MATTHEWS, James Ewen

Personal Data

Brandon (Manitoba)
Birth Date
August 17, 1869
Deceased Date
November 24, 1950
insurance agent, journalist, teacher

Parliamentary Career

November 14, 1938 - January 25, 1940
  Brandon (Manitoba)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  Brandon (Manitoba)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Brandon (Manitoba)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
  Brandon (Manitoba)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 17)

June 19, 1950

1. What is the rate of tariff protection, if any, enjoyed by pyrex ovenware imported into Canada?

2. Who are the manufacturers of pyrex ovenware and who are the distributors for Canada?

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June 15, 1950

1. What was the number of visitors to each of the four largest Canadian national parks for the calendar year 1949?

2. What was the number for each park in each month, June to September inclusive, 1949?

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May 11, 1950

Mr. J. E. Matthews (Brandon):

I desire to direct an inquiry either to the Minister of Agriculture or to the Minister of National Health and Welfare, as the case may be. In view of the serious losses sustained last year by many farmers, especially in southwestern Manitoba, from the infestation of aphids, and in view of the report that destruction from the same source is already evident in several states of the union directly south of last year's infested area in Canada, the question I want to ask is this. Is the combating of this insect invasion the responsibility of the federal government or of the provincial government? If of the former, what preparations are being made to meet what may become a serious situation again this year?

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May 11, 1950

Mr. Matthews:

What was the cost to the Canadian government of free transportation of coarse grains for feeding purposes in 1948-49 from western Canada to the eastern provinces?

Subtopic:   FEED GRAIN
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April 25, 1950

Mr. J. E. Matthews (Brandon):

Mr. Speaker, I want again this year to congratulate the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) upon the splendid budget that he submitted a few nights ago. It is just another indication of the advances that have been made in Canada's progress, and I have no doubt that even his keenest critics-some of them at least-would admit in their own minds that he has done a wonderfully good job. I know the Canadian people will appreciate his frankness; I know they will appreciate his honesty of expression, as was evidenced when he discussed several points. There was no quibbling in anything that he said.

The minister has ample ground for rejoicing, having again maintained his record of surpluses, an unbroken record which is all the more noteworthy because of the fact that in all the years since confederation there have been only seventeen when a surplus was declared. All the others were years of deficits.

It is noteworthy also because his surplus of $111 million last year was in the face of a substantial reduction in the taxes levied upon the taxpayer. Such a record of course would have been impossible had it not been for the high level of last year's production; for it has been well said that production and trade are the two pillars of national prosperity. This being so I am sure the Minister of Finance would like me to share the credit for his excellent year with two other deserving ministers who very largely directed the building of those pillars, namely, the minister of production, agricultural production, if you will, and the Minister of Trade and Com-merie (Mr. Howe). Both these departments contributed in a high degree to the year's success.

Take agricultural production, for instance. I do not share the gloom of some of our members. In spite of the great industrial development of Canada since the beginning of the century agriculture is still the country's basic industry. It employs directly one-quarter of the gainfully employed, and indirectly provides for the employment of many others in processing, packing and marketing agricultural products. In 1947 about one-half of the gross value of the production of primary industries came from the farm.

It is most pleasant to pause, and realize that during recent years farm income has reached a level so high as to be undreamed of a few years ago. It was very close to $2,500

[Mr. Argue.)

million again last year, divided among the different provinces, excluding Newfoundland, as follows-I am quoting millions only:


Province of dollars

Prince Edward Island 21

Nova Scotia 37

New Brunswick 44

Quebec 346

Ontario 653

Manitoba 283

Saskatchewan 570

Alberta 463

British Columbia 98

I must not let the occasion pass without throwing in this side remark, that Manitoba leads all other provinces in the average income per farm. What I have said on farm production applies also to production along other lines. Forests amounted to $975 million; minerals, $890 million; and fisheries approximately $170 million. There are various others that might be mentioned. When it is recalled that last year our production was $16 billion, exceeding 1948 by $500 million, it will be evident that every channel of production, including manufacturing, must have co-operated in the building of one of the pillars of our national prosperity. But let us look back. Let us not forget that back of production is employment, and right here I want to quote some pertinent remarks in this regard made by a leading economist. His first sentence really tells the whole story. It is as follows:

The way to make more employment is to make more employers.

Nobody can gainsay that. Then he goes on to say:

Employers are made by preserving incentives to produce and to expand productive enterprise. In the free system the principal incentive, and the most effective one, is the hope of profit. Moreover, it is through profits, together with individual savings and investment, that the economic organization is provided with the tools and equipment which make employment possible.

The first great barrier to the expansion of employment in proportion to the increase in the labour force is to be found in the tax system, which rewards effort on a diminishing scale, graduated down almost to the vanishing point; which discourages risk and venture; and which because of the sheer burden of taxes reduces the savings and impedes the investment which the economic organization must have if it is to grow.

Mr. Speaker, in view of those words of wisdom, as I see them, expressed by that economist, it is encouraging to note the substantial reduction in taxation already made by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott). I trust more will follow.

So much, then, for production, the first pillar supporting the splendid edifice presided over by the Minister of Finance. That pillar has its setting in the toil of the producers, not only in agriculture but in every

other walk of life. Many of those producers, however, follow the sane suggestions made from time to time by the minister of production-or agriculture, whichever term one prefers.

But that first pillar, production, would be only a weak support without the second, known as trade. We hear a good deal about trade these days, and rightly so. The more our attention is focused upon Canada's trade, the better for Canada, and the more we shall then realize the outstanding ability of Canada's Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe), in the pillar he has done so much to erect. Many of our people fail to realize that Canada's trade per capita is double that of the United Kingdom, and four times that of the United States; that Canada's wage earners, including the three fighting services, made 196 per cent more money in 1949 than in 1939; that last year Canada's retailers did the greatest business in their history-6 per cent higher than in 1948; that as a result of the building of pipe lines, which originated in 1949, Canada is due to save hundreds of millions of dollars in United States funds in future years. It is stated that in 1948 Canada spent $300 million in the United States for oil alone.

We are told that Canadian imports from the United Kingdom, which had a value in 1946 of $140 million, increased in 1947 to $190 million and in 1948 to $300 million. Even the 1949 figure, while representing an important increase over the past few years, will be only about 13 per cent of our total imports. Yet someone has pointed out that this amount of imports taken by 13 million people in Canada from the United Kingdom is more than the total imports that the 150 million people in the United States take from the same source.

Expressed another way, on a per capita basis, in 1949 we are buying goods from the United Kingdom at the rate of $24 for every man, woman and child in Canada. The comparable figure for the United States is about $1.40.

I am sure, Mr. Speaker, it was cheering to the people of Canada, and must have been doubly cheering to the Minister of Finance, when a few days ago the Minister of Trade and Commerce tabled departmental documents forecasting a new high of $3,600 million in public and private capital investment in Canada for 1950, a 5 per cent increase over 1949.

Speaking of trade, as complementary to farm production, and indeed all production, I was greatly interested when a few days ago there came to my notice some cogent facts expressed in a novel way by a good friend

The Budget-Mr. Matthews of mine. These facts concern Canada's food contribution to the world. To my mind the article is so original, and yet so informative, that I should like to quote somewhat freely from it now. It depicts in a unique manner the ramifications of our trade. At the same time I should like to keep in mind the prodigious work of the departments of trade and commerce and agriculture in bringing about the results to which this writer has referred.

Every day in this chamber, when the house is in session, the writer suggests, we hear this prayer: "Give us this day our daily bread." The article goes on to say:

This is our only prayer made without reservations. When we think of bread we Canadians think of wheat. Excluding the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the largest producer of wheat is the United States, producing 24-4 per cent, then China, with its twenty-two provinces, 17-8 per cent and Canada, 7-4 per cent of the world's supply.

Let us compare this with world population figures. He continues:

The United States population is 6-8 per cent, China 21-5 per cent and Canada 0-6 per cent of the world's population.

Thus China with 21-5 per cent of the world's population produces 17-8 per cent of the world's wheat while Canada with only six-tenths of one per cent of the population produces 7-4 per cent of the wheat. Canada must therefore export to other countries a large share of its wheat production and now rates second in the amount supplied to the world markets.

Canada, however, supplies to the world by trade many other articles of food, and in reading of their destination, if one can use imagination, they would make the pamphlet of a travel agent's world tour look like a very uninteresting document. Just imagine the cook book of the Arabs and1 the Germans having Canadian foods in their recipes. For the year 1949 agricultural and vegetable products were exported to the value of $773 million and animals and animal products to the value of over $338 million, a total of over one billion dollars, and mainly food for others.

The United Kingdom took $413 million worth and the United States $370 million. Wheat as grain went to forty-four countries and flour of wheat to seventy-four countries. While wheat may change its name to corn, it is the principal source of the world's daily bread. It is grown near the Arctic circle, it is grown on the equator and produced in practically every country in some larger or smaller degree.

The largest customer for wheat is the United Kingdom, but on reading the list of the countries which are customers for Canadian wheat, we can picture a great variety of people, all with their own customs of living, preparing it for food. Arabia, Chile, Egypt and Norway all take wheat, while flour goes to Africa, Hong Kong, Cuba, Denmark, even to Madagascar and Greece.

Let us look further into Canada's exports of food other than bread. We And jams and jellies go to fifteen countries from Japan to the Belgian Congo, to the amount of $155,000.

Apples fresh, apples dried, apples canned, go to twenty countries all the way from England to Hong Kong. They get various names when sold to the housewife, but they are Canadian apples just the same. This export is worth to Canada $7 million.


The Budget-Mr. Matthews

We also supply to this world-wide table such things as blueberries, strawberries, pears and peaches, while canned fruit goes to over thirty countries, all from Canada.

Tomato juice to the value of $49,000 goes to thirty countries, the names of which would conjure up interesting native customs-Ethiopia, Guatemala- even $10 worth to Meth in the Antarctic. Onions to the amount of $152,000 go to countries from Greenland to the Virgin islands. Apple juices and canned corn, not to mention pickles, sauces and catsup, all go to forty countries, including Pakistan and Morocco.

To the world's great table go potatoes to the amount of $2,900,000, nearly two million dollars' worth of turnips to twenty-two countries and I must not forget the porridge, oatmeal and rolled oats to a million and a half dollars going to forty countries from Peru to India.

From what I have said you will see our vegetables and grains are known the world over, but what about the joint of meat? Here we have another wonderful story.

Purebred cattle are shipped by air to Chile, and we export to twenty different countries to the amount of over six million dollars; dairy cattle over eight million and cattle for beef forty-six million. We export chickens and turkeys and an abundance of fish and fish products. Bacon goes to twenty countries to a value of twenty-four million dollars. The products of this country, Canada, are on the breakfast, dinner or supper tables of every country. We must export to buy our tea, coffee and many other things to eat ourselves, for in North America the standard of living is the highest in the world. We export to eighty countries and Canada's exports are not on a two-way street. Trade is by many roads. Markets for our products are world-wide. We must trade on a world basis, buying and selling in all the world's markets and improving our trade with all the world.

I have been discussing the two pillars, production and trade, that form the basis of our national economy. May I turn for a minute to the superstructure that we are erecting upon those two pillars. Do they bear a proper relationship, because there is a limit to the weight that any pillar can carry? Are we attempting to build too much upon those pillars as we have them today? Any superstructure that is too top-heavy is liable to collapse if and when the winds of adversity strike. This is a possibility that Canadians of every class should be frank enough to realize.

I spoke of the finance minister's honesty of expression. All Canadians will be impressed with his statement that our annual rate of expenditure is not likely to fall below the present mark of $2,400 million. That is a lot of money for this country. That is a lot of money as compared with 1939, for instance, when our expenditures were less than one-quarter of that amount, or $553,063,098.

It appears however that our present annual expenditure can be handled providing we maintain our present national production of $16,000 million per year, which by the way was two or three per cent greater last year than in 1948, and providing also that our present heavy standard of taxation is maintained.

But the rainy day comes to a nation just as to an individual and so far as taxes are concerned Canadians are carrying a heavy load. I think the superstructure is already as heavy as the pillars will carry. Someone has computed that we pay in taxes 28 per cent of our total annual income. I think we pay more. Seventy-eight per cent of those tax payments are to the federal government, ten per cent to the provincial government and twelve per cent to the municipalities. In all three cases too much of it I suggest is collected in the form of hidden taxes and thus the people are unaware of what they are actually paying, even though the percentage now is smaller than that of previous governments.

Quite frankly one phase of our public financing that gives me concern is the large and rapidly increasing portion of our payments that have come to be listed as "uncontrollable expenditures". That is a very dangerous term and one which any government and any people will do well to heed. Let a sufficient tonnage of uncontrollable expenditure be loaded upon our superstructure and there can.be only one result: the pillars will be unequal to the strain. In this respect the amber is already showing and the red light controlled by the taxpayer is at hand. There is no gainsaying the fact that some expenditures are always in order and entirely justified. Sometimes they might be classified, not as expenditures at all, but as investments, as bread cast upon the waters which in due course will come back buttered. I can think of no better example of what I mean than expenditures made by the agricultural department under the P.F.R.A. regulations. Those expenditures have proved to be good investments for all concerned.

But when a large part of a nation's expenditures come to be listed as "uncontrollable" the danger signal must be heeded. I refer to this, because of the pressure from so many quarters for further huge expenditures, which once begun it will be practically impossible to discontinue, no matter how hard the Canadian taxpayer might be pressed. Among uncontrollable expenditures with which the taxpayer is already burdened, we have $449 million per year interest, mainly on war debts, and $500 million per year on what are included under the general and rather indefinite phrase, social services-these in addition to the tremendous amounts absolutely necessary for national defence.

I am not surprised that people are beginning to wonder where the money would come from for those further huge expenditures that are being demanded. That question is easily answered. It would come from your pocket and mine and the pockets of our neighbours,

either directly or indirectly. There is no other source. If the Canadian taxpayer wishes to avoid further heavy demands upon the fruits of his toil he needs to do some serious thinking and to do it right now. Following that, he should also let his opinions be known as regards the weight of the superstructure as compared with the strength of the pillars.

I congratulate the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) upon his firmness in resisting demands upon the public treasury greater than this country can stand. I congratulate him upon his frankness in that regard, a frankness that commands the respect of all. That firmness has been a contributing factor to our debt reductions of almost two and a quarter billion dollars since the war, including $486 million in 1949.

The cheering feature of it all is that on a basis of three per cent interest charge those reductions mean a saving in our interest payments of between fifty and sixty million dollars a year for all future years. Is that good financing or is it not? Do those reductions in our interest payments mean anything to you who have to raise the money or do they not? Do you desire still further reductions or do you not? I know what your answer has been in the past. I know what it would be today.

I have stressed those debt reductions because to me they give the whole story of the budget in a nutshell. Further analysis would seem unnecessary. Any finance minister who every year since the war has kept the business of this country advancing under a full head of steam and at the same time has reduced Canada's indebtedness to the tune of nearly $2,000 million is good enough for me. I congratulate him of course, but I congratulate much more heartily the people of Canada upon having a minister so able and so frank at the financial helm of this country.

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