Newfoundland National Convention, 7 February 1947, Debates on Confederation with Canada


February 7, 1947

Report of the Local Industries Committee:[1] Committee of the Whole

Mr. Hickman Mr. Chairman, before the Secretary reads the report I would like to say that I do not intend to introduce it with a long talk, because after it has been read it will be only a matter of duplication. I would like to point out that, with respect to local industries, pulp and paper, mining, fisheries and forestry have their own committees, so consequently we could not touch on those and had to confine ourselves to the smaller or secondary industries. We did not have any statistics or sources of information whatever. We tried several channels but could not get anything on which to base our report. That presented quite a difficulty with the result that the report is not as complete as if there had been a statistical department of the government which had kept these figures over a number of years, and which could have given us comparative figures. This is a disappointment to the Committee, and perhaps to you too. The Committee worked very hard, and everything possible was done. You will see now that we have had a job in collecting a lot of that.
[The Secretary read part of the report]
Mr. Cashin May I ask Mr. Hickman to turn back to page 3. I notice here that tobacco and cordage are grouped as one. Was it not possible to have them separate?
Mr. Hickman No. The questionnaire was sent out separately and we received one reply from the industries.
Mr. Cashin They came together and ganged up?
Mr. Hickman Yes.
Mr. Cashin I appreciate there are many members in this Convention who may not understand protective tariffs, and that is why I asked Mr. Hickman why these three things were put together. You will probably remember 22 years ago I made my House of Assembly debut on protective tariffs, and one of these industries was tobacco. That's one particular fault I find with this report; it does not show the protective tariff these industries have. I agree in principle they should have a certain amount of protection, particularly when they are local, but here is one now that says it will not give full particulars, the Imperial Tobacco Co. Over 60% of the stock of that company is held outside the country, approximately 60% on watered stock, and they have a protection of....
Mr. Smallwood Would you explain watering stock?
Mr. Cashin When the company started we will assume that they have so many shares, I am bringing my mind back 20 years, and at that time they had watered their stock several times. That means that if they put in $100 and they were getting 15% on it, then the next year, if they watered it and made those shares worth $200, that would mean that they were getting 30% on their original investment.
Mr. Smallwood What is "watering"?
Mr. Cashin If they have a good year, and they pay a 20% dividend on their common stock, they would "water" that and give two shares for one. I am not particularly opposed to protective tariffs, but this company has $550,000 a year in protective tariffs, and I think the people of this country should know, and also the members of this Convention. What is the use of this Convention if we can't get these facts? Here we have it borne out — three companies gang up and say, "We won't give the facts". I did not intend to speak on this, but I saw here that they had 218 employees between the three of them, and they pay $400,000 wages that is about $1,700 on average. Now some of our other industries that belong to Newfoundland and have protection, pay much more on an average than these people do to their employees. They are also paying 45% dividends on theirstock. This is fact and it should be known. The protection has been increased by the Commission govemment. I am sorry that we have not got a copy of the tariff here, so that we could work it out. I think I gave some statistics to some 296 NATIONAL CONVENTION February 1947 gentlemen of that Committee to show the tariff protection There is an excise tariff and an import duty, and the difference between the two is the protection they get. If you look up the blue book of the Customs you will see how much is manufactured in the year and how much is imported, and work out the protection by that. Here is an industry controlled by the British American Tobacco Co., one of the largest tobacco companies in the world, and it has a protection tariff of $550,000 a year.
Mr. Smallwood I intended to discuss the very matter Major Cashin has raised, but not to do it until the report was finished reading. I guess how is the time to go into it. I have a great deal of admiration for the work that the Committee has done. Any of us can see they put in a lot of work. I know the terrible difficulty they must have had because I have been doing that kind of thing myself, trying to get the same figures. It is one of the complaints that I have against this government that they have not got, after 13 years, any department to gather together just the ordinary facts and figures and statistics to show what the country is worth, the value of the goods produced, and of the manufactures. We and the government and Mr. Hickman's committee do not know, because there is no one to tell them. This matter of protective tariff, I can't agree with Mr. Cashin, or with the Committee, in drawing too sharp a line between those local industries whose capital is owned outside the country, and those whose capital is owned inside the country. So far as the consumers of Newfoundland are concerned it does not make much difference who owns the capital, if the effect of a high protective tariff or a high customs tariff is to drive up the cost of living.... Why draw the line? The enquiry that has to be made is on the effect of the tariff on all local industries. That's the enquiry that ought to be made. It is true the Committee goes on to say that it would require investigation by accountants and economists in order to determine the degree of protection these local companies get. If it is so it is a pity that the Local Industries Committee did not make an effort to get an accountant and economist to do that job. We are down now to one of the most fundamental things that we have to face. I heard Major Cashin in this very chamber stand up 20 years ago, and I heard him say that if he had his way he would take every local industry in this country and burn it to the ground. Now he did not mean that I know, but what he was getting at then, and also this afternoon, and what I am trying to get at, is this: taking Newfoundland as a whole, we know that in a local industry the employees get their living and the owners get their dividends, so a local industry is certainly good for those who are employed in it and for those who own it, but is that local industry good for Newfoundland? Industries are good, but I would point out this fact, and it is the thing that we have to keep in our minds, and if we run into the danger of forgetting it we are going wrong. Every man, woman and child in this building and in this country today, is eating food and wearing clothes, footwear, etc, bought from the money that comes back into Newfoundland for the fish, the paper and the minerals we ship out. That's the only money we have, what we get back for these three things. That's all we have to live on — how we divide it up is another matter.... There is no other money, except during the war when we had a lot of Canadian and American money for base construction. There is a little dribble still coming in. The only money that we live on is what comes into Newfoundland from Spain, Portugal, Italy, the West Indies, etc. for fish, and from Canada and England for iron ore and paper, not what is produced in these local industries. They don't produce a single cent of new money, they only have their share of the fish, paper and mineral money. What follows from this? That it is absolutely necessary for this country to make the cost of fishing, of manufacturing paper, of mining, as cheap as we can make it. Are we doing that? Yes, I am afraid we are. How? Down through the years whenever we wanted to cut down the cost of producing fish we cut down the price we gave the fishermen. How did we cut down the cost of producing iron ore? By cutting the wages of the miners. And how did we cut down the price of paper? By cutting the wages of the men in the mills. But that is not the way to do it. One way is to cut down the cost of living, and these local factories are not cutting it down, they are making it higher. That's what is meant in this paragraph here. What does it say? They received 39 replies, which in their case showed a yearly total of wages, salaries, etc. of $3,981,000, and a yearly total of taxes, including customs, taxes, excise, etc. of $4,800,000. Where February 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 297 did that $4,800,000 come from? It came from the fishermen, the paper makers and forest workers and from the miners in Bell Island and Buchans by making the cost of living higher. That's what the local industries mean. I am far from satisfied with what this report shows, but I don't blame the Committee. It is one of the things that we have kept hidden in this country. I only know a few men, some in this house today, who are very much alive to the effect of the protective tariff. Here it says, "It can be clearly understood that the tariff in effect today is a revenue tariff." Who says it is?
Mr. Hickman The Committee disagrees with that.
Mr. Smallwood They have a perfect right to do so, just as I have a perfect right to disagree with the Committee. You can't say that our tariff in Newfoundland today is a protective tariff, or a revenue tariff, it is both, and the people pay it all. Every cent of it comes out of the fish and the paper and the minerals, and drives up the cost of living. Some day someone has got to get down to brass tacks and find out once and for all just how far these local industries are justified, just how far it pays the 315,000 of our population to have this protection on these local industries.
I believe in local industries. I would be a terrible fool if I did not, but what industries? I believe in the industries that are natural to the country, eg. fish.... We have the raw material right here, and it is only a matter of hauling it out of the water and curing it, tinning or bottling or freezing it. Let's encourage the industry in every way. What else is natural? Paper making, because we have the timber and the waterpower. Minerals, because we have the minerals. Furring, because we have the animals, and gaming because we have the game. These are the industries we ought to foster and protect.
You have it summed up magnificently by the Industrial Development Board, if I can anticipate just for a moment. "The local Industrial Board have done a fine job ... considered the possibility of making cement". That's all right because we have the raw material to make cement. They sent away samples and had them analysed and the report came back that it would make a first-class Portland cement. But why could they not go ahead with a cement industry? Because some of the raw materials are on one side of the island, and the rest on the other side, and it would be too expensive to bring them together to manufacture them into cement. All you have to do is put a high tariff on imported cement. Make out the cost of bringing the raw materials together from east and west and the cost of manufacturing them, and it comes to $5 a bag to produce it here in Newfoundland. Well, make the price $5.60 for the imported cement by putting on a high tariff. If you can do it for other things why not do it for cement? Putting a protective tariff on an imported article makes it more expensive then the local article and drives up the cost ofliving. It was said by Major Cashin 20 years ago, and it is a wonderful thing how Major Cashin and l are growing to agree with each other, I hope to convert him before I am finished! Some day we have got to go into this question of our tariff, above all our protective tariff....
I don't want to say too much because the man who will stand up and express any doubt that these local factories are divinely blessed is likely to be hounded out of the island. I agree they are an imposition, and the people of the country will never live while these duties are on, and they have got to come off. I had better sit down before I say too much. I am not saying a word against Mr. Hickman's committee, or against him. The figures are not here, and the government have not got them. If they had a royal commission they would not get them. You can't blame the Committee for not bringing in information that the government has not got. I had to get this off my chest or burst.
Mr. Higgins Now that Mr. Smallwood has not completely burst, I want to make a comment that I am sure he will answer. I am a little upset about this unholy alliance of Mr. Smallwood and Major Cashin, but I suppose these things are bound to happen! The thing that puzzles me is that we have 30 manufacturers making returns, and in these concerns there are 2,300 employees. And if these are burned or closed down what would be the position of these employees of all those concerns? What would they do?
Mr. Smallwood Let us take any given article, say a microphone (a very favourite article of mine); say there is a factory manufacturing them in St. John's. The materials have to be imported, so the government puts a duty on the raw material used to make these microphones of say 30%, but 298 NATIONAL CONVENTION February 1947 on the completed microphone that might be imported into the country they put a duty of 40% or 50%, which is aprotection of 10% or 20%. I don't say close down the manufacturers, I say take off the 30% duty on the raw materials, and all the duty on the finished article, wipe out the duty completely.
Mr. Higgins What is the real difference then so far as profits to these manufacturers are concerned?
Mr. Smallwood I am not worried about the profits, I am worried about the cost of living — I have to pay more, like all of us. I am not a shareholder in a local factory, if I were — I am big enough to know what human nature is like — no doubt I would like a high protective tariff, no duty at all on the raw material, but say 50% or 60% on the finished article, so that I would have a protective tariff of 40% or 50%. That's if I were a shareholder. I am a consumer, and so are all of us, and I am interested only in the cost of living.
Mr. Higgins Whilst I don't disagree with you, how is the government going to make up the difference in their duties under your scheme?
Mr. Smallwood Well, Mr. Cashin told us a few minutes ago what he said 20 years ago, and I will remind you of what I said 20 years ago in the MCLI[1] in a debate they had up there. I said the day would come in Newfoundland when there would be a political party and on their banner they would inscribe two words "Direct Taxation", not indirect taxation as you have today in our customs tariff. The Chadwick-Jones report tells us that in the last year they report the percentage of the total revenue was risen to 30% — 30 cents out of every dollar they took in direct taxation, but that still left you 70 cents to the dollar that was taken in by indirect taxation. I would say it ought to be the other way about — 70% by direct taxation and not more than 30% by indirect taxation. That is what is crucifying the people of this country and always did....
There was a time in Newfoundland when the tariff amounted to 8% or 10%. Go back 20 or 30 years ago, when you got a duty of 20% it was something unusual. It was the same as it is in Canada today, about 10%. You take all our imports into Newfoundland last year, you will find it in the Chadwick-Jones report, lump them all together and what was the average rate of duty?
25%. It would be much higher than that if we took out the free list, the flour and beef, etc., that pays no duty. It would probably be 40% or more.
We wonder why the cost of living is so high, and we blame the merchants and the shopkeepers. Maybe some do deserve it, I think there is some profiteering, but the real trouble is the tariff: $19 million we paid the government last year in duty, and on it $10 million profit, that's $29 million our tariff tacked on to the cost of living. There is only one cure for it, to cut the duty out altogether. A few may be hurt, but I don't think there is any need to burn down the factories or shut them down.
Mr. Higgins You don't agree with Major Cashin then?
Mr. Smallwood He did not really mean that, but he meant that if you took every employee and gave them their present wages it would be a couple of million dollars....
Mr. Hickman About $4 million a year.
Mr. Smallwood Yes, it would pay this country, it would pay them well, first to shut down the factories; second to pay out that $4 million from the treasury in wages and let them go idle, doing nothing (we could not do that I know, but it would pay them); and third to take the duty off and let the cost of living come down. As Major Cashin says, cut out these tariffs and let the people live and breathe which they have never been able to do.
Mr. Hickman A few of the remarks Mr. Smallwood has made we have pointed out in the report. He has not taken them into account. I refer to one remark on page 8, this $4,800,000 which he implied, and rightly so, came out of the pockets of the people who made the money. He implied that if those local industries were not there the people would not have had to pay that money. They still would have had to pay it, and perhaps more. There are certain local industries that do make things cheaper than the imported articles. Another thing he said was that local industries are driving up the cost of goods. We have found that in many cases the tariff has been reduced since these companies have been in business. There is one, clothing, which ran to 65% duty, and is down today to 35% in spite of local industries being here.
Mr. Smallwood Was the duty on raw material February 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 299 reduced also?
Mr. Hickman Not that I know of.
Mr. Smallwood Do you mean they are still paying the same duty on the raw materials?
Mr. Hickman To my knowledge. Here again there is one case brought up in the Committee. Some years ago the question of biscuits was brought up and we discovered that the fancy biscuits brought in here sold for 85 cents a pound. The local people bought them out and the imported ones were reduced to 45 cents a pound immediately. There are certain instances like that that we recommend there be a thorough study on. I think that the sweeping statement you made should be left until the true picture is brought out.
Mr. Smallwood I am trying to bring a plea to have the facts brought out. I don't say the Committee can do it, but I am only pleading that it be done, and let us know where we stand.
Mr. Penney I have served on the Local Industries Board, and I did not intend to have a word to say. I prefer to sit back and listen until the report at least is read; but I have listened to Mr. Smallwood bawling until our eardrums are ready to burst, and if I had my way I would have the microphones fired out of this room today and save the people from having to listen to all this. Local industries made the United States and Canada, and are helping to make Newfoundland; and in the town where I come from they help support a good number of people, and no man should attack them. The tariff question is another matter altogether, and in our report, where we had doubt about the question of tariff we asked the Convention to investigate. Common courtesy would expect members to listen to the whole report before they make any loud attacks on industries as a whole.
Mr. Smallwood I am sorry if I have offended Mr. Penney. I hope that on reflection he will agree that I have not attacked local industries. I have not done so. I have attacked tariff protection of them. In the very fine and historic town from which Mr. Penney comes, Carbonear, they have a very fine industry over there, but it is not protected. It is a magnificent wood industry, and is one of the industries that are natural to the country. The raw material is here and you don't need any tariff protection. Take for instance your paper industry, that is not protected, on the contrary there is a customs duty on many things that go into it, which are helping to hurt it. They have no protective tariff, but they have to pay duty on the things that go into it. The industry Mr. Penney refers to is not only not protected, but it is hurt because they have to pay duty on some of their raw material. I say take off the duty and give that industry a better chance than it has. I am sorry that I bawled. I can't change my voice any more than Mr. Penney can change the shape of his nose. I can't help it.
Mr. Jackman I believe Mr. Smallwood is advocating free trade.
Mr. Smallwood I am.
Mr. Jackman Would you expect a little country like Newfoundland to take off the duty, when only a few days ago one of our industries is up for a higher tariff? They want to put 50% more on our fish, and you advocate free trade when the United States is advocating a higher rate of duty on our fish going in there?
Mr. Smallwood I hope no one jumps on me, but maybe the cure is along the lines that Mr. Job is suggesting. Maybe we can let their goods come in here duty free and they will let our goods go in there duty free. You might have complete free trade between the USA and Newfoundland. Why not?
Mr. Jackman Where are the employees depending on local industries going to get off? There is also Norway and Sweden and other places competing with us for our fish, and where could we get off?
Mr. Hollett Might I ask the convenor of the Committee, and Mr. Smallwood, whether or not the protective tariff is a thing unknown in any other part of the world, or is it just here? Are there protective tariffs in Canada?
Mr. Hickman Yes, there are...
Mr. Crosbie May I correct Mr. Smallwood? He said there was no duty on lumber coming into this country. There is a duty on lumber coming into this country.
Mr. Smallwood There might as well not be. If there is a local tariff for local lumber it is a pure waste of printer's ink...
Mr. Hollett I agree with Mr. Penney that it is a pity that we started this argument before the thing has been read, however I would refer to the returns of the tobacco and cordage companies, where the totals are grouped as one. Why is that done? I note that these three items pay wages, 300 NATIONAL CONVENTION February 1947 salaries, commissions, etc., of $480,000. Major Cashin has told us that tobacco alone has a protection of $552,000. If they are, we are paying protection of that amount in order to pay out much less than $480,000 in wages
I am a little bit disturbed by the Committee's report that they were unable to get the facts from the manufacturers. When people hesitate to disclose certain matters, especially when these matters are essential to us here, I am concerned about it. I don't want them to disclose their dead secrets, but they should be able to give us something that would be of assistance to us in coming to a full appraisal. Iagree in a good many ways with what Mr. Smallwood has said. There is no question that he has something here into which he can get his teeth, and he certainly got them in. I expect we shall hear more from other members of this Convention with regard to this report. I predict for it a very stormy passage.
On page 4 of the report, after telling us how difficult it was for you to find the facts, you say there is an Industrial Statistics Act. Why was it not possible for you to go to that department of the government and ask them, under that act, to get the necessary information for you? If the act is there it is their duty to find it. Did you approach any person in that department and ask if they could get the information under that act?
Mr. Hickman We approached the department that was handling that, and were told that that act was put on the books in 1938, and that the Department of Public Health and Welfare used it for acquiring statistics covering the number of employees in the various manufacturing concerns and businesses and their wages. At that time there were people on relief, and it was used to check the earning and the number of people employed. After that period it was not found necessary for the department to have those figures, as unemployment became unknown due to the bases, etc. We asked the department if we could have this information obtained through the act. We were advised that it had been transferred to the Department of Public Utilities, and it would be in the hands of the Labour Relations Office. On making inquiries of that department we found that they did not know it had been cancelled. After a while we found it would be under Public Utilities and the Labour Relations Officer, and we then found that it only covered employees and wages, and did not cover the great majority of questions that we wanted. We then found that to get those particulars which the act was empowered to obtain would take so long that it would delay us for months....
[The Secretary continued reading the report]
Mr. Smallwood I wonder if Mr. Hickman would explain column 5 on page 3. It says "Purchases of Local Raw Materials and Expenses". What would the local raw materials amounting to $2.25 million?
Mr. Hickman Without looking up any actual returns, we did not ask the firms to specify, it would include packages, wood, shucks, barrels, berries, and local produce manufactured locally, bottles, etc.
Mr. Smallwood Milk?
Mr. Hickman Yes, milk that would go into butter and ice-cream.
Mr. MacDonald In computing the value of these local industries it strikes me that we should have some idea of the amount that these companies pay in corporation taxes. I don't see anything here concerning that.
Mr. Hickman You mean profit taxes? Well, that was a question that, after consideration, we did not like to put in the questionnaire. We did not expect to get any replies if we asked what profit taxes were paid.
Mr. MacDonald That is an asset to the country, the amount of taxes that the country is paid.
Mr. Hollett I agree with Mr. MacDonald that we ought to know what we ought to expect in connection with that. In the Mining Committee we approached the big companies and asked them that, and they had no hesitation in giving us the information. Why should your Committee be careful of asking those local corporations for that information?
Mr. Hickman In the case of a large corporation their balance sheet is probably published anyway, but in the case of local small companies we felt that if we asked the question we would not have any answer given us as to income tax, and they might not have answered a lot of the questionnaires, with the result that we would not have as much information as we did get.
Mr. Hollett We asked the Assessor of Taxes if we could have that information and he said no, but the corporations themselves did give it to us.
Mr. Miller I think with Mr. Hollett that these February 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 301 large companies did give their figures and we were given permission to use these figures as a gross total. There is one other point that I would have liked to have seen in this report, and that is on the protective tariff, the duties as they would have regularly been, provided we did not have that industry here at all. As I see it, this discussion got a bit away from that, we got down to drawing examples on the basis of no duties at all. I don't think that situation has any relation at all when we are dealing with protective tariffs. I think that had these tariffs in relation to the different matters as we found them been figured out, and if we had a tabulation on these things, that a few figures there might speak more than a lot of words....
Mr. Smallwood On page 8, the last paragraph, I wonder if Mr. Hickman would mention that. It says: "It can therefore be seen rather than season work which might be directly or indirectly dependent on that fisheries...." It that means anything, it means that there should be local industries to provide wages, but which would not be either directly or indirectly dependent on the fisheries.
Mr. Hickman It would be dependent on them as far as the money would derive from these basic industries.
Mr. Smallwood What do you mean by secondary industries? You don't mean that Corner Brook and Buchans and Grand Falls are secondary do you?
Mr. Hickman No, they are basic industries.
Mr. Smallwood Well, what kind of industry could you have that would not be directly or indirectly dependent on these?
Mr. Hickman That means not dependent on the fisheries as a cooper, or a longshoreman or anything of that sort. Someone who is making something that can be sold to the consumer, and which would provide employment to people who are today getting employment in the United States or elsewhere.
Mr. Smallwood You should have left out that word "indirectly", because it is almost impossible to get an industry which is not indirectly dependent on the fisheries.
Mr. Hollett Again on page 8, you consulted the Board of Trade committee and you say that they supplied to us figures that they had received in reply to their questionnaire. Are these figures in the report? I don't see them.
Mr. Hickman Only what is contained in that paragraph.
Mr. Fudge Mr. Chairman, I wonder would the chairman of the Local Industries Committee say whether or not they had written W.J. Lundrigan of Corner Brook in connection with his plant there, as there are a number of men employed there.
Mr. Hickman We sent out to all known manufacturers or local industries.
Mr. Fudge Did you get a reply from him?
Mr. Hickman Yes, but we stated that their reply would be kept confidential and only used in the total of the category referred to. It was on that basis that they submitted it.
Mr. Fudge Would you mind stating whether he said what the number of employees was that he had there?
Mr. Hickman I think he did.
Mr. Fudge I have some knowledge of that firm, because our organisation has an agreement with that man, and I am prepared to state here that the rate of wages paid in this wood working plant is far better than anything else paid anywhere in the island for local wages. The great bulk of that is from this particular wood working plant to which I refer....
Mr. Bailey I see here under boots and shoes, 102 employees, $13,000 duty and excise, $150,000 volume of business, $120,000 capital. For once I am going to agree with Mr. Smallwood on one thing. I wonder at what cost to this country that local industry is carried on. At the end of the last war I came in contact with quite a bunch of men who were interested in changing the map of Europe. One of those rose to a pretty prominent position in the Czechoslovakian government, and he explained to me what was going to take place and what was going to be put into the boot and shoe industry there. He spoke also of the good quality of our herring. I suppose today the country has got an idea of the consumption of herring in Middle Europe, as they call it. The humble herring may be nothing at all in this country, but in those countries it is a luxury. I was interested, and at that time we had a big export of herring from this country, but unfortunately, due to the depression and not being handled right, we lost that market.... Those chaps, apparently they were very intelligent and well educated. I thought, if he banks on going into that position it 302 NATIONAL CONVENTION February 1947 might be all right to get together, and, I do not understand much about it, but there is a trade agreement — you buy your stuff from me and I will buy from you. I supported Sir Richard Squires and went down with him. I said to him once, "I don't know much about what can be done, I am not in the government, but I believe if this was gone into right we could get the thin edge of the wedge into Middle Europe". He said, "What has Czechoslovakia got?" I said, "Boots and shoes", and he said, "We have a local industry". "Well," I said, "we can't produce shoes as cheap as we can herring, and if we don't produce herring we can't buy shoes whether we buy them here or not." That's the position. The first man in this country that you have got to look to is the primary producer — the fisherman. We had only a small pulp and paper industry at that time, and there was lots of talk of the Humber, and things were pretty tough when fish dropped from $19 a quintal to around $8. Things were hitting the fishermen pretty hard. Well, he said he would take it up and see whatcould be done about it. He went into it and a month or so afterwards I happened to go down to Mr. Halfyard's and Sir Richard was there, and he told me there was nothing could be done about it because of the local industries.... We could have been putting one million barrels of herring into Europe. Now suppose that one million barrels only gave the fishermen perhaps $5 a barrel, what would it have meant to this country during the depression? According to Sir Richard — I won't malign the man — the local shoe industry meant more to this country, but according to what I have heard there were some boots and shoes imported into this country from Czechoslovakia; and children's shoes could have been laid down here for 80 cents a pair, women's for $1 and men's for $1.20. There was a tariff, I forget what it was called....
Mr. Smallwood Anti-dumping clause.
Mr. Bailey I don't care who it hurts or who is responsible for it, whether they are dead or alive today, these men went a long way towards bringing on this country what we had in 1936. I made a census in 1939 in every village from Lead Cove to Summerside, Trinity Bay, and the number of people who died from TB between 1920 and 1930, and between 1930 and 1939 trebled. Whoever is responsible for this sort of legislation in this country is responsible for the deaths of those people, or a part of it, because you can understand what it would have meant to this country if there had been $5 million, or only half that amount during those years. A few people have been enabled to go ahead and have a profit at the expense of the health and wealth of the primary producer of this country....
We are not ashamed of anything we have done since we came here. If a royal commission came here they would have the power to find out the facts, but we have no power at all. I believe the words that Major Cashin said, "We are a glorified mock parliament", and that's all. We are not in a position to do anything. If the responsible government and Commission of Government had been up to their jobs, we could have walked into a certain office and got the information right away, and certainly they have enough offices, they are the biggest real estate owners in the country. We find out that this country has been run worse than anything I have ever seen in my life. I don't know who is responsible for it. It looks to me that we were never intended to find out the truth about this country....
Referring to the tobacco factory. I was here in St. John's in 1942 when one of the Commissioners came back from overseas and spoke for the boys, and asked people to give money to send them smokes. At the price we were paying for cigarettes it looked all right. I had been used to going to St. Pierre to buy Gem cigarettes for 60 cents a carton, but this gentleman appealing for smokes for the boys — Wings, one of the cheapest cigarettes in the world — says, "You can buy these cigarettes for $1 .20 a carton", when the merchant in St. Pierre could buy them here and freight them to St. Pierre and sell them for 60 cents a carton. I am wondering if the honourable gentleman had shares in the tobacco factory. This is one of the reason why the cost of living is as it is. I am not going to take up any more time on this. I am not against local industries, I believe we should have more, but let us produce what we can produce cheapest, and sell to the people who can manufacture cheapest, so that the cost of living can be kept down....
Whatever government comes in, the first thing we have to do is find out who in this world can take our stuff from us that we can produce and sell, and take from them what they can produce the cheapest, and give our people a chance to live.
Let us see that our men going to the fisheries get a square deal so that we can live as a country should live.
[The Committee rose and reported progress.]
Mr. Chairman Gentlemen, I have to report to you that in pursuance of the plan adopted a couple of days ago at an informal session of the Convention, the following were elected to be members of the committee to interview His Excellency the Governor in Commission. These are the members of the committee:
Hon. R.B. Job
Mr. C.A. Crosbie
Mr. G.F. Higgins, K.C.
Mr. T.W. Ashbourne
Mr. J.R. Smallwood
Mr. I. Newell
Mr. F.T. Fogwill
It is necessary that we have a motion formally to confirm this election I will accept a motion now from any member of the Convention confirming the appointment of these gentlemen.
[The motion was put and carried, and the Convention adjourned]


Newfoundland. The Newfoundland National Convention, 1946-1948 Vol 1: Debates. Edited by J.K. Hiller and M.F. Harrington Montreal: Memorial University of Newfoundland by McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995).



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Gordon Lyall.

Notes de bas de page:

  • [1] Volume II:54. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • The Methodist College Literary Institute; a St. John's debating society.

Personnes participantes: