December 4, 1957 (23rd Parliament, 1st Session)


Samuel Boulanger

Independent Liberal

Mr. Boulanger:

Mr. Chairman, mindful of what the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming) has said I will try to be as brief as possible. However I do wish to offer some remarks on the situation of the textile industry in this country, more particularly in my constituency, which includes the town of Drummond-ville where about 80 per cent of the people depend upon that particular industry for their living.
The government is well aware of the importance of this industry in the nation's economy. According to a report of the Primary Textile Institute 80,000 people are employed in this industry which ranks ahead of the iron and steel industry which employs
29.000 people and the pulp and paper industry which employs 62,000.
Besides the fact that its capital is 84 per cent Canadian, the textile industry also pays the highest wages in this country, averaging $1.20 an hour whereas in 1954, in Great Britain, the average hourly wage was 44 cents, as against 15 cents in Japan and 12 cents in India. The industry is further handicapped by competition resulting from British preferential tariffs.
At the present time, the Canadian textile industry supplies approximately 46 percent of the needs of the domestic market whereas last year the corresponding figure was 56 per cent. This 10 per cent decrease represents work which could have been carried out by our Canadian workers and, consequently, explains the present unemployment.
Comparing the present figures to last year's we find that the textile industry now employs
3.000 fewer people than it did then, which means 3,000 more unemployed. If we look at the situation in the Dominion Textile plant in Drummondville, we find that on November 2, 1957 there were 210 employees less than on November 3, 1956, a figure which must be considered in the light of the fact that that industry employs 1,000 people. There is unemployment therefore in Drummondville, as in every other community with
Interim Supply
a textile industry. That is why I felt that I should call the government's attention, this afternoon, to what, in my estimation, is a rather serious situation.
Two suggestions have been made in this connection by the Canadian association of textile manufacturers. To begin with there should obviously be a change in the definition of the word "dumping" which favours export of American products to Canada below cost price.
The Templon Spinning Mills Company, of Drummondville, sent a letter recently to the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Nowlan). Here is one paragraph from that letter:
We suggest that an investigation of the declared price of American yarns being imported into this country be started. Templon Spinning Mills (Canada) Limited are prepared to provide your department with American orlon prices now in force in the United States, and we are sure that the rest of the Canadian synthetic spinners will be glad to supply similar information from their sources.
This clearly shows that the government must take action to correct the situation. If I felt justified in taking part in the debate this afternoon it is because I feel the matter to be urgent. I would have liked to speak at greater length but I will close now by asking the government to act as soon as possible.

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