Victor Clarence PORTEOUS

PORTEOUS, Victor Clarence

Personal Data

Conservative (1867-1942)
Grey North (Ontario)
Birth Date
November 5, 1893
Deceased Date
June 17, 1966

Parliamentary Career

July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
  Grey North (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 15)

June 27, 1935


I was paired with the

hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Mac-phail). Had I voted, I would have voted against the amendment.

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April 16, 1935


I was paired with the hon. member for Southeast Grey (Miss Mac-phail). Had I voted I would have voted for the motion.

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April 2, 1935


-which my hon. friend, who just gave voice to his disagreement, voted against. Without those Ottawa agreements the prices of our cattle and hogs would have been much lower, and now we are in a position to reap the full benefit of those agreements.

To a large extent, Mr. Speaker, we have regained trade with the old country which was lost under the Liberal regime. I must say that the British market is the surest and most stable market we have; it will take our hogs when other countries refuse to do so.

The Budget-Mr. Porteous

While it is not for me to say anything in regard to trade with the United States, since an agreement is pending with that country, I will say that we should be very careful not to destroy our market in the United Kingdom in anticipation of any other market, because the day will come when there will be a reaction in these other countries and we will be glad to avail ourselves of the United Kingdom market. So I think we should retain our position in that market which has been assured to us under the Ottawa agreements.

We undertook and carried out a census in this country which throws perhaps more light on the situation than any census previously taken. I have always maintained, especially with regard to farmers, that we have not been in possession of sufficient knowledge with respect to the possible consumption of our agricultural products. I hope that as a result of the census which has been taken, and following some further legislation which will be brought down, we may be able to control our output and take advantage of the knowledge which is presented to us. We are tackling the unemployment problem. When we first did so there were those who condemned the government for its unemployment policy, but I notice those same people are now trying to steal the government's thunder by saying more money should be appropriated for that purpose. There may have been some irregularities with respect to the administration of unemployment relief moneys; undoubtedly there were. But I would like to ask hon. members what set-up they could have made in such a short space of time that would have been more economical and efficient than the set-up which was made, by which unemployment relief was administered through the municipalities. For this or any federal government to undertake to administer unemployment relief would have been much more extravagant than doing it through the municipalities. The municipalities were in a better position to administer relief than any other governmental body, because they were in closer touch with the requirements of the situation. Some hon. members are ready to tell in this chamber of conditions in which they find those who are recipients of unemployment relief. I heard the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woods-worth) say yesterday that there was only one bathroom in an apartment house in the city of Montreal to serve forty-nine people. But I wonder if that hon. gentleman realizes that there are thousands of people in this country

who have no bathroom at all, yet they are contributing to unemployment relief. I wonder if he and other hon. members realize that there are many people contributing to unemployment relief at this time to provide water from the tap for other people when they themselves are carrying water from wells; who are contributing towards electric light for others and reading the reports concerning it by the light of coal oil lamps. Is it not time that someone took it on himself to voice the position of some of the farmers in this country? I have no fault to find with unemployment relief justly administered; it is a problem which confronts us and I think one which we shall eventually solve economically. But I do say that some who are receiving unemployment benefit have a higher standard of living than some who are contributing to it.

This government tackled unemployment relief, and we have nothing to apologize for in that regard. The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre said the other day (hat we should have more equality of sacrifice, and he referred to some cartoon which he had seen in a newspaper, under the caption Everybody One Step Down. I remember seeing a cartoon myself some years ago in the early days of bolshevism; it showed a lean, lanky man sitting in front of a grocery store with a banner across his breast bearing the word "bolshevik." A passer-by asked him: "What does that word ' bolshevik ' means?" "Well," he sa-id, "it means absolute equality; nobody has anything to eat." That is about as good an explanation of bolshevism as could be given, because if those people had their way who advocate policies such as those of which we have heard, they would destroy the credit of the country and the result would be that everybody would be equal but everyone would be starving.

Then we assumed greater responsibility respecting old age pensions. May I say in passing that the Old Age Pensions Act was the only part of an extensive program presented by the Liberal party to the labour people of this country in 1919 that was carried out. We assumed ninety-five per cent responsibility in connection with that act. Then we introduced legislation setting up the central bank, and I believe that as the years go by the central bank will prove to be one of the most beneficial financial institutions in this or any country, because it will exercise a controlling influence on the alternations of prosperity and depression that have characterized the past under the banking system as we have had it. Then we introduced the Natural

The Budget-Mr. Porteous

Products Marketing Act, which gave the farmers the only opportunity that ever had been given them to control to some extent the selling price of their products. I was astounded to hear my hon. friends opposite vote against that bill. Surely they realized that in this world in which trade is coming to be regulated largely by codes, farmers should have some organization by which they can to some extent control the marketing of their products. Through the facilities afforded by that legislation I believe that as the years go by the agricultural community will reap splendid results.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.

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April 2, 1935


When the house rose at six o'clock I was reviewing as briefly as possible some of the progressive and reform legislation this government had sponsored in the past. In addition to the items I have already mentioned there are the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act and amendments to the farm loan act. We have maintained our credit and the value of our currency. Through the price spreads commission we have set out to investigate some of the irregularities in connection with trade and commerce. In passing may I state that this is the only government which has had nerve enough to investigate matters of that kind. We are about to set up a wheat board, and still the Liberal opposition continues to present motions of want of confidence in the government.

In the few brief moments at my disposal I should like to review what is knowm as the capitalistic system. I do not believe that the expression "capitalistic system" is in most instances properly applied. In my opinion we are living under a free and competitive system. Capitalism is a product of democracy and not a system in itself. We live in a free country, a country where any individual is privileged to engage in any occupation he may see fit to follow, and we hope that in years to come every Canadian will have that same opportunity. Under our system each individual is rewarded according to merit, and other than by way of reform I do not believe the system can be improved upon.

The great country to the south of us makes the boast that it has made more money in a short term of years than has any other country in the world, and under the system prevailing in that country they have produced more profits than has any other country. For

[Mr. Porteous.!

years I have watched industrial workers, and in passing may I state that I have a high regard for the honest industrial worker and the honest employee. I regard highly that man who is willing to give of his skill, for which he may be remunerated in dollars and cents. I have watched the industrial workers in action, and may I observe that in years gone by there was very little difference between the status of the employee and that of the employer. In bygone days the employer served an apprenticeship and understood the conditions under which the employee worked. Then the employer worked as many hours per day as did the man working under him. What is the condition to-day? By manipulation of the Companies Act, by monopoly in industiy and by other methods, the employer has become immensely rich while the employee may be found among t'he list of unemployed.

Faced with these conditions is it not time for us to embark upon some program of reform so far as possible to correct this free and competitive system? That is the program upon which this government is embarking to-day. As I have stated previously, I was surprised to note that the opposition chose to oppose some of the reform measures which passed last year. I believe they would still oppose the reform legislation were it not for the fact that they realize public opinion is behind it. They understand that the public is behind the reform policy enunciated by the Prime Minister in his radio speeches, and were it not for that fact they would be opposing the reform program now before parliament. However they have learned that public opinion favours reform and for that, reason have made a right about face and declare themselves ready to vote for reform legislation.

The reform program was initiated by none other than the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett), who had a reform program in mind a few years ago when we were embarking upon the census, which I mentioned earlier. Since that time he has steadily advanced and made reasonable his reform program. Not only do I hope and believe that he will be back to lead the Conservative party to victory in the next election, but I believe that in years to come he will embark upon a reform policy which will give the world leadership and further jurisdiction for the existence of a free and competitive system.

In 1928 my right hon. leader warned the then government of conditions obtaining at that time, when thej'' were embarking on a mad orgy of expenditure and extravagance.

The Budget-Mr. Picket

The foresight which led him to warn the government of that day will lead him in the reform measures under which the people of Canada will prosper in years to come.

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April 2, 1935

Mr. V. C. PORTEOUS (North Grey):

be absorbed in some way, I searched statistics to find out how that unfavourable trade balance was being met, and I found that in the same period, federally, provincially and municipally in this dominion, we had borrowed almost that identical figure. That tells one story and one story only, and that is that we bought from the United States during that period almost 82,500,000,000 more than we sold and then borrowed the money to pay for it. But that is not the worst. The major portion of that money was borrowed from the United States.

In view of these facts, which are presented to us fairly and concisely, what could we do but use the only instrument at the disposal of any government in order to correct these unfavourable trade balances? It is true that there are some invisible balances such as the tourist trade, and we have reaped some benefit from that invisible trade balance with the United States. But the United States also receives some benefit from the tourist trade going from Canada. Moreover, we are a debtor country and we must budget in order to meet the difference in interest rate which is going out of the country all the time.

I wish to commend the Minister of Finance for having taken a step in connection with the taxing of unearned income. I discussed with the Minister of Finance a few years ago the question of taxing non-taxable investments. At that time I advocated some method whereby investments not otherwise taxable should be made taxable, and I presented the example of a farmer who went out and bought a farm for 810,000, of whi ",h he had to borrow 86,000 from a private individual or a mortgage corporation. Just as soon as he took possession of that property he became liable for the taxes on it, whereas the person or company from whom he borrowed the $6,000 paid no tax except perhaps some income tax on the interest. This plan of taxing unearned income is one of the finest steps to be taken by any government during a period such as this.

From time to time we have heard urged, particularly from the far corner of the house, the question of monetary reform. I do not say that we should not have such reform to some extent in order to cope with other countries; I believe we should keep pace with other countries in that regard, but I want to say that you cannot make money by reforming it. Our paper money in this country represents only what is behind that money, and merely printing money is not going to make it valuable. Moreover, by printing money you cannot meet your obligations more economically than by borrowing money. The moment you issue currency without adequate

coverage you decrease the value of your currency to exactly the same extent as you would by borrowing in a foreign market and paying interest; exactly the same thing happens. While I feel that we should keep abreast of the times with respect to our money policy I believe we should use every precaution to see that we do not get off solid ground or away from stable currency.

I have said that the life of this parliament has covered a period of progress and accomplishment. A special session was called as soon as we came into power, and the first step we took was to build up our tariffs. That was necessary in order to correct the adverse trade balance, and it was necessary because other countries felt the depression before it reached Canada, and they were dumping goods into this country, more or less at bankruptcy prices, which we should have been producing in Canada. As a member of the Conservative party I must say that I have no apologies to offer in respect to the building up of the tariffs at that time; I think it was the only proper thing to do. As the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) said the other day, to a large extent we had lost our markets; our customers had become our competitors and it was necessary that our home markets should be retained for our own products. Then we entered into trade treaties, and I have special reference to the Ottawa agreements, which surpass any endeavours in that regard on the part of any previous government. As a farmer I sometimes wonder what might be done to raise the prices of farm products, but I shudder to think what might have happened with respect to our cattle and hog industries, for instance, if we had not found that outlet which was presented by the Ottawa agreements. Where would the prices of hogs and cattle have fallen? They are low enough now, dear knows, but they would have been much lower if we had not had the Ottawa agreements-

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