WHAT DO THE Proqressive Conservation STAND FOR?
This is the third quiz of national political leaders to appear in Maclean's. The CCF's policy was outlined by M. J. Coldwell, M.P., in the Sept. 1, 1943, issue and that of the Bloc Populaire by Maxime Raymond, M.P., in the Jan. 1, 1944, issue.
THE EDITORS of Maclean’s have submitted to me a number of questions. These questions cover a wide range of subjects. Many of them cannot be answered briefly. In fact, in the space allotted, an answer to some of them should not be attempted.
To those who may read these questions and answers, let me say that I did not propose the questions, neither did I ask for any modification of them. What the editors hoped for in submitting such a range of subjects, I have not enquired. What I have attempted to say in the answers I have said, not as one who knows the last word on these things, but rather as a practical student of public affairs over many years who is seeking the best means by which the modern state can be the servant rather than the master of society.
I do not pretend to have the final answer to all of the problems facing society today. I have consented to submit views on these questions only because the public might be interested in the general direction in which our policies tend and in the line of thinking of one who happens to lead one of the national Parties of Canada.
(1) Question—During the past year Canadians have become fairly familiar with some of the broad objectives which you and the Progressive Conservative Party hope to achieve. But many of us have no clear idea of how you propose to attain these goals. For example, in your speech accepting the Party leadership at Winnipeg in December, 1942, you outlined a “People’s Charter” in which the first of 14 points was “The right of every man to a job.” Just how do you plan to secure that right, in the event of economic depression?
Answer—The so-called People’s Charter was but a homely statement of objectives that the State should set out deliberately to achieve for its people.
As to jobs for all in the event of economic depression, I would sav first that it is not inevitable that we should continue to have economic depressions. We know better now how to prevent them—and prevention is better than cure. It is true that no matter what form of government is in power, a nation that depends on exports to the extent that Canada does cannot by internal means alone maintain its standard of living if other nations fail to trade with us. But with our present knowledge of the causes of depressions and how to prevent them, we need not fear them in future.
I would sav secondly that whether depressions come or not, the business of seeing that jobs are provided must be made the joint responsibility of organized employers, organized labor, representatives of agriculture and the Government. Never before, either jointly or severally, have these been required to make the provision of jobs for all their primary responsibility. Among them they must do so in the future. By their full co-operation, which I would invite and encourage and expect, the maximum number of jobs can be assured, a reasonably stable condition of employment maintained, and a steadily rising scale of production achieved.
We may hope that there will be a greater degree of international collaboration after the war, looking
toward the financing, development and regulation of international trade. But to the extent that international and domestic measures fail to provide conditions that will give jobs for all, the Government must cooperate with enterprise to see that this is done. The Government, through a long-range but flexible program of public investment and public works, must be prepared to absorb the balance of all those who are willing to work but have not found suitable employment in ordinary enterprise.
(2) Question—Do you believe private enterprise can provide full employment after this war?
Answer—By its own unaided efforts, No. By the co-operation of the State, Yes. Enterprise will succeed in this respect if given two essential aids—the reestablishment of confidence that it will be treated fairly by the State, and the assurance of co-operation by the State.
Society cannot afford to deny any man the opportunity to make a living. We must make the assurance of jobs at fair pay the ordinary man’s charter of economic freedom. It thus becomes the responsibility of the State, working in close co-operation with enterprise, to see that employment for everyone willing to work is made possible.
You have used the term “private enterprise.” I have referred to “enterprise,” which includes co-operative and government-operated enterprise as well. Private enterprise gives most of the jobs; but co-operative enterprise also is giving jobs today; and government-owned enterprise is doing the same. And both of the latter will probably increase the employment they give in the future. Co-operative enterprise will increase because our Party means to give it every opportunity to become the chief bulwark against the risks of State Socialism and the evils of monopoly and cartels; and government-owned enterprise will probably increase because in some situations public operation can better serve the public need.
I have no doubt we can achieve full employment, which means of resources as well as men, and when we do, most of the other problems of social security will be minimized or disappear.
(3) Question—If the State must assist private enterprise in maintaining full employment, how far do you think government controls should go in peacetime?
Answer—I do not believe that the word “assist” is the right one to use. I think of the relationship between government and enterprise as one of constructive co-operation and continuous collaboration rather than assistance. Private enterprise, about which you ask, can look after its responsibilities if it has fair treátrrtent—-that is, if it is not taxed out of existence or systematically threatened with confiscation; but it cannot take over the State’s responsibility for underwriting the soundness of the nation’s economy.
Government controls should not obstruct legitimate enterprise in peacetime. They must be maintained only to the degree necessary to prevent monopoly control of any resource or industry from operating against the public interest, whether by restricting production to maintain prices, or interfering with the development of other types of business to protect its own position. Controls must also be applied to prevent the development of cartels or groups of industries which by agreement, nationally or internationally, injure the public interest by adopting restrictive or other unsocial policies. Firm control must also be maintained over the machinery of finance so that
What's the program of the Progressive Conservative Party? Is it a free-enterprise party, a government-control party—or both? Does it want a national flag? Where does it stand on collective bargaining, social services, the tariff, Empire foreign policy? Herewith the answers to 33 vital questions by Hon. John Bracken, the Party's leader
unproductive speculation is discouraged and productive investment is encouraged.
Beyond that, I believe that the less the Government interferes in the actual administration of enterprise, the more enterprise will flourish and the wider opportunities for remunerative employment there will be.
(4) Question—In your “People’s Charter” you also spoke of the worker’s right to a “fair” day’s pay, the farmer’s right to a “fair” share of the national income. How do you define the word “fair”? Who is to be judge whether a given figure is “fair” or “unfair”?
Answer—I think most people understand what is meant by “fair” as applied to wages at any given time. They at least know what is unfair. They know that 20 cents per hour for married men is not fair, either for wage earners or farmers, when such a figure will neither buy the products of their industry nor give their families a decent living. And many wageworkers and great numbers of farmers worked for less than 20 cents per hour in pre-war years.
The expression “fair” was not meant to imply a specific figure for all times and places. It is a relative term, used to describe what most people consider seemly and just in their own day and generation. The principle of fairness with respect to wages can be made specific by agreements contracted in open discussion between employers and employees by collective bargaining, when all factors, including capacity to pay, cost of living, prices to consumers and other relevant matters, can be fully canvassed.
As to the right of farmers to a fair share of the nation’s income, I would have the State concern itself to see that those who produce the nation’s food receive for it a price that bears a reasonable relationship to the average cost of its production—a price which would enable a farmer to pay his legitimate costs of production and have a margin over—a price that would give him a standard of living comparable to that of other classes performing a service of equal value.
In pre-war days the average return to farmers was sometimes less than half the average return to other people—seldom did it reach two thirds, except in wartime. A “fair” share may not be capable of exact mathematical decision, but certainly an approach to substantial justice is possible by wiser planning of our economy as well as by conference and agreement between the major sections of it.
(5) Question—Do you believe in the principle of collective bargaining? Should the privilege of collective bargaining through agents of their own choice be established as a legal right of Canadian workers?
Answer—Yes, I believe in the principle of collective bargaining. I believe also that that right should be established by law. I stated this quite clearly in my address on “Partnership for Labor” at Windsor on February 11 last. The time is past when human beings can be regarded as chattels. We must think of workers as partners in production. Our economy must be kept sound, but it must put human welfare first, not second, in its aims.
(6) Question—How would you guarantee the farmer his “fair” share of the national income? By setting a floor price? If so, would you also set a ceiling price?
Answer—To answer the last question first—No. I would not set a ceiling price on farm products. High
farm prices occur only very seldom in normal periods, and when they do they soon correct themselves. At the same time they serve a good purpose by encouraging the production of products which are in short supply and which in the interests of society must be increased. They thereby serve a pressing economic need.
Set a floor price? Certainly. The periodic collapse of farm prices such as we have witnessed in recent decades, and which is not always due to natural causes, is bad, not for farmers alone, but for all elements in the community. When the farmer’s wife gets from five to 10 cents a dozen for eggs, or the farmer three to five cents a pound for his hogs, or the grain grower 25 to 40 cents a bushel for enough wheat to make 60 one-pound loaves of bread—when farmers get prices such as these, they cannot buy much of the products of industry. It is thus that industrial workers are thrown out of employment and our economy started on a downhill run. I proposed a floor price, not as a cure-all for economic ills, but as a preventive measure against the risk of recurring collapses of farm prices with the economic consequences I have mentioned.
How guarantee a “fair” share to farmers? That question can’t be answered in a single line. Briefly, I would say in three ways:
1st—by a better adjustment of demand to production, which means expanding markets;
2nd—by a better adjustment of production to demand, which means the abandonment to more suitable uses of submarginal land;
3rd—by arbitrary price adjustments in the event of the failure of other measures.
The answer to this question should not be dismissed so briefly. In Lethbridge I outlined at length a 30-point program on “Equality for Agriculture,” the text of which is available. It aimed to correct what I consider our greatest social inequity—the inferior position into which agriculture in Canada has been allowed to drift.
(7) Question—If the Government is to buy surplus farm products at a fixed minimum price, how would you deal with the problem of accumulation or surpluses?
Answer—If the Government should buy such surpluses I would deal with them in a rational way. I would store such of them as were storable and which might be needed to meet a later shortage. I would trade them with other nations for useful goods. I would seek to find industrial uses for them wherever possible. I would “lease-lend” some of them if there were no other choice. If necessary I would distribute some of them to low income consumers at less than cost. I would check up to see that the production objectives were not out of line with probable needs and encourage such adjustments as were necessary.
(8) Question—You have spoken of “raising farm prices, not by decreasing the supply of farm products but by increasing the demand for them.” By what steps would you bring this about?
Answer—When I went to western Canada 30 odd years ago the agricultural problem I was asked to help solve was one of production. Since then we have learned how to produce more abundantly not only in agriculture but in all walks of life. What we have not learned is how to get to society the full benefit of all we can produce. Applied science has multiplied man’s power to produce; and mechanization has lessened the need for human labor, thus throwing many out of a
source of income. The result is that while we have the capacity to produce abundantly, we actually produce less than we could, the reason being that consumers are unable to buy. The remedy is to increase demand, not decrease supply.
To answer your question specifically, I would increase the demand by increasing the purchasing power of consumers. I would do that in part by making it the primary objective of the State to achieve: (1) jobs for all, and (2) fair pay for all, and (3) greater purchasing power for those unable to work.
The last mentioned group includes the young and the old, the sick and the injured, and the temporarily unemployed; their purchasing power is often low. I would increase it through adequate pension and insurance benefits.
I would increase the demand also by spreading the new knowledge of nutrition so that consumers generally would be induced to purchase and use more of the right food products. 1 would increase demand by increasing the confidence of the people in our economy so that periodic hoarding would cease and a continuous and regular flow of expenditure be maintained. I would increase demand by actively supporting such international programs as seemed likely to put outside nations in a better position to secure their food requirements.
And I would do one other thing I would not expect the millennium but 1 would put the best minds of the nation to work to find the best way to ensure that the plenty man can now produce is made available to
(9) Question—As one means of securing prosperity you have often spoken of expanding export markets. What method would you follow for this end? Do you favor general lowering of tariff barriers? Bilateral trade agreements between nations? Quota systems?
Answer —It must be obvious that the day of forcing our way into world markets or dictating to the world in general on a unilateral basis is gone. The Department of Trade and Commerce must organize to obtain the viewpoint of the State as a whole and must organize as well to cultivate trade and goodwill with other nations and not dictate terms of participation.
To lay the foundations for future export markets wo must formulate international plans which will place in the hands of the underprivileged millions of Europe and Asia the power to purchase the goods they require. We must do this in order that they in turn may have the money to buy from us as much as possible of the surplus products we produce. We can give away Canada’s surpluses, as we are now doing, but if we are to sell them there must be buyers in other lands with goods or services to offer in payment. Canada must, therefore, be prepared to import goods from other countries.
It is apparent now that after the war the United Nations will either have a considerable measure of free trade or will, as now, conduct trade among themselves and with the rest of the world under treaties of agreement. Some trade will be arranged through international projects such as may be conceived by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. It is not possible, with international relations in their present state, to decide in advance what fields would be open for bargaining with other nations after the war, but it is clear that the agents of the Canadian Government must be active in all the markets of the world to promote the sale and exchange of Canadian products.
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What Do the Progressive Conservatives Stand For?
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To answer the last part of the question—I favor the lowering of tariff barriers, quotas under certain conditions, and bilateral trade agreements between nations whenever they can be negotiated to our advantage without prejudicing what is more desirable, the opportunity to write multilateral agreements among groups of nations.
(10) Question—Do you favor any protection, by tariff or subsidy or subvention or other state aid, for Canadian manufacturing industries? If so, how would you reconcile such protection with the general objective of freer international trade, and with the principles enunciated in the Atlantic Charter?
Answer—For the first part of this question, see the answer to question nine.
In answer to the second part, let me say that I did not initiate “protection”; and I didn’t announce the Atlantic Charter; and I can’t reconcile things that are irreconcilable. If we were sure the Allied Nations would implement the Atlantic Charter we would not need to answer this question. If we don’t find the principle of that Charter established, we shall have to do so.
In an ideal world economy there would be no obstacles to trade; but we have not been and are not now in an ideal world economy. There are differences in standards of living between the nations—between Orientals and Europeans and Canadians, and there are many people who have jobs because their industries have been made possible by protection. The question posed is, therefore, more than an academic one. It is a practical one. The answer must be determined by what is best for the Canadian people as a whole, now and in the future.
Personally, I favor both world peace and jobs for Canadians. In the furtherance of such a view we must keep two things in mind—the necessity of exchanging the surplus goods we produce for other needed goods produced abroad, and the necessity of developing work-creating industries suitable to the economic utilization of the natural resources we have at home.
In those protected industries which are now giving employment we must seek to achieve a double purpose—the continued employment of Canadian workers and reduced prices of their products to Canadian consumers. One approach to this problem would be to attempt to secure a rationalization of industry between Canada and the United States. That would be but one of several steps. In the automobile industry, for example, a plan should be devised by the industry itself, with the purpose of giving us cars at the same price as the Americans pay—about $250 less than we have paid for the average car—and still keep as many people employed in Canada as before. We started a joint study of this matter in Manitoba and Minnesota. A preliminary report suggests this line of approach.
Subsidies and subventions are of various types and serve many purposes. Some should go. Others should be adjusted. Certain of those necessary to preserve the balance in our national economy or to maintain employment should be continued. For instance, in the case of an industry so vital to Canada as coal mining, if existing subventions should be withdrawn, the
industry would collapse and thousands of miners would be without jobs.
(11) Question—Should the Imperial preference be continued or abandoned?
Answer—The system of Imperial preference is one under which trade vithin the nations of the British Commonwealth is encouraged by fpecial tariff concessions. Canadian producers have benefitted considerably under this arrangement by way of an increased outlet for such products as bacon, fruit and lumber.
Whether it should be continued or abandoned can only be wisely determined in the light of international relations in the postwar world. For example, the Atlantic Charter, which the Canadian Government approved, promises the lessening of barriers to trade; and under the lease-lend agreement entered into between the United States and Great Britain provision was made whereby after the war the two nations would seek ways and means for abolishing discriminatory trade practices in order That world trade and the resources of The world might be available to all nations on equal terms. The advantages TO Canada of Imperial preference may Therefore be lost. If the existing advanTages of this preference are thus lost to ns, the Canadian Government must exert its energies toward seeing that at (east the equivalent of the advantages we enjoyed thereunder shall be attained Through alternative arrangements.
(12) Question—What is your vision of international organization in other Than the economic field? Do you favor a world organization to secure lasting peace, and do you believe Canada should play a full part therein? Ought Canada to be bound to support the decision of such an organization, by force if need be?
Answer—I think there should be a world organization to assure peace, and I believe that Canada should play her due part in it. Provided this nation has equal voice with other nations in drafting and administering the covenant, she should accept the obligations of her undertaking, which we would expect would be fair in relation to her strength. Had this principle been respected by Canada before Italy attacked Abyssinia, and by other members of the League of Nations throughout the series of incidents beginning with the Japanese overrunning Manchuria, and ending with the German march into Poland, this war might have been avoided. I believe in world organization—but I believe we can reach that objective best not by weakening the Commonwealth ties, but by even closer collaboration with the Commonwealth nations, and the extension of that co-operation to other nations as rapidly as we find it possible.
(13) Question—What should Canada’s relationship be to Britain and the British Commonwealth?
Answer—It should be that of an adult member of the Commonwealth family. She should co-operate generously but she should retain the right to make her own decisions. She is bound, however, to the other members of the family by the ties which hold together any household that is loyal to worthy traditions and which looks back with pride to a good heritage. Canada’s attitude should be one of willing and cheerful co-operation with other parts of the British Commonwealth, freely associating with them and seeking every possible means to further the trade and peace and progress of the world, but wholly autonomous in her relations with them.
(14) Question—Should the Commonwealth set up an Imperial Council,
as suggested by Australian Prime Minister John Curtin? If so, should this Council have executive or merely advisory functions? Should its decisions be binding on Commonwealth members?
Answer—I am in favor of strengthening the ties which bind the nations of the Commonwealth together and I believe that a technique of continuous consultation in matters of common interest should be developed. The present arrangements I regard as inadequate; we fight wars but we don’t help prevent them. I believe in frequent Commonwealth conferences and closer co-operation toward common objectives of a constructive character but I do not favor the establishment of any permanent agency which would unduly centralize the influence or increase the rigidity of the Commonwealth structure. Such conferences as are held should be advisory and consultative and their findings should not be binding unless approved by Parliament.
(15) Question—Should Canada be committed to fight in defense of the interests of any part of the Commonwealth?
Answer—Does this mean a prior commitment? I do not think the Canadian people would agree to a commitment which might precipitate them into a war, the causes or consequences of which they could not foresee.
In the Commonwealth councils our efforts should be directed toward preventing war. In the contingency you raise, that of war affecting the interests of any part of the Commonwealth, our position would inevitably incline us to aid in preventing unjust aggression; but the decision should rest with the Canadian Parliament. It would then know the existing circumstances. It would then know, for example, whether the structure of the Commonwealth was in danger, any international covenant to which we might have subscribed broken, and the degree to which our interests were affected. In the light of such circumstances it should make its decision.
(16) Question—At last year’s session of Parliament two opposing views on foreign policy became apparent-— one, that Commonwealth nations should speak with “one voice” in world affairs; the other, that Canada should develop her own foreign policy, which might not necessarily agree with the foreign policy of other Commonwealth nations. What is your own view on this issue?
Answer — This question suggests there are only two alternatives. This is not necessarily so. In my opinion the best means for Canada to influence world affairs at the moment is in two directions: through her influence in the Commonwealth family and through her individual relationships with all other nations, particularly the United States. These Commonwealth nations should endeavor to reach common agreement with respect to peace, trade and other matters and I would hope they would generally succeed; but they should not be required to accept majority decisions except on the approval of their Parliaments and they should not be denied consultation with other nations. In my opinion that is the most sane and practical mode of co-operation within the Commonwealth and the most acceptable form of relationship with other nations. But our Parliament must continue to be free to determine its own course.
Canada should take no steps toward further separation from the Commonwealth. We should facilitate the freest possible consultation and collaboration of its autonomous parts.
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(17) Question—In your opinion, would the “one voice” system endanger Canada’s right to a seat of her own at the peace table and in postwar world organizations? If so, would you favor sacrificing Canada’s place among the nations to strengthen and solidify the Empire, or not?
Answer—Part one—My opinion is No. But since it is a matter for collective decision, one cannot forecast with assurance the collective view of the several nations which together will determine such matters.
Part two—I would not sacrifice the long-term interests of Canada for any purpose. Our Commonwealth relations do not, in my judgment, “endanger” our “place among the nations.” Indeed I think they can be, in fact they must be, used to improve our relations with other nations.
Canada’s interests are threefold— her own immediate welfare, increased trade with other nations and enduring peace and good will in the world. 1 think she will achieve her own best interests by applying herself to her domestic problems, retaining the friends she now has in the Commonwealth, and seeking to enlarge that circle of friendly nations by every legitimate means.
(18) Question—Should Canada permit and encourage large-scale immigration after the war?
Answer—I do not know what you envisage by large-scale immigration. If it is on the scale we had in the early years of the century, my answer would be, No. Our returning men and our munitions workers, as well as our civilian workers, must be assured of employment before any considerable immigration is contemplated. The rate of such immigration as is allowed in should not be greater than the domestic economy is capable of assimilating.
But Canada is underpopulated in relation to her extent, and as long as so few people are supported on so large an area of the world’s surface, the overpopulated nations are bound to be resentful and covetous. This is an incitement to war. Moreover, we are an export nation supplying many people in other lands, on terms which we alone cannot control. It would seem better, therefore, to have a larger population within our national boundaries.
In selecting such numbers of immigrants as may be desired, preference should be given to those whose background, intelligence and love of freedom are likely to fit them for citizenship in a democracy in the British democratic tradition, of liberty within the framework of law.
(19) Question—Should Canada join the Pan American Union?
Answer—I do not know what you mean by “joining” the Pan American Union. Canada is a member of the British Commonwealth of nations. She is also a nation on the North American continent. I can see many reasons for “consultation” with the United States and with other American nations but I do not think Canada should “join” the Pan American Union unless she could do so without prejudicing her position as a member of the Commonwealth. The latter is the one international structure which more than any other has brought such a degree of order as we have had in the world, and which has furnished us with a market for a large share of our primary and other products.
My conception of Canada’s role in international affairs is that of a consistent promoter of such a world federation as will have for its chief objective the furtherance of human welfare and the banishment of war forever from the
earth. My conception of Canada’s duty in that role is to be a positive not a negative force; a positive force in maintaining the voluntary ties of friendship that already bind us to the Commonwealth nations; a positive force in promoting the now better understanding that exists between United States, Pan-America and the Commonwealth; a positive force in further developing the measure of good will that exists with the democracies of Europe; a positive force in increasing the confidence of all other nations in the means by which peace and orderly progress can be brought to the world.
(20) Question — Should Canada maintain a strong peacetime Army, Navy and Air Force?
Answer—The word “strong” is not very definite. I would expect Canada would have stronger armed forces in postwar than in pre-war days. But the strength of Canada’s armed forces in peacetime should be determined not by any preconceived notions but in the light of postwar conditions and by the obligations Canada undertakes at the peace conference. The United Nations will no doubt decide what force should be maintained to guarantee the peace of the world. The Canadian contribution to the system of collective security should be neither more nor less than her proper share, having regard to all the factors involved.
(21) Question—Do you think a period of training in one of these arms should be compulsory for all Canadian youth?
Answer—I would not favor compul! sory training for the armed services in peacetime. We should, however, provide adequate training facilities and sufficient inducements so that voluntary forces can be kept up to the strength and efficiency required by our international obligations as a coguarantor of world peace.
(22) Question—In the field of civil aviation, do you think Canada’s air transport should be predominantly state-owned, or would you let private enterprise share the field of national and international airways? Would you favor Canada’s participation in the development of an all-Empire world air route?
Answer—Part one—If the field were large enough I would favor competition between government-owned enterprise I and private enterprise just as I do in the field of railway transportation. I am opposed to the amalgamation of the railways. I am opposed to the huge monopoly the nationalization of the CPR would create. Competition with some control by the State, such as the Transport Board can be made to give, will ensure efficiency on the part of the state-owned competitor and prevent exploitation by the privately owned competitor. That, in my judgment, will give Canada the best service.
The field of trans-Canadian aviation may not be large enough to justify competition but in its absence a high degree of efficiency is not so likely to be maintained.
Part two—If, on examination, the details of co-operation were found to be to Canada’s commercial advantage, my answer would be, Yes; but any such plans should not preclude co-operation w-ith other nations of the world, particularly if Canada Ls given a just share of any joint or separate enterprises that may be undertaken.
(23) Question—It is expected that after the war many treaties and agreements will have to do with labor standards, social security and other things which are now within federal
jurisdiction. Do you believe the Dominion Government should have the necessary constitutional power to implement such treaties?
Answer—Yes, I think it most important that we seek to avoid the competition among nations which tends to drive our wage levels down. As things stand, nations with the lowest standards of living have an advantage over the most advanced in the international market. Efforts to meet this competition result in attempts to depress wage rates or to raise barriers to trade. For this reason I believe that the Dominion Government should have the necessary authority to enter into agreements with other nations with a view to establishing basic international labor standards.
(24) Question—In the purely domestic field should the Federal Government have jurisdiction over labor and social security?
Answer—At the present time the Canadian constitution places labor matters under the jurisdiction of the provinces. The Dominion Government is therefore unable to establish a national policy. As labor and capital have been organizing on a large scale, both nationally and internationally, I think that a national labor policy is most desirable. In my opinion uniform labor relations should be established throughout the Dominion either by Dominion-provincial agreement or by vesting jurisdiction in the Dominion.
At the present time it would appear that the only feasible means of instituting a uniform labor social security system is by securing Dominionprovincial agreement.
(25) Question—As Point Nine in your “People’s Charter” you proclaim “the right of depressed provinces to a rationalization of Dominion-provincial financial relations.” What do you mean by this?
Answer—I mean that the Dominion and the provinces should so adjust their financial relations that a greater measure of equity and justice can be given to Canadians, regardless of the province in which they may live. I mean that these relations must be so adjusted that the then unforeseeable, but now curable, Confederation-made sore spots will not be perpetuated to the needless harm of national unity.
We have a “federal” system in Canada. At Confederation the Dominion was given certain responsibilities, and the provinces were given certain other responsibilities which then carried but small financial obligations. Since Confederation the cost of these provincial responsibilities has been multiplied many times—it has grown out of all proportion to what was anticipated 77 years ago. At the same time the economy of the nation has, to some degree, become centralized.
The net result now is that some provinces have accumulations of enterprises and population and earning capacity arising from “national” as distinguished from “provincial” businesses. As a consequence some provinces have sources of revenue greater than their just share; and some have larger obligations than their sources of revenue can adequately meet. The result is a great inequity in the public services Canadians in different parts of Canada receive.
Obviously, if we are to achieve anything like a full measure of equity as between Canadians in different parts of Canada, we must find a mutually satisfactory way to so adjust these matters that substantial justice can be assured: if the federal system is to survive, we must find a way to see that an adequate level of social
security and social services, including education, may be assured, not to some Canadians but. to every Canadian wherever he may live in Canada.
(26) Question — Should Canada have power to amend her own constitution? What method of constitutional amendment would you suggest, or what means of agreeing upon a suitable method?
Answer—Yes. Canada should have the power to amend her constitution. She can get it whenever she chooses to ask for it. I would not ask for that power, however, unless the request had the approval of every province.
The method to be followed should not only be one worked out and approved unanimously by the provinces and the Dominion but the details of the method should assure two things:—-
(1) That the minority rights provided for at Confederation shall remain inviolate except by the unanimous approval of all the provinces.
(2) That the procedure fixed for amending the constitution shall not be subject to change except by the unanimous approval of the provinces.
As a basis for discussion of the procedure of amendment, I might suggest that the sections of the Act could be considered under four groups:
(1) Those in which only the Dominion Government is concerned and which could be amended without provincial approval.
(2) Those sections affecting but single provinces in which only the approval of the province affected should be required.
(3) Those general sections affecting Dominion-provincial relations upon which the approval of say two thirds of the provinces including say not less than 55% of the population should he required.
(4) The minority rights sections of the Act upon which no amendment could be made except by the unanimous approval of all the provinces.
(27) Question—Do you think appeals to the Privy Council should be abolished?
Answer As a layman 1 can see no adequate reason why we should have to go outside our boundaries to get certain legal disputes settled. I would want, however, to enquire more fully in order to he satisfied that no rights, privileges or benefits would he lost to Canadians before giving a final yes to abolition of appeals to the Privy Council.
(28) Question—As social security measures do you favor health insurance? Higher benefits for unemployment insurance? Retirement pensions? Family allowances?
Answer— Social security legislation of this general character is necessary. We cannot do without it. But we should not forget that much of it only relieves, it does not cure, the basic social ills. It hut pays the penalty of errors, some of which the State should strive to prevent in future, before they become even more costly. Our first task should be to remove the evils which State aid is required to mitigate, so far as this is possible and to develop standards of hygiene, nutrition, employment, wages and prices which will raise the health and the income of the nation.
(29) Question—Should the Federal Government play a larger role in education?
Answer—The Federal Government has no authority to interfere with the provincial administration of the school
system and has no obligation to assist education financially. I am of the view, however, that financial assistance should be provided out of the Dominion Treasury so that provinces not now able to achieve it may assure a reasonable standard of education to every child.
(30) Question—What is your view of the future relations between Englishspeaking and French-speaking Canadians?
Answer—The people of both races are human beings and Canadians. They should treat each other as such. Neither should be pampered and neither should be penalized to the disadvantage of the other because of language or any other matter. Within the terms of the law and the constitution, Canadians of whatever racial origin should be treated on exactly the same basis. We should cultivate harmonious relations at home and in the Commonwealth family and seek by demonstration to prove to the world that peoples of different races and creeds and nations can live together in peace and amity.
(31) Question — Should Canada have her own national flag? Her own national anthem?
Answer—If and when the majority of Canadians so desire.
(32) Question—In the event of an election giving Progressive Conservatives the largest group in the Commons, but less than an over-all majority, would you be willing to form a Government?
Answer—The answer is, Yes. Public responsibility requires that the Government be carried on; and precedent suggests that the leader most likely to command a majority should be asked to form a government.
(33) Question—In the event of an election giving the CCF the largest bloc of seats, but by which Progressive Conservatives and Liberals combined would have a majority, would you be willing to enter a coalition?
Answer—It is most unlikely that the first mentioned situation will arise. The possibility is so remote that it is but idle speculation to discuss it. I will say, however, that no leader of a responsible Party has any right to decide in advance whether he will form or enter into a coalition or not.
We are laying our plans to have a majority of our own. If we fail in that we shall decide what to do in the light of the existing situation.