FICTION

WHAT DO THE Liberals STAND FOR?

RT. HON. W. L. MACKENZIE KING February 1 1945
FICTION

WHAT DO THE Liberals STAND FOR?

RT. HON. W. L. MACKENZIE KING February 1 1945

WHAT DO THE Liberals STAND FOR?

FICTION

THIS is the fourth quiz of national political leaders to appear in Maclean’s. The CCF policy was outlined by M. f. Coldwell, M.P., in the Sept. 1, 1943, issue, the Bloc Populaire’s by Maxime Raymond, M.P., in the fan. 1, 1944, issue, and that of the Progressive Conservatives by fohn Bracken in the May 1, 1944, issue.

(1) Question—What does your Government plan to do about providing jobs for Canadians after the war?

Answer—Every Canadian, soldier and civilian, wants a job and the opportunity to lead a useful life after the war. The postwar policies of the Liberal Government are aimed at achieving the highest possible employment, production and standard of living.

The Liberal Government’s main attack on the problem of employment is a series of measures and policies designed to keep up the total national income, and to ensure its fair distribution among all classes and regions, so that' markets will be available for the production of our farms, fisheries, forests, mines and factories. We can attain the highest level of national income only by the promotion of the freest attainable international and domestic exchange of goods and services. Production will be kept up if markets are available, and employment will be kept up if production is maintained.

To the extent that primary and secondary industries, commerce, transport and other services cannot provide full employment, the Liberal Government will have plans available for useful public works and development projects on a large enough scale so that less urgent but desirable projects can be carried out when they are needed to provide stability of employment.

To create conditions in which employment will be available at the end of the war, the Liberal Government has:

1. Made provision for the rehabilitation, education, training and re-establishment of war veterans on a more comprehensive scale than any other country.

2. Made plans for the rapid and progressive reconversion of war industries to meet peacetime needs.

3. Developed the employment service and provided large-scale assistance for vocational training and technical education.

4. Undertaken negotiations with other countries for the progressive freeing and expansion of international trade.

5. Provided for export credits, for the insurance of exports, and for the expansion of the trade commissioner service to assist in maintaining and expanding foreign markets.

6. Established new and improved credit facilities for industrial development, farm improvement, and large-scale housing.

7. Maintained the purchasing power of the Canadian dollar by preventing inflation and helping to ensure equitable distribution of the national income.

8. Made possible an immense volume of domestic purchasing power resulting from wartime savings, war service gratuities for veterans, family allowances and other social security payments.

9. Established a floor under farm and fish prices after the war in order to prevent a depression of those great primary industries, with all the suffering it would involve for farmers and fishermen, and the destruction of employment in other industries through the loss of markets.

10. Set up a Department of Reconstruction to stimulate and co-ordinate planning for the conversion of war industry, research into new developments, assistance in industrial expansion, projects for public works and national development, and other measures designed to maintain production and employment.

When the war is won there will be a pent-up

demand for all the goods and services which have been denied in wartime. There will be the huge task of providing food for the starving peoples of the old world. The repair of the physical destruction caused by war will be an immense task. For several years these demands will provide work for millions of men and women of the United Nations. Canada is prepared to help in meeting these demands.

But the work of repairing and*restoring the ravages of war will not be enough to maintain full employment indefinitely. Fortunately we are learning that the real limit to our productive capacity is the limit of our resources, and our will and skill to use them to satisfy human need instead of human greed.

Most of the obstacles to full employment before the war were psychological obstacles. If we can maintain the same united determination to achieve full employment that we have maintained to win the war, a partnership of management, of workers and of the community can make useful work available, in time of peace no less than in time of war, for all who need or want to work.

(2) Question—Do you think private enterprise can provide full employment?

Answer—Full employment can be achieved only if by far the major part of the employment is provided by private enterprise. But no government can leave the responsibility for employment exclusively to private enterprise. Apart from employment provided by the administrative services and by public works and development projects, government has a vital interest in creating conditions in which private enterprise can expand to provide full employment. What is needed is the maximum amount of enterprise, both private and public. To attain full employment we shall need more private enterprise and more public investment than we had before the war. The Liberal Government stands for close co-operation and not conflict between industry and government.

(3) Question—Do you plan to continue government control of industry in peacetime? If so, to what extent?

Answer—In wartime the Government controls industry in order to divert production to making war, to deal with problems of scarcities caused by the almost unlimited demand for war supplies, and to distribute fairly an essential minimum of civilian goods. In peacetime the purpose of industry is to provide for human needs and human wants, and the only controls which are desirable are those which stimulate the expansion rather than the restriction of industrial activity.

Restrictive controls should be removed as rapidly as scarcities disappear. Controls which are designed to prevent the exploitation of consumers, and restrictive and monopolistic practices by industry should be strengthened in the interest of maximum production and full employment.

(4) Question—The Liberal Party says it opposes “restrictive agreements which destroy competition and create artificial monopolies.” How would you deal with cartels and monopolies?

Answer—The “restrictive agreements” referred to are agreements between producers in Canada and also international cartels. Domestic monopolies are dealt with by the anticombine legislation now in force. Experts are at present considering how legislation and its administration should be modified or extended to make it more effective. We are considering the problem of international cartels in consultation with other countries.

STAND FOR?

RT. HON. W. L. MACKENZIE KING

BLAIR FRASER

(5) Question What do you propose to do with government-owned war plants when war ends? Operate them? Dismantle them? Turn them over to private industry?

Answer—The Government has already decided that certain plants should continue to operate under public ownership. Some of the other plants will be maintained as part of a program of national defense; others will have to be dismantled because they are unsuitable for any peacetime use; still others can best be operated in the public interest by private enterprise. The Liberal Government introduced legislation, which was passed at the recent session of Parliament, to provide for the disposal in the public interest of surplus war plants, equipment and stores.

(6) Question Do you think price and wage control should continue after the war?

Answer —The policy of price, salary and wage control was designed to avoid inflation and to spread the burden of war fairly. It has been successful more successful than in any other country. Immediately after the war the dangers of inflation may be even greater than they are now. The Canadian people cannot afford to sacrifice the benefits of wartime stabilization by relaxing controls too soon. But there is no merit in controls as such. Every control should and will be removed just as soon as a declining demand for war supplies makes the control unnecessary.

(7) Question—Your Party favors “guaranteeing minimum prices for farm products.” How would you do this? Would you also set ceiling prices to protect the consumer?

Answer—This question is answered by the legislation introduced by the Liberal Government and enacted at the recent session of Parliament establishing floor prices under farm and fish products.

Ceiling prices to protect the consumer may continue to be required for a period immediately after the war, but permanent legislation should not be required to protect the consumer against unduly high food prices.

(8) Question—If the Government is to buy surplus farm products at a fixed minimum price, as the idea of a price floor implies, how would you deal with the problem of accumulation of surpluses?

Answer—The postwar policies of the Liberal Government are designed to maintain the higher standard of living and increased exports we have had during the war. One effect of such policies will be to provide markets for our farm products. There was, unfortunately, a great deal of malnutrition before the war. Improved nutrition will pay national dividends in the increased health and welfare of our people. The Liberal Government proposes to take whatever steps are necessary to see that all Canadians are given the opportunity for adequate nourishment after the war. Family allowances will contribute greatly to this end.

If unusual circumstances, such as a decline of export markets, should lead to a surplus, the existing legislation provides for the purchase of the surplus which will subsequently be disposed of as soon as a market can be found or created.

(9) Question—The Liberal Party also proposes to help the farmer by “keeping down the cost of the tools of production,” presumably farm implements, etc. How would you do this?

Answer—The Liberal Government helped the farmer by removing the tariff on farm implements at the recent session of Parliament. Action has also been taken to provide improved farm credits. Action to

prevent restrictive and monopolistic practices and research directed to the production of more efficient and cheaper machines will help to bring down abd keep down the cost of the tools of production for farmers.

(10) Question Your Party aims at building foreign trade by removal of trade barriers. What methods would you use? General lowering of tariffs? Bilateral agreements? Other?

Answer—The Liberal Government would prefer multilateral action to remove trade barriers and every effort is being directed to promote international agreements to that end. Rut we do not rule out reciprocal arrangements or any other methods which will increase the volume of international trade. The Government has taken action to provide export credits and insurance for exports and to strengthen the trade commissioner service. Canada is prepared to co-operate in international monetary stabilization and other measures to revive peacetime international trade.

(11) Question Should the Imperial Preference be continued, increased, decreased or abandoned?

Answer Imperial preferences which erect barriers against other nations are objectionable because they tend to keep down the total volume of world trade, but preferences resulting from the removal of existing barriers and which do not place obstacles in the way of increased trade with nations outside the Commonwealth may provide one means of increasing total trade.

(12) Question — Do you favor protection of Canadian industries by tariff, subsidy or other state aid?

Answer—The Liberal Party stands for the removal of barriers to trade and is opposed to the principle of protection which is really a levy on consumers in Canada as well as on all export industries for the benefit of the protected industries.

At the same time the Liberal Government recognizes that all protection cannot be removed suddenly without violent dislocation of many communities.

What the Government favors is the progressive removal, in association with other nations, of tariffs and other restrictive devices for protecting particular industries.

(13) Question—You have advocated a world organization to keep peace. What kind of organiza-

tion have you in mind? What scope and what power should it have?

(14) Question—Do you think any world organization can preserve peace without its members being bound to support its decisions, by force if neceasary? If so, what would you substitute for military force as a restraint on aggressors?

Answers Two wars and a depression havo shown the need of the nations to work together to prevent war, if necessary by force. To bring this about the Liberal Government favors an international organization in which, at first, the United Nations and Associated Powers, and later all nations, will be members. As an executive committee the general organization should have a Council consisting of the Great Powers and a number of other nations to be elected. The Council will have to be given definite powers and responsibilities. Under the generad organization there should be a court to deal with justiciable disputes. There would alsó be an organization— the International Labor Organization or a similar body—to deal with social questions and matters relating to labor. Further, there would be various organizations to deal with speciad international problems like monetary stabilization, international credit, food, agriculture, aviation, shipping, exports, cartels, obstacles to trade, and so on. On all these representation should be on a functional basis. On this basis nations would share responsibility in proportion to their ability to make a definite contribution to the welfare of the world community. In accordance with this principle the Great Powers should take the lead in organizing power on the side of peace.

In the last peace settlement and in the League of Nations too little attention was paid to the necessity of the nations working together to achieve prosperity. As I said at London, “It is not merely the security of nations that is indivisible, their prosperity also is indivisible.” Nations, like individuals, must work together to make the utmost use of their resources, and through greater production and wider distribution achieve greater prosperity for all.

(15) Question—In a pre-war statement on foreign policy you said “the Canadian Government did not recognize any commitment binding Canada to apply military sanctions, and no such commitment could be made without prior approval of the Canadian Parliament.” Is this your view still? Do you mean the prior approval of Parliament should be obtained in each individual case, or would you seek a general approval for a permanent commitment?

Answer—What is stated has been my view; but if there is a genuine international organization to maintain security under which the majority of nations commit themselves to apply military sanctions in advance, then Canada should play its proper part. The extent of this commitment should, of course, be determined in advance by the Canadian Parliament. We have as great an interest in seeing that peace is maintained as any nation.

(16) Question—What should Canada’s relationship be to Britain and the British Commonwealth?

Answer—In the speech I delivered to the two Houses of the British Parliament, May 11, 1944, I said that the war efforts of the nations of the Commonwealth owed their inspiration to a common source, and that that source was the love of freedom and the sense of justice which throu^î generations have been nurtured and cherished in Britain as nowhere else in the world.

What’s the program of the Liberal Party? Is it a free-enterprise Party or a government-control Party? Does it want a national flag? Where does it stand on collective bargaining, social services, tariffs, Canadian foreign policy? Herewith the answers to 33 vital questions by Rt. Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King, the Party’s leader

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I believe that so long as all the nations of the Commonwealth share that spirit the strength or unity of the Commonwealth will be maintained. The voluntary decisions by Britain, by Canada, by Australia, by New Zealand, and by South Africa are a supreme evidence of the unifying force of freedom.

As J view it, the British Commonwealth, like the nations of which it is composed, has within itself a spirit which is not exclusive but the opposite of exclusive. Therein lies its strength. That spirit expresses itself in co-operation. Therein lies the secret of its unity. Co-operation is capable of indefinite expansion. Therein lies the hope of the future.

It is, I believe, of the utmost importance to the Commonwealth that there should continue to be the greatest possible co-operation among its members. It is, I believe, of equal importance to the future of mankind that, after the war, there should be the greatest possible co-operation among the nations of the world.

(17) Question—Should Canada be committed to fight in defense of the interests of any or all parts of the British Commonwealth?

Answer — The only commitment should be a commitment to uphold international law and order, by force if necessary. In practice we may confidently expect the nations of the British Commonwealth to support and uphold international law and order as their greatest interest. So long as its present spirit is maintained, no war for the defense of the British Commonwealth could be other than a war for the defense of freedom and the maintenance of international law.

(18) Question—You have opposed the suggestion of an Imperial Council with a permanent secretariat, but at the same time you said co-operation among Commonwealth nations “cannot be too close.” Have you any suggestion as to how such co-operation could be made closer and more effective?

Answer—I believe very strongly in close consultation, close co-operation and effective co-ordination of policies. But I do not know what more effective means of co-operation could have been found than those which, despite all the handicaps of war, have worked with such complete success. For practical reasons which I have often given I do not favor an Imperial War Cabinet or Council sitting continuously in London.

In the British Commonwealth we have something which is much more important, and that is a continuing conference of the Cabinets of the Commonwealth. It is a conference of Cabinets which deals, from day to day and, not infrequently, from hour to hour, with policies of common concern. When decisions are taken they are not the decisions of Prime Ministers or other individual Ministers, meeting apart from their own colleagues and away from their own countries. They are decisions reached after mature consideration by all members of the Cabinet of each country, with a full consciousness of their immediate responsibility to their respective Parliaments.

After our experience in the present war it is difficult to see how co-operation of the nations of the British Commonwealth could be closer and more effective than it has been. We have many methods of achieving co-operation and they have worked

well. We should, however, always remember that the essence of co-operation is not the question of machinery but the existence of a co-operative spirit and a deep and abiding community of interest.

(19) Question—In Parliament, Jan. 31, 1944, you said the idea of “one voice” in Commonwealth foreign policy “runs counter to the establishment of effective world security.” Would you explain why you think this to be so?

Answer—Obviously, if the nations of the Commonwealth are to speak with one voice at international conferences, that voice would ordinarily be the voice of the United Kingdom. That is, we would have the British representative speaking for Canada, for Australia, for South Africa and for New Zealand. I do not know of anything which would be less satisfactory to the inhabitants of the British Isles as well as to the other nations of the Commonwealth than to take this step back to the time when Britain would speak for what were then her Colonies.

Apart from this and other objections, however, there is the objection I made in Parliament and emphasized again at London, that behind such conception there is the idea of inevitable rivalry between the Great Powers. Canada, while a member of the British Commonwealth, is situated geographically between the United States and the Soviet Union, and it is difficult to see how our country could give support to any proposal which might even suggest ultimate rivalry between the Great Powers. The theory that the world should be dominated by the Great Powers and that, in order to match strength with the others, the United Kingdom should be empowered by the nations of the Commonwealth to speak for them, is an idea which is full of perils for the future security of the Commonwealth and of the world. The idea that there can be only “one voice” for the British Commonwealth is unacceptable to the Liberal Government, and, I believe, to the Canadian people,. The idea is, I feel sure, equally unacceptable to the other nations of the Commonwealth.

(20) Question — In peacetime, should Canada keep a strong Army, Navy and Air Force? Do you think a period of training in one of these arms should be compulsory for all Canadian youth?

Answer—The answer to this question depends upon our success in establishing an international organization for world security. Such an organization will require to be backed by force, and Canada should be prepared to do her part. Whether there should be a period of compulsory training for Canadian youth after the war may well depend upon the character of the peace settlement and the international organization which is established. On other grounds than defense, some form of national service may prove to be desirable after the war. The subject is one to which careful study will have to be given in the light of postwar developments.

(21) Question—In the present war, if casualties should create a need for large-scale reinforcements of Canadian divisions, would you send conscript troops into combat abroad?

Answer—This question might best be answered by saying that “actions speak louder than words.” The Canadian public is fully aware of the policy of the present Government with respect to the maintenance of necessary reinforcements for Canada’s Army overseas.

Editor's Note—This question, as were

all others in this quiz, was asked before the recent conscription crisis.

(22) Question—If the manpower shortage should become more serious on the home front, would you assign conscript troops to essential, compulsory labor?

Answer—That has already been done to meet essential, emergency manpower needs, but it is not correct to assume that any part of the Canadian Army constitutes a pool of unemployed manpower. All troops in Canada are in training, on leave, awaiting discharge or engaged in duties which the military authorities deem essential.

(23) Question—Could you summarize briefly your policy on civil aviation? Do you favor development of an all-Empire world air route?

Answer The policy of the Liberal Government on civil aviation was set forth in the House of Commons, March 17, 1944. it may be summarized as follows:

1. Within Canada transcontinental service is reserved to Trans-Canada Air Lines; local feeder services are a field for private enterprise; air lines are not to be owned by competing forms of transport such as railways.

2. Trans-Canada Air Lines are the “chosen instrument” for Canadian participation in international civil aviation.

3. Canada has put forward a draft plan for international control of civil aviation and is prepared, as we have done recently at Chicago, to confer with other powers on this or'any other reasonable basis.

As to an all-Empire world air route, any proposals of this nature would have to be considered on their merits in relation to other international services.

(24) Question — Do you believe in collective bargaining? Should the privilege of bargaining through agents of their own choice be established as a permanent legal right of Canadian workers?

Answer—I believe most emphatically in collective bargaining. In peacetime Federal jurisdiction extends over, only a part of the field of labor relations. In that field the Liberal Government favors the establishment of collective bargaining as a permanent legal right of Canadian workers. After consultation with representatives of organized labor, the Government, as a war measure, has provided for collective bargaining as a right of all employees in war industries.

(25) Question—At the 1919 Liberal Convention you moved a resolution inscribing in your Party’s platform the Labor Convention of the Versailles Treaty. The Government of Canada lacked then, and still lacks, constitutional power to implement this Convention, or any treaty like it which may follow the present war. Do you think the necessary power to implement such treaties should be given the Dominion Government?

Answer—I hope that in the constitutional adjustments which must be made sooner or later the authority of the Parliament of Canada to implement Canada’s external obligations will be clearly established.

(26) Question—Do you think the Constitution should be amended to give the Federal Government more power in labor and social security matters?

Answer—I have long held and frequently expressed the view that the Parliament of Canada should have jurisdiction to provide a national

minimum of social security for all Canadians.

(27) Question Should Canada have power to amend her own Constitution? What method of amendment would you suggest?

Answer Canada should have complete theoretical autonomy as well as the practical autonomy we have had for many years. That necessarily includes the right to amend our own constitution in Canada. Rut in the light of the experience of other nations with Federal constitutions, we should be careful about the method we adopt. The question is highly technical and every procedure so far advocated has disadvantages as well as advantages. No decision should be reached without the widest public, discussion, particularly as any desired amendment can always be made, and will always be made, at the request of the Canadian Parliament. Whatever method of amending the constitution within Canada may ultimately be agreed upon should, of course, provide thorough safeguards for historic minority rights.

(28) Question - Do you think appeals to the Privy Council should be abolished?

AnswerYes, at an appropriate time.

(29) Question - Do you think the Federal Government should play a larger role in education?

Answer Under Canada's constitution education comes within the jurisdiction of the provinces. The Federal Government, t herefore, should not in any way try to interfere with the exclusive'jurisdiction of the provinces. Rut the Federal Government should help the provinces to provide adequate educational facilities: (1) by coming

to financial arrangements with the provinces under which the provinces will be able to make more adequate provision for education; (2) by assisting financially in vocational training, scientific research, education for men of the armed forces, providing national scholarships for special work on the subjects of national interest, etc.

(30) Question — Should Canada have her own national flag? National anthem?

Answer—Yes.

(31) Question — Should Canada permit and encourage large-scale immigration after the war?

Answer—Canada should certainly not permit any large-scale immigration until all the men home from overseas and others in need of work are reestablished in civilian life with useful employment. Employment will be required for about a million more men and women than the number employed in 1939. Whether immigration may then be desirable will depend upon the degree of expansion it is possible to maintain in Canadian development. This in turn will depend in part upon the success achieved in establishing prosperity and trade throughout the world.

(32) Question—In the event of an election giving Liberals the largest group of seats in the Commons, but less than an over-all majority, would you be willing to form a Government?

Answer—This is a hypothetical question which would have to be decided, if such a situation arose, in the light of all relevant circumstances.

(33) Question—In the event, of an election giving the CCF the largest bloc of seats, but by which Liberals and Progressive Conservatives com-

bined would have a majority, would you be willing to enter a coalition?

Answer—See answer to question 32.

I might add, however, that I believe the people of Canada are conscious of the new strength and vigor of their country. Under pressure of war Canada has developed at an amazing pace. We must consolidate our social gains. We must apply to peacetime our experience in distributing our vastly increased national income to the largest number of people.

Men and women, thinking of the future, ask themselves this question: “Will I have a chance to live the kind of life I look forward to in the peace to come and to give my children an equal opportunity in the battle of life?”

The Liberal Party has answered this question by placing on the statutes of this country a bold and comprehensive program designed to build a new social order in Canada.

If the people of Canada desire to secure for themselves these opportunities and benefits by full participation in building this new order, they will, I believe, give the Liberal Government a strong mandate to implement its declared policies.

Most Canadians agree that the Liberal Government has shown great capacity in carrying out the mandate it received in 1940, when the people of Canada gave full support to its policy of achieving the utmost effort in war.

We now face the approach to peace. Because of the foresight of the Liberal Administration, Canada moves toward peace seasoned by experience and equipped with plans. I do not think the questions set out here will arise. The Canadian people will, I believe, support the Liberal Party as being the only Party with any hope of giving them a stable, experienced, socially far-seeing administration.