LACROIX, Édouard

Personal Data

Bloc populaire canadien
Beauce (Quebec)
Birth Date
January 6, 1889
Deceased Date
January 19, 1963
industrialist, lumber merchant

Parliamentary Career

October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
  Beauce (Quebec)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
  Beauce (Quebec)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Beauce (Quebec)
October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
  Beauce (Quebec)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  Beauce (Quebec)
February 18, 1943 - April 16, 1945
  Beauce (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 20 of 20)

April 22, 1931


For a copy of all documents, correspondence, memoranda, letters, exchanged between the Minister of Labour at Ottawa and the director of unemployment at Ottawa, and any person or persons, in connection with the construction, out of funds provided by the Unemployment Relief Act, of a parish or municipal hall at St. Germaine de Etchemin, county of Dorchester, Quebec.

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April 22, 1931


For a copy of all documents, correspondence, memoranda, letters, exchanged between the Minister of Labour at Ottawa and the director of unemployment at Ottawa, and any person or persons, in connection with the expenditure of moneys under the Unemployment Relief Act, at Spalding, county of Frontenac, Quebec.

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May 8, 1930

Mr. EDOUARD LACROIX (Beauce) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, my comments

will be brief. I shall confine my remarks to a few items of the budget which was brought down in the house on May 1.

First, I wish to thank the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) for having fulfilled his promise to revise the tariff.

I also wish to heartily congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) for the splendid budget he brought down last week and which will remain a memorable event in the public records of this country. I want to state that I approve entirely of this budget.

All classes in this Dominion will benefit by this budget, however, since the riding I represent is made up almost entirely of farmers, I shall especially mention the excellent results which the farmers will derive from it, and the clauses intended to protect them.

The reduction in the sales tax of 50 per cent must first be mentioned. This affects both those who make large and small purchases. This tax increases greatly the cost of living. Let us hope that in a near future the government will find it possible to abolish it completely.

The customs duty on farming implements has been reduced; that on tea is now abolished. If we consider the large consumption of tea in Canada, we can realize how important it is for the consumer to have this article on the free list.

The abolition of these duties together with the decreasing of the sales tax will have the effect of lowering considerably the cost of living.

There is, sir, a certain clause in the budget upon which I wish to especially draw the attention of the house; the one which gives Canadian farmers protection by imposing a customs duty of 4 cents per pound on butter imported from British countries, notably from Australia and New Zealand, and 14 cents for butter imported from countries which have a prohibitive tariff against us, such as the United States. The tariff on potatoes is most important. According to the present budget, should the neighbouring republic impose a duty of 90 cents per bushel on Canadian potatoes we demand the same customs duty on American potatoes, this protects us entirely against file importation of this product at all seasons. The same principle also applies to live animals. This will greatly help the farmers and will prevent the importation of animals from countries having a prohibitive tariff against our exports. Fresh and pickled meats, eggs, wheat, wheat flour, oatmeal, are many products of the farm which will equally be protected in the future. iMr. Evans.]

The products of the maple tree, which are of the utmost importance in my district, deserve also consideration by the house. It is urgent to assist as much as possible the producer of this national industry. The maple sugar industry needs new markets since the neighbouring republic, by a prohibitive tariff, has suppressed almost entirely the importations of these products. I am glad to note that a measure has been introduced by the government with a view to protecting the products of the maple tree, the measure will come into force about July 1, next. One-seventh of the total production of the maple industry in Canada comes from the county of Beauce. In 1928, Beauce produced about $580,000 worth of maple sugar and syrup. If we take into consideration the fact that this crop is collected in less than a month, we can gauge its real value to the farmer, especially when we know that this crop is collected after the winter work is done, and previous to the spring sowing, at a time when the farmer is not very busy. From 1900 to 1924, this industry was not protected and was, so to speak, at the mercy of the speculator. There was, in certain years, a great demand for this product, other years the purchases were controlled almost entirely by one buyer and the whole crop was sold at ridiculous prices. The new measure, when in force, will provide for the grading of this product and thereby prevent its imitation.

What are we to think of the abuses which have contributed to destroy almost entirely the value of this industry? What are we to think of this merchant or manufacturer who, in the capital of the province where we are at present living, bought each year four or five cars of this product in order to later on sell 25 or 30 cars of the same product adulterated.

The maple sugar producers of my district and those of the province of Quebec have formed a cooperative society, built sugar-houses and installed modern machinery, and their products are at present of a much superior quality. It is therefore absolutely necessary that this new measure be put into force without delay in order that the producer may be amply protected.

We also have, sir, in the county of Beauce another industry that needs assistance, its market is limited. I mean the industry of pulpwood as carried on by the farmer who finds it necessary to do a little lumbering of his own yearly and sell where he can find a profitable market. I see on the orders of the day a resolution, its purport is to help the paper industry in the province of Quebec and it states: that the time has come to prohibit

Calgary and Femie Railway

the exportation of pulpwood to the United States. I wish to emphatically state that I am entirely opposed to this resolution. Allow me to review the present situation and draw my own conclusions. Why are our farmers forced to export their pulpwood to the United States, when there are so many paper mills in the province of Quebec and throughout Canada? It is because Canadian companies are not desirous of purchasing pulpwood from the farmer. For the last 20 years, I have seen with my own eyes farmers obliged to pass, while drawing their wood to the railway station, through the yards of one of our principal paper mills. For twenty years, the farmers have been drawing their wood in winter and passing through the yards of this mill to reach the railway station in order to find a purchaser for their pulpwood. This state of things should not exist in Canada. The owners of paper mills should be sufficiently interested in the farmer's product to purchase at least what passes through their own yards. These same farmers must moreover pay the freight rate of $8 per cord to ship their wood to the United States. The Canadian mills could have purchased their pulpwood for a number of years past, at the rate of $10 per cord delivered. However, instead of purchasing it, they allow it to reach the American mill owners who pay $18 per cord delivered. This state of things could not exist if our Canadian mill owners had at least their future interest as well as that of Canada.

Could not the various provinces of Canada oblige our Canadian mills to take but 80 per cent of their yearly cut on the limits conceded under government licence and oblige them to purchase the other 20 per cent from the farmers, thus enabling them to sell their pulpwood on the Canadian market. Such a regulation would make it possible to absorb our own raw material and further utilize it in this country to the benefit of the whole population. If the Canadian mills were only allowed to take but 80 per cent of their yearly cut on limits under licence, they would be forced to purchase the entire cut of the farmers.

Statistics tell us that Canadian farmers cut about 1,500,000 cords of pulpwood yearly, and furthermore that the Canadian mills absorb over 7,500,000 cords yearly. We therefore know that 20 per cent out of a total of 10 to 12 million cords would more than suffice to absorb the entire output of our farmers. It would therefore be an easy matter for our Canadian mills to create a market for the farmers' needs. Thus would we prevent competition by our neighbours in the paper industry and also retain our raw material, without any disadvantage to our farmers, for should the Canadian mills find it impossible to absorb the farmers' entire output, there would still remain for the latter the foreign markets.

Briefly, I think it urgent to put into force as soon as possible the act relating to the maple sugar industry and I state that I am opposed to any resolution aiming at restricting the farmers from selling their pulpwood wherever they please.

On motion of Mr. Prevost the debate was adj owned.

On motion of Mr. Lapointe the house adjourned at 10.47 p.m.

Friday, May 9, 1930.

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April 7, 1930

Mr. EDOUARD LACROIX (Beauce) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, the state of

affairs, to-day, created by unemployment is a problem that every nation in the world has to deal with. Our neighbours, the United States, if we are to place any faith in their press are in no better position than we are. According to the New York Sun of last Saturday, there are, at present, about 5,000,000 unemployed in the United States. To what must we ascribe this state of things? It must be as a whole, attributed, in my opinion, to overproduction of industries.

Our rural districts also have their unemployed. At this period of the year, the farmer marks time until the land is in a fit condition to sow. To-day, the manufacturer m the city only produces during four or five days per week, owing to the overproduction of the last two years. Without being in a precarious state, it is undeniable that our cities have produced too much during the last few years, hence the present state of things. Why have we, to-day, unemployment in Canada? For the very reason that we have been overproducing like many other nations.

Mr. Speaker, joy and sorrow are to-day and to-morrow. Periodically there is much adjustment to be made. If we look in the past, we note that about every seven or eight years the economic pendulum must be regulated. If we look back to the year 1914, we observe that during that summer, previous to the declaration of war, the Canadian artisan was in quest of work, even at a dollar per day. I know this to be a fact because I, myself, employ many hands. In 1914, the Canadian artisan was not always employed, even at one dollar per day. What happened in 1919 and 1920? When conditions were adjusting themselves, in 1919 and 1920, during nearly two years the Canadian artisan could not find sufficient work even to pay for his board. During those years, out of a total of 1,000 men, we could but employ 20 per cent of them. What happened to the others? They had to return to their homes and patiently wait until economic conditions adjusted themselves again. I therefore conclude, sir, that the present government is no more to blame for unemployment in Canada to-day, than the Conservative government was to blame in 1914 and 1920; if it is necessary to wait until economic conditions adjust themselves. Periodically, the entire world overproduces, hence the unfortunate situation we are at present facing. Are conditions, to-day, any worse than those of 1920 and 1921? No, sir. During that period the regulating of economic conditions lasted almost two years; the overproduction being so great that the artisan could not find work.

W e are living, sir, in a country where natural resources are abundant. Our people, at times, seem to think that prosperity will always reign, and when they earn big wages, they are not always thrifty. This stage of readjustment must return periodically; it is at present taking place.

Added to this overproduction which brings on this readjustment just mentioned, speculative tendencies must be reckoned with. Last year a large number of Canadians engaged wildly in speculation. What was the result? The losses sustained nearly everywhere were the cause of a general depression, the purchasing power of the dollar fell from 40 to 50 per cent; and. owing to overproduction, goods were not sold and remained in bond.

Last week sir, to my astonishment, a kind of prearranged delegation came to interview the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) in order to request him to permit the reorganization of a company in the neighbouring city. I was astonished to learn that these gentlemen had not addressed themselves to the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. APRIL 7, 1930

Unemployment-Mr. Lacroix

Bennett), for, if I remember right, the hon. leader of the opposition held, some time past, interests in that neighbouring city plant, I mean the E. B. Eddy Co. One of those who

took part in the delegation said to me last week: "We would like to see the E. B. Eddy plant open its doors in order to give us work." What has the Prime Minister got to do with the Eddy Co.? Should they not instead have submitted their case to the leader of the opposition?

The merging or amalgamation of companies sometimes does great harm to the working class. Take, as an instance, the Eddy concern. What was the outcome of its merger with the Berthier company? Some hundreds of employees were thrown out of -work in the city of Hull. And why? Often the manufacturer is not satisfied with 5 per cent interest, he expects one per cent more regardless of the effect it may have on the workman. These trusts therefore tend to increase unemployment in this country. I understand that laws exist against trusts in Canada. Why do we not ask the government to enforce them as much as possible? All company mergers create a larger number of unemployed: Whether it is through the board of directors or officials employed, etc., the merger having taken place, many employees are thrown out of work. I do not wish to refer only to large industries, trade mergers such as chain stores, paper industries or any other merger; they are all inimical to the interests of the wage earners.

Are there no other means to remedy this state of things? I say there are. We may perhaps find one of these remedies in the better understanding between the manufacturer and his employees. If the manufacturers could come to a better understanding with their employees, they would certainly improve the situation. Why does not the manufacturer contribute more to the welfare of his employees? Why not pay them a fixed amount per month instead of so much per hour? Many industries employ their workers by the year, while others seem only willing to employ them at so much per hour, so as to make the greatest possible profit. The match factories, the woollen and cotton mills as well as the paper industry could certainly employ their workers during the entire year. Is it not a fact, even if the workmen were employed but five days per week, all industries being on an equal footing and obliged to pay their workers weekly or monthly, that it would be possible to keep the doors of these industries open and give the employees more comfort in life?


The comparison may seem somewhat farfetched, but is it not a fact that in the lumber industry, for instance, the proprietor must feed his horses seven days a week? Is he not forced to keep his modern machinery in good condition seven days a week? Well, sir, why not treat the human labour in the same way, at least during six days a week? I am strongly in favour of these improvements providing that all employers in this country be placed on an equal footing. I want the workman to enjoy all the comforts possible and to be given as much care as we give to modern machinery. As I have just stated, if we are to feed the horse seven days a week, why should not the human being receive the same treatment, for seven days per week.

I know many employers who hold my views; there are of course others who think differently. Who are the latter? They are, sir, people who have no other thought than that of the mighty dollar. Many employers hold my views, because they believe that there are other considerations than that of money which count in this world. Living themselves in comfort they are willing to help their fellow-creatures to live in a decent wajr. I wish to add that if such an understanding existed between capital and labour, all would benefit by it.

On motion of Mr. McGibbon the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Stewart (Edmonton) the house adjourned at 10.58 pm.

Tuesday, April 8, 1930

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