Onésiphore TURGEON

TURGEON, The Hon. Onésiphore, B.A.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Gloucester (New Brunswick)
Birth Date
September 6, 1849
Deceased Date
November 18, 1944
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onésiphore_Turgeon
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=5afbdf71-2ff3-4501-b9b3-74750bfc73ee&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
editor, journalist

Parliamentary Career

November 7, 1900 - September 29, 1904
LIB
  Gloucester (New Brunswick)
November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
LIB
  Gloucester (New Brunswick)
October 26, 1908 - July 29, 1911
LIB
  Gloucester (New Brunswick)
September 21, 1911 - October 6, 1917
LIB
  Gloucester (New Brunswick)
December 17, 1917 - October 4, 1921
L LIB
  Gloucester (New Brunswick)
December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
LIB
  Gloucester (New Brunswick)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 76)


May 26, 1922

Mr. ONESIPHORE TURGEON (Gloucester) :

Mr. Speaker, my genial friend the

ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton), in opening the debate this afternoon, extended his congratulations to our present esteemed Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) on the succinct budget speech which he delivered on Tuesday last. I wish also to express to the Minister of Finance my sincere appreciation of his long career and of the fact that he has so well set forth in his budget the present conditions of our country and the provision we must make for the future. I recall the fact that when the present Minister of Finance took office with the Liberal Party in 1896, he found the affairs of the country in a similar dilapidated state, but with his vision of the future he was able, during the years that his party were in power, to make of Canada one of the most prosperous countries of the world. That prosperity, continuing from year to year, was felt by the workingman, the fisherman, the lumberman, the school teacher-all classes of wage earners in the country. I felt the other day when he was delivering his speech that with his vision of the future we may now commence to prepare for the enjoyment of a degree of prosperity which will recall the conditions which existed during the former regime of the Liberal party. When the effects of the war have become less burdensome I am confident that conditions

will be such that every one of us, every Canadian who was at the front as well as all those who contributed to the maintenance of our soldiers, will feel impelled to give credit to the veteran financier of Canada, the present Minister of Finance.

It is evident that the budget speech delivered the other day does not altogether meet with the approval of many hon. members who sit in front of me. Under present conditions it is impossible to bring about a state of prosperity in the course of a few days. If I were to lean unguardedly upon my economic proclivities and tendencies, the budget is not one which I would like to have. But in that budget we see at once the wisdom of the Minister of Finance. We see that he has estimated the true conditions prevailing in Canada and throughout the world, and I am sure that when the conditions following upon the war have disappeared, we shall have a return of that prosperity which we enjoyed in past years. It is my view, however, that in the preparation of the budget, in the statement of the economic conditions under which the country is to be administered in the future, the Minister of Finance, whoever he may be, should always at least keep in sight the free trade beacon, the only light which will guide the ship of state through tortuous channels and along rocky shores to the haven of prosperity, contentment and happiness. But the Minister of Finance has adopted all measures which, according to his judgment and in view of the critical condition of the country, could reasonably be expected. Any revision he has made of the tariff has been downward, according to the principle which I cherish for the betterment of Canada and of the world. If we cannot immediately enjoy the prosperity which we had during the previous years when my hon. friend was minister of finance in the Laurier administration, it is only because conditions throughout the world and the aspirations of nations have changed. In 1911, when my hon. friend proposed a measure destined to bring about the greatest degree of prosperity and happiness on the part of the Canadian people, he was not charged by his opponents with having not well administered the country during the preceding fifteen years, but he was told that he should "leave well enough alone"; that we had been enjoying so much prosperity that it would be dangerous to go further. Owing to circumstances which I do not wish to recall-circumstances which are the occasion of sorrow and regret

The Budget-Mr. Turgeon

on the part of many of our people-the reciprocity pact, proposed by the Liberal party of that day and accepted by the American people in the form of an enactment on their statute book, was rejected by the majority of the people of Canada. At once we saw the industry and commerce of Canada decline in every direction from its prosperity to a state of dilapidation. Today we are faced with the fact that the United States has turned her back on us and refused to put into operation the reciprocity pact of 1911. But it is to the greatest honour of my hon. friend the Minister of Finance, in my judgment of the conditions of the country and looking to the future, that on taking office, notwithstanding the adverse conditions, he made his way to Washington and again offered to the President of the American republic the means whereby the two Countries could come into mutual agreement and restore the reciprocity pact of 1911, or something equivalent under present conditions. One may think, because that step did not meet with immediate success, that everything has been dost to Canada, but for the fact alone that the step was taken, impelled not only by his consideration of the future happiness of Canada, hut by her future relations with the United States, facing as the two countries do the oriental problem Which makes a mutual understanding highly desirable-for that fact alone he is to he commended to present and future generations, and I personally wish to express my admiration for what he has done. In a satisfactory solution of that problem is bound up the happiness of the western hemisphere and of the great nations of Japan, China, and the Pacific Islands. Great Britain, under the beneficent smile of Providence, and by the power of her love beaming across the seas, has been able to unite her millions of subjects on every shore into one common soul, as was witnessed on the outbreak of war in 1914 when the people of her world-wide empire sprang to the common defence, impelled every one by an invisible power, the love and admiration, of the British Crown which they were bound to save for the maintenance of Christianity and the happiness of the world. Likewise Canada in the near future, with the breadth of her love mingled with the democratic sentiments of the people of the American Republic, will instill in the minds of those oriental people, in their very soul and heart, sentiments of humanity, which alone will be able to bring peace to the world. Patriotism alone is not enough,

patriotism must be fortified by considerations of humanity; and it must be learned and remembered that the word of the scriptures: Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you, applies not alone to individuals, but as between nation and nation. I say that this step taken by the Minister of Finance in going to Washington will certainly Contribute to bringing the people of the United States to a better appreciation of the Canadian people, and it has already been vindicated by the change in public opinion of the people of the United States. Six or eight months ago one would have thought that the Fordney measure, promulgated by those extra-protectionists in the United States, was about to come into force. It passed Congress in a few days, but the Senate has not yet passed it, and day by day more difficulties are being met with by these eXtra-protectionists who inspired the farmers of the United States with the idea that they should keep out the farm products of every other country. The people now find that they have been deceived by this extra-protectionist doctrine, and to-day there are difficulties in the way ef enacting the measure. After all, it may not be adopted, and it may he the pleasure and the happiness of the Minister of Finance before many months, perhaps When we Come back next session, to say that he has been treated differently by the American people, and that he is in a position to propose some trade reflations with the United States which will eliminate from the present budget those extra tariffs of which my hon. friend has complained- and I do not altogether find fault with him for doing so, but we must have the prospect of the future relations between Canada and the United States in mind. Only the day before the Minister of Finance presented his budget, 1 read of an event in New York Which ought to inspire confidence in the heart of every Canadian. On the 22nd of May, the executive committee of the American Bankers' Association, a body which undoubtedly commands respect in the United States and in this and every other country, made a declaration to the people of Canada, which I shall read as it justifies the step the Minister of Finance took some three or four months ago.

We declare our faith in the value of a closer community (of interest between the lUnited States and our great neighbor, Canada. These two countries constitute the greatest geographical union of English-speaking people in the world. There is a natural unity of purpose, unity of political ideals and unity of business interests between the two that should be emphasized rather than obscured by the border

The Budget-Mr. Turgeon

line between them. We bespeak from American business, American banking and American public development of friendship between the two.

Such is the declaration of one of the greatest commercial and financial bodies of the United States with respect to Canada.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENTS
Full View Permalink

May 26, 1922

Mr. TURGEON:

When-the House rose at six o'clock, Mr. Speaker, I was about to discuss the public debt and the question of taxation. The hon. Minister of Finance in his budget statement showed that during the last fiscal year although there was an apparent surplus of $33,125,000, expenses on capital account, cost of loan flotations and demobilization have increased the public debt by $86,417,000. The income tax and business profits tax showed an increase of only $14,000,000 odd, and the Minister of Finance told us that he expects a shortage of $40,000,000 on the income tax for the current year, which will not surprise any of us when we realize the industrial depression through which Canada, in common with the rest of the world, is passing. The estimated revenue for the current year is $332,629,000-a very large amount compared with our revenues in prewar years-with an expenditure of $466,983,000, besides supplementary estimates yet to come, but which no doubt owing to the rigid economy which is being practised by the Government will not add very substantially to this total. If we add to that estimated expenditure the railway deficits to be provided for, we must realize the wisdom of the minister's appeal to the country for the practice of rigid economy.

In common with my hon. friend, the Minister of Finance, I fear that the people at large, having been so long accustomed to think in millions and billions during and since the war, have not yet appreciated to its full extent the necessity of economy. Perhaps some of our people are inclined to think that the country can continue to shoulder further deficits and obligations without limit, but it is time for them to realize that we are now in a period of transition, and must face the alternative of bankruptcy or prosperity, according to whether we are prepared to restrict ourselves to only absolutely expenditure or to continue to indulge in our war-time extravagance.

As is well known, our chief competitors in the manufacture of farm implements are our friends to the south, and although it may be a subject of complaint on the part of some people that the Minister of Finance has not made a very substantial reduction in the tariff on farm implements from Great Britain, it must be remembered that we can manufacture these implements in sufficient quantities and at as low a price as that at which they can be imported from the Old Country. Perhaps no one in this Parliament is more anxious to have the fullest possible freedom of trade between Canada and the other parts of the Empire. I have always supported the British preference, and I would view with pleasure such an increase in the preference as would eventually lead to perfect freedom of trade with the Mother Country. But this is not practicable under present world conditions, and again we have to admit that the Minister of Finance could not well go much further than he has done in the generous extension that he has made in the British preference. The development of trade with Great Britain would not only reduce the price of many of our commodities, but it would provide return cargoes for our merchant marine, and furthermore increase our railway traffic, which of course would reduce our railway deficits considerably, and it is conceivable that with our railway traffic increased to a sufficient degree our railways would not only be able to meet their expenses of operation but show a surplus.

I sympathize with the farmers of the West if they feel that they are not getting perhaps all that they had expected from this budget, but they must realize that this is only a beginning undertaken under the worst possible industrial and financial conditions in the history of our country, and under the circumstances I am sure they will be prepared to accept this budget as an earnest intent of what the Government will do as conditions improve. As I said this afternoon, the time will soon come when we will be able to promote greater freedom of trade with our neighbours to the south. Already public opinion there is veering around in favour of removing restrictions on trade between the two countries, and I fully believe that eventually the farmers of the West will get every reciprocal advantage which the United iStates can offer them.

The reduction on farm implements may not be regarded as a very large one, but it applies to all the articles needed by the

The Budget-Mr. Turgeon

farmer for the maintenance of himself and his family, and, taken in a general way, I think it will be found that the result of all these small reductions will be a great benefit to the farmer. Many other commodities besides what the farmer may require are either placed on the free list or reduced to a very great extent.

The fishing industry has been well looked after by the Minister of Finance in his budget. This is an industry which has not perhaps received the consideration it merits from the people of Canada. The value of the product of the fisheries is about $60,000,000 annually, and that is of the same economic value to the country as $60,000,000 worth of farm products, because all these products are food for the people. The operations connected with the fisheries help us in the maritime provinces to keep our young people at home. It is therefore greatly to the benefit of the large families which we have in the maritime provinces that this industry should prosper-as it is, of course, a benefit to the country at large. The toiler of the sea deserves just as much consideration from the people as the tiller of the soil, and when the Minister of Finance reduces the taxation on many of the things required by the fishermen he is doing something which our fishermen have been waiting for and which, I am sure, will be approved by the people of Canada generally. The fishermen in the maritime provinces are taking new courage. Their industry has recently been given an impetus by the building of a large number of gasoline boats for the carrying on of their operations. In the harbour of Shippigan there are sixty or sixty-five gasoline boats, each manned by three or four fishermen, engaged in bringing in the product of the sea and thus helping to reduce the cost of living. The minister has effected a reduction in the duty on gasoline required for the boats of the fishermen, and that is a great benefit to them. If there is one man who spontaneously expresses his appreciation of this action on the part of the minister, it is the humble representative of the county of Gloucester, the largest fishing constituency in New Brunswick, second only in the maritime provinces to that of my hon. friend from Lunenburg (Mr. Duff). The fishermen of Gloucester and of all the maritime provinces, as well as those of the British Columbia coast, who, no doubt, also require encouragement in the development of their industry, will appreciate this reduction. There is no

doubt that in the aggregate the cost of production of the necessities of life and, as a consequence, the cost of living, will be considerably decreased as a result of these provisions of the budget.

The lumber industry has also received consideration at the hands of the minister. I would like to mention also the benefit which will result from the reduction from $9 to $2.40 a gallon on alcohol for medical and surgical treatments. The druggists have had to pay $9 on every gallon of alcohol they used in medicinal preparations, not for the landlords or the millionaires of Toronto or Montreal, but for the masses of the people, for the carrying on of surgical operations and for use in hospitals, both civil and military, in every province. These differences in prices will be of great benefit to the tiller of the soil as well as the toiler of the sea. The farmer of the West will benefit to a greater extent, perhaps, than he has realized. Surgical and hospital treatment is expensive in the prairie provinces and the beneficial effect of this reduction will be very much felt. Every druggist in my own town has called upon me and spoken of the difficulties to which he was subjected owing to the false interpretation by the public of their motive in charging these high prices, and it was my duty to tell them that when the next budget came down I was confident the Minister of Finance would give this matter consideration. I wish now to convey to the minister the thanks of the whole population of the county of Gloucester; and I am sure the people all over the country will have the same feeling.

Some of the farmers of the West may not be satisfied, I know, with the additional sales tax which the minister proposes. But the necessity for this tax has arisen out of war conditions; it was really a tax imposed on the people of Canada to meet the expenses of the war. It will, of course, bear equally on all classes of the people, but let us all as Canadians and as British subjects remember that but for the winning of the war, instead of being happy British subjects to-day, we would be German slaves. Therefore, each and every one of us should bear willingly his share of the taxation necessitated by the war.

I know that some people with different economic views would suggest different sources of taxation. Hon. members who have been here in past parliaments have heard my pronouncements on other sources of taxation. A plank in the Farmers' platform

The Budget

Mr. Turgeon

has been the taxation of land values. I am in favour of that mode of taxation, and I am sorry to say that for the last three or four years I have been alone in this Parliament in developing the idea of the taxatiorr of land values in this country. I had expected last year, and again this afternoon when I saw my hon. friend from Dufferin (Mr. Woods) rise, to hear an appeal for the taxation of land values. If my hon. friend had made such an appeal this afternoon, I would have seconded him in an effort to educate the people of Canada to the benefit of such a mode of taxation. Of course, the Minister of Finance was not in a position to introduce the taxation of land values at the present moment because the people of this country have not been sufficiently educated to accept it, but having given it years of consideration I am convinced it would be a great benefit to this country. If it were only introduced as a special tax for the reduction and elimination of the war debt, we could realize a large amount from it, and it would save to the people of this country an enormous sum in the aggregate in the interest we are now paying on the war debt. We are already paying interest on a debt of two billion dollars, and in fourteen or fifteen years time we shall have paid in interest an amount equal to the whole war debt, and every score of years thereafter we shall go on paying the like amount and succeeding generations after us, unless we start now to reduce the debt. I hope the people will come to realize in another year or two, and the day cannot come too soon for me, that it would be a splendid thing for this country to follow the example of France and impose special taxation to be applied to the reduction and elimination of the war debt. In 1870 France was placed under an immense war debt to Germany and given a number of years in which to pay it off. The people of France imposed special taxes on themselves and paid off in the course of three or four years that whole debt, which in the ordinary course of events would have taken them thirty or forty or fifty years to pay off. I know the time has not yet come in this country, but I cannot allow this opportunity to pass without suggesting the taxation of land values for the purpose of the reduction and elimination of the war debt, and I appeal more particularly to the Liberal and Progressive members of Parliament, because it has been a plank in the Progressive platform.

We are warned by hon. members on the other side not to follow the convention platform of 1919. Are we in a position to-day to put that platform into effect? We have made a start, and we can do it by degrees, just as the Minister of Finance in 1896 gradually brought the

9 p.m. country to the fifteen years' prosperity of which I spoke this afternoon. I hope that the Minister of Finance will consider every possible means of restoring happiness and contentment tc. the people of Canada, but the happiness and prosperity of a country can never be attained without raising to its greatest possible limit the purchasing power of the nation, and by that I mean the purchasing power of the fisherman, the farmer, the labourer, the professional man and all classes of people. Unfortunately, the first thing we hear of, in trying to bring about that happiness, is the cry: Decrease the wages, decrease the salaries, and then decrease the freight rates. I say that we should commence by increasing production; open up every possible avenue of production and every possible channel of distribution, which is as essential as production itself. The purchasing power of the people is the custodian of industry. Keep the people employed every day in the year, give them a wage corresponding to the cost of living, and you will keep the wheels of industry turning, and the labouring man will be able to buy the products of Canada in preference to imported products.

Before leaving this question of the tariff and taxation, I refer with pleasure to the appeal of the Minister of Finance at the conclusion of his budget speech the other day, for unity and harmony between capital and labour. The principles of humanity which must guide both capital and labour have been so well defined in that book entitled " Industry and Humanity " that I will not attempt to add one word. It is an admirable expose of those principles and should be introduced in every home in Canada and given all possible publicity. It should be read not only by every labourer and capitalist, but by everybody, because the principles contained therein are well enunciated and would appeal to the ordinary intelligence of the people of Canada. If those principles are well applied, a new world of contentment, happiness and prosperity will be created.

The question of railways and the question of immigration go together. We need immigration and we need railways, to as-

The Budget-Mr. Turgeon

sist our immigration, and we must select the immigrants who will settle on the farms, or who will help the farmers already settled in the country. We do not require any additions to the labourers in the city for some time yet, until conditions become normal, because immigration in that direction would only tend to aggravate unemployment. Let the Minister of Immigration (Mr. Stewart) follow the policy which he has enunciated in Parliament, and bring only that class of immigrants, and I am sure they will find happiness and prosperity when they come here, and that is the best advertisement we can possibly send to Great Britain or to the Scandinavian people in the future. If we make our immigrants happy and contented at once, and they report their happiness and contentment to their families and neighbours whom they have left, a larger number of people will come to Canada, and that will contribute to the prosperity of our country.

Our railways are in a serious condition owing, perhaps, to the fact that they have deficits, and we must expect those deficits for a certain number of years, although I hope there will soon be a marked decrease in them. The people of Canada today are looking upon government administration of our railway system with apprehension, and those in favour of government operation cannot promise success for some time to come. Some people in Canada represented by, perhaps, men of the higher finance are utterly opposed to government ownership. Only a few railways have succeeded under private ouera-tion. I respect the views and the principles of those who are totally opposed to government operation, as well as the views of those who are in favour of it. During the last fifty years, since I have had some knowledge of railways, I have always believed that a certain mileage of the railroads should be under government operation if, for nothing else, than to afford competition between government lines and privately owned lines, in order that the people may not be oppressed by heavy freight rates imposed by private corporations in control of the roads. I respect and sympathise with the opposition to government operation of a great many of our colleagues on both sides of the House. Meanwhile, whether we favour government operation or private operation, we have to do the best we can in the situation which has been imposed on the Liberal party and upon the country.

I will not find fault with either party on account of the situation to-day. It is known to the people of Canada. But let us consider what we have to do under these circumstances. The Government have decided to give government operation of the Canadian National Railways the fairest kind of a trial. We must give them every possible chance, and do it seriously and honestly, or not at all. If we can make public ownership a success and if we can ameliorate the condition of the people of Canada, we will certainly have rendered a great service. I have great faith in the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Railways (Mr. Kennedy). Members who know me in this Parliament will realize that I speak my convictions, and if I did not have confidence in those ministers, I would say so. The present Minister of Railways is a man of large commercial and financial experience, and his heart and soul are in the business he has undertaken, which is for the benefit of the country, and, perhaps, for his own glory. We can only decrease those deficits from year to year by the selection of men not only of good reputation, but of high intellect in the business world; and men, particularly in the various eastern divisions, possessing railway experience and capacity. These men will ibe able to make a success of government operation of Canadian roads.

Of course, there is one company that is held up before the public as an example by all those who have confidence only in private ownership and operation. It is the great Canadian Pacific Railway Company. That company, no doubt, has deservedly won the admiration of the people of Canada and of the world; but in a sense also, it has been generously treated by the people of Canada, by having been given immense tracts of land which, if they belonged to this Dominion, would be a great asset to us. These grants covered the expense of the first construction of the road. We have been told that the Transcontinental has cost $160,000,000. If we had put in reserve for the payment of the Transcontinental one-half the quantity of land that was given to the Canadian Pacific, we would have realized over $200,000,000, and the Transcontinental would not have cost a dollar of money to the people of Canada, because the land would have covered the cost. Therefore, I say that while Lord Shaugh-r.essy, Mr. Beatty and all their staff may deserve the admiration of the people of Canada, after all, if we grant them all their virtues, possibilities and potentialities, in

The Budget-Mr. Turgeon

the exercise of their qualities and virtues they are only human beings; and if the Canadian Pacific can always find human beings to come, one after another, and manage their railway, the Government, the nation of Canada surely ought to be able to find human beings of equal potentialities and possibilities to manage the Canadian National Railways in such a way as at least to give them a fair trial. These people are not angels dropped down from heaven for the purpose of operating the Canadian Pacific; they have acquired their virtues by the development of their energies. Let the men whom the Minister of Railways (Mr. Kennedy) will select, put forth the same energy and effort, and I am sure they will also succeed in a very short time, if not in making a great success of the Canadian Natonal Railways, in at least in giving the people of Canada an equally advantageous service to that of any private corporation.

Many experiments will, of course, have to be made. When the hon. member for St. John city (Mr. Baxter), who, I regret, is not in his seat at present, spoke on that subject a few days ago, he advised the Minister of Railways and the members of the board that the minister has to select, to work in close harmony with the Canadian Pacific, and thereby, as he thought, ensure the successful operation of the two roads. I hope and I wish that the members of the board whom the Minister of Railways will select, will be possessed of all the virtues of harmony and co-operation, and they will certainly at times receive advice as regards efficiency of operation, labour and other matters. But I must tell the hon. member tor St. John city and the people of Canada that those same members of the board whom the Minister of Railways will select, will also require to be endowed with a strong power of resistance against the natural cupidity of the private owner. The private owner will look after his interest first of all; that cannot be otherwise. Therefore, while we want co-operation, we want also a certain distance between the two boards, so that each of them may give the best possible service to their enterprise and to the public.

When Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberal party in 1904 proposed to the people of Canada the construction of the Transcontinental, which was destined, if not diverted from its proper function, to bring about the prosperity of the West more particularly, and also that of the East, and to bring the products of the West

I" Mr. Turgeon.]

from Winnipeg 'by the natural channel to Quebec, the Canadian Pacific opposed that project with all the force they could bring to bear against Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberal party. I remember also that, when the Conservative party came into power, Canadian Pacific officials were the first to induce the Conservative party to divert traffic from the Transcontinental in order that they might benefit more by that traffic. I have not forgotten, nor shall I ever forget, that it is due to the efforts of Canadian Pacific representatives that the Board of Railway Commissioners refused to give, on grain to be transported from Winnipeg to Quebec and in winter from Winnipeg to St. John, that special preferential tariff under which the Transcontinental could have carried the products of the West from Winnipeg to Quebec, and by which a saving would have been effected of five or six cents on every bushel of grain which the western farmer has had to transport since that time. As a result of this lack of effort to give the lowest possible rate to Canadian railways, whichever they were, 65 per cent of the shipments of grain has gone from Port Arthur across the lakes to American ports, instead of coming by Canadian railways to Quebec, St. John or Halifax. These are facts, and. therefore, I say to the Minister of Railways: Be on your guard; be harmonious, but discreet, and you are sure of getting fair results. We all know-and my hon. friends from the province of Quebec who are listening to me at present know well- what a diversion of traffic there was during the last seven or eight years from the port of Quebec due to the efforts of the present board of directors of the National Railways. They know that if they had had the trade for which that railway was built, without doing any injury to other railways, the city and harbour of Quebec would have been a great haven of prosperity. I have always wondered at the docility of my compatriots of Quebec, for I am sure that if the people of Toronto had been in Quebec during the last ten years, we would have had a revolution, and it would have been to the benefit of the people of Quebec and the people of Canada. I say, therefore, to the Minister of Railways, who is not within reach of my voice at present, but whom I shall have occasion to meet again: Inspire your officials with

true feelings of patriotism. If he does this and the officials direct their efforts to the proper management of the railways, I am

The Budget-Mr. Turgeon

sure that the deficits could be reduced and in time wiped out.

But I would remind my good friends from the Prairie provinces that the railways cannot be made a succes's without their cooperation. Do not let them imagine that Port Arthur is an ocean port, or that once their grain reaches that port that is the end of their interest in the matter as Canadians. ft is not. They may feel that when their grain gets to Port Arthur it may as well go across the Atlantic through American ports, but this is not the right view for them to take as Canadian citizens who desire to see the country prosper as a whole. I say, let every bushel of grain shipped from the West be so distributed that in summer it may go by way of Montreal and Quebec, and in winter by way of Quebec, St. John and Halifax. If this were done the shippers of the grain would stand to lose nothing, while Canadian shipping would be benefited and the railways, carrying the grain to Canadian ports, would have increased business to that extent, which would naturally go towards the reduction of the deficits. Just consider what -has been lost to Canadian interests by the fact that during the pa'st few years 65 per cent of the grain shipped from the West, passing through Port Arthur, instead of going overseas via eastern Canada has been shipped by way of New York, Baltimore and Boston. In other words, Canadians have helped to build up the shipping business of these American 'ports to the neglect of the home ports. That is not patriotic; and as the railways would have carried all1 that grain, if it had been shipped through the Canadian ports I have mentioned, it is obviously an important Consideration for every true and loyal citizen of this Dominion. Let us all bear in mind the fact that the railroads cannot possibly pay operating expenses, to say nothing of reducing the enormous deficits with which they are burdened, if they have not trade to keep them busy. They are not ornamental; they are not merely to be looked at and admired as we admire this building in which we are assembled to-night. The railways must be moving all the time, and they must have sufficient freight to make their operation profitable.

Now, in regard to the controversy over the question of public ownership, it is contended by those who are opposed to the principle that the operation of railways by governments has proved a failure in Europe as well as in Australia. There are

many reasons for this. For instance, in Germany, which is cited as one example, the railways were practically controlled by the military authorities. During peace time they were obliged to carry troops from place to place, besides mountains of munitions, and all the freight that they carried was of no commercial value at all. They Carried none of the products of industry and therefore could not be expected to pay. The same was largely true of France. These railways were being operated for the sole purpose, or practically so, of transporting munitions of war and other freight that represented no returns. The United States also tried government ownership, which apparently failed there too. They took over the railways during the war because the companies could not carry the burden that accumulated during that time. The government there was determined to make asuccess of its participation in the war and they took over the railways for that purpose. Australia also failed in government ownership and operation of the railways in that country. I might remind the House that the conditions in Australia were 'similar to the conditions that obtained in connection with the Intercolonial Railway at the time of Confederation.

With a small population of some 4,000,000 scattered throughout a vast territory like Canada, surplus was impossible. It was decided at that time that Canada should build the Intercolonial railway as part of the Confederation agreement with the Maritime provinces. It was felt that for 50 years at (least there could be no possibility of a surplus in connection with the operation of this railway. The Intercolonial began its operations under great disadvantages, and according to the Drayton-Acworth report it accumulated deficits amounting to $6,000,000 during the last 28 years prior to the publication of that report. Notwithstanding all the disadvantages under whidh it laboured, however, the fact remains that many ministers, including Mr. Blair, the present Minister of Militia (Mr. Graham), and the late Conservative Minister of Railways (Mr. Codhrane), were able to show surpluses at different times 'in their respective administrations. And1 I think the fact has been demonstrated that, with proper management, this railway can be sucessfully operated. But while it is true that deficits amounting to $6,000,000 have been incurred, the railway has given excellent service to the people both of Western Canada and of the Eastern pro-

The Budget-Mr. Turgeon

vinces, having taken lumber, coal and fish to the markets of the West, and brought back flour and other products from those provinces to the East.

Operation by the government means meeting all the expenses of operation but not necessarily showing a profit. Under private ownership railways, to be a success, must not only earn their operating charges but a sufficient surplus to pay dividends to their shareholders. Under government ownership and operation we save to the people those dividends which, instead of going into the hands of private individuals, are put back into the railways so that they may be operated with still greater efficiency for the benefit of the people at large.

The Minister of Railways (Mr. Kennedy) in his wisdom has decided to divide the National Railways into three divisions. My hon. friend, the member for St. John (Mr. Baxter), gave credit to the ex-Prime Minister for having enunciated this plan in his public addresses last year. Might I recall. to the House that two or three years ago I, amongst others, endeavoured to impress upon the then Minister of Railways the necessity of dividing the Canadian National Railway system into three divisions with headquarters at Moncton, Montreal or Toronto, and Winnipeg. Last year I repeated my suggestion, but the then Minister of Railways paid no attention to it, and it was not until the exPrime Minister, after having visited nearly the whole Dominion without ever mentioning the idea of establishing a division of the National system with headquarters at Moncton, on his return from Prince Edward Island last October, arriving at Moncton in a wintry atmosphere and meeting a chilled audience, resorted to his ingenuity and declared, "Gentlemen, I will make Moncton the centre of a division;" but still the clapping of hands failed. That was the first word we heard of any such suggestion.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENTS
Full View Permalink

May 26, 1922

Mr. TURGEON:

Yes, an election promise made too late, for after the 6th December he could do nothing in the matter. But this is the programme of my hon. friend the Minister of Railways, and I say that it is the only possible way in which to make a success of government operation, for by having these divisions the interests of the local shippers can be looked after at the divisional headquarters and difficulties settled at once without any of the delay

which is entailed by having to refer everything to one central point.

I have always been of the opinion that the Intercolonial Railway must remain a government railway, and in that connection I recall an incident which happened in 1909, when the then Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham), in reply to offers that were being made by private interests to buy the Intercolonial Railway at its full cost of construction plus losses of operation up to that time, loudly declared that the Intercolonial Railway was not for sale. I have always admired him for the public-spirited stand which he took on that occasion. And when I say to the present Minister of Railways that I hope he will make a success of our National Railways, I wish to add-and I hope my words will influence not only the minds of the present but of the coming generation-that should unfortunately the Grand Trunk and the Canadian Northern Railways ultimately have to be returned to private ownership, I sincerely trust that the Intercolonial Railway never will be sold.

Mr. JOHN A. MacKELVIE (Yale) : Mr. Speaker, I have followed the very detailed and exceedingly comprehensive argument of the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Turgeon) with close attention, and while I do not find myself in accord with its general trend, I should like to assure him and also the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) that I do very heartily associate myself with the well-deserved appreciation he expressed for the hon. Minister of Finance who has once more presented the budget after so many years of long and faithful service to his country. I wish to assure the hon. Minister of Finance that all the expressions of good-will and appreciation are not of necessity confined to his own side of the House. But while I appreciate greatly the labour entailed in presenting a budget at a juncture such as this when responsibilities are so great and the difficulties so manifest, I must confess that I would be greatly pleased if I could proceed to consider the minister's proposals with anything like the same degree of satisfaction which they evidently afford my hon. friend who has just resumed his seat.

I had not intended to participate in this discussion at such an early stage, but I thought it advisable, indeed imperative that I should take the first opportunity to voice, on behalf of my constituents, what I consider to be a very serious griev-

The Budget-Mr. MacKelvie

ance on their part as a result of one of the features of the minister's proposals. I shall come to a fuller consideration of this later on, but in the meantime I 'wish to say that when the hon. gentleman removes from the Customs Act a dumping clause which is really effective, a dumping clause which for the first time could he depended on to operate, he is inflicting on the fruit-growing industry of Canada a serious hardship which will menace their future prosperity and advancement.

I must express, however, my satisfaction that in his proposals the hon. minister does not interfere with that specific measure of protection which is now by the tariff given our apple industry. But while with one hand he affords that measure of relief, with the other he wrenches away from us a factor which has been very considerably used during the past year in protecting that great industry. I must of necessity, I suppose, traverse some ground that I have covered in previous addresses in this House when I speak regarding the apple industry of this country. But when I say that in British Columbia this year the export of fruit amounted to some

6.000 cars, in value about $8,000,000; when I say that in my own constituency four out of the five provincial ridings which comprise it are vitally interested in the production of fruit, and that in the Okanagan valley we have an area of some

20.000 acres planted in fruit trees, containing probably well over 1,000,000 apple trees alone; when the whole life of the country is tied up in the success or failure of this great industry, I feel that I would not be fulfilling my responsibility to my constituents did I not voice, with all the force which I possess, a protest against the removal of this very effective measure of protection contained in the dumping clause. Let me first, however, deal in a somewhat more general manner with some of the features of the minister's budget which have struck me in giving it rather hasty consideration.

I wonder just exactly how this budget will appeal to my good friends to my left. So far we have had little indication as to their conception of how it will affect their interests. True, one of their members, the hon. member for Dufferin (Mr. Woods), did speak this afternoon in the course of the debate, but so far as I could gather from his remarks, he approached the subject in a rather bewildered state of mind. I remember that he did say or intimate that he considered half a loaf better than

no bread; but that immediately called into my mind another quotation in which reference is made to those who ask for bread and are given a stone. I think, perhaps, that would very fully express the sentiments which must lurk in the minds of most of my friends to my left when they consider the nature of the proposals made to the people of this country by the Liberal party when in opposition-pledges vehemently reiterated throughout the length and breadth of this country during the campaign last autumn-and the manner in which those undertakings have been implemented now that the Liberal party, for the first time in some years, occupy the treasury benches and have an opportunity of carrying them into effect.

In order to make myself clear, and that I may not be thought to be placing the Liberal party in anything approaching a false position, I wish to quote very briefly from that renowned platform evolved at the historic convention of the Liberal party held in this city in 1919. Reference to that platform has, of course, been made on several occasions during the present session as well as during this debate; and no doubt it will be the subject of frequent reference during this discussion. The fundamental principle of the Liberal party with respect to the fiscal policy which they proposed to enact when they attained power is embodied in the following paragraph from the resolution passed at their convention in 1919:

That the best interests of Canada demand that substantial reductions of the burdens of customs taxation be made with a view to . . . diminishing the very high cost of living which presses so severely on the masses of the people ;

That, to these ends-.

Mark this:

That, to these ends, wheat, wheat flour, and all products of wheat; the principal articles of food; farm implements and machinery; farm tractors, mining, flour and saw-mill machinery, and repair parts thereof; rough and partiy dressed lumber; gasoline, illuminating, lubricating and fuel oils; . . . . cements and

fertilizers, should be free from customs duties, as well as the raw material entering into the same.

There was the pledge; there was the platform, followed by as solemn a pronouncement as words could make,- that when returned to power this great Liberal party would implement to the last letter and the last dot every promise announced in this platform. Now, by the budget recently brought down by the hon. Minister of Finance, how much effect is given to those solemn pledges? Are wheat and

The Budget-Mr. MacKelvie

wheat flour and foodstuffs relieved from all customs taxation? They are not only not made free, but they are left exactly where they were before; and those which have been reduced have been brought down to the magnificent extent of 21 per cent. Am I justified in wondering how a pronouncement of that kind will be received by the members of the Progressive party who sit to my left, and by their constituents who sent them here to represent their desires in this House?

Then, the next paragraph of the resolution says:

That a revision downwards of the tariff should be made whereby substantial reductions should be effected in the duties on wearing apparel and footwear, and on other articles of general consumption (other than luxuries) as well as on the raw material entering into the manufacture of the same.

How far has that pledge been implemented? How much reduction are you getting on your footwear, on your wearing apparel? Two and one half per cent on your footwear coming from Great Britain and a similar reduction on certain specified articles; but the great majority of the articles coming under this category are left exactly where they were before. I think I gave expression to the opinion when I spoke earlier this session that the hopes of my Progressive friends were doomed to serious disappointment when the fiscal policy of the Government should be disclosed, and I think that those hopes, which I believe I have been tottering steadily all through the course of the session, have now come down with a crash, and- ,

O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!

Well, if that be the measure of relief; if that be the extent to which the great Liberal party are able to implement their pledges and sacred promises, how much dependence can we place upon any present or future announcement that may be made from the same source? Under such circumstances, was not the ex-Finance minister, who moved the amendment, justified in laying before the House this afternoon a resolution which expresses none too forcefully, at no too great length or elaboration, but in plain terms, exactly how honest and decent thinking people of this country should regard such a breach of faith? We are fresh from an election campaign. We all know what happened throughout the length and breath of Canada during the few weeks preceding the election-how on every platform where a

Liberal orator appeared, this handbook of the Liberal party was held up, this platform was again brought before the electors, and these promises were reiterated,- almost shrieked into the ears of an expectant public. An hon. member reminds me that the case of Brantford was an exception; the hon. member who represented the Liberal party there out-Heroded Herod in his advocacy of protection.

Another cardinal point of the policy of the Liberal party announced in their preelection pledges was a fifty per cent reduction in the British preference. How far have they advanced along the line of implementing that pledge? I know that was a pledge very dear to the hearts of my Progressive friends. I know their own platform gives prominence to that feature. Indeed, I think it announces that their objective is complete free trade with Great Britain in the course of a very few years. Once more, then, we see a group which I suppose did rely to some extent upon the solemn pledges that were repeated during the campaign and upon the promises spread broadcast by a great political party in this country-once more we see them doomed to perhaps the most severe disappointment which ever befell a group of expectant people in this country. It is true it is only a repetition of history, and that in 1896 practically the same thing occurred, but a lengthy period has elapsed since then, and the sentiments of the Canadian people have undergone a great change since that time. We have, I believe, as a people begun to think more seriously about political affairs and other matters than we. were prone to do before the war. We have, I think, probably attained to a more exalted opinion of what is due from political parties, what their duties and responsibilities should be, and although subsequent to 1896 pledges were broken that were given prior to that date, and broken brazenly, I have grave doubt if the same apathy and indifference will follow the disclosure of broken pledges by a great party in this year of grace 1922. I think public sentiment will bring to bear now a much closer scrutiny of public affairs than was wont to be the case in those days. Here we have the Minister of Trade and Commerce getting up this afternoon and making an endeavour to reply to the strictures of the ex-Minister of Finance contained in his amendment, and what does he say? He rests his whole case upon one argument, and it is simply this: Oh, he says, it must be remembered that at the convention when that platform was

The Budget-Mr. MacKelvie

announced and those pledges were given, we had a speech from the gentleman who is now the Prime Minister of Canada, and in that speech he did not go as far as the platform, but simply said that he would take the platform as his chart to direct his future political course. Now, Mr. Speaker, I ask this question: If the country was to understand that, not the solemn pledges of the party assembled an convention were to guide their future course, but that the guide was to be a speech given at a time when the hon. gentleman's spirits were naturally elated because he had suddenly been lifted to the proud position of leader of a great party, and his words could hardly perhaps have been as well considered as the written declarations of his party, if he at that time did intimate- and I confess it may be read into his utterance as produced this afternoon-that he had some glimmer of a suspicion that it would be rather difficult to follow the course there outlined, and he announced in that speech something approaching a policy to govern his actions and be the guiding star and the motive which would impel the future course of the Liberal party, why was not that speech of the hon. gentleman circulated instead of the handbook containing the platform which was spread broadcast throughout this country and quoted at every political meeting, while the speech remained in obscurity so far as I know? True, the present Prime Minister in a meeting at Toronto, if I mistake not, did give expression to sentiments 10 p.m. somewhat similar to those contained in that speech and say something about a chart and a compass. Well, I have sometimes thought that the compass which guided his party was very peculiarly constructed. I have always regarded a compass as an instrument whose needle points steadily towards the magnetic north, but I venture to say, after considering what has occurred this session, and after giving consideration to the utterances of the Minister of Finance regarding his attitude on reciprocity, and after hearing what fell this afternoon from the lips of the Minister of Trade and Commerce, who very frankly announced that reciprocity with the United States was the goal to be aimed at by his party, and that it must sooner or later come into effect-and he intimated that in his opinion it would be rather sooner than later,-I think in view of all these things we would be justified in noting the fact that this compass which guides and directs the course of hon. gentlemen opposite, rather than indicating the true north, has veered round under the influence of some constellation which rises above the Capitol at Washington. I think, Mr. Speaker, that once it sinks into the consciousness of the people of this country that the policy which they denounced so emphatically in 1911, when by an avalanche of votes they swept the reciprocity proposals into what a good many of us thought would be oblivion, when it is known that those proposals are to be brought to the fore and become the prime policy and guiding star of our friends across the way, I believe that the same verdict will, be given even in a still more unmistakable manner than in 1911. For, surely, if it was justifiable then for the people to turn down those proposals, how much more justifiable is it to-day? In those days our financial situation was greatly different from what it is to-day. We did not need to raise from the tariff, for revenue purposes, anything like the sum it is requisite for us to raise in order to meet our requirements to-day. Then we did not have a great railway problem on our hands, and it was not our duty so essentially as it is today to foster and develop by every possible means traffic east and west along that line of communication rather than north and south. More than that, we did not have such a tremendous trade balance against us as we have now, and we were not in so good a position to judge of the effects which an increased adverse trade balance, by importing largely from the United States, would have upon our financial position. So I say, whatever may have been the verdict in 1911, if a man keeps his ear to the ground to-day, as I suppose so astute a politician as the Minister of Finance does, I should greatly wonder if he has not heard already indistinct rumblings that would indicate that any policy such as he cherishes so dearly would not find acceptance with the people of this country.

I was going to say that my principal objection to his budget proposals rested in the elimination from the Customs Act of the amendment passed last year giving us a dumping clause, as it was known, which was really effective. I have in my hand a telegram received only a few moments ago from the Traffic and Credit Men's Association of British Columbia, one of the largest handlers of produce and fruit in British Columbia. It reads as follows:

Press reports state Fielding proposes eliminate cost production amendment to anti-dumping clause on ground that it constitutes an unne-

The Budget-Mr. MacKelvie

cessary interference with trade. Please wire reply exact position more especially as to whether he raised any objection on principle; also advise full what possible action we can take; also if any alternative protection suggested ; also what is attitude progressives. Very keen interest in matter here. Much depends on your reply.

Naturally enough, knowing the attitude assumed by the Minister of Finance last session when this Parliament enacted that amendment, I gave expression to my view luring the campaign last autumn that if the Liberal party came to power they would not keep that measure of protection on the statute book. I was ridiculed by my opponent, a Liberal gentleman, who thought he had the confidence of the party in that respect, and he said that it was wildly absurd to think that any interference with the customs tariff or the dumping clause would be for one moment contemplated by the party which he represented, if they attained power. The election came on, and that gentleman was not successful in obtaining a seat, but his apprehensions and the apprehensions of his party, and of every board of trade, every commercial organization, every fruit shipping concern, practically every city council in the whole length and breadth of the Okanagan and adjoining valleys, were raised to a pitch of excitement over the dumping clause. The result was that a deputation was sent to Ottawa by the associated boards of trade of that valley, headed by my opponent and another gentleman, Mr. Cossitt, of Vernon, president of the Yale Liberal Association. That deputation interviewed the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding), the Minister of Customs (Mr. Bureau), and possibly the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). They stayed here a few days, and on reaching home announced to the press that, after interviewing the Government at Ottawa, they had the assurance that the dumping clause would not be interfered with. Do you wonder at the British Columbia Traffic Association asking me in despair, "What will we do about it"? I will be compelled to say "I do not know." I can make the protest and will present to the Minister of Finance a plea in as strong language as I am capable of presenting, that if he wishes to do anything to injure an industry in which about forty million dollars are involved in the way of investment, and in which a great number of men, women and children are employed, an industry which exported goods to the value of $8,000,000 from that valley to other parts of Canada and abroad this year,

and if he wishes to handicap their operation and make it more difficult-and goodness knows it is difficult enough to pursue these operations in the Okanagan and other sections of that province-then let him maintain his resolution to do away with the dumping clause. If, on the other hand, he has any desire, as I believe he has, to build up that industry and to give the people there some prospect of success in their endeavours, I plead with him not to maintain his resolution. I am not asking this as a matter of politics, for politically it would be a personal advantage to me to have this provision maintained as it has been announced in the budget, but I would a hundredfold rather throw away any political advantage that would come to me than to see the future of this great industry jeopardized, as it will undoubtedly be, by the proposal contained in the Finance Minister's budget.

I may say to my friends to my left that the success of this business has been very largely built up along lines of co-operation, which, I believe, they consider the proper means of conducting public affairs, as far as possible. The large bulk of the fruit is shipped by co-operative associations grouped together and selling their stuff through the agency of one central consignment association called the Okanagan United Growers, and no greater blow can be inflicted upon the spirit of co-operation than to maintain the proposal of the Finance Minister to abolish that clause in the Customs Act. A dumping clause in the Customs Act, I think, was introduced by the present Minister of Finance away back about 1903 or 1904, and for years we tried to make it effective, but without avail. There were a dozen ways of camouflaging the situation. Goods were sent in on consignment, goods were invoiced improperly, and in a score of ways we found that our efforts were rendered futile, and that we might as well give up any hope of relief from the old dumping clause. Pressure was brought to bear upon the previous government to give us a dumping clause that would really act, and, as a result, in the Customs Act of last year a clause was inserted, the provisions of which, briefly, were that, instead of basing the consideration of the cost of an article upon the marketing price in the place of production, it should be based upon the cost of production where it originated and the customs officer in any locality in Canada was given this privilege; if goods were sent in

The Budget-Mr. MacKelvie

to be sold at a ridiculously low price in competition with home grown products, the customs officer could immediately ascertain what the cost of that product was at point of shipment, add the freight to that charge to bring it to the point where it was offered for sale, and then he was authorized to put on an extra customs impost, to bring it up to a reasonable selling price

The Finance Minister seems to labour under the misapprehension that it was a very difficult act to enforce, and that the poor customs officer was subjected to all kinds of hardships in ascertaining the selling price. I do not know how it would operate in all commodities, but, as far as it affects the fruit industry, it was a matter of the most absolute simplicity to arrive at the cost of production at the point of origination. We invoked that act at least twice last year, one time when the prairie markets were flooded with pears at a dollar a box. We knew the cost of production in Washington, where the pears originated, within a fraction of a cent. There was no difficulty in ascertaining that. The Credit Association of Washington had figures published week by week which were available to us. I believe they cost $1.96 to produce, without taking into consideration the freight charges. We immediately invoked the dumping clause in the Customs Act, and they were compelled to put these goods on the market at a reasonable price. Of course, a good many of our prairie farmers who think they would receive cheaper food in the way of fruit, if this clause were eliminated, are viewing the matter from a mistaken point of view To the south of British Columbia lie two great fruit producing states, Washington and Oregon They always have a surplus. Their production has exceeded the markets of the country. Their object is to sell their prime extra choice fruit at good prices, and they succeed. In order to do that, they have to get rid of their fancy or choice varieties, grades 2 and 3. They ship those to our prairie markets, and those second and third grade varieties set the price for our No. 1 on the prairie market, because they are acceptable to the average buyer, and we have to put down our No. 1 fruit in competition with their grades 2 and 3. We do not object to that very much, but object to having the market slaughtered by apples being sent there, as they were in 1912, 1913 and 1914, and offered at 40 cents a box, when it cost more than two and a half times that amount to produce them.

Topic:   AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENTS
Full View Permalink

March 29, 1922

1. What was the amount paid in 1921 to iD. B. Hanna for his services as President or in any other capacity in connection with the Canadian Northern Railway Company and the Canadian National Railway Company?

2. What was the amount paid to A. J. Mitchell in 1921 for his services in different capacities in connection with the Canadian Northern Railway Company and the Canadian National Railway Company?

Topic:   RAILWAY FINANCES
Full View Permalink

March 21, 1922

Mr. ONESIPHORE TURGEON (Gloucester) :

Mr. Speaker, although quite a number of hon. members have since the beginning of this debate showered upon you their congratulations in language much better than I have at my command, nevertheless, I cannot refrain from expressing,

The Address

with that sincerity which is, perhaps my only virtue, my appreciation of your elevation to the post of Canada's First Commoner. The high offices which you have occupied on different occasions when many years younger than you are to-day, the duties of which you discharged with such credit to the party to which you belong and to the country generally, have only served to increase your qualifications for the position which you now adorn. We shall regret the absence of your eloquence in many of the debates, but we hope that the time will come when you will again assist us, as you have so ably done in the past, in the discussions which take place on the floor of Parliament.

I wish to extend my congratulations to the mover of the Address (Mr. McMurray). On his first coming into the House he has certainly indicated his possession of breadth of intellect, and has expressed his ideals and ambitions in language characteristic of the firmness and vitality of the western mind. The seconder of the Address also (Mr. Mercier) expressed elevated ideals in a manner designed to uphold the honour of the Mercier family.

It is my pleasant duty also, Mr. Speaker, to extend most sincerely and respectfully my congratulations to the only lady member of the House, the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Macphail). She may be sure that she will command the respect of the House and of the country as the first lady commoner in Canada. I trust that her example will be followed by many of her sex in the next Parliament and that, gifted with equally admirable qualities and noble virtues, they may adorn this, the sanctuary of the Canadian nation, and exert their influence to permeate the precincts of Parliament with the beneficent influence of mutual Christian feeling.

I cannot refrain from extending through you, Mr. Speaker, my heartiest congratulations to the new Governor General of Canada, Lord Byng of Vimy. He has won the sympathy of every subject of the British Empire and of the world at large; he was with the Canadian army in the most trying days of the great war. Let me remind you, Mr. Speaker, that among the many Canadian soldiers who went on to victory under his guidance and direction there were a number of Acadians from my own constituency as well as from other parts of the Maritime provinces. I wish that His Excellency may know that every one of those Acadian soldiers-and

I know that the same applies to all others who served from different parts of the Empire-regard him as their idol.

My chief object in rising to-day, Mr. Speaker, is to support the statement of ideals placed before the House and the country by hon. members from Nova Scotia -the hon. member for Cumberland (Mr. Logan) and the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Macdonald). In passing, I may say that all the old members of the House are pleased to see these hon. gentlemen again in Parliament; we are sure that their presence will result in benefit to the country at large. It was with a great deal of pleasure that I heard the hon. member for Cumberland place before the House th( problems of the Maritime provinces. Without the construction of the Intercolonial railway there would have been no Confederation; the Maritime provinces would still be trading and bargaining with other countries-though, perhaps, to their greater economic and financial advantage. It was the will of Providence that gave us our open harbours on the Atlantic, for without them and the Intercolonial there could have been no real progress in commerce and industry for this country, and it would have remained for Ontario and Quebec to be at the whim, to use the words of Sir George Etienne Cartier, of the officials of the customs department of the United States. Perhaps also there would not have been those pleasant relations that now exist with our neighbours to the south. But with these open ports on the Atlantic placed there, to use the language of Joseph Howe, by the will of Providence, not merely the Maritime provinces but the whole of Canada benefits, and will continue to progress and increase in population and in wealth until we become one of the greatest countries in the world in trade and in human effort. The Intercolonial railway must, however, be operated in the interests of the Maritime provinces. It has been said by hon. gentlemen who have preceded me in this debate that the Intercolonial railway was built with a view to protecting the whole British Empire against the possible annexation of this country to the United States. The road was built not so much for the purpose of establishing the shortest trade route, but in order to give Canada a through railway from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We in the Maritime provinces wish the Intercolonial railway to remain an entity. The chief idea of the people of the Mari-

The Address

time provinces when coming into Confederation and the chief ambition of the people of the West when the Maritime provinces were brought into Confederation, was that the people of the East might have the advantage of being able to send their products to Canadian points instead of sending them, as they had formerly done, to the United States. It was to be of mutual benefit to the East and the West. But it is only by keeping this road under the direct administration of the Dominion of Canada that we can expect it to fulfill the mission for which it was built, and to give the people of the Maritime provinces that prosperity which they have a right to expect from trade with the Canadian West.

The administration of the Intercolonial was transferred by the previous Government to a Board of Directors acting independently of the Minister of Railways. That was done by Order in Council. Now, the construction of the Intercolonial as I have said, is a part of the pact of Confederation, and you cannot change that pact by Orders in Council; you cannot change it even by act of this Parliament; you can only change it by the unanimous will and consent of every province of Canada, and so far as the Maritime provinces are concerned, we are against any possible change in the constitution in that respect, even by request of a majority of this Parliament. The Intercolonial railway must remain there as long as the Constitution of this country remains; it must remain there for the happiness and prosperity of the Maritime provinces. This does not mean that we in our section of the country entertain any narrow feelings. In no other part of the country, perhaps, will you find so deep-rooted a desire for the happiness of every section of Canada. Joseph Howe one day said that Canada may yet become the centre of the British Empire and the seat of government be located in the centre of Canada, perhaps at Regina. That was only an illustration of the great desire the people of the Maritime provinces have for the nro-gress of this great garden of ours -for our country extending for

thousands of miles from the Atlantic to the Pacific is a garden from one end to the other; you cannot put your foot on any part of the territory of Canada without trampling on some resource, either in the forests or on the prairies that will be developed and bring prosperity to future generations. We have all these considerations in mind, and it is because we wish the whole of Canada to be happy and pros-

18|

perous and to attain to a greater future that we wish to keep perhaps this only privilege which may bring happiness to every man and woman in the Maritime

provinces.

Mr. Speaker, you know what the consequences have been of the transfer by Order in Council by the late Government of the administration of the Intercolonial railway to a Board of Directors sitting in Toronto. The Intercolonial railway has been placed in the same position as the other roads that have been brought under the control of that board; the result has been the excessive freight rates of which we have heard so much of late. Even two years ago when the Government placed the Intercolonial under the administration of this board, composed in the main of representatives of the Mackenzie and Mann system, I rose in this House and warned the Minister of Railways, the Prime Minister, and the Government of the day, against an increase in the freight rates on the railways. At the time I explained in as clear and forceful a manner as I could the result which would ensue to the industries of the country if, under the conditions which prevailed, the freight rates were to be increased merely to make good the deficiencies of a corporation which had not been able to show the same measure of success as other private corporations operating a similar mileage of railroad in Canada. I warned the Minister of Railways of that day that the existing freight rates were sufficient for the proper and successful operation of our railroads; and I pointed out that the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, operating a similar mileage, had during the year 1920 been able to show a surplus of $32,000,000 after meeting all charges, while the government-owned railways, covering a similar mileage and operated from Toronto, had experienced a deficit of $47,000,000. I declared at the time that this deficit was due to defective administration; and I uttered the warning that if an increase of rates were granted by the Railway Commission disastrous results to trade throughout the country would follow. I am now in a position to say that had my warning been heeded by the government of the day, Canada would have been spared great disasters which have had the effect of stifling industry from one end of the country to the other.

On another occasion I implored the administration to put an end to the heavy rates which were crippling industry equally

The Address

in the West and in the East. So great was the resulting paralysis of trade due to increased rates that the export of lumber from the Maritime provinces to the United States ports was blocked. On the Pacific coast the lumber industry suffered to an equal extent; and even the luscious apple of British Columbia was debarred from access to the Prairie provinces by these onerous freight rates. In the mines of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick operations were greatly impeded, and other Canadian products were prevented from reaching their natural markets. In the matter, for example, of iron ore it is easy to realize how expensive the frequent handling becomes and how greatly the ultimate cost is enhanced. Then the ore goes into the hands of the manufacturer, and is converted into agricultural implements, and, of course, you have to pay something for that operation; then it goes to the farmers of the West. All these operations increase the cost of production, until it is hardly worth while for the farmer to purchase the implement. The country at large has been suffering for some eighteen months from unemployment, caused by the maladministration of our railways, the direct cause being the increase of rates which has stopped the trade on the railways. The railway companies have had to dismiss their men, when business fell off. They had the equipment and employees ready for a big trade when the rates were increased. They had heavy trains, sufficient to carry thousands of tons of material at the same price as it had been carried previously. Subsequently they had to cut down' the trains and haul about half the number of cars, at practically the same expense as would have been incurred if they had a big trade. This is the result of this increase of rates.

They have given as an excuse for the increase of rates the fact that they had to increase the wages of the working men on the railway, because the United States had raised it also under some international agreement. I make bold to say, even with all the admiration I have for the manner in which the Canadian Pacific have always conducted their business, that the managers of the road were not equal to the occasion. When they raised the wages they looked for a greater traffic, and a more extensive trade, but they should have known that they could not obtain it, and that imposing high freight rates would have the reverse effect, and the result would be

a paralysis of trade. They have suffered also. They have come back, not with a surplus of $32,000,000, but of $18,000,000. The Canadian Pacific have lost more than the amount of additional wages they had to pay.

I regret that our hon. leader (Mr. Mackenzie King) is absent to-day, owing to the visit of Providence upon his brother, whose death has certainly caused him great sorrow, and I sympathize with him. If he were here to-day I would say to him: Give every possible consideration to the request made by the Maritime provinces, so that their future prosperity may not be hampered by want of railway connections with other parts of Canada. I have confidence that he and his associates in the Government of Canada will certainly see that those freight rates are reduced. I have heard my hon. friend from St. John (Mr. Baxter) also complaining of the excessive rates. I heard my hon. friend from Vancouver (Mr. Stevens) protesting against the freight rates. The thing I greatly regret is that my hon. friend from Vancouver did not protest two or three years ago. These rates were imposed at the request of the Government of the day, whom the railway were supporting at the time. The supporters of that Government will say, however, that those rates were imposed by the Railway Commission. It is true they were imposed by the Railway Commission, but the Government was not bound to accept the award of the Railway Commission. They could have suspended it until the next session of Parliament, and could then have brought the matter before Parliament, which, after all, is a final tribunal. It is well known that the Railway Commission has no jurisdiction over the rates of the Intercolonial from Halifax or Sydney to Montreal. I believe I express faithfully the opinion of the chairman of the Railway Commission who stated that as far as the Intercolonial railway was concerned, he had no authority over these rates. The government of the day accepted the order for an increase to please Mr. Hanna and his associates in the Board of Administration of the National Railways in Toronto.

This is not the first time that I have advocated in this House that the administration of the Intercolonial railway should be under a separate head. Canada is provided with an immense mileage of national railways. We must do the best we can to operate these lines to the best advan-

The Address

tage of the people. I do not say that these railways should be given back to private corporations. I am one of the few, perhaps, who have been not only desirous of having under the control of the State, not only the Intercolonial but the whole Transcontinental in order that it might be operated to the best advantage of the people. Administration by corporations means profit for the corporation at the expense of the public. Administration by the government is not designed for profit; after paying expenses, the people receive a profit in the way of low rates. Many members on both sides of the House, have boasted of their aspirations for national roads. We had only begun to look seriously into the question of operation by government when the government had to take over the railroads, which had gone into bankruptcy on account of the railway policy of Canada. I am in favour of operation of a certain portion of our roads by the State and I have contended at different times in this House that we should have not only the Intercolonial railway in the Maritime provinces, but also two or three more units, portions or divisions, of the National railway, where the local traffic would be more under the supervision of local men, where it could be operated with more promptitude and to better advantage in the way of freight rates. Freight rates should be arranged with a view to the greatest possible development of our natural resources, and the cheapest possible transmission of manufactured products through the country. This proposition should , more particularly appeal 5 p.m. to a country like Canada, with a territory of four or five thousand miles in length. We cannot expect to have a prosperous condition in Canada, if we are to have rates by mileage from one end of the country to the other, and that has been practically the effect of the last increase in rates. In France or Great Britain, where a large percentage of the production could be transported from one end of the country to the other in a few hours, the proposition is a different one. At the most rapid rate possible, it will take a freight train eight or ten days to travel across Canada. The product which has left Halifax must be carried to its destination in the West. Lumber shipped from British Columbia must go right through until it reaches the prairies to find a market. It is only by the establishment of divisions that you can possibly reach a degree of perfection of operation,

which one single central administration is not able to do in a country like Canada.

I suggest again that we should have another division in Montreal or Toronto, in order to provide for transportation further west up to the head of the Great Lakes. We might have divisions in Winnipeg and Vancouver on the Pacific coast, so that all the products of the different portions of Canada may reach the different parts of the country where they are needed. It is the only possible way to make a profit on the railway and create an expansion of trade. And the divisions of which I have spoken should have their centre in Ottawa, not Toronto.

Our friends on the other side of the House are clamouring for national operation of railways. I am with them to a certain extent. We have to administer the railways, in a manner acceptable to the masses of the people. If we fail today in government operation, it will certainly be a great detriment to the people. We cannot continue to repeat the deficits of seventy millions or a hundred millions of dollars which have occurred daring the last two or three years. It is only by the best possible method of operation that we can wipe out these deficits, which threaten to ruin the people of Canada. In the United States of America during the war the railways were placed under the administration of the government. Those who were at the head of the administration were anxious to make the operation a success. If the railways of the United States had remained under the control of the government, divisions would have been established, to the great benefit of the whole country at large.

The railways should be given a fair trial under government ownership, and if they proved a success and contributed to the prosperity of the country then they could remain permanently the property of the Canadian people. At all events I have complete confidence in the new Minister of Railways (Mr. Kennedy), and, with his experience and success in business, government ownership of railways in Canada ought to be successful, if it can be successful anywhere.

It is my belief that no statesman has more enjoyed the confidence of the people than our present admirable leader (Mr. Mackenzie King), who is proving from day to day, as occasion offers, that he will be a worthy successor to that greatest of all Canadian statesmen whom we still lament, Sir Wilfrid Laurier. With the present Prime Minister at the head of affairs, and

The Address

with his two eminently qualified lieutenants, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding)

[DOT] a man, I might say, of world fame-and the Minister of Justice (Sir Lomer Gouin), who, as an administrator, has won an enviable reputation for himself, we have three men who, I think, are equal in mentality and patriotic vision to any triumvirate of the Roman Empire. With such statesmen directing the affairs of the country the people may well be optimistic. The confidence the people have in these three leaders and their able colleagues was shown in the result of the election on December 6. I was sorry the other day to hear the ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) echoing the remarks of other hon. gentlemen who have charged the Liberal party with responsibility for the present unfortunate state of affairs in connection with our railways. Some one, I believe, has said that the present deficit was the child of the Liberal party, which that party left at the door of the Conservative Government in 1911. Well, Sir, whatever political offspring the Liberal party handed over to the care of the Conservative government were in healthy condition, and if they are now unhealthy it is due to the carelessness and neglect of the late Conservative governments that held power from 1911. The Liberal Government has been found fault with for the construction of the Transcontinental. I have always contended, and I still contend, that the Transcontinental from Winnipeg to Moncton is one of the greatest public utilities that we have ever had in this country. It was built in order to bring what I may call the granary of the British Empire closer in touch with the ports leading to the markets of Europe. It was solidly constructed, and I am confident that it has entirely justified its construction. In view of the geographical conditions of the country I think it will be admitted that the Transcontinental Railway from Winnipeg to Moncton was absolutely necessary. Ever since its construction the farmers of the Prairie provinces have been able to ship their products a great deal more cheaply than they could have done without that railway. But the Conservative government was content to complacently allow that immense volume of traffic to flow to American ports instead of to our own ports. I have on many occasions called the attention of the House to this discrimination in favour of American ports, and I am sorry to see my hon. friend the ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) assuming the sins

of the Conservative party which he was not responsible for committing. I would have thought that he would not care to be responsible for the blunders of others. I hope that the hon. Minister of Railways (Mr. Kennedy) will do all in his power to consolidate the railroads of the Maritime provinces into that complete and well coordinated unit which I and my colleagues for those provinces are anxious to see, and that he will also realize the advantage of establishing other units in the best interests of the administration of our national railway system.

The hon. member who preceded me (Mr. Manion) referred to my views on the tariff question-a question which I had not intended to touch upon to-day. I need only say that I am still a free trader in principle, both in theory and in practice, as far as it is possible to apply free trade to our national conditions. I rejoice that that principle was recognized in 1910-11 when the Liberal administration proposed a measure of reciprocity with the United States. It was the largest measure of free trade-concession for concession- which Canada could ever hope to get from the country to the south of us, and had our people approved the proposal they would have derived the greatest possible benefit from its operation. Unfortunately they decided otherwise, due mainly to the campaign tactics adopted by the Conservative party, with the result that we have today the Progressive movement, so bitterly bewailed by our Conservative friends. But they should remember that that movement in the Western provinces owed its origin to the resentment of the prairie farmers at the loss of that prosperity which they would have enjoyed under reciprocity with the United States. To-day we have in this House the Progressive party, and with its help the Liberal party defeated the late Conservative government at the last election and retired them to Opposition for many years to come. It is a pleasure to see the father of that reciprocity measure again directing the financial affairs of the nation, and undoubtedly his name will go down in our history as a statesman who had the greatest economic vision of any of his contemporaries.

Speaking last year to my right hon. friend the present leader of the Opposition, I advised him at the time of his appointment to the leadership of his party to go to the country, otherwise he would lose ground and, if he delayed too long, would

The Address

certainly fail to return to power, and would find himself in this House with only a small band of supporters. I proved a true prophet on that occasion. However, he will now be able to exercise his natural talent in fault-finding, and I wish him many years of health and strength that he may contribute as leader of the Opposition to giving the country good government through placing us on this side of the House upon our guard against a repetition of the errors which characterized his conduct of affairs.

One of the most vital questions now engaging our attention is that of the restoration of their natural resources to the Western provinces. I may not be in agreement with some of my colleagues from the Maritime provinces, and what I am going to say will be upon my personal responsibility, not as a member of the party. My view is that rt is only by contributing to the happiness of the people in every province that we may become a united, happy, and prosperous nation. The happiness of the.people of British Columbia and the Prairie provinces is as important to me as the happiness of my people in the Maritime provinces. Of what advantage would it be for us to have a few million dollars more in our treasury and at the same time to forfeit the goodwill of the people of the West? And of what advantage would it be to the people of the West to trade with the United States instead of with the rest of Canada if their domestic and community life were uncomfortable and unhappy? We know that when the western part of our country was divided into provinces, a portion of the natural resources was retained by the Dominion. But these natural resources were retained as a paternal consideration, not because it was thought that they would never be restored to the provinces. It was thought that the administration of these resources would require a large population and large expenditure, and that the provinces could not hear the burden in the early stages of their development. I was a member of the House when, in 1905, the natural resources of the newly-created western provinces were retained under Dominion authority, and I then expressed the hope that their population and general development would ultimately become such as to justify the return of their natural resources to the provincial authority. Perhaps we did not anticipate the rapid development which was to take place in the West and which has excited the admiration of the people not only of Canada but of other countries as well. In less than a score of years a wonderful development has taken place; education has been encouraged; school houses and universities have been established1-and all these things have resulted in great benefits not only to the people of the western provinces but to Canada as a whole. The men of the West have worked energetically, day and night when necessary, to provide for their families and promote the general interests of the communities in which they live. The women of the West have grown not only beautiful, but patriotic and industrious, contributing their efforts to those of their husbands and children for the common good of the country. _ Western people are known as ambitious people, and the development of the natural resources is a noble ambition to cherish. The westerner has sought to make his family happy, and on the happiness of the family is based in a large measure the welfare of the country as a whole. The women of the Prairie provinces have exerted great influence in the matter of bringing about temperance legislation. My hon friend, the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) will bear witness to that; he was a member of a provincial government which put through a measure of temperance, largely at the; request of the women of his province; and the same is true of other provinces.

As I say, there are two great aspects in a consideration of the question of restoring to the provinces their natural resources. Large subsidies have been paid to the provinces which have not been given the control of their natural resources, and, in the East, of course, there is a feeling that if these natural resources revert to the provinces we are entitled to compensation. But as I say, of what advantage will it be to the people of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Quebec to say: You shall not get your natural resources until you pay us a large sum of money? Might not the Prairie provinces in retaliation say to any in the East who suggested refusing the West access to our ports: We will not send you our products for export; we will export through the United States? And of what advantage would it be to the people of the Prairie provinces to say: We will not give up the subsidies, because in connection with the administration of these natural resources we have sustained1 loss? I have a sympathetic feeling for the people of the Prairie provinces, because I have travelled

The Address

among them and I know them. What I say in regard to this matter is the expression of conclusions at which I have arrived, based largely on knowledge obtained through my contact with western people. So I say, why not compromise at once? Let the people of the Prairie provinces and their governments say: We will relinquish the subsidy, which we accepted as only a temporary measure until we would have the benefit of the administration of our own resources. And let the people of the East say: We are satisfied; what is a few million dollars as compared with harmony within the nation?

Mr. Speaker, I have submitted these remarks as suggestions of my own and without implicating any of my fellow members on this side of the House, not even any representative from Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. I have made these suggestions because I feel that if we do not arrive at a harmonious settlement it will be many long years before a monetary settlement can be arrived at. I believe it would be for the benefit of all that the Prairie provinces should be given a full measure of freedom in developing their own resources; and if that is done, and if they progress as they have done in the last score of years, I say that Canada will become a country that will command the respect not only of the United States but of Europe as well.

Topic:   THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   ADDRESS IN REPDY
Full View Permalink