March 27, 1946 (20th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, I had not anticipated speaking again in this debate, but since the opportunity has arisen, and, as the Minister of Agriculture
(Mr. Gardiner) has quite properly stated to the house, this debate affords an opportunity to discuss some matters that are before the country, and there may be a danger of some misunderstanding as to where we stand in this controversy regarding price ceilings and the production of food, I felt that I should like to say something further this afternoon.
Before I proceed may I say that I was greatly interested this afternoon in hearing the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) rise on a question of privilege and read into the record a short statement by Tim Buck. I presume that the marriage of convenience which seemed to have been consummated before the elections has now been very happily dissolved.
As I said a moment ago, I am rising to say something about the discussion on the removal of price ceilings. The other evening the hon. member for Rosedale (Mr. Jackman) urged the removal of price ceilings in the building trades. He complained about the difficulties of the builders in obtaining labour because of insufficient wages, and in obtaining materials because of insufficient prices. I listened last night to the hon. member for Stanstead (Mr. Hackett) who stated that in his opinion butter should be seventy-five cents a pound, or, indeed,'perhaps even a dollar a pound. I believe that some adjustments must be made in the prices of farm commodities, but let me say to these gentlemen a t once that if prices are allowed, to take flight, then we are in for a severe trimming of the consuming population of this country. Inevitably the prices of all the things the farmer has to buy will rise, but the prices of the things he has to sell will trail -the prices of the things he has to buy. The worker will find himself chasing prices upward and wages never catching up with them. Then when we get to the peak, as we found after the last war, there will be the collapse and inevitable suffering by the working people and farmers of this country.
May I say that the demands we have been listening to in this house from the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bracken) and from some of his followers are strangely like those that are now being heard in the United States, where the former isolationists in the senate and house of representatives, and the newspapers which supported1 the isolationists in that country, are demanding the removal of price ceilings and the elimination of controls. I venture to say there is no desire on the part of those in Canada who are really behind this move to benefit either the worker or the farmer. In reality it is engendered by powerful business and financial interests in this country
The Address-Mr. Coldwell

who want to puncture the price ceiling and get rid of controls in order that they may have a Roman holiday.

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