February 25, 1948 (20th Parliament, 4th Session)


Edward LeRoy Bowerman

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

Mr. E. L. BOWERMAN (Prince Albert):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to avail myself of the opportunity afforded by this debate to give expression to what I know is the desire of by far the great majority of my constituents. I know from personal contact and from correspondence which I have received that if they were able to speak personally to this house, particularly to the government, they would do so in the sense of the amendment moved by the leader of the C.C.F. group (Mr. Cold-well). They would no doubt do it in this way:
We the people regret that Your Excellency's advisers have failed to use the powers provided by parliament to control prices, and by their actions have caused alarming increases in the cost of living -and a dangerous lowering of the living standards of the Canadian people.
That Mr. Speaker, is why I am speaking to the amendment moved by my leader, and also because every housewives' league, every women's auxiliary, every labour union, every farm forum, every wheat pool committee and every individual who has written to me from the Prince Albert riding, along with many others from elsewhere, has one and all demanded the reimposition of price controls, the resumption of subsidies and the immediate reapplication of the excess profits tax.
One letter which is typical of the many received contained a copy of a letter addressed to the Prime Minister by the Prince Albert local of the Canadian brotherhood of railway trainmen. The writer states that he was instructed by the brotherhood of his local to inform the Prime Minister that his group were unanimous in their end'orsation of the brief submitted to him by the Canadian congress of labour regarding the reimposition of price controls. They state further that in giving consideration to this brief they would like to remind him that during the war they were repeatedly informed by his government that there would be no inflation this time. They particularly wanted to call the Prime Minister's attention to the many Canadian National Railways pensioners who have given the government railways fifteen to twenty-five years of faithful service and who are now

faced with the absolutely impossible task of trying to exist on $25 per month. They close with these words:
Trusting you will consider the wish of the majority of the people and make every effort to improve their standard of living . . .
Before now they, will have learned once again that their trust has been misplaced. They, along with Canadians everywhere, will have learned that instead of recognizing and implementing the wishes of the majority, the Prime Minister's government has told this house and the country that so far as the government of the day is concerned sooner or later the type of subsidies that have been paid in the past will be removed, that the remaining subsidies that are now paid on different things will in the course of time be removed and that the policy of the government is the removal of price controlling subsidies. The truth as I see it is that this government, because of pressure brought to bear by self-styled free enterprisers, have turned their back on the system of planned price controlling subsidies which they themselves admitted saved us from ourselves and all others in the most critical period of our nation's history.
They have turned away from the principle of each for all and all for each, the principle of planned economic controls, which gave, in a measure at least, to the humblest citizen the right to share in the needs and necessities of life in a period of great crisis. They have turned from the petition of the majority to the cry of materialistic capitalism.
Capitalism is materialistic. It places a premium on greed1, competition, inequality and privilege. It denies the religious concept of the equality of man before God. It rejects the Christian principles of brotherhood and co-operation. It makes a virtue of the amassing of wealth and privilege at other people's expense. Capitalism is un-Christian in its ethics and inhuman in its practice. On the other hand, a democratically planned and democratically controlled society would guarantee and safeguard full economic, religious and political liberty for all.
A co-operative commonwealth federation, a Christian democratic socialist state, if you please, would assure to every citizen that there would be no economic, political or social discrimination because of race, creed, religion, colour or ethnic or national origin. A conservative commonwealth would rebuild society along co-operative principles, appealing not as capitalism does to the greed in men but rather to their desire to work together for the common good. It would rebuild society, national and international, upon the principle that all

The Address-Mr. Bowerman
men are brothers the world over and that all have an equal right to share in the good things that a kind and beneficent nature has created for the use of all men. Going still deeper to the root of the matter this is also why leading church bodies have considered it their duty to condemn the evils of capitalism and favour the reorganization of society upon principles similar to those of a co-operative commonwealth federation.
Through you, Mr. Speaker, I would like to recall to the mind and heart of those members of this house whose religious convictions are deeply rooted in the Catholic faith a papal encyclical of 1931 wherein Pope PiusXI states:
You assuredly know and lament the ultimate consequence of this individualistic spirit in economic affairs. Free competition is dead; economic dictatorship has taken its place. Unbridled ambition for domination has succeeded the desire for gain. The whole economic life has become hard, cruel and relentless in a ghastly measure. It is rightly contended that certain forms of property must be reserved to the state since they carry with them an opportunity for domination too great to be left to private individuals without injury to the community at large.
A pronouncement of the Roman Catholic hierarchy of my own, province states:
It is abundantly clear why the church condemns and abhors the abuses of the materialistic capitalism of our industrial age, with its consequent unemployment for the masses and huge fortunes for the few. These evils are so well known that we are saved the trouble of listing them here. Suffice it to say that materialistic capitalism is so un-Christian in its philosophy and evil consequence that it must give way to a reconstructed social order based on Christian principles.

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