If the hon. member wishes to interrupt, I will meet him out in the corridor afterwards. I wish to say here that there was a time when I entertained high hopes for a former house leader of the party opposite, but I am afraid that, by his many silly interruptions, he is becoming a political dwarf. There are a few members on this side of the house of whose actions I disapprove, as most of them are neither constructive nor becoming to a member of this house.
A few nights ago the member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. Rowe) spoke for about an hour and was allowed that privilege by the members on this side, notwithstanding the fact
The Address-Mr. MacLean that it was the same old swan song to which we have listened from that source for many years. If he continues this type of speech much longer, I am afraid he will wear out the alphabet.
In the speech from the throne we are told that the first concern of government in world affairs is to ensure the peace and security of the country. With this aim in view, Canada continues to support the principles of the United Nations charter. In the hope that we may be able to show this determination to those nations who have adopted the communistic form of government, we are to sign the north Atlantic pact. We must be strong so that those who would endeavour to compel us to accept their obnoxious system will awake to a realization that in our hearts the love of freedom is stronger than the enslavement that would necessarily follow the acceptance of their repugnant form of government. There are some in this country who do not believe in the signing of this pact. I cannot understand them, as they appear to me to have warped minds.
What are we doing in this country towards the maintenance of peace? It is true we are passing legislation to protect ourselves and to aid those who are in need. But do we measure up to the standards set by one who spoke with authority? Our country has the name of being a Christian country, but is it? We live day by day as though there were no God. We spend the one day set aside particularly for worship by carrying on our own pleasures. Many absent themselves entirely from divine worship, and I am afraid many members of this house are guilty of this sin. I could go on and preach a sermon to you, but I am not a theologian. In this house there are several members who formerly occupied pulpits, and who are now engaged in trying to solve life's problems by methods other than those they formerly proclaimed. If the views they now advance as a solution or a panacea for all our ills were placed second on the list of possible solutions, I could not quarrel with them. I am firmly convinced, however, that they have drifted very far from the truth. If we wish to prosper we must do as Joshua was advised to do long ago, to turn neither to the right nor to the left, but to observe all the law. If this were done, then he and those over whom he ruled would be prosperous.
Much has been said about farming, and particularly about wheat. I have often wondered whether the western wheat grower sows wheat year after year on the same land.
I have been told that many do and that certain acreages have been planted year after year with the same crop. This results in
crop failures and soil erosion. I am no authority on farming, but I lived in western Canada for a time and noted how farming operations were conducted. When there is a high world price for wheat, the western farmers wish to handle the sales themselves. When difficult times come, these farmers seek government assistance and lay the blame on the government if they do not receive a higher price than existing conditions make possible.
The western members are continually complaining about the high cost of living, and it is too high. I should like to ask them whether they think the prices of meat, flour, butter, oats, barley and the various vegetables that go to make up our daily diet are too high? I suppose that depends upon the particular products each one produces. I know that in Cape Breton the prices of beef and pork are very high. If one wishes to purchase a steak it costs about ninety cents a pound and I cannot see why the price is so high.
In common with many other members, I have received many letters protesting the tax on soft drinks and jewelry. The letters about soft drinks have been from people in all walks of life, but those concerning jewelry were from jewelers only. Since the member for Parkdale (Mr. Timmins) has spoken at some length on this matter, I shall not take further time in discussing it.
Another matter mentioned in the speech from the throne was the entry of Newfoundland into confederation. This subject brought forth a long and vigorous protest from the leader of the opposition, not about the entry of Newfoundland, but about the unconstitutional method adopted. His argument took up a very considerable amount of time, I think wasted time, as there was nothing to it but words. These words were well delivered, but they were only words, as there was really no constitutional question involved. There was a time when I was very fond of studying constitutional questions. I well remember reading the many cases from Ontario when the late Sir Oliver Mowat fought hard with Sir John A. Macdonald on questions concerning provincial rights. I may say that Sir Oliver was generally right; at least, such were the decisions.
The entry of Newfoundland into confederation will mean much to North Sydney in my constituency, owing to the fact that a great amount of passenger and freight traffic to and from Newfoundland passes through that town. At this point I must state there is a great need of modern docking facilities in that town. For years we have tried to have the Department of Public Works construct a
modern wharf for the convenience of the large number of ships entering that port. The number of ships entering the port far exceeds the number of ships entering the port of Halifax, although the tonnage is not nearly so great, because the large liners entering Halifax are of much greater capacity than those entering North Sydney.
Some nights ago the senior hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Isnor) and the hon. member for Digby-Annapolis-Kings (Mr. Nowlan) raised the question of the port of Halifax being discriminated against by reason of the fact that goods shipped by way of North Sydney to Port aux Basques were regarded as being shipped by an all-rail route. In view *of the fact that goods going to Newfoundland via Halifax have a 200-mile advantage in rail haul over the North Sydney route and that goods going via Port aux Basques to St. John's have a further rail haul of several hundred miles, I think it can be easily proven that the Halifax route has nothing to fear, as the water shipment to St. John's from Halifax has the further advantage of cheaper water rates.
It is my hope that in the not too distant future either a bridge or a causeway will be constructed over the strait of Canso to facilitate the conveyance of freight and passengers to and from Cape Breton to the mainland, and I trust that the Minister of Transport (Mr. Chevrier) will soon give us the report of the engineers on this project.
During the recess last year I had many visits from committees of old age pensioners and others who had not attained the pensionable age but were laid off work when they had reached the age of sixty-five years, with but a small pension from the coal company to maintain themselves and some members of their families. Many of these persons own their own homes and have to pay taxes and insurance; and in many cases they are likely to lose their homes unless something is done to remedy this unhappy situation.
If the pensionable age were reduced to sixty-five for men and to sixty years for women, and if the amount of the pension were raised and the means test were abolished, it would go a long way in bringing much-needed aid to these people. The means test works to the disadvantage of all those owning their own homes, as in such cases the amount of the pension is reduced. Apparently the fact that a pensioner owning his own home has to pay taxes, insurance and repairs, has not been taken into consideration.
The pensioners have for some time been discussing a three-way pension whereby men and women would pay a sum each month as soon as they started to work, and when they
The Address-Mr. MacLean retired a much larger pension could be paid to them. Under this scheme the employers and the government would also contribute, but the government would be responsible for all those who did not have the opportunity of paying into such a fund.
One hon. member mentioned the referendum taken in the state of Oregon, where it was decided to give the pension to women at sixty years of age and to men at sixty-five, to pay a pension of $50 a month, and also to reduce the income tax. By the way, two or three years ago I read that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) made a statement at Fort William, I think it was, advocating this same thing. I do not know whether or not he was correctly reported, but he mentioned that soon there would be no taxes at all. I had intended to keep that clipping for further reference, but it became lost among some papers on my desk. However, I wish to compliment the hon. member for his advocacy for many years of the very things to which I am now referring.
As I was saying, it was decided in Oregon to give a pension on the terms I have mentioned. The next day they discovered that the revenue required to carry out this scheme would cost the state one hundred million dollars, whereas the revenue of the state was about thirty-nine million.
I understand the matter of a contributory pension has been brought to the attention of the local government in Nova Scotia. I trust that this government will take the matter under consideration so that such a scheme may be considered jointly by the various local governments and the federal government so as to devise ways and means to bring about this desirable plan. If our peopl* were paying into a pension fund in this man ner, the pension would not be looked upon as a matter of charity.
There is a great cry over all the country and in this house about heavy taxes; and it is true that taxes are a heavy burden on all of us. But, on the other hand, there is a demand for certain social legislation which, if granted, will mean a continuing heavy tax. Take the question of free medical care and hospitalization. This will call for a heavy additional expenditure, and I think there is a limit to which we can go. I believe there are many in this country who are unable to pay for proper treatment, and these should be looked after by the state; but the vast majority are well able to meet such obligations and should not be included in any such scheme.
The government is constantly reminded that it took from the Canadian people $600
The Address-Mr. MacLean
million more than was required tor the different services. This is not true, if we wish to pay our debts. Suppose I earn $3,000, that I owe $2,000, and am able to save $1,000 from my income. If I am an honest man, I shall pay that $1,000 to reduce my debt. If the government has a surplus above the requirements of meeting its many obligations, then it can reduce the debt by using the surplus; and this will save the Canadian people large sums annually spent in paying interest.
The matter of housing is continually before us. While we are under an obligation to do everything possible for our returned men, I cannot agree with those who state it is a matter for the government to provide houses for all our people. Our forefathers or, shall I say, our parents did not seek government aid when building their homes; and if we continue this paternalism we shall eventually kill all initiative on the part of the individual.
It is noted in the speech that never have so many been employed in this country as at present, and no doubt this is true of many places in this country and in the over-all picture. But in my constituency and in other parts of Nova Scotia there are thousands of unemployed. I shall refer particularly to my home town of Sydney Mines and the adjoining towns of North Sydney and Florence, with a total population of about 17,000. There are several hundred unemployed. Many of the young men in these towns have never had permanent employment, as no new mines are being opened, no new industries have been undertaken, and the only work these young men had was in the armed services. They enlisted after leaving school; and not having a position before enlisting, no company was obliged to hire them. Many had to leave their homes and seek employment in Quebec and Ontario; and after paying for their board and lodging where they are employed, there is little left to help those at home.
The question of opening more coal mines to absorb the unemployed is no solution to the problem, as many of the mines are idle now owing to lack of orders. I have brought this matter to the attention of the department directly concerned, and at the present time some of the coal operators are in the city seeking some solution to the problem. There would be a speedy solution to it if we had in our province a number of industries using coal, as we could produce electric power much cheaper by using our coal than we can in the more expensive way of building large dams at an enormous cost. It is, of course, impossible to build any dams in Nova Scotia.
I have written many letters to firms outside Canada in an endeavour to have some industrial works established, as we are nearer to the South African, South American and
European markets than is any other part of Canada. Firms engaged in manufacturing for these foreign markets would have the advantage of all-water rates.
In the matter of shipbuilding, I think that such an industry should have been established on Sydney harbour, as we have the steel industry there, and the plates for ships would not have to be carried thousands of miles by rail. At this point I should like to ask the minister whether the Canadian ships now under Panamanian registry have been purchased outright by a foreign country, or whether it is merely a ruse to escape paying the Canadian rate of wages.
I wish now to refer to certain remarks made by the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Hansell) some days ago. In his reference to world government he stated, as reported at page 1022 of Hansard:
It appears to me that some of us are a bit lax in our thinking . . . World government means . . . world enslavement.
And may I say that, in spite of what the hon. member states, there is to be a world government some day, when all the problems that today perplex and baffle the wisest among us will be solved; the time spoken of by Tennyson, in his "In Memoriam', when there will be:
One God, one law, one element,
And one far-off divine event.
To which the whole creation moves.
But the solution will not come about by the introduction and adoption of the peculiar and illogical ideas expressed by the member for Macleod and those associated with him.
If money to carry on the government can be raised in any way besides taxing the people, then people need not work; and when we have reached that stage, all must starve. The social credit money will be of no use, as there will be no goods to purchase. You all, no doubt, have read the stories in the book of Daniel of the ancient kings of Babylon, when Daniel was called in to interpret the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and the handwriting on the wall at the feast given by his son Belshazzar, which Daniel interpreted correctly.
1 think that the fiscal policies enunciated by the Social Credit party would be even to Daniel an insoluble problem.
I might also mention that when Solomon was crowned king he was asked what he most desired and he asked for wisdom. His desire was granted and he was advised that no wiser man theretofore had been born, neither should there be hereafter any one to attain such wisdom. On hearing the hon. member and some of his associates, I wondered whether the writer was in error when he did not know that in the twentieth century there
would appear on the world's stage such prophets as the hon. member for Macleod and his associates, whose wisdom apparently far surpasses the wisdom of Solomon and the judgment of Daniel.
In closing, I wish merely to mention the St. Lawrence waterways project, and I may say that in my humble opinion it may be a great thing for Ontario and Quebec but of little or no value to the maritime provinces. Yet if it is for the good of any of our people, I am willing to support it, if like support is given to the maritimes in providing suitable transportation facilities for us-and I particularly refer to the strait of Canso crossing.
The Address-Mr. MacLean
Another matter that is causing great concern is the freight rates. Now in connection with this I am inclined to think that we are not fair to the railways. How do we expect them to carry on at present rates when the cost of everything they use has increased in many cases 100 per cent or more, since the rates were last revised?
On motion of Mr. Casselman the debate was adjourned.
Topic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY