Mr. I. D. MACDOUGALL (Inverness):
Mr. Speaker, if your native modesty rises not in revolt against the many eulogies sounded in your favour by hon. members, may I, the youngest member of this House, youngest in years and in parliamentary experience, be permitted to add my humble tribute to those so eloquently expressed1 by previous speakers in this debate? My observations in this
House lead me to affirm that you, Sir, possess all the requirements, all the attributes, which should properly distinguish one in the dignified and exalted position which it is your privilege to occupy. In honouring you this House has done honour to itself.
Before entering upon a discussion of the legislative programme outlined in the Speech from the Throne, let me state that it is not my purpose to indulge in carping criticism, or with bitter invective to upbraid the Liberal party or any other party. True, hon. members are not of one mind politically; we differ in our judgment as to methods and policies; but fain would I believe that there is a common ground, a plane far exalted above the somewhat sordid level of party politics, upon which we the representatives of the Canadian people may meet and agree. May we not of this fact make common cause, that irrespective of political affiliations we all desire to serve and advance a great, a common country, to which we owe a mutual allegiance and a mutual love?
To my mind, there is in this country a question more important than any or all the specific measures outlined in the Speech from the Throne, aye, more important than any amendment that could be suggested to that Speech. That question is whether or not the spirit of confederation is to endure in this land, or whether it is to be supplanted by sectionalism and selfishness bearing in their wake, as they inevitably must, disintegration and political chaos. Liberals, Conservatives, Progressives or Labour-all will admit that confederation was a great ideal-a goal worthy of the far-seeing and patriotic men who consummated it; but confederation was born of good faith and a sincere desire among the provinces to help bear one another's burdens. It is this spirit of good faith, unity, co-operation and sympathy between the provinces that the people's representatives in parliament must ever jealously guard, cherish and foster. Unless the provinces, the integral factors of Canadian union, are willing to work together in peace and harmony, Canada cannot achieve its highest political destiny; confederation itself may not endure. In order to prevent illwill and suspicion in the relations between the provinces, the federal government must be in a position to mete out even-handed justice to every province in this Dominion. If there is in the minds of the people of any province or provinces even a well-grounded suspicion that their rights are not being protected and their interests not being fully represented in this government, a situation fraught with dangerous possibilities to Canadian unity may well develop. To guard against any such fatal consequence, the federal government, which is supposed to be a government of all the people and for all the country, must be able to comply with two important conditions-conditions without which that spirit of co-operation and goodwill so essential to national unity cannot be maintained. These conditions are, first, the representation of all the provinces on a fair basis in the cabinet councils of this government; secondly, the ability of this government to formulate a legislative
The Address-Mr. Macdougall
programme suited to the needs and requirements of every province in this Dominion; not specially designed to catch the votes of a particular group or to placate a particular section of this country. The present government, and it is not may purpose to abuse or to deride it, is clearly incapable of supplying either of these two conditions, without which unity and goodwill cannot prevail between the provinces of Canada. Take the matter of cabinet representation. We find to-day that four important provinces in this Dominion, and one of the four the most populous, have no minister-no voice whatever in the cabinet councils of the government. Is that a situation that makes for goodwill, sympathy and harmony between the provinces? Nor is this government free; not even its most enthusiastic supporter would contend for a moment that it is free to bring down a legislative programme suited to the requirements of the whole country. This government can bring down only such measures as it thinks will meet with the support of the Progressive group in the House. In order to retain power it must always trim its sails to catch Progressive breezes. It cannot bring down legislation which it may think necessary in the interests of all the people of Canada and of all the provinces. As has been said in this House, the government can act only by the *grace and with the permission ,of the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Forke); unless his spirit moves it, it cannot move at all.
Now this country requires stable government; it requires a government capable of taking forward steps. There are great problems crying for solution in Canada to-day; the problems mentioned by the Prime Minister at Richmond Hill are just as acute at the present moment as they ever were! For nothing has been done by this government to solve those problems since the Prime Minister made his announcement at Richmond Hill. Consequently this country demands a government which will be able to make some progress in the interests of the people as a whole. In face of this situation, with our people clamouring for action on the part of the government, we have in power an administration which is transfixed, motionless, and incapable of motion, like Joshua's sun in Ajalon. A striking exemplification of the im-poteney, I might add the political and moral cowardice, of this government is to be found in its unwillingness or its inability to formulate a national fuel policy for this country. This is a question of great national importance, which vitally affects the industrial and commercial welfare of all Canada. If our
country is to attain that proud position industrially and commercially of which it is certainly capable, our government must take immediate steps to make Canada independent of foreign countries in the matter of its fuel supply. If we do not do this we must be content to remain a vassal state in respect of industry, manufacturing and commerce. It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of coal in the industrial development of any nation. Students of economic history have attempted, and successfully attempted, to explain the growth of such countries as England, Germany and the United States in wealth, in power and in population, solely in terms of their coal industries. Writing on this very subject Professor Van Hise of Wisconsin university in a book entitled The Conservation of the National Resources of the United States, says in respect of coal, to which he attributes the industrial and commercial supremacy of that country:
Coal is by far the most important of all the mineral products. Next to coal in importance is iron. These two are of much greater consequence than all the other mineral products combined. The existence of extensive coal and iron fields has profoundly influenced modern civilization. The greatest commercial nations are England, America and Germany and each owes its industrial greatness to its extensive coal deposits.
Indeed, coal and iron may be described as the twin foundations of modern manufacturing industries and of commerce. They are at the same time the principal source of national power, wealth and population. 'In this respect England furnishes a very apt and at the same time a very striking example. In the centuiy from 16G0 to 1700, when England depended principally upon agriculture, and, a little shipping and commerce, the population increased by only 25 per cent; and from 1600 to 1760, while England in the latter part of that period still depended primarily on these three activities the population increased by 35 per cent. About the year 1760. there occurred what students of industrial history are pleased to term the industrial revolution; this was a revolution in methods and practices based fundamentally upon the use of coal in industry. If we take the 150 years from 1760 to 1910 we find that the population of England increased not by 35 per cent, as in the previous 160 years, but by 455 per cent. We find that even to-day England attaches great importance to its coal industry. This is shown by the fact, that the British government classifies it as one of the key industries of the country, and it may be of interest to certain gentlemen who are disciples of the Manchester school to note that as a key industry, whenever England's coal industry becomes threatened by outside com-
The Address-Mr. Macdougall
petition, it can be immediately protected by a duty of 30 per cent. Similar tendencies showing the importance of coal in national development can be discerned in the industrial history of Germany and the United States, where in both cases a marked increase in national wealth, power and influence is found to have resulted from the development of their extensive and important coal resources. Knowing that the industrial and commercial supremacy of England, America and Germany is largely due to the fact that these countries wisely conserved and used their great coal resources and so maintained their independence of foreign countries in the matter of their fuel supply, it is certainly logical to contend that if Canada is ever to attain that "place in the sun," industrially and commercially, which a bountiful nature ordained to be ours, this government must take immediate steps to formulate a national fuel policy. There is no good reason why in the years to come Canada should not occupy an important, if not a pre-eminent, position in manufacturing, in commerce and in industry. We cannot do this if we continue to be as we are at present, dependent upon a foreign country for our fuel supply.
Now I wish, Mr. Speaker, to lay before this House the situation which confronts the Alberta and Nova Scotia coal operators, but not in any partisan spirit, for this is a real national problem which should be solved by the government. Our chief manufacturing provinces are Ontario and Quebec, situated in central Canada. On the other hand, our coal deposits are situated in the extreme east and west in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia, and to some extent also in New Brunswick. Up to the present time the central provinces have been depending principally, if not entirely, upon the United States for their supply of both anthracite and bituminous coal for domestic and for steam purposes. Last year, taking into account -the amount of the American coal used for coking, the importations of United States coal into central Canada amounted to 15,000,000 tons. Which means, Sir, that 120,000,000 good Canadian dollars were sent to the United States to provide employment for their miners. And while this was going on, the miners of Alberta and Nova Scotia in many cases were walking the streets in search of employment and their families were threatened with starvation.
I have tried to point out from the industrial history of other countries the great importance that we should attach to formulating a national fuel policy. But aside altogether from that consideration, we may approach it
even from a selfish point of view. If the provinces of Ontario and Quebec say that they should purchase their coal where they can get it cheapest, I want to show them that they can no longer continue to rely upon the American coal operators and expect to get their fuel at the same prices as they have been paying in the past. In other words, I want to show briefly the tendency in prices of American coal in the future as I see them. Let me take the anthracite supply first. The householders of Ontario and Quebec have been depending almost entirely upon American anthracite for their domestic needs. Those of us who have given any study to the coal industry of the United States, know that competent geologists estimate that the present available supply of their anthracite coal will be practically depleted within the next quarter of a century-for no longer than twenty-five years at most will the provinces of Ontario and Quebec be able to obtain American anthracite coal. But long before that time elapses, perhaps within the next decade, the United States will not be producing enough anthracite coal to satisfy their domestic demand, and if the people of the central provinces continue the present policy of depending upon American sources of supply for their domestic fuel, they will find that within the next decade American anthracite will be a luxury and that they will have to pay the price of a luxury to obtain it. I venture the prediction, that within the next ten years the people of Ontario and Quebec, if our government does not bestir itself and formulate a national policy to enable them to get Nova Scotia and Alberta coal, will have to pay for whatever American anthracite they can get, not $17 a ton as at present but more like $25 or $30 a ton. I might point out that at the present time two of the anthracite coal areas which were important sources of supply, the Carbondale and Scranton districts, have already petered out.
When we come to bituminous coal, we find there are also certain tendencies which should convince one that the price of American bituminous coal will be on the upgrade in the years to come. Sixty-five per cent of the American bituminous coal which comes into the St. Lawrence market in direct competition with Nova Scotia and Alberta coal, is from the unorganized coal fields in the United States. As hon. members know, there was a time in the history of this and every other country when workingmen were denied the right to organize and to deal with their employers through collective bargaining; but that day has passed. Public opinion to-day
The Address-Mr. Macdougall
grants to labour the right of collective bargaining. The fight is going on in those unorganized coal fields of the United States on behalf of the men to get this right acknowledged by the operators. And I venture to say that within the next year or two, those unorganized fields, which, now supply sixty-five per cent of the American bituminous coal coming into direct competition with Nova Scotia and Alberta coal, will be organized. The result will be that these men will rightly demand1 the same scale of wages and the same working hours that obtain now in the organized bituminous coal fields of the United States. That will increase the price of American bituminous coal, and the American operator sending his product into the St. Lawrence market will pass that increased cost on to the consumer in Quebec and Ontario in the form of a considerably increased price for his coal.
Nova Scotia at the present time is suffering from a very severe and, I might say, very unfair competition in the St. Lawrence market. When we realize that in the United States they have a bituminous coal area of 496,700 square miles, we must appreciate what Nova Scotia is up against in trying to help in giving Canada a national fuel policy. Then again, the majority of the coal fields in the United States are inland, while many of our workings in Nova Scotia are submarine. Everyone acquainted with coal mining knows that it is much more difficult to operate a submarine mine, because you have very heavy costs for pumping and haulage which you do not meet, with in inland mining.
There is another point to which I wish to refer in respect to Nova Scoitia. Before 1914 the Nova Scotia operators were fairly well entrenched in the St. Lawrence market. They lost that market in 1914. Why? They lost it principally for patriotic reasons. The coal companies had a fleet of their own boats carrying coal from Sydney, Cape Breton, to Montreal. The government of Canada commandeered that fleet of boats for war service The result was that the Americans, who did not become a belligerent nation until 1917, were able to take advantage of this position and become strongly entrenched in the St. Lawrence market, and to-day the province of Nova Scotia is suffering on account of its patriotism. Talking of patriotism, I may say in reference to the miners of Nova Scotia, who have been given some advertising throughout this country, and who are sometimes depicted as lawbreakers, that the town of Glace Bay, the largest town in the province of Nova Scotia, having a mining population exclusively, Was the only part of Canada where the gov-
emment had to seriously consider the idea of stopping voluntary recruiting, because the miners were enlisting in such great numbers. I wish to state that in 1914, before the war broke out, and before an unprecedented demand for coal developed, the output of the United States annually amounted to about 400,000,000 tons. When the war broke out there was an unprecedented demand for coal. The coal industries of England, of Germany, of France, and to some extent of Canada, were demoralized by the exigencies of the war. The United States therefore, which did not become a belligerent nation until 1917, was in a position to take advantage of this unprecedented situation in the world coal trade, and coal mines were opened up in that country which in normal times wodld never have been opened at all. The result was that while they were producing 400,000,000 tons in 1914, in 1930, after the war was over, they were producing 900,000,000 tons. They more than doubled their annual output. When the coal trade returned to normal a great many of those small operators who had not made a very heavy investment in plant, saw that they could not compete with their larger competitors, hence they adopted a system of mining known as stripping, by which, instead of attempting to recover all the recoverable coal such as is done by the coal operator in Alberta and Nova Scotia, they resorted to a system of taking out the cheapest coal they could get in the mine and letting the rest go, and in some cases coal obtained in that way has been coming into competition with Nova Scotia coal in the St. Lawrence market. Nova Scotia is being subjected to very unfair competition by the United States coal industry. Then we also have distress coal coming into Canada. Everyone familiar with coal mining costs knows that it requires a great deal of money to keep a large coal mining plant idle for one day. Evidence given before the Interstate Commerce Commission of the United States in 1921 was to the effect that when a large coal mining plant was idle for one day and worked the next day, the cost of the idle day would increase the cost of the coal the next day on which the mine worked by seventy-five cents a ton. In order to avoid that loss American operators tried to work their mines as regularly as possible, and they found it good business sometimes to sell some of their coal at cost, or a little below in order to offset the expense of an idle day. The coal obtained in that way is termed distress coal and in some cases it comes into the St. Lawrence market and competes with Nova Scotia coal.
The Address-Mr. Macdougall
Topic: GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY