 1939 to 1,871,000 in 1945, when the war ended, and to 2,031,000 in 1948.

Labour in Canada will not be misled into socialism by false leaders, because they know that 3,227,000 of them had work under Liberal policies in 1948, an increase of 80 per cent over the number employed when the government came into power in 1935, an increase that came gradually year by year since that time, and which has continued to increase since the war ended. The promise made in 1945 that Liberal policies would create jobs has been kept in full. On February 17 of this year the Canadian Press reported that the prairie provinces of Canada had established a world record of employment. The greatest possible social security is jobs and fair prices. These are the things which give independence and security, and which contribute more to human happiness and prosperity than do all the utopian promises of socialism. The people of Canada do not need to be told of the almost fabulous figures of her world trade- that she is the third largest trading nation in the world and, based on population, by far the greatest trading nation. They know it by the money in their pockets obtained from honest labour, given because they have jobs and fair prices for the products of their labour on the farms.

They know, too, that the policies which gave them prosperity are the policies to retain. No one can tell the wheat farmer of the prairie provinces that he has suffered from the policies of this government. He knows those policies are right, because of the money they put in his pocket.

In western Canada we have had the ridiculous spectacle of politicians who claim to support the policies of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), of whom Saskatchewan is justly proud, and yet who in every way try to defeat the minister. By the state-

The Budget-Mr. Boucher ment of a highly respected judge we know that in the election of 1945 an attempt was made by those who opposed him illegally to defeat the minister at the polls. At that election he was opposed only by the C.C.F., the socialist party.

The farmers of the prairie provinces know that if the Minister of Agriculture were defeated his policies, which have helped them so much, would lack the support they need. That is why we find an increasing number of farmers, and of people whose prosperity depends upon the farmers, determined that they are going to send to Ottawa at the next election a delegation solidly supporting the Minister of Agriculture and the Liberal policies he follows.

Mr. Speaker, the electors of my riding strongly support the budget, because it provides for the biggest tax reductions ever proposed by any Canadian government. They support the budget because these reductions were effected in both direct and indirect taxes; and, even more important, tax cuts were directed to the masses of our people, particularly those with growing families.

The 770,000 people in Canada taken off the income tax rolls do not need to be told that for them this is a good budget; they know that, by the extra money in their pockets. They know, too, that the reduction of public debt shown in the budget means that further tax reductions are going to come if the Liberal policies of sound financial administration are continued.

I believe the trans-Canada highway should be built without further delay. I believe further that the route selected in Saskatchewan should be located in the centre of the province, following the Evergreen highway which passes through Saskatoon, Edmonton and Yellowhead. This route is unsurpassed in scenic beauty. We need an artery running from the trans-Canada highway to the United States boundary and to the Prince Albert national park.

Recently one of our distinguished sons of Canada wrote a book entitled "On Being Canadian". The people of Rosthern constituency take second place to no others in this great country in their loyalty and devotion to our country and our way of life. There is a reason why many of the citizens in Rosthern appreciate even more than others the privileges and responsibility of Canadian citizenship.

As I said at the outset of my remarks, our people came from many parts of the world; some came from places where they lived under strict controls and autocratic rule. Therefore many of these people are in a better position than others would be to appreciate the freedom and the opportunities

The Budget-Mr. Boucher in Canada. They have not been beguiled by the false and siren promises of socialism or any other ism. That is why I am sure the people of Rosthern constituency stand solidly behind the budget, one which they know is designed to maintain for all our people the independence, the prosperity and happiness that Canada offers under Liberal policies.

(Translation):

Upon this first occasion which is afforded me to address the members of this honourable house, I wish to express my appreciation for the honour and privilege of representing the constituency of Rosthern here in Ottawa. The first inhabitants of Saskatchewan settled in Rosthern. Those who have already read the history of northwestern Canada are familiar with the names of such places as Fish Creek and Batoche which are located in Rosthern. As early as 1880, our ancestors came to Rosthern from all parts of Canada. A few years later they were joined by numerous immigrants from several European countries, who lost no time in acquiring the spirit of the Canadian pioneers. These newcomers played a most decisive part in the building of our cities and towns, in the development of our country and of our way of life. These people from foreign lands have proved a most valuable asset not only to Rosthern and Saskatchewan but to the whole of Canada. Today, there can be found no Canadians who are more thrifty, more sincere and more convinced of the necessity of co-operating with their fellow citizens.

In 1896, a portion of what is today the constituency of Rosthern had the honour of electing Sir Wilfrid Laurier as its representative in Ottawa. Thirty years later, that same riding elected the Right Hon. Mr. Mackenzie King, now member for Glengarry, as its representative in the dominion parliament, thus enabling him to continue his efforts towards the development of this country and the improvement of the living conditions of the people. On behalf of my electors I welcome this opportunity of paying tribute to the former prime minister of Canada.

The outstanding statesmanlike qualities of the present Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) are recognized by the people at large just as they are by the members of this house who have been in a position to appreciate them when he was in charge of the Department of External Affairs and of the Department of Justice. Since he assumed the leadership of the government, a few months ago, the Canadian people have also been able to know him better. The continued progress which we enjoy and the ability of the present govern-

ment have gained him our full confidence and that of the Canadian people.

One of the first opportunities of showing that confidence was afforded to the electors of my constituency, and the majority given to the present government in that by-election was one of the largest ever obtained by a Liberal government in Rosthern.

(Text):

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. Garfield Case (Grey North):

Mr. Speaker, I think one of the most important statements that have been made in this House of Commons during the time I have been privileged to be here was the statement by the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) at closing time yesterday. I think he has alerted himself to the desires of the people during his trip through the west. Upon his return he is quoted as saying in effect that he found a desire for a general election.

In the main you do not find a desire of that type if the people are satisfied. I think the right hon. gentleman sensed the feeling of unrest and uncertainty which is present today in the minds of the Canadian people and in the minds of many Liberals as well. While I do not think it is a good thing to thresh old straw, after listening to the hon. member for Rosthern (Mr. Boucher) I think I should attempt to refresh his memory for the benefit of those who will verify the statement I make.

I should like to remind the hon. gentleman that in 1930 we were approaching a situation which the Prime Minister of that day, the present right hon. member for Glengarry (Mr. Mackenzie King), hesitated to face even though he had another year to serve before his term of office expired. As the right hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) remarked when dealing with his estimates, in 1929 they appreciated that a terrific financial and physical collapse was on the way which was beyond their ability to cope with.

The man who was called into office was forced to face all kinds of criticism but he led this country through a great economic disaster, an economic disaster that faced not only this country but the entire world. My hon. friends know that. It is unfair and unjust to place the responsibility upon the one man who at the risk of his health did a great job for Canada in keeping this country on a reasonably level keel at a time when the banks of the United States were closed down and economic chaos was rampant and the government was hard pressed to cope with a situation which might easily have resulted in mob rule.

In distant Europe the situation was even worse and the totalitarian states turned their attention to the manufacture of implements of war in order to stabilize employment for

the time being. However, in building up a huge war machine they led the world to the brink of disaster which resulted in a terrific and costly war.

Let me remind the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat that as late as 1938 thousands of young men walked the streets of Canada without a place to lay their weary heads. They rode the rods from one city to another. I met a young man who enlisted in the early days of the war in 1939 and who told me that his army pay was the first pay he had had for a period of four years. I have considerable regard for the efforts the government made, but I must say that had it not been for the war it is most questionable whether they would have solved the economic problems of Canada.

I have discovered no tendency that would indicate that Liberalism is on the march. No major change or reform has been brought about to ease the burdens of the Canadian people. Reference has been made to the budget and the hon. member for Rosthern has said that they have made the greatest tax reductions in history. If you build up your pyramid high enough, and they built it to the highest peak ever known in the history of Canada, it is not too difficult to cut it down, particularly when there is an election in the offing. It was necessary for them to do something immediately because the country was demanding it. Hon. members on the government side rose in their places and insisted that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) make some adjustments in taxation.

They reached out and they did quite a job, but as far as I am concerned, it is too little and certainly far too late. There should have been gradual reductions in taxation during the period of adjustment which would have encouraged greater production and thus defeated this spiral of inflation. We must remember that living costs in Canada have soared. In fact we are the victims of inflation brought about as the result of policies deliberately put into effect by the present administration.

After listening to the hon. gentleman who preceded me I begin to think that the present administration is suffering from an inflationary trend. They are suffering from egotistical inflation and the electors are presently going to puncture the bubble and there will be very little left when all the gas has been let out. You hear people in this House of Commons and on the hustings encouraging people to believe that this old supreme authority known as the present administration is giving handouts to the people in the way of family allowances, cuts in taxation, millions to wheat growers and reductions in income tax. It is

The Budget-Mr. Case

well timed; of course it is well timed, but they are not giving the people one red cent that the people themselves did not provide. I think it is important to bear that in mind. Governments have no money; they are dependent entirely upon the taxpayers of the nation, and the ability of the taxpayers to produce the necessary revenue depends entirely upon the productive capacity and employment of the nation.

Today we have our efforts in the House of Commons highlighted by the fact that the government, faced with a non-confidence motion in the present administration and having been sustained by a very narrow margin when the house divided on the speech from the throne, rather than risk outright defeat are going to deny to the members of the house the privilege of criticizing their policies and condemning them in this legislative chamber. They are now going to seek an opinion from the highest court in the land by going to the country.

What does this mean? It means that there was called into being the public accounts committee. We had the Auditor General before that committee for one day when he referred to some of the things which he had criticized in his annual report to parliament. Subsequently my leader, the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Drew), was made a member of that committee. I am wondering now if the Liberal government have not decided that they have almost had enough and are willing to hightail it for the tall timbers, or anywhere else they can seek refuge, and watch the show go by. Certainly they have arrived at the place where they fear and dread criticism.

I heard one member this afternoon speak about freedom from fear. I think if the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) could inculcate a little of that freedom from fear into those who sit with him in the administration they would not be inclined to whistle in the dark hoping against hope that everything will turn out all right when they know they have been masters of mismanagement and that the country is going to have to pay a terrific price. References were made to the trying days of the early thirties. It must be remembered that a Conservative administration took over then following long years of Liberal rule and administration, and the same situation prevails today when the Liberals have been in office for fourteen years.

The country has survived a war when the entire effort of our people was required for a common objective. We have now had brought before parliament a charter or pact known as the Atlantic pact which we debated previously in a very limited way and passed almost unanimously. Since then the final draft has been signed in Washington, and I

The Budget-Mr. Case

understand it will be returned to this house for further debate and comment. We find the government exactly in the same position that they were in in 1945, long on showmanship and certainly short on practicability. In 1945 the then Prime Minister flew to San Francisco to affix his name to the United Nations pact. Today they have signed the Atlantic pact, which is an instrument to guarantee the security we all seek, and by which we hope to avoid war.

This government, however, has not the courage to come forward with any policy. No doubt when the pact is returned to the house the debate will be restricted. While we have made commitments we are absolutely without any policy or sense of direction to help us to determine how we intend to honour our obligation. I think it is most unfortunate that the country should be left in such a situation, having become a signatory to a pact, having enjoyed all the glory and showmanship which went with it, and all the publicity which was necessary to indicate that we too were among the 330 million people in the world who desired this token of security. We have not yet determined, however, the method we intend to employ to guarantee that security.

If you read the daily press at the present time you will find that a very important conference is taking place in old London. It is being attended by the Prime Ministers from various parts of the great commonwealth. Is Canada represented by her Prime Minister at that important conference of members of the British commonwealth of nations? No. She is represented by a second in command. Someone who could not possibly speak with the same authority as the Prime Minister is offering Canada's advice. It is a very important conference, possibly more important than we realize. For some reason or other there has been a tendency on the part of this administration-and I am not going to charge them with ulterior motives in any sense of the word-to by-pass these imperial or commonwealth conferences. Yet I think it must be admitted by all who are students of history that the greatest security we enjoy, and the greatest security we are likely to enjoy, is that of being a member of the commonwealth of British nations within the British empire. I am one who regrets therefore that the Prime Minister is not representing Canada at this important conference in old London.

I said a while ago that some of the funds which the government is distributing were raised by taxation. The funds which are being returned to the wheat growers are funds which originate from the sale of their product, and from no other source. Yet these

cheques are going to find their way to the western plains at a very important moment, at a time when an election is under way. I was privileged to visit the province of Saskatchewan recently. There is an air of concern and uncertainty there as to the climatic conditions in that great province at the present moment. Therefore I feel that the time has arrived when greater consideration must be given to some means of surveying the land, not alone by way of the Prairie Farm Assistance Act, but through some other instrument of legislation, and those lands that are subject to repeated failures should surely be classified in some way, or put back into grass and returned to grazing land.

Those are problems which might well be dealt with if the government had any desire to solve anything. Possibly we should agree with them, however, that the first thing they had better solve is their own position, because it would be unfortunate if they laboured hard and long only to go to the country and meet the fate which I am sure they are going to meet. Rather it is just as well for them to hand over the reins now while there is some semblance of saving their face.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Vincent Grant

Liberal

Mr. Grant:

While there are a few Tories over there.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Case:

There will be a lot more Tories over on your side when the game is over. Not only have we a public accounts committee, but there is also a very important committee of this house on which I had the honour to serve. I refer to the Indian affairs committee which was a special committee of the House of Commons. A royal commission consisting of ten members of parliament was set up to travel throughout the maritimes, at considerable expense to the taxpayers of Canada. They laboured hard and long to revise the old Indian Act which has received no major attention since 1867, the year of confederation. Representations were made to this committee by Indian tribes and Indian agents from one end of Canada to the other. The labours of the committee extended over a period of three years. Great volumes of evidence were heard. These were sifted through, and as a final act we met and agreed almost unanimously, which very seldom happens when you have a committee composed of so many members, and also having on it representatives from the other place. There was very little dissension, if any; and what there was I am sure would have been straightened out on the floor of the house. Now after all this work and preparation and the drafting of this important legislation, the government has seen fit to abandon the whole thing and throw it overboard. The Indian affairs committee was not even set up this

session. It was represented that the bill was being studied by the law officers of the crown, but I have been unable to find any substantial evidence to that effect. So the work carried on by a joint committee of members of this house and the other place for three long years, at considerable inconvenience and expense and involving a good deal of travel, is going to be discarded and the recommendations of the committee completely ignored.

I do not think that is a fair way to treat a minority, whose ancestors were the original citizens of this great land. They placed all their hopes in this committee. They were the first to ask that it be set up, through the North American Indian brotherhood and other similar organizations. They made representations to the government asking that such a committee be set up, and it required long years of approach and much planning on their part to get this far. Now this is to be discarded because, as I have said, it suits the government to avoid facing the criticism of their colleagues in this house. They prefer to go out with their propaganda machine well oiled and try to convince the Canadian people that they have been carrying on by some divine right all through these years and have passed legislation for the common good, though we who have had the experience of sitting in this chamber know full well how important it is to have criticism as well. It is the criticism they are trying to avoid at the present time.

The hon. member for Rosthern (Mr. Boucher) also mentioned the trans-Canada highway. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that this great project will receive a good deal of attention after the election has determined who will sit on the treasury benches. We have definitely made it a part of our program. The government were quick to seize upon some semblance of our resolution immediately following our national convention, but they have given a very poor exhibition of leadership and I am quite satisfied that nothing will be done. This is the do-nothing administration, except for the collection of large sums of money, which is carried on with a degree of inefficiency which is very costly to the taxpayers. When we ask the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott), "What about this item of $374 million in connection with the foreign exchange control board?" his answer is, "Oh, that is just a bookkeeping item." Well, I can tell you that the taxpayers of Canada have found it a pretty costly method of bookkeeping, because they have had to foot the bill for many years.

Another very important committee we would like to have seen functioning is the radio committee, which I am sure must mean a great deal not only to the government and to this house but to the Canadian people as well. We should have had an opportunity to delve into the policies under which our radio

The Budget-Mr. Case

broadcasting is carried on, and should have had an opportunity to recommend certain changes in administration. To me it seems absolutely ridiculous that a broadcasting commission with over-all authority to operate a broadcasting service on its own behalf, or on behalf of the government, at the same time should sit in judgment and have considerable administrative power over its competitors. It would seem just as logical to ask the board of directors of the Canadian National Railways to determine how the administration of the Canadian Pacific Railway should be carried on. For some time my thought has been that the government certainly should have a commission or some body similar to the transport commissioners, which would act in an administrative or advisory capacity, fixing rates and determining certain aspects in the public interest; but why we should expect the radio commission, itself in business, to direct the affairs of private radio enterprise is beyond me.

So these important committees, as well as the approach of private members to legislative problems, bills and other things, will be simply thrown into the discard and we will be on our way to the country. I believe the administration have been divided on this issue for some time; yet after our recent experience in getting through $100 million of supplementary estimates I can appreciate why they would hesitate before attempting to put through $2,300 million of estimates for 1949-50. So they are going to shelve all this and have an election.

Now for a few moments I am going to deal with an item which I believe should be stressed because of certain references we hear, particularly from our socialist friends, to the enormous profits which have been made by capital. 1 think we should all seek to have some appreciation of the part to be played by both labour and capital; and no good purpose will be served by endeavouring to divide these groups or drive them further apart. Anyone who hopes to succeed in bringing about understanding and stability in labour relations must bring these two great factions closer together, in greater appreciation one of the other. Recently I had an opportunity to see a set of figures which I am going to read into the record, together with such comments as I may have to offer. They are very revealing, since they mark a period of great progress in the industrial development of this nation. I am going back almost sixty years to point out that in 1890 the earnings per worker amounted to $272 per year. He received, however, 21-4 per cent of the product he produced. It is interesting to note that in 1945 the worker received

The Budget-Mr. Case

22-3 per cent of the product produced, an increase of less than one per cent. That seems astounding, because you may say, "Well, look at the tremendous expansion in the volume of wages." This is what actually took place. In 1890 the worker produced goods worth $1,271. In 1945 he produced goods worth $7,371; so while the percentage of the product he received increased by less than one per cent, the amount he received was $1,649 as compared with $272 in 1890.

How did these changes take place? Capital invested billions of dollars in better machines, tools and equipment with which the worker could work. Working conditions and the whole environment of the worker changed. Whereas in 1890 wages and salaries amounted to $100,415,350, in 1945 wages and salaries totaled $1,845,773,449 or an increase of approximately $1,745,338,000. This brings home to us that, in spite of the desire to stir up discord and misunderstanding between these two groups within our nation, capital and labour have made wonderful progress and labour has shared all the advantages which capital has sought to provide.

As a matter of fact, in pursuing this a little further I find that the dividends earned on capital are actually smaller now than they were in 1890, yet capital is benefiting by the greater volume of business. In 1945 industry expended $4,254 million more on raw material than in 1890. No wonder we now assess ourselves as being highly developed industrially. Facts and figures speak for themselves. Certainly there is plenty of evidence to indicate that Canada has traveled a long way in her industrial development. As a matter of fact, we have traveled farther than we would have traveled under any semblance of state control. Wherever it has been tried that has had a nullifying effect and has not been good for either the worker or capital. It brings into question the confidence of the investor in the future of the nation.

Canada has tremendous resources. We are greatly in need of foreign capital for our development. We must seek by every means we can to make it attractive for foreign capital to come into Canada and invest in our rich resources in order to ensure the development of those resources. We should also attempt to ensure their processing in Canada to the greatest degree in order that the benefits derived from that processing will reach our citizens.

We do find, Mr. Speaker, that capital is willing to risk itself in the development of enterprises such as mines and so forth. The fact remains, however, that capital will not risk a government which is not stable or a government of a socialistic character because

capital fears that once the enterprise becomes successful it will be seized by the government and taken over for the benefit of the state. So far as we are concerned we want to make sure the state remains the servant of the people and that it will offer the people a sense of security and confidence in the future. We do not want to arrive at a place where we are directed by some central authority; where we are under the influence of bureaucrats and subject to inspection; where there will be a degree of discord and misunderstanding. We much prefer, and I am sure the Canadian people who are resourceful prefer, not to be subject to that.

After all, Mr. Speaker, the greatest asset we possess is our people. We have reason to be proud of the robust citizenship of this great nation. Canada has made progress because she has had citizens who were willing to take a chance and who embraced no false philosophy. No one should claim that the country owes him a living, but we do say with all the emphasis we can that a country properly administered should guarantee every citizen the opportunity of making a living. The right to work is inherent in the life of any man. Productive toil leads to contentment and happiness more than any other method which can be employed.

I feel that we must always be conscious of our great Canadian citizenship. Our immigration policy should have as a fixed objective the bringing to Canada of people with initiative, who have a high regard for our laws and for our institutions. We should bring to Canada people who value freedom as the average Canadian should value freedom, though sometimes I doubt that there is a real appreciation of freedom. After all, we are very fortunate in that we have never been without our freedom. We know something of what oppression means by hearing about it from those who have been oppressed and who are seeking to escape from it. It is our hope for the future that Canada is going to remain a land of freedom, a land where individual initiative and individual ambition will count for a great deal. As we march forward to greater prosperity we must address ourselves to that important task, ever conscious of the fact that freedom is an empty farce if our people are not given some economic security.

We cannot join with our socialist friends whose leader is reported to have said that their hope of success is a major depression or recession. I would certainly not want to have that thought in my mind, that our only hope of climbing to power was on the wreck of humanity. So, Mr. Speaker, our objectives are clear. We are prepared to meet the issue and we are certainly in a position to assure

the Canadian people that we have within the ranks of our great party a wealth of talent and leadership that is capable of forming the next government of the Dominion of Canada. It is capable of giving this dominion the type of legislation it has long been seeking. We will cut the bonds which are holding us back. We will be rid of bureaucracy, government by order in council or by any such method as is now employed. There will be restored to this great, free parliament the right to govern itself and to make that contribution which is in the best interests of all concerned. Then, Canada will indeed be a land of democratic freedom, with all the emphasis we can place upon those important words in our vocabulary.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CCF

Thomas John Bentley

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

Mr. T. J. Bentley (Swift Current):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to congratulate the member from Rosthern (Mr. Boucher) on his maiden speech and the manner in which he delivered it. If it is ever the misfortune of the rest of the country-and his good fortune -to have him return here, which I doubt, he will no doubt do considerably better the next time. We in this group have no criticism to offer, Mr. Speaker, of the calling of an election at this time. We are very pleased. The date is agreeable to us. We believe it is time an election was called to give the people of this country an opportunity of saying what they want.

I am not going to brag about what will happen. We will allow the members from other parties to read the ballots and weep on the night of the twenty-seventh. I was interested, however, in the member for Rosthern's description of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). If he had been a little more cognizant of the history of the last fifteen or twenty years; had he been a little less prejudiced, he would have realized that many of the things that he claims the minister stands for now, that same Minister of Agriculture opposed most bitterly within the very short memory of a great many people in western Canada.

He poses now as a great believer in orderly marketing. That same Minister of Agriculture made it very difficult for the farm organizations of western Canada, and the C.C.F. group in the House of Commons, finally to persuade him that the idea was good. And then having adopted the idea, the same hon. gentleman has been so piecemeal in introducing that type of legislation into this house that a great deal of the benefit that should have accrued has not come from it. The people have not been given the full benefit of what we believe is proper orderly marketing in order to receive parity prices. I may deal with that a little later.

The Budget-Mr. Bentley

Before going into the main reason for speaking in this budget debate, Mr. Speaker, I want to deal for a moment or two with this matter of marketing coarse grains, and all the controversy that has been going on since a little over a year ago when Bill No. 135, an amendment to the wheat board act, was introduced into this house. It will be remembered that one section of the act gives authority to the wheat board to handle oats or barley or oats and barley if it was considered necessary. I am sorry the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) is not in his seat, because at that time he was the premier of Manitoba. During his term of office there when Bill No. 135 was under discussion in this House of Commons, and when the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) made it clear that Bill No. 135 would not be proclaimed unless the three prairie provincial governments each passed conjoint legislation to make it legal, the present Minister of Justice, at that time the premier of Manitoba, disputed most emphatically in correspondence with the Minister of Trade and Commerce the need for that legislation and the need for the legality of it. While I am not going to quote all these things today, I shall refer the house to sessional paper 110C, tabled during this session of parliament, containing that correspondence between these two gentlemen, and setting out very clearly the present Minister of Justice's disagreement with the actions of this government at the time that he was premier of Manitoba. Even today that hybrid government of Manitoba between the Liberals and the Tories, who have such glorious little squabbles in this house, but who get along so well out there, did not have the courage to bring in a government measure of that kind, but had to let it come in through a private member, and even then were compelled to accept it by the weight of opinion of the farmers of Manitoba.

Yesterday the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) asked a question in this house with regard to the matter. If I remember his words correctly-and he can correct me if I am wrong; they will be found in Hansard-his question was as follows:

In view of the fact that the legislature of Manitoba has joined the legislatures of Alberta and Saskatchewan in enacting complementary legislation in reference to the marketing of coarse grains, will the compulsory marketing of coarse grains now become automatic, or does the government intend to give further consideration to the question whether the course recommended by these legislatures will be carried into effect?

The question itself was worded in such terms as to indicate the innate caution of the hon. gentleman who asked it. He has been extremely cautious in his approach to this

The Budget-Mr. Bentley matter, knowing that his own convention last fall was very much against this type of legislation and finally adopted it only with the proviso that other types of marketing would also be allowed to exist along with it.

The minister replied to the hon. member for Lake Centre in these words, which will be found at page 2519 of Hansard:

The government set the prerequisite to the act being brought into force on two or three occasions. Apparently that prerequisite has been complied with.

Then note this:

The government will study the situation in the light of what has been said in the past.

Shortly after that the hon. member for Melfort (Mr. Wright) asked a supplementary question. It was unfortunate, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member for Melfort did not get the floor first; but being farther away from the Speaker he was not recognized as early as the hon. member for Lake Centre, consequently his question could not get on Hansard as it should have, but it will get there today to indicate the difference in the tone, the difference in the sympathy toward this type of legislation between the question asked by the hon. member for Lake Centre and what would have been asked by the hon. member for Melfort. This is the question the hon. member for Melfort would have asked:

In view of the fact that the three western provinces have now passed the necessary complementary legislation to last year's Bill No. 135, and in view of the fact that the western farmers are now seeding, and the amount of coarse grain seeded will depend on the implementation of this act and the prices established under it, will the minister make a statement clarifying the position of the government and stating the 1949 prices for coarse grains?

That indicated on the part of the hon. member for Melfort a sincere desire to see the farmers themselves get the type of reply that would give them some guidance, some information to indicate to them in the management of their farms whether they should sow more or less coarse grains and which kind to sow. The minister replied in the same tone that he had used before. I want to remind the Minister of Trade and Commerce of one or two things. On several occasions in the past the Minister of Trade and Commerce has made statements about this matter. In 1948, as will be found at page 1678 of Hansard, the minister said:

The government is prepared to take whatever steps lie within its power to assist in establishing marketing arrangements that will help to maintain economic and stable prices for Canadian agricultural products. The government must, however, be satisfied that any given scheme for this purpose is . . . a practical one-

I have left out a few words, but any hon. member can look them up. I am not taking

anything out of the context; I am simply shortening things up. He said:

... a workable one and one that will command the support of the interested groups concerned.

In dealing with this matter this year the minister made a statement which is reported at page 1421 of Hansard. This was not in another debate, Mr. Speaker; it was an answer of the minister and therefore it is quite in order to quote it here. In giving the answer he had dealt with the matter of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture's representations to the government asking that this particular legislation be introduced. He had gone on to say why they could not do it in the way that the Canadian Federation of Agriculture wanted it done, and he pointed out that if the farmers did not like the way he was doing it they could make use of the bill that was going to be introduced by the Minister of Agriculture and which has since been disposed of, namely, Bill No. 82. He then finished up with these words:

If, on the other hand, the western producers wish to market their oats and barley through the Canadian wheat board, and provided that their provincial governments will enact the necessary legislation, this government's position has not changed since I introduced Bill 135 in response to specific requests then made by the farm organizations.

If that is not a clear indication of a promise, a definite undertaking to do a certain job when certain conditions had been met, I do not know what it is. From the time he introduced the bill he said that if the three prairie provinces passed conjoint legislation his government would instruct the wheat board to handle oats and barley. This is what he said yesterday in reply to the hon. member for Lake Centre:

The government will study the situation in the light of what has been said in the past.

What does the Minister of Trade and Commerce want? His conditions have been fulfilled. Everything he has asked for has been done. The people of the prairie provinces, by representations made to their own governments, have finally persuaded any of those governments which might have been reluctant that it was in their interest, and that they wanted this legislation. The minister has the legislation before him; and now he has the effrontery on the eve of an election to tell the House of Commons that the government is again going to give study to the situation. If I were inclined to use rough or profane language, I would ask, "What the hell more does the minister want?"

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CCF

Thomas John Bentley

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

Mr. Beniley:

I said that I would have said that, had it been allowed. I know of course that it is not allowed in the house.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Therefore you did not say it.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CCF

Thomas John Bentley

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

Mr. Beniley:

Coming to the budget, I should like to comment briefly on the remarks made last night by the hon. member for Vancouver North (Mr. Sinclair). About half way down the left-hand column on page 2559 of Hansard the hon. member is reported in these words:

Farm income is up from $1,300 per farm in 1939 to $3,800 per farm in 1948.

He omitted any reference to the cost of farm machinery, to the cost of lumber to build a house or to repair buildings; he omitted any mention whatsoever of the increased cost of living. But even had the cost of production and living remained the same as in 1939, it was still not out of line or out of order to increase farm income in this country on an average from $1,300 to $3,800 per year, because anyone who reads the figures produced by the bureau of statistics and by other organizations knows that these figures are not net to the farmer; these are gross income figures.

Anyone who brags about an increase from practically no income-$1,300-to $3,800 is not doing a service to agriculture in this country. He is a babe in the woods-

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Ewen Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

The only point I made there was that the only standard by which these things could be judged is the fact that the average farm income between 1939 and 1948 has trebled. Everyone knows that the cost of living or the cost of agricultural machinery has not been trebled in the same period or anything near it. I was simply trying to show that this government has made real progress, despite the gloomy forecast made by hon. members of the C.C.F. in 1945.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CCF

Thomas John Bentley

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

Mr. Beniley:

That is not a point of order; it is another speech. I do not blame the hon. member; but I do not think I should permit him to proceed further, because I would prefer to finish what I have to say. The hon. member rose to a point of order, and then proceeded to make a short speech.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Ewen Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

And I will make another-

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CCF

Thomas John Bentley

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

Mr. Beniley:

Not during my time. You may later, if Mr. Speaker will permit you.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

John Ewen Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. Sinclair:

You had better not mention my speech, then.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CCF

Thomas John Bentley

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

Mr. Beniley:

There is no credit coming to any government which claims that it has raised income from nothing, or practically nothing, to $3,800 a year. What I am trying to say is that agriculture has still not had anything like its share of the national income.

In this connection let me place on record some figures given by the Canadian Federa-

The Budget-Mr. Bentley tion of Agriculture, as they appear in the second to last issue of the Alberta wheat pool budget, page 3. They say that for the years 1931 to 1936 inclusive there was a net loss of from 4-0 to 7-0 on invested capital in the agricultural industry of this country. There continued to be a net loss during the following years from 1937 to 1941 on investment returns of from 3-9 in 1937 to 4-7 in 1941, inclusive. Here is something to remember; during the period from 1937 to 1941 the companies which handled, processed and sold food had a return on their investment of anywhere from 6-7 per cent to 10-9 per cent during the period 1937 to 1941. During the time the primary producers of foodstuffs were losing money on their investment the handlers were making money; and during the greater part of that period there was no war. In this country a Liberal government could have given serious consideration to adjusting the economic factors so as to reverse that condition.

Is it any wonder that the farmers had incomes of only $1,300 a year in the first year mentioned by the hon. member for Vancouver North? The picture changed slightly, so that the farmers received a small return on their investment in the years 1942, 1943 and 1944. In 1945 however they again had a slight loss. During those years every one of these food handling companies had definite returns of from 7-4 per cent to 9-9 per cent. Taking the period from 1937 to 1947 the returns to food handling and processing companies go from a low of 6-7 per cent to a high of 10-9 per cent, whereas only in a few years of that period of time did the farmers receive any return on their average investment.

Figures showing average returns for farmers are misleading, because even with the mechanization of farms many farmers do not receive anything like the average mentioned by the hon. member for Vancouver North or the figures I have just mentioned. Only a few in the higher brackets help to bring the average to anywhere near speaking distance.

However, those were not the principal points I had in mind today when I rose to take part in this debate. What I had intended to deal with is something close to my heart, namely co-operative institutions. There has been no mention whatever in the budget of any relief whatsoever from the iniquitous legislation in operation for three years in connection with co-operative institutions. No consideration has been given to the representations of these co-operative organizations. Every member of the House of Commons I am sure has received a memorandum addressed to all members of parliament under

The Budget-Mr. Bentley date of April 23 from the Co-operative Union of Canada. This is a summary of a brief presented to the government on April 4, some two weeks after the budget was announced.

For years these people have been asking for a federal co-operative act which would clarify all co-operative operations in this country. It will be remembered that not quite a year ago, in the 1948 session, the house passed a private bill to establish the Canadian Co-operative Processors Limited-I always refer to them as the horse co-op. They had to come here to get a special act of parliament; and they got it.

There is no reason why one act could not be passed to give every co-operative organization the operations of which extend across provincial borders the same type of legislation. This act would govern their procedure, and that is what the co-operative union has asked for. Might I add that the union speaks not only for the Co-operative Union of Canada, but for le conseil Canadien de la co-operation. This last named organization will be known to anyone who understands anything about co-operative enterprises in Canada. There are already three of that type of organization, besides the one I mentioned, that apparently cross provincial borders. There is the Maritime Co-operative Services Limited, the Interprovincial Co-operatives Limited and the Canadian Co-operatives Limited. There is no reason why this government should not give consideration to the matter, nor is there any reason why it should not place on the order paper this year an act such as that asked for by the Co-operative Union of Canada.

As an indication of why I think this government has not done what it should have done, I would point out that hardly ever is cooperation mentioned in this House of Commons but the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) gets up and makes a pompous speech about how the Liberals of Saskatchewan made the co-operatives. I have disputed that time and time again. I have told the minister where he is wrong. I know the history of co-operatives as well as he does, but he insists upon pinning all kinds of medals upon himself, even those found around the stockyards, by claiming that he is the father of the co-operatives. If he wants to make that claim stick by concrete action, why has he not convinced the members of the government, most of whom do not know anything about co-operation in any form, that he has something on the ball and it is necessary to have an act of this kind. He has failed completely to do that.

The result is that every time a co-operative association wishes to do business outside the borders of a particular province it must come

down here with its hat in its hand to ask permission. Expensive counsel must be sent down here to do the necessary work and it costs a tremendous amount of money before an act is finally put through to give that one co-operative the right to operate outside its own province. One act would do the same thing for all.

Nothing has been done for co-operatives in this budget by way of removing what I consider to be the most iniquitous tax in this country. I have said that before and I say it again. Any time a group of people are prepared to organize themselves into a cooperative and say to themselves, "We will do business for ourselves in a non-profit way," the government prohibits that by legislation and by doing so commits an iniquitous act.

These people do not complain about paying income tax on that part of their business that is done with people who are not members of their co-operative, but they claim that when they are ready to do business as a co-operative association at cost by the patronage dividend method, there is no reason why they should not be permitted to do it. Yet the government steps in and imposes a three per cent tax.

I should like to tell the house what has happened in connection with thirty-two little co-operatives in my district. Some of these are quite small, only handle bulk materials like fuel, wood, coal, possibly some binder twine and other stuff that is easy to handle and does not require very much labour. There are larger co-operatives that do quite an extensive business, but I am referring to these thirty-two small co-operatives around Swift Current. In 1947 their tax amounted to $4,500, an average of $141 each. Some of them hardly had net earnings of that amount. The amount collected by the government would not pay the cost of collection.

The government is determined to do nothing to offend private business in this country. They have told these little people that they cannot do business as co-operatives until they submit to the tax laws of this country and pay an income tax on the amount of capital employed. I think the word I have used to describe this sort of action is right. If I were given to using unparliamentary language I would use words different from what I have.

The government has had ample assistance from our Progressive Conservative friends in carrying out this program. I am sorry the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Ross) is not in his seat because I intend to refer to a speech he made on March 31 when speaking on the budget, as reported on page 2221 of Hansard. He was there quoting from the remarks of Dr. Karl D. Butler of Washington, president

of the American Institution of Co-operation, as reported in the Rural Co-operator, as follows:

Both co-operatives and other business enterprises emphasize the profit motive as the principal business incentive.

I do not deny to the hon. member for Souris the right to believe that nor am I denying to Dr. Karl Butler the right to come up here and say it, but I do emphatically deny every single word in Dr. Butler's statement, even though it may be believed by the hon. member for Souris. I am going to present some evidence in support of my statement.

I do not think there would be anyone in this house who would have the courage to say that the co-operative institutions of Canada are not based on the Rochdale principle. I know that there are not many who know anything about it. There are very few members of the Progressive Conservative or Liberal parties who know anything about it.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
PC

Arthur Leroy Smith

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Smith (Calgary West):

I know as much about it as the hon. member.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CCF

Thomas John Bentley

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

Mr. Bentley:

I said that there were very few. If the hon. member for Calgary West (Mr. Smith) knows something about it at least I will be talking to one hon. member who has an intelligent understanding of what I am saying. While there are very few who understand it I do not think any would be ready to go into the country and say that they do not believe in it. They know that the co-operative people of this country base their operations on the principles of the Rochdale pioneers. I should like to quote from the Fundamentals of Consumer Cooperation by V. S. Alanne, published by the Northern States Co-operative League of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dr. Butler can deal with these people by making the kind of statement he has made, but up here he will have to deal with those who know something about it. I quote:

Here is a significant clause in the now famous program of the Rochdale pioneers: "That, as soon as practicable, this society shall proceed to arrange the powers of production, distribution, education and government; or, in other words, to establish a self-supporting home colony of united interests, or assist other societies in establishing such colonies."

There is a whole book of that sort of thing, every word of which would be useful. The statement made by Dr. Karl Butler will be denied by a great many co-operative people in this country. The profit motive is not the principal incentive. Their motive is to reduce costs and provide the best service possible and give the fairest weights without profit. That is the basic policy and philosophy of the co-operatives of this country.

The Budget-Mr. Bentley

I have some further evidence to present along these lines. I have here a brief which was presented by the Co-operative Union of Saskatchewan to the government of Saskatchewan on January 12, 1949. I know there are some people in Saskatchewan and other places who would like to create a division between those in Saskatchewan who operate co-operative enterprises and the C.C.F. This is the brief that was presented to the government in an effort to establish what these people believe is the basis of relationship between the two functions, to set out where the one could function and where the other could function. They have indicated what they believe is the basic philosophy of co-operative enterprise. For instance, on page 3 they say:

Laws in capitalistic society were primarily made to protect the entrepreneur and were developed and amended through time to protect greater aggregations of capital. While provision was made from time to time to enable co-operatives to enter the commercial field, it was always as a distinct and peculiar division of business and not as part of the general economy.

At page 4 they have this to say:

The co-operative movement grew up as a voluntary organization within the framework of a capitalistic economy.

Later on there is a fairly extensive quotation which I wish to give. They are dealing with what has happened under the Labour government in Great Britain, and they say:

If the foregoing is true in Britain, it is equally so here in Saskatchewan.

They were pointing out where the government's field was and where the co-operatives' field was. They say:

It is submitted that the co-operative movement- consumer, producer, and service-can make an important contribution to stability and the maintenance of effective and responsible democracy in a planned economy as projected by the present provincial government. Having as its base a broad democratic foundation amongst farmers, urban workers, and the professions, it at all times promotes and encourages active participation by the people in the responsibilities of political and economic ownership and control. It is real "free enterprise" in that it enables all men and women, regardless of financial investment, to enter the business field in their own behalf, and at the same time develops a social outlook in working together for service, impossible where profit is the motive.

If the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Ross) ever gets around to reading Hansard of this day I should like him to remember those words, and then cogitate again on the immaturity of his statement in believing the word of somebody from somewhere else who was simply expressing a personal opinion, and who would have been heartily disagreed with by the great bulk of co-operators in this country.

The Budget-Mr. Diefenbaker

If I ever say anything that impresses the government I should like this to be it. If they believe in their hearts that they are trying to build a democratic country in Canada, that they are trying to extend to people in all walks of life, in the political field, in the production field, in the servicing or distribution field, in the business world, the elements of democracy in which we believe so much, then I say to them that they cannot do it if, every time a democratic organization threatens the power and monopoly of some established institution, they do not extend that democracy and clamp down some particular type of legislation on the statute books of this country which will prevent the fulfilment of the purposes of these democratic organizations that rise up in any one of these fields.

If they cannot see that, then there is one other course they are going to follow, just as sure as day follows night. It is now established on the statute books that there can be no such thing as a non-profit co-operative organization in this country inasmuch as they have imposed a three per cent tax. Some day they will come to the conclusion that is not enough to do the job they want done, which is to kill the co-operatives. They will listen to the persuasion of the Canadian Manufacturers Association, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and their other big friends, and they will proceed to raise the tax to five per cent. If that does not do the trick they will raise it to whatever percentage is necessary to kill these democratic commercial institutions. If they want to go in the other direction they can move to remove the three per cent tax, and they can do that right now on the budget resolutions. They do not even need to wait until those resolutions are voted upon. The government will receive the support of a great many people in this country, if not politically at least spiritually, if they will have the courage and the decency to give co-operatives the kind of treatment that they have a right to in Canada.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink

April 26, 1949