James Gray TURGEON

TURGEON, The Hon. James Gray

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Cariboo (British Columbia)
Birth Date
October 7, 1879
Deceased Date
February 14, 1964
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Gray_Turgeon
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=3436186b-16b9-44e2-be31-5d210d0a1477&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
broker

Parliamentary Career

October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
LIB
  Cariboo (British Columbia)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
LIB
  Cariboo (British Columbia)
January 27, 1947 - April 16, 1945
LIB
  Cariboo (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 34)


June 20, 1944

Mr. TURGEON:

He knows that for generations we have brought about an expansion of credit every season when the western wheat crop is harvested, and taken to the elevators, and transported by the railways to ocean steamers which carry it across the Atlantic to Liverpool. All that is facilitated by an expansion of credit, because sales of wheat are not made as a rule until the wheat reaches Liverpool. I do not hold that out as a perfect analogy, because the comparison is not complete. While it is not a perfect analogy it does point the way to what may be done and can be done if an emergency should come upon us. The harvesting season is an emergency, because the farmers must harvest their crop within a short time. Is it not also an emergency when people are faced with starvation?

Topic:   RECONSTRUCTION
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF DEPARTMENT TO FORMULATE AND CARRY OUT RECONSTRUCTION PLANS
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June 20, 1944

Mr. TURGEON:

I am not talking of the

past but of the future. The Prime Minister touched on this matter wThen he addressed the American Federation of Labor convention in Toronto a year ago and said that we had learned lessons from the experiences of the war, that we now know what we did not know of some things that can be done to avoid a recurrence of such times. I am pointing out now what can be done, provided that those in authority have the will to do it, and then we can rest easy because we have the means at our disposal.

I have not many minutes left, Mr. Speaker. There are several things of which I wish to speak, but I shall mention only two. There

Department oj Reconstruction

has been some discussion to-day of the federal-provincial conference dealing with reconstruction. A conference is a necessary step, and here I want to give a word of warning to the heads of all governments in Canada, federal and provincial. I do so as a citizen and as a private member of the house who through his work on the reconstruction committee, has come in personal contact with many hundreds of men and women from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I warn all governments in this country that they must not let constitutional difficulties, clashes between jurisdictions and ministries, stop them from properly carrying out the work of reconstruction. The people of this land will no longer permit conflicts of jurisdiction between governments and clashing of ideologies to interfere with the people's attainment of a proper living atmosphere.

Just a word on housing. I think the national housing legislation which has been in operation for some time, and particularly before the war, did a great deal of good, but the good which it did was confined largely to the big cities where the lending institutions had their offices or agencies. There were innumerable towns and villages distant from the big cities that did not get much benefit from that housing legislation, because the lending institutions did not have their agencies established in the rural areas. Therefore I hope that when the legislation which I *understand is now in preparation comes down it will contain provisions empowering the government to make certain that the good arising from the operation of the National Housing Act will be extended also to families that live in towns and villages in rural areas where the lending institutions do not maintain agencies.

My last thought relates to a matter which I dislike to bring up, but it must be considered and my viewpoint upon it must be given. I am thinking now of the Japanese, and this touches a very important part of the whole problem of reconstruction. I do not intend to say much about the Japanese themselves, except to repeat what I have already said in this house, that I am utterly opposed to the return of the Japanese to British Columbia and I am in favour of sending them to Japan when the war is over.

May I speak in complimentary terms of the government and of the House of Commons and of the Senate for the provisions of the Veterans' Land Act, which was given to us two or three years ago through the operations of a committee appointed by this house, and whose chairman (Mr. Macmillan) I see sitting to my left near the Speaker. The Veterans' Land Act provides that the veterans of this war who desire to go into

fishing may receive financial assistance in the same measure as those who wish to go into farming. At the end of the last war an amendment was moved in this house making that very suggestion. It was an amendment to a report from a committee, but that amendment was not accepted. I am proud to say that the mover of that amendment was Colonel Cy Peck, of British Columbia, a Victoria Cross, man, then member for my neighbouring constituency of Skeena, and the seconder was my father, from the province of New Brunswick, who in spite of his age is still watching the proceedings of this house. The point I wish to make is this. Had that amendment been accepted and the veterans of the last war been given financial assistance to go into the fishing industry we would not have had in British Columbia the tragic situation of having the fishing industry almost entirely under the control of the Japanese at the time the attack on Pearl Harbor took place; and we would not have had the further circumstance that when Pearl Harbor was smashed the Japanese naval authorities had as much knowledge of the Canadian western Pacific at that time and for a couple of years following Pearl Harbor as our own naval authorities had. I leave this thought with the members of the government and the members of the house, that good attains its own end and brings its own reward. If twenty-five years ago we had given more assistance to the soldiers of the last war we would not have had that tragedy on the Pacific coast of Canada. If during the period between the last war and the beginning of this war we had thought less of money and taxation and more of human, values and the welfare of the veterans of that war we would have been in a better position, spiritually and morally as well as industrially, to meet this war when it began. But I know that no further urging is necessary because the ministers and the members of the house are desirous of doing everything they can for the veterans. But when we think of reconstruction the supreme goal must be the welfare of those men and women who have been fighting our battles for us. When I say welfare I do not mean charity. I mean that we must see that upon their return to us, those who do not die in this war will be able to secure employment suited to their ability and their skill, that they will have a decent standard of living, and that those from whom the rigours of war have taken away the ability to work will have the same standard of living through the continuance and the improvement of the system of pensions and allowance which we now have.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

Department of Reconstruction

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   RECONSTRUCTION
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF DEPARTMENT TO FORMULATE AND CARRY OUT RECONSTRUCTION PLANS
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June 20, 1944

Mr. J. G. TURGEON (Cariboo):

Mr. Speaker, speaking to this matter of reconstruction I would be untrue to myself if I were not immediately to put on record some of the thoughts already expressed by me to audiences outside the House of Commons respecting the manner in which the committee on reconstruction and reestablishment has carried on its work.

As has been said before, the members of that committee come from every geographical division of Canada. They are representative of practically every school of political thought in the land; and yet at no time did party politics ever intrude, or cast its shadow across our discussions and deliberations. As chairman of that committee may I express to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) my appreciation not only of the words he used to-day when referring to the committee, but of the manner which he, as Prime Minister and President of the Privy Council, and his government have given consideration to the various recommendations contained in the reports of that committee.

When the Prime Minister spoke he referred in eloquent terms to the nature of the work accomplished by the expenditure of money during a time of war, and he contrasted the expenditure of money in war time with the expenditure of equal or necessary sums of money for peace-time purposes. In view of what he said I should like to read part of [Mr. MacNicol.l

one paragraph from the report of the committee, which was tabled by me in June, 1943. We said:

When war is over some other definite aim must take its place as a motivating cause of national economic activity. Thoughts of those who return to us from the field of battle and of the dependents of those who die, and of what they fought and died for, will supply the aim. Your committee is certain that the means of doing so will be found in the conservation and proper utilization of our natural resources, and in the decision that markets will be sought for our production by governmental intervention where necessary from time to time. In this respect we welcome the conclusion arising from the united nations food conference that never again will food be destroyed simply because people have not enough money to buy it.

A little later in the few minutes during which I shall address the house-because I intend to close at six o'clock-I shall make reference to the manner in which money may be procured, if emergency should arise. Before doing that, however, I would turn to some other matters, and would deal first with a further statement appearing in the report of the committee in January:

Your committee feel that it is well within the power of governments and industry to maintain full employment for all Canadians during the period of transition from war to peace-time activities.

Then we went on to deal with the provisions which must be-I was going to say "ought" to be, but I believe "must" is the better word- made for the returning veterans. In that connection I would call the attention of the house to paragraph (e) of section 2 of the bill, where we find the definition of the word "reconstruction". It says:

"Reconstruction" means the reestablishment in civil life and reemployment on demobilization of the men and women of the armed services, of persons released from war industries, and the reorganization of industry, in order to provide maximum production and full employment during and following the change-over from war-time production of industry to peace-time production, and includes every undertaking by dominion, provincial or municipal authority or by any corporation or other person which may contribute to such reorganization.

I agree with the Prime Minister as to the change he suggested in the explanatory note, but it would be difficult to give to the department duties of a more general or more onerous nature. This, therefore, is a recognition of the fact that the government realizes and is determined to carry out every step necessary to maintain economic activity in the days of peace. The definition includes the two phases set out to-day by the Prime Minister, namely, those of domestic and international economies, depending upon trade and

Department oj Reconstruction

commerce which, in turn, depend upon the relations between Canada and other nations of the world.

The Prime Minister made a brief reference to the fact that the conduct of Canada during this period of war has been a sort of preface to the work which must necessarily be done by Canada in days of peace. I should like to bring to the attention of hon. members the truth of that statement. We have debated, and there has been discussed in the country, the question of mutual aid, and all it implies. I shall not go into details in that matter. This mutual aid policy has built up in favour of Canada an extremely good feeling among those allied nations in the company of which Canada is fighting this war against Germany and Japan-and formerly against Italy.

Then we must consider the conduct of the war, as it is carried on partly by civilians, governmental officials and others, and especially by the youth of Canada who to-day and for some years past have been fighting the battles of those of us who must remain at home. The nature of the struggle they have been carrying on is such that when, the war being over, a minister of the crown or a government official comes to deal with officials of other nations with a view to bringing about trade and commerce or any other interrelation, he will have had the way paved for him by the courage and determination of our young men and women who are fighting our battles overseas to-day and who in the future will be fighting on the Pacific against Japan.

While trade and commerce are absolutely essential to the maintenance of a full economy, I believe that, regardless of the good relations we hope and feel assured will be ours when the war is done, we can never be certain of the nature and course of entangling alliances when the war is over. We hope for the best, and so long as the present Prime Minister is at the helm of affairs those relations will be of the best. My point is that, regardless of what we may attain by international trade and commerce, it is the supreme duty of the government and this house to make certain that in any event our domestic economy will be in proper condition from the time this war ends, and for all the time following.

Topic:   RECONSTRUCTION
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF DEPARTMENT TO FORMULATE AND CARRY OUT RECONSTRUCTION PLANS
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June 20, 1944

Mr. TURGEON:

But the appropriate

measures were not then taken.

Topic:   RECONSTRUCTION
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF DEPARTMENT TO FORMULATE AND CARRY OUT RECONSTRUCTION PLANS
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June 20, 1944

Mr. TURGEON:

My hon. friend is a

farmer or lives in a farming district-

Topic:   RECONSTRUCTION
Subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF DEPARTMENT TO FORMULATE AND CARRY OUT RECONSTRUCTION PLANS
Full View Permalink