February 27, 1901

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I am going to vote for it.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Then it is a very good job, because it is common sense, and the hon. gentleman is going to vote for it too, and will set a very good example, because sometimes he votes for propositions which are not sensible. So far as the cost of labour is concerned, the hon. mover of this motion makes no distinction between free labour and prison labour.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I am glad the hon. gentleman has come to that. I hope he will continue to accept useful suggestions from this side of the House.

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Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

How long is it since the hon. gentleman has come to these views ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

What are the views that the hon. gentleman refers to ?

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Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. INGRAM.

How long is it since the hon. gentleman has entertained the view that the labour employed in the Kingston penitentiary in the manufacture of binder twine should be equal to that of free labour ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I think my hon. friend will find that has always been held. His complaint is that we have been charging too much, and that clearly shows that we have net been putting it on a basis of prison labour, which would make the price less. The hon. member for Peel (Mr. Blain) says that we have been Charging too much for prison-made twine.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

My hon. friend from Peel says that he has no conception whether that represents the cost of labour at all. He says that he has made no calculation upon that basis. Inasmuch as it is unavoidable from our operations at the Kingston penitentiary binder twine factory that we must enter into competition with

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

lion, gentlemen talk of combines ; why, they flourished on combines for eighteen years.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I want to call the attention of the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Blain), having mentioned this

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Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

one important difference, to the other material difference between his proposition and that of the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver). The hon. member for Peel proposes that we shall sell this binder twine to the farmers at a certain price, regardless of whether the farmer is willing to buy it from us or not, and he then says distinctly that even if the farmer does not buy it you shall not be at liberty to sell it in any other way, and therefore you can keep it and let it rot if you like. That does not strike us as a very reasonable proposition. The hon. member for Alberta says that you shall offer this to the farmers at a fair price up to a certain date, and if the farmers take it at that price, well and good, but if the farmers do not take it at that price, then instead of allowing it to rot, as it would under the proposal of the hon. member for Peel, you shall advertise in the public press for tenders, and sell the balance of it in the open market at the best price.

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Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

May I ask the hon. gentleman what they are going to do with the amount of binder twine now in the Kingston penitentiary ? Are they going to allow that to rot ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

There is one thing certain ; if it rots now it does not rot through any lack of effort on the part of the government to sell it, but the hon. member for Peel is proposing a scheme, which, no matter how many buyers we might find, would not permit us to sell the surplus at all.

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Andrew B. Ingram

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. A. B. INGRAM (East Elgin).

Mr. Speaker, when I asked the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) the question, how long it is since he entertained these views, I was surprised that the hon. gentleman did not answer. I have always found him courteous and all that sort of thing. Since hon. gentlemen have controlled the affairs of this country, I do not know any case where they have been prevented from selling binder twine at the actual cost, that is to say, charging what would be equal to free labour in the manufacture of twine in other factories. Therefore, the hon. gentleman had it right in his own hands if he entertained these views, ever since he came into power. In respect to the motion moved by the hon. member for Alberta (Mr. Oliver), it strikes me that the hon. gentleman must have had this motion placed in his hands, because he possesses the faculty of speaking one way and moving a resolution in an entirely different direction. The hon. gentleman's speech was not the speech of an independent man. I doubt very much, whether, in his election in Alberta, the issue was really on the question of binder twine. I had the opportunity of passing through that hon. gentleman's district, and it struck me that he represented a grazing country. I read the papers pretty

closely during the last campaign, and it occurred to me that the question of scrip had more effect in his election than the question of binder twine. I remember crossing the river at Edmonton, in his constituency, and there was no bridge at the time of my crossing. It strikes me that this was another very important issue in his constituency. So, I say, that instead of charging the electors of other portions of the Dominion with being ignorant on this question and not capable of arriving at a proper conclusion as to whether binder twine was properly dealt with by his government or not, he should have been more frank in his statements, and they should have been more in keeping with the actions of an independent member. Therefore, for that reason, while I support the amendment proposed by the hon. gentleman, I entirely differ from the remarks he made in moving his resolution.

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Mr. T.@

0. DAVIS (Saskatchewan). Mr. Speaker

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February 27, 1901