May 28, 1940 (19th Parliament, 1st Session)


George Hugh Castleden

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


While men offered
their life-blood in the hour of danger, profiteering industry refused to provide the sinews of war. To-day Canada hangs her head in shame as we find our earliest efforts thwarted for want of supplies. Canada and the empire were sold out.
Quoting from Hansard of September 12, 1939, page 179, I find these words of the Minister of Transport (Mr. Howe):
I can say to my hon. friend that from that day to this the defence purchasing board has done its very best to place contracts on that basis and has used every pressure that could be brought to bear in the form of patriotism and so on, but to date it has not succeeded in placing a single contract on that basis.
This is one of the most revealing cases of the attitude of industrialists toward the war. From this statement it is quite evident that there was agreement among the contractors. It is abundantly evident, too, that patriotism and sacrifice mean nothing to them-profits mean everything. Profits to them mean more than Canada or the British empire. They are largely responsible for our present plight with regard to the shortage which is paralyzing our war effort. Instead of yielding to the demand for a greater increase in profits, why
[Mr. Castleden.l
did not this government or the administration nationalize the industries which are so vital to our very existence?
Is money again to be considered of more importance than life? Many boys from the western plains leave debt-ridden homes as they go to fight for Canada. After enlisting, they hear that relief quotas are to be drastically reduced, farm machinery prices are raised within ten days after the election, and the soldier goes into battle wondering how his aged parents and his sisters can live on the meagre returns from the home he has left. There are no profits for him. To-day he looks to this house for leadership. He asks why, if he is willing to give his life, the money-lenders should not be willing to give a part of their money. In the last war Canada socialized her greatest natural resource, the blood of her manhood; and while this was being poured out, profiteering industry and money-lenders enriched themselves with tax-free bonds, and laid upon coming generations a debt so staggering that we can but borrow to pay the interest. Too soon wives and parents will be sent telegrams to tell them that their husbands and sons will not come back. No telegrams will come to tell the money-lenders that some of their contribution will not come back.

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