Mr. A. B. HYNDMAN (Carleton):
Mr. Speaker, in continuing the debate on the budget I assure you that, so far as wheat is concerned, you will not have to rule on any points of order.
In my opinion there are three burning questions before the people of Canada today: (1) taxation; (2) the manner in which this government is spending the taxpayers' money; and (3) the condition of agriculture. I go back to the first budget of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) in 1936, and quote from page 2383 of Hansard, where he said:
Nevertheless I believe that no country can o on indefinitely with heavily unbalanced udgets and continue to maintain either the confidence of investors or the basis upon which her economy can function healthily and vigorously. We have now reached the stage where delay should no longer be tolerated. We must make an immediate approach to a balanced budget and we must be able to show that complete equilibrium can be reached within a reasonable time.
The next year, 1937, in his budget speech the Minister of Finance said:
I believe I can fairly say that since 1929 no New Year has dawned with brighter promise for Canada. I shall be greatly disappointed if, by this time next year, Canada has not moved substantially further along the road of economic recovery. ...
I hoped that it would be possible to reduce the deficit to $50,000,000 for 1937-38 and to
wipe it out altogether the following year. It now seems probable that this objective will be within our powers of accomplishment.
That was only two years ago, in 1937. In 1938 the Minister of Finance in his budget speech said:
If we can judge by the experience of previous years, the departments will be able to effect considerable savings in their appropriations, and these savings, judging from experience, should be more than sufficient to offset _ any additional expenditures that may be authorized.
Then we had the budget speech of this year, in. which the Minister of Finance said:
Nevertheless, no nation can go on indefinitely with a budget heavily unbalanced without sooner or later providing a real, not an imagined, basis for fear as to the soundness of the country's financial position.
On January 9 of this year a great Canadian in the person of Sir Edward Beatty, speaking before the Ontario Property Owners' Association, had this to say:
As long as debt is incurred by anyone or any institution for the purpose of building or purchasing plant or equipment which produces a profit, the larger the debt the better. The moment that debt begins to grow, not for this reason, but to cover annual losses, then the larger the debt the worse. I hope that your association will pass not one, but a series of resolutions, protesting against the waste of public funds, wherever that waste occurs; that you will vote against the duplication of public services; the waste of money on relief-except where the need is actual, the neglect, in the public affairs, of the ordinary rules of prudence which you apply in your own affairs.
I fear, Mr. Speaker, that the present government does not realize the danger of these successive annual deficits. In 1938-1939 they had a total revenue of 8501,677,000 and a deficit of over $55,000,000. We have heard a lot of criticism of the late government, the so-called Bennett administration, but in 1931 when they were in office and the depression was at its worst they took out of the pockets of the taxpayers of this country only $357,720,435. True enough, they had a deficit of $83,000,000 odd. But this government, in what they call good times, have had $115,774,587 more than had the Conservative government in 1931 to spend on the people.
During the last ten years we have been running in deficits. Last year we were told by the Minister of Finance that he thought he could balance the budget this year, but what did we find? We found another deficit, amounting to $55,666,000, and he estimates that next year it will touch possibly $100,000,000. I wonder whether the government and hon. members in general realize that during the past thirty years the debt of the dominion has increased eleven times. I wonder if this house realizes that the debts of the various provinces have multiplied as
The Budget-Mr. Hyndman
follows: Prince Edward Island, eight times; Nova Scotia, seven times; New Brunswick, seven times; Quebec, four and a half times; Manitoba, three times; Saskatchewan, five times; Alberta, four and a half times; British Columbia, eight times, and this good old banner province of Ontario, no less than fifty times. During the last twenty years the municipal debt has increased nearly three times. The dominion government is paying more than one-third of its taxation income in interest charges on the national debt. In 1938 the Canadian people paid in interest charges alone $137,400,000, a per capita charge of S12.36. Where is it going to end? Taxation is going up. The tax rate in the finance minister's own township has increased in ten years by nine mills; in my own township it has increased six mills; in Ottawa in the last ten years it has increased 7-65 mills. In the township in which the Minister of Finance resides the tax rate was raised 13-10 mills last year. Our debt is twice our income. It has been growing at the rate of $272,000,000 a year, and now equals $743.49 per capita, as against $385 in the United States. For the dominion government's borrowing of two and a half billion dollars in the last sixteen years we have practically no corresponding assets.
This is a summary of the condition of debt in this country. The Minister of Finance and the government may say, well, what complaint are you making? My complaint is against the way in which this government is spending the taxpayers' money, and I want to give a few examples right in this city which represent, in my opinion, as unwise a spending of money as any government could undertake. I should like to take the Minister of Finance or any member of the cabinet to the front of these parliament buildings and ask him to look at what is going on down around the memorial. I have watched it all summer long. You come in one week, and there is an excavation; you come in next week and it is filled in; two weeks after that things are just about as they were; and that has been going on- all summer long. We have a memorial there which is costing over $1,300,000. I fully appreciate and recognize the services made by the sixty thousand soldiers who are buried over in Flanders' fields, but if those soldiers were to come back to-day and look at the memorial in Connaught Square, and realize that $1,300,000 was being spent on it, -while the sons and daughters whom they left as babies when they went over to fight in France are walking the streets of Ottawa, hungry, barefoot and without jobs, they would not give the government much credit for the
erection of that stone memorial. No wonder the seulptrr has depicted the soldiers going through the arch with their heads hanging down, as though perplexed at what is going on. Perhaps they are dizzy at the way the traffic is handled around that square.
Then I should like to take the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) to the front of this building and ask him to cast his eyes towards the supreme court building. Why, in these hard times, w-ith so many people hungry, so many men out of work, should the government spend $3,360,000 on a building to house seven judges, when, as I understand it, the supreme court meets only about ten times a year? They might well have spent less money on that supreme court building. I know the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) will say, " But look at the number of men employed." Well, the average number of workmen employed on the erection of that building has been only one hundred; the highest number employed at any time was one hundred and sixty. Is it necessary for us to spend $3,360,000 of the taxpayers' money to employ one hundred men?
Also we are erecting a new post office here. I should like to take the -Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) to the experimental farm and show him the new driveway which was built over there. I measured it, and I find it is a little over a mile long. It was built through the choicest piece of ground -which one could use for such a purpose; no excavation was necessary; it is a black top highway, and it is costing the taxpayers of this country $159,784-for a mile of driveway. I have been told by contractors, and I know it to be a fact, that the highways built through Ontario cost around $20,000 a mile, and those double highways which they are building up in western Ontario cost less than $100,000 per mile. To spend over $159,000 on a mile of driveway through a farm is the kind of thing that makes the taxpayers of this country sick and tired. Again, take the St. Patrick-Cummings bridge driveway; one could throw a stone the length of it; it is less than a quarter of a mile long, yet it cost $33,742.
I am not opposed to the beautification of the city of Ottawa. On the contrary I believe that the capital city should be beautified. But in the name of high heaven let us use a little common sense in this business, and not throw away money foolishly. It is all very well for the Minister of Finance to criticize business in this country and to say that if business men do not buck up and do their share we, the government, will have to go on
The Budget-Mr. Hyndman
spending money. But I think we are setting them a very bad example. If any company had such a board of directors as we have sitting over yonder, those directors would be fired. The taxpayers are paying a terrific amount of money for the management of this country and they are getting sick and tired of it. Go to Montreal and look at the hole which the Canadian National is filling in there-$12,000,000 absolutely wasted.
People on relief, men and women, are looking for jobs and cannot get them; yet this government increases the salaries of highly paid men in the public service. We find increases amounting to $175,000. Here is a man drawing $6,000 and he is increased to $8,000, an increase of $2,000. I have here a list of the increases and these are some of them: $480; $675; $540; $600; $1,500. These are some of the increases which this government has given. Thousands upon thousands of men and women in Canada are trying to support their families on less than half of some of the increases which the government has accorded its employees. They may say that these increases are statutory. I do not care whether they are statutory or not; I say this is no time for the government to hand out such increases.
Look at the commissions the government appointed last year, and look at the supplementary estimates-$122,000,000 to be spent. Why, Mr. Speaker, I never knew that we had to have so many bridges, wharves, post offices and armouries and so much dredging to be done in Canada. Preelection, I am told. Well, I am not sure whether that is the explanation or whether hon. gentlemen opposite are trying to bridge over the differences between the provincial governments and the dominion government.
I would make a few suggestions to the government. In the first place I suggest a little more rigid economy in the spending of public money. They ought to spend the taxpayers' money more wisely. Instead of spending money on memorials and supreme court buildings, driveways through parks and farms, they should spend it on revenue-producing undertakings. For example, there is reforestation. If the Minister of Labour were here he would say, "We are going to spend a million dollars on that.'' Yes, a million dollars on reforestation and three millions on a supreme court building. I should like to see the trans-Canada highway completed from coast to coast. In this morning's press we read that Germany is demanding of Poland a highway across that country. I submit that something of the sort is needed here, a highway
from coast to coast, not necessarily for tourists but as a defence measure. I should like to see hydro-electric power developed all over the rural areas. 1 know it is a provincial matter, but surely there can be a little cooperation. Some of the money that is foolishly spent by the dominion government could be used to help in the development of hydroelectric power so that every rural .home would have electric lights. If that were done we would get somewhere.
In my opinion the federal government should assume the total cost of relief. I think they ought to set up training camps such as there are in Sweden for single unemployed. The morals of the young people of Canada are being undermined, their health is being destroyed, and they are becoming discouraged. It is all very well for a Liberal member to describe our young people as "yaps" and "spineless," but eighty-five or ninety per cent of the unemployed in this country, young boys of twenty and twenty-one, are anything but yaps. They are not spineless. If there were a war to-morrow these same young men would be called upon to go and fight. I say, give them a chance.
In regard to reforestation, I have here an interesting provincial government pamphlet. If this government spent $56,000 in the reforestation of 1.000 acres, it is estimated on reliable authority that in sixty years that forest would be worth $444,000. Would not that be worth while?
Coming now to the condition of agriculture, I do not hesitate to say that the Minister of Agriculture and the members of the cabinet all fail to realize the plight of Canadian farmers to-day. I know that they are trying to help the farmers in some ways, but they do not fully realize the condition of agriculture in Canada. Agriculture is the basic industry of the country. Germany lost the last war simply because the farmers there could not produce the necessary foodstuffs. And see what Japan is doing to-day; she is trying to expand and to get more agricultural territory. Fifty per cent of our Canadian farmers are bankrupt to-day. and seventy-five per cent of our farms are mortgaged. No encouragement is given to the farmers to stay on the land-none whatever. The Minister of Finance realizes this to some extent, for in his budget speech he says:
It is therefore, only self-interest for all of us to see that everything that can possibly be done is done to improve the economic standing of agriculture. Only thus can all industries in all sections of Canada achieve the maximum of prosperity. Only thus can we preserve and strengthen national unity.
The Budget-Mr. Hyndman
Eighty per cent of the farmers of Canada have not bought a new suit of clothes in the last eight years. I have here a picture of a group of young farmers taken during the Christmas holidays at the agricultural college at Guelph, Ontario. Here are 700 young farmers taking a short course. I ask hon. members, not in any partisan spirit but in all sincerity, what- is the outlook for these young men? They see their fathers wallowing in debt, working from five in the morning until eight at night for less than a dollar a day and getting nowhere. Is it any wonder that the rural population is gradually becoming an urban population? Improve the condition of agriculture and you will keep these young people on the farms.
The wheat bonus is fairly good, but the cheese bonus did not go far enough. Why did not the Minister of Agriculture follow the recommendations of the Ontario cheese board? Some time this winter they made a certain recommendation which in my opinion the minister ought to have adopted. They recommended one cent a pound on all cheese scoring 39 points for quality with a total score of 92 points; 2 cents a pound on all cheese scoring 40 points for quality with a total score of 93 points, and 3 cents a pound on all cheese with a total score of oyer 94 points. Why, there is hardly a cheese factory in this country producing cheese that scores 94.
Now we come to butter; the government is going to purchase butter to give to those on relief. Very good; but from whom are they going to purchase it? Are they going out to the farmers who are now producing butter, and are they going to buy it from them? No, they are going to the packing companies, to the speculators who have large quantities of butter on their hands. I would rather see the Minister of Agriculture say to these speculators, "You fellows stew in your own butter; we will buy from the producers." It is the same with wheat; we have white collar farmers speculating in wheat, who would not know a kernel of wheat from a kernel of corn. Others speculate in butter, who would hardly know how butter is produced. If any products are to be purchased, let the farmer get the benefit.
Oh, we have this government going to do wonderful things. We find that the duty on vinegar is to be increased. What a great help that is going to be to the apple growers of this country; what a wonderful thing for the farmers! Then they have put a one cent
duty on tomatoes. Look at what they did
last year. They took the duty off gopher
poison and harness. That was what they didfor the farmers of Canada. I hold in myhand a newspaper of 1903 containing themarket reports of that date, and I am going to compare the prices shown for that yearwith the prices of to-day: 1903 1939Oats 38 cents 30 cents Wheat 87J 60Barley 461 42Corn 54 53Hay, per ton.. .. $10 00 $8 00Straw, per ton .. 6 00 4 00Potatoes 1 25 1 00Butter 23 22Eggs 20 20Cheese 14 14
But look at the difference when the farmer has to go and buy:
Bran $ 19 00 $ 24 00Shorts 17 50 25 00Middlings 22 00 27 00Flour 2 60 2 60Plough 12 00 22 00Harrow 16 00 23 00Binder 145 00 267 00Mowing machine.. .. 65 00 120 50Hay rake 32 00 56 50Cream separator.. .. 80 00 148 00In 1903 the farmer's taxes were only $40;
to-day they are $140. The price of a farm in 1903 was practically what it is to-day, around $4,000. That is why the farmers cannot get along; they are getting so little for their produce and they have to pay so much.
Then we were told how the tariff affected prices of agricultural implements. In 1929 we had a so-called low tariff; in 1934 we had what was called a high tariff; in 1936 we had a low tariff again, and then in 1938 we had the Minister of Agriculture making a speech in this house in which he said that if the manufacturers of farm implements in this country did not lower their prices, what he was not going to do to them! Let me quote the prices of farm implements in 1929, in 1934, in 1936 and in 1938, after the minister made his speech. In each case it will be seen that under the Conservative party, with a so-called high tariff, prices were reduced; that when the Liberals came back to power prices went up, and that after the minister made his speech they went up again. The figures are as follows:
The Budget-Mr. Hyndman
Spring tooth harrow
6 ft. heavy mower
9 ft. 30 teeth rake
6 ft. binder
3 inch shoe sleigh
Thresher machine (22x38) mounted
That schedule of prices, Mr. Speaker, shows that under the high tariffs of 1934-and I would like the hon. member for Huron North (Mr. Deachman) to listen to this-prices were lower than at any time since 1929. There is a reason for that. When the Conservative party came into power they raised the tariff, but when they did that they went to the manufacturing concerns of this country and said, "Look here, we want you to play ball with us. We will protect your industry and give work to the people of this country, but we do not want you to increase your prices." And they did not.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: DEDATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE