Alfred Edgar MACLEAN

MACLEAN, Alfred Edgar

Personal Data

Prince (Prince Edward Island)
Birth Date
May 8, 1868
Deceased Date
October 28, 1939
farmer, rancher, trader

Parliamentary Career

December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
  Prince (Prince Edward Island)
October 29, 1925 - July 2, 1926
  Prince (Prince Edward Island)
September 14, 1926 - May 30, 1930
  Prince (Prince Edward Island)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Prince (Prince Edward Island)
October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
  Prince (Prince Edward Island)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 152)

April 26, 1939

Mr. MacLEAN (Cape Breton North-Victoria) :

AVhat action is the government taking in respect to the representations made by dominion command of the Canadian Legion in the matter of the claim for inclusive rates of pay on behalf of ex-members of the 3rd Tunnelling Company, Canadian Expeditionary Forces?

Full View Permalink

March 17, 1939

Mr. MacLEAN (Prince):

As an eastern member of parliament it was my privilege to make my first visit to the west this past season. Although I have heard this matter discussed on many occasions, it was the first occasion I had of seeing the destruction which the grasshopper can do. For the first time I saw the tremendous destruction that had been wrought on the wheat crops throughout the west, especially around Regina and in certain other sections of Saskatchewan. This small insect cuts off the head of the wheat just where it buds out; the head falls to the ground, and as there is no way of harvesting it, it is a complete loss.

My observations of the farming operations in western Canada lead me to the conclusion that possibly our friends in the west are trying to cultivate too many acres. If they confined their activities to a smaller acreage they might be able to control the situation much better. From my conversations with farmers I was led to understand that if the poison was put out in time and properly placed, it was quite effective. I consider it is a very worthy work that is being done, but I think the surface has hardly been scratched, having regard to what might be done. We have had to face similar difficulties in the east in connection with the potato beetle. Our potatoes are prohibited from entering the English market because of that pest. However, this has been controlled to such an extent that they are no longer considered a menace. We spray for blight and include in the spray a small amount of poison which controls the beetle situation.

Perhaps I may be permitted to suggest to our friends in the west that there is enough wheat wasted on every farm

this applies especially to those with which I came in contact-to keep two or three families in the east. Many farmers in the west apparently have launched out on an elaborate farming operation. On many of the farms I visited I noticed a lot of discarded machinery which may have cost more than the whole farm was worth. I do not know how this situation can be remedied, but my first impression was that they were endeavouring to farm on too large a scale and were spending too much money in purchasing up to date machinery. They were wasting much of the crop that should have been harvested. Could the minister tell me how many are employed in the entomology branch at Fredericton?

Full View Permalink

March 1, 1939

Mr. A. E. MacLEAN (Prince):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to present a petition from the residents of O'Leary, Prince Edward Island, in opposition to any measure to legalize sweepstakes in Canada.

Full View Permalink

February 22, 1939

Mr. MacLEAN (Prince):

What do our friends over there want? They must be hard to please if those figures do not please them.

Now let us look at the export figures, comparing the same two years, 1934-35 and 1937-38. The percentage of gain in Canada's exports to some of the leading countries was as follows: Great Britain, 40 per cent; United States, 39 per cent; Australia, 79 per cent; Japan, 57 per cent; South Africa, 33 per cent; New Zealand, 118 per cent; Belgium, 24 per cent; the Netherlands, 32 per cent; Germany, 174 per cent; Argentina, 85 per cent, and Ireland, 25 per cent.

Right down the list you find that we have made a substantial gain in our export trade. Is not that what our country needs? Is it not what we have been looking for? We have a great deal-I was going to say to be thankful for, and I do not know that I can use a better expression, in the very favourable situation we enjoy not only from the trade angle but also from the financial angle.

Hon. members will recall that during those five years Mr. Bennett was not only prime minister but for most of the time was finance minister as well. He was going to show this country not only how he could run it as prime minister but also how to finance it. In the last year that the Liberals were in power Canada had a surplus of over $47,000,000. The first year after our friends came in they had a deficit of over $87,000,000. The next year the deficit was $114,000,000, the next year $220,000,000, the next year $133,000,000, and in the year following there was a deficit of over $116,000,000. Again I use round figures. The total deficit for those five years was over $672,000,000. That is the record of their party, brought about largely by the trade policies they have followed, because it was shown here yesterday that you cannot have trade dropping off and at the same time maintain your revenue. Our friends opposite complain about the balance of trade. We find that last year we brought in from the United States only $78,000,000 more than we sold them and, as the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Euler) said the other day, our favourable balance of trade with the whole world was $280,000,000.

Now coming more particularly to the benefits which will accrue to my own province, I should like to refer to the potato situation. In one of his speeches the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) said he thought one county in the maritimes could supply all the potatoes we were permitted to ship under this agreement. I cannot agree with that suggestion; I do not think any county down there could produce 2,500,000 bushels of marketable potatoes, which is our quota under the new agreement. The important thing, however, is that if you take 2,500,000 bushels from the maritime provinces and ship them to the United States you relieve the situation to that extent, so that the different markets in the central provinces may be able to absorb the remainder of the crop. That is why we down there are so pleased with the provisions of this treaty.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, the duty prior to 1935 was 75 cents per hundred pounds. Under the 1935 agreement that was reduced to 45 cents, and there was a quota established of 750,000 bushels. Under the new agreement the quota has been increased to 1,500,000 bushels of seed potatoes, while the duty has been further reduced to 37i cents per hundred pounds or 22J cents per bushel. That is a real concession. We are permitted to ship in twice the amount of seed potatoes and matters can be arranged in regard to the months of


Canada-United States Trade Agreement

shipment; potatoes can be held and shipped into the United States in plenty of time for spring seeding. Then in regard to table stock, in 1935 there was no quota for potatoes of this class. Under the new agreement, however, we have a quota of 1,000,000 bushels of table stock at .374 cents per hundred pounds, from March 1 to November 30. That gives us a total of 2,500,000 bushels that we are permitted to ship to the United States. That is what we in the maritimes have been looking and longing for during the past number of years. Quite a substantial duty remains, but I am glad to say that we have a wonderful trade in seed potatoes. I believe eighty per cent of the seed potatoes entering the United States come from Prince Edward Island. Some of the other members from the man-times are going to deal with this question, so I will leave it in their hands, since they are better prepared to deal with it than I am.

Under this treaty free entry is granted in connection with a great many of our fishery products. Our lobster industry alone is estimated to produce 83,000,000 annually, and we are given free entry for lobsters for the duration of the agreement. This means a great deal to the Canadian fishermen because, as you know, there has been a very strong agitation in some of the Atlantic states to shut out Canadian lobsters. We also have free entry for clams, quahaugs, oysters, crabs, scallops and smelts, and I may say there is a tremendous trade in the last named fish. A splendid table was placed upon Hansard the other day by the Minister of Trade and Commerce, appearing at page 1068. I will not take time to read it again, but I would direct the attention of hon. members to it.

Then, Mr. Speaker, the reduced duty on dairy cattle is a big item in our part of the country. We have always enjoyed a splendid trade in these cattle, and some of the finest dairy herds in the maritimes are in the province of Prince Edward Island. One of the boys from my county exhibited his cattle successfully in Ottawa; he swept the boards at the Royal Winter Fair in competition with United States herds and then went to the United States, where he was again successful against the very best herds from the different experimental farms in that country. I think that is a real tribute to the dairy farmers of Prince Edward Island.

If this agreement will do anything to bring about a more equitable distribution of products I think we should be all in favour of it. I think we all agree that our greatest difficulty to-day is that there is too great a spread between what the farmer receives for

what he sells and what he has to pay for what he buys. We have all spoken on this question. Our friends in the far corner are very strong in their views, and we appreciate their sentiments and their sincerity. But nothing concrete was done to deal with this situation until the negotiation of this treaty. The reduction of many duties, which means so much to the consumer, and the opportunity which is given the producer to widen his market, constitute the first concrete evidence we have had in this house that we are trying to bridge the gulf between the consumer and the man who has to market his products. So I think the government are to be congratulated on what they have done.

In conclusion I wish to repeat what the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) said the other day. When the reciprocity agreement was defeated in 1911 Sir Wilfrid Laurier stated that it might be twenty-five years before another agreement could be negotiated, and he was quite correct. Would not those great statesmen of the past have rejoiced to see the consummation of such a trade pact as this? Would not Fielding, Paterson and Laurier have loved to see the triumph of the principles for which they stood? We are proud indeed that to-day we have a leader of the Liberal party who has caught the vision of those who have gone before, and who has understood so well the message expressed in the words of our own poet-

To you from falling hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high.

Let us go on as a party. There is no doubt but that we are on the right track. This agreement gives consideration to all classes of citizens, the consumer, the producer, the farmer, the manufacturer, the labourer and the fisherman. I submit that trade is the very lifeblood of the nation. Without trade we become a decadent people. With trade we go forward to fulfil our destiny as a great and growing nation. Why should Canada fear competition? Canada, a young and virile nation, can compete with any country in the world.

Full View Permalink

February 22, 1939

Mr. A. E. MacLEAN (Prince):

Mr. Speaker, in case there might be some little misapprehension regarding the manner in which the treaty is received in the province of Prince Edward Island and in the county I represent. I wish to take this opportunity of making a few observations on the motion now before the house.

It is a real pleasure for me, representing a rural constituency in that province, to be able to say that the treaty has been well received by the people of the province and of the county which I represent. A day or two after the press release was given out I met on the street a friend of mine; although he was strongly opposed politically to me we were always personal friends, and his first observation was: "This time we shall have nothing to fight over; we have not a word to say- the treaty is all in our favour." I believe that that represents pretty well the attitude of people in general. I make that statement for this reason: The United States has always been the natural market for the maritime provinces, and more particularly, possibly, for Prince Edward Island. If we look back over the history of Canada and study the situation of our province before we came into confederation. it will be found that at that time we had a wonderful trade with the people of the United States; we had control of our own customs laws; we had to sacrifice a good deal when we came into confederation, and ever since our people have looked longingly towards the markets of the United States in the hope that some day we might have a better entry into those markets.

While speaking of confederation, I do not think it will be out of the way for me to remind the house at this time that on July 16 of this year the seventy-fifth anniversary of confederation is being celebrated in the province of Prince Edward Island and the city of Charlottetown. A well balanced program has been arranged for the five days

of that gathering. Invitations are being sent out to the Prime Minister and the members of his cabinet, to the premiers of all provinces, to the leader of the opposition, and to all hon. members and senators. We sincerely hope that a large number of people across the dominion will take advantage of the occasion and attend this celebration in the city of Charlottetown.

The people of Prince Edward Island were not altogether satisfied with what happened after they came into the union. We were promised that we should have the central markets of Canada as an outlet for our products. We regret that that has not worked out in just the way that we had hoped. One of the difficulties is that the central provinces grow the same agricultural products that we do, and therefore it is simply impossible for us to find in those provinces a ready market for our surplus products. Another reason is the long haul and the exceedingly high freight rates. Our close proximity to the United States and the fact that we have waterborne traffic makes it much more economical for the shipper to send his products into the United States. Naturally, therefore, in all these years they have been looking at that market with longing eyes in the hope that the time again might come when they might have freer access to it.

I remember distinctly the disappointment of the people of Prince Edward Island when the reciprocity agreement of 1911 was defeated. It was defeated, I am sorry to say, by the attitude of our friends opposite, and I am really surprised to see them taking the same attitude at this time towards the treaty now before us. The fact that the United States came to the assistance of our friends, both with money and with the influence which they could bring into the campaign of 1911, goes to prove that the agreement was a splendid one; had the agreement not been entirely in favour of Canada, United States money would not have been put up, nor would the fight have been made which was made then to defeat it.

As the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) said the other day, when the treaty of 1911 was first introduced into this house, hon. gentlemen opposite did not know jvhether they were for it or against it. They were so completely overwhelmed by the wonderful offers made to Canada at that time that at the outset they did not like to oppose it, but afterwards, getting assistance from outside, they plucked up courage and determined to put up a fight against it. As the hon. member for Lanark (Mr. Thompson) said

Canada-United States Trade Agreement

yesterday, the 1911 treaty would have made Canada an adjunct of the United States-so at that time they started waving the old flag, shouting "No tmck or trade with the Yankees", and declaring that if we entered into that agreement with the United States we would immediately lose our national identity and become a mere adjunct of the republic to the south. Of course that suggestion was perfectly ridiculous, and it is just as ridiculous to-day as it was at that time. Still, a good many people seem to fall for it.

The Prime Minister said the other day that he remembered Sir Wilfrid Laurier stating that it might be twenty-five years before another opportunity offered for us again to put through an agreement of that kind, and events have proved that Sir Wilfrid was right. We feel in the maritime provinces that our progress has been practically held back for twenty-five or thirty years owing to the fact that we have not had better trade relations with the United States. As has been pointed out on different occasions in the course of this debate, nine-tenths of our export trade is with the United States and Great Britain. One thing that our friends opposite cannot grasp is that you must be willing to buy before you can expect to sell; they think that trade is a one-way street. Unless they get rid of that idea they will never change their policy of high protection. To my mind, reciprocity is exactly what the word implies; it means that you must be willing to trade both ways.

The other day the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) said that the Prime Minister had made the statement that this was a peace pact. Well, I listened carefully to what the Prime Minister had to say, and the impression I got was that this was not a peace pact to protect us from aggression on the part of the United States or any other country, but that it was an object lesson to the whole world, teaching that the two great democratic countries could be drawn together in a policy of neighbourliness. It is not a peace pact to safeguard us from attack from any other country, but it is what the Prime Minister said it is-an object lesson to the world at large to show what can be done among the democratic nations. Our friends opposite are drawing largely on their imagination when they try to put any other construction on the treaty.

Let me read briefly some extracts from the British press and other British organizations to show what the opinion over there is. We all know what an influential body the British board of trade is. In reference to the agreement, the British board of trade summarizes it as an:

important and significant step in the efforts of the United Kingdom and the United States governments to reduce trade barriers and so contribute to world peace and prosperity.

The Manchester Guardian says:

The people of the United States and the United Kingdom will welcome the treaty, "not perhaps for the increased trade it will actually bring so much as for its political significance.

. . . Two great democratic countries are able, in a time when self-sufficiency and state regulated trade seem in the ascendent, to set the example of economic disarmament that the world so sadly needs."

The Financial News, independent, states:

The agreement marks a substantial throwback to sanity and adds: "The agreement in sum is standing testimony to the efficacy of human determination, aided by Anglo-Saxon genius for compromise."

I could read a great many more testimonials of the same sort. For example, the Yorkshire Post, Conservative, says:

The pact represents the first decisive step towards liberation of international trade the postwar world has achieved and is most valued not only for what it is but for what it promises.

And to quote the Daily Telegraph:

The goodwill the dominions have displayed in this matter merits particular recognition.

If it were not for the goodwill shown by the dominions it would have been difficult to put the treaty through.

These quotations from the British press are significant, and they bear out exactly what the Prime Minister said the other day, that we are not afraid of aggression from the United States or any other country but that the treaty is an example to the whole world of what democratic nations can do when they sincerely desire to get together.

After listening to our friends across the way in their speeches on this treaty I am led to ask this question: Where do the leader of the opposition and the Conservative party stand in relation to the treaty? Are they for it or against it? The leader of the opposition stated the other day in the closing part of his speech:

Time alone will tell, but my belief is that the ill effects of the treaty will be very much greater than the good effects.

I submit that if the ill effects of this treaty are greater than the good effects it is up to the leader of the opposition and his party as a whole to vote against the treaty on the floor of the house. But I shall watch very carefully to see whether they will venture so far. They are taking a great deal of time condemning the treaty and they will try to prejudice the minds of the public against it, but I doubt whether they will go the length of voting against it. [DOT]


Canada-United States Trade Agreement

I cannot see how any farmer, any member representing a farming constituency in this house, in fact any member representing almost any constituency except a thoroughly industrial one, can oppose this treaty. Hon. gentlemen opposite will remember the time when the Robb budget was introduced. Industrial people from the cities in this vicinity paraded in front of the public buildings with placards on their breasts and backs, declaring that their industries would be closed down and that they were facing starvation on account of that Robb budget. Mr. Robb quietly told those gentlemen to go home and just take their time and see whether the budget would not work out for them a great deal better than they expected. The result was that the automobile industry in this country never had such a period of expansion as it had under the Robb budget.

Full View Permalink