March 26, 1901

CON

James Clancy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLANCY.

Does the hon. gentleman pretend to say that there is not a higher rate paid now than in 1896 1

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The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS.

I will not hesitate to say that. If the hon. gen-teman had not asked the question and had waited a moment longer, he would have seen that, with my usual frankness, I would have done that without the question being asked. But I am leading up to this and am pointing out what was done in the matter of sugar. When the government came into power they found that the sugar duties stood in this position. They had previously varied in degree. They had been high. These hon. gentlemen talk of having put sugar on the free list in 1891-2. But all sugars were never put on the free list. What they did was to put all raw sugar under No. 14-sugars that are not fit to go on the table and be used in the family at all, but are only fit for the refiner and only bought by him-they put those absolutely on the free list, and on the refined sugar made out of these, they put 80 cents on the 100 pounds. In other words, while nothing went into the revenue at all from the raw sugar, of which hundred of millions of pounds were imported by the refiner, the refined sugar,

which is the only sugar used by the people, was taxed SO cents per 100 pounds. And if the protection theory that the duty aids the manufacturer holds good, that meant that the 80 cents, less the loss in refining, went into the pockets of the men engaged in that industry. That went on for a time. It was then pointed out that the duty was too high and the late government reduced it, still leaving raw sugar on the free list, to 64 cents per 100 pounds. They took off 16 cents. Well, if the refiner could live with 16 cents less protection, he could have lived on that reduced rate from the beginning. And if you apply 16 cents per 100 pounds to

250.000. 000 pounds of raw sugar, you will find it amounts to some hundreds of thousands of dollars, which the people paid, under the 80 cents duty, over and above what the Conservatives themselves thought was necessary in order to keep the sugar refiners in existence. Before they left office, these hon. gentlemen re-introduced a measure putting a duty on raw sugar. They put a duty of one-half cent per pound on raw sugar, such as the refiner uses, and made the duty on refined sugar $1.14, leaving the refiner a margin of 64 cents as before. As the refiner paid 50 cents on the raw sugar, they gave him 50 cents extra on the refined, making it $1.14. The present Finance Minister left the same duty of 50 cents on the raw sugar, but instead of imposing a duty of $1.14 on the refined, he reduced it to the even dollar, thus giving the refiner a net protection of 50 cents per 100 pounds instead of 64 cents. Take that 14 cents per 100 pounds and multiply it by

250.000. 000 pounds and figure out the saving for yourself. That makes a matter of some hundreds of thousands of dollars less paid by the people.

Now I come to answer my hon. friend from Bothwell (Mr. Clancy). A year or two ago the Finance Minister, desiring to help the West India trade, introduced what was in force under the late government for a time prior to 1895, the polariscopic test. That is the test you make by the polariscope as to the saccharine strength of the sugar, in which a low grade saccharine sugar does not pay as high a duty as a high grade, but pays in proportion to its saccharine strength. And the Finance Minister of that time, so far as he could forecast it, tried to maintain the same rates of duty prevail. By this polariscopic test some of the sugars went below 50 cents a hundred pounds, and some Went above it, but the design was to have it run about as it had-50 cents on the raw sugar and $1 on the refined. In the operation of this polariscopic test it has turned out, as the hon. member for Bothwell (Mr. Clancy) has asked me, that there was last year a difference in favour of the refined of 56 cents, instead of 50 cents per hundred pounds. But we are still 8 cents per hundred pounds lower than they were. The Mr. PATERSON.

difference is accounted for in part by this- that the tariff was changed in an effort to secure better trade relations with other British colonies; sugar from British colonies being admitted under a preference; and one of the Australian colonies is sending large quantities of sugar into the British Columbia market, which the people there benefit, by and, as these come in under the preferential rate, the average has gone down. But let me point this out to the hon. member for Bothwell-that, under the actual operation, coming as near to it as we can, there is still 8 cents per 100 pounds less protection to the refiner than there was ; and 8 cents per 100 pounds on 250,000,000 pounds, he will find, will amount to quite a snug sum.

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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

Does the government get more or less revenue per 100 pounds under the new tariff than under the old ?

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The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS.

Under the present tariff we get more.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Under the preference we get less.

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The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS.

On the whole, we get more. That is what we want-we want money to go into the treasury, not into the pockets of individuals. Last year, the average rates were-refined, $1.24 per 100 pounds, and raw 68 cents per 100 pounds-that is, we are putting 18 cents per 100 pounds more into the treasury on raw sugars than they were.

But I pass on, for I did not intend to speak so long on this subject. I come now to consider the question whether the opposition are prepared to say whether they wilt remove this preferential tariff or not. We have different opinions expressed by different hon. members opposite. The leader of the opposition said :

The hon. the Minister of Finance is very ready to fling across the floor of this House the question whether or not we are prepared to repudiate the policy of British preference. Well, it is very difficult sometimes, and might be regarded as very offensive, to ask or to take back that which has been given away.

The Liberal-Conservative party have never said that they proposed to repeal that preference; but they have said that they would never rest satisfied until, in addition to that and as compensation for that, we had attained a preference in British markets.

The hon. gentleman will not say that they wish to do away with it. But the hon. member for East York (Mr. Maclean), when I asked him across the floor of the House, said that he would do away with it. And the hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) who has just addressed the House, indicated that he was about ready to go that length. But the leader of the opposition would not go so far. In fact, he was afraid that what he had said might be interpreted to mean that they were not so much in favour of the old land

and the old flag as they were. So he strengthened himself in this way :

Now, I do not want any misunderstanding so far as the opposition or the party I have the honour to lead in this House is concerned. I am prepared to stand for the unity of the empire as strongly as any member of this House.

1 am prepared, for that purpose, to advocate and support the claims of any government that will spend its last dollar and send its last man in support of the integrity of the empire against any foe that may threaten disruption.

But the hou. member for East York said in effect: Do not send any British goods

here, because we do not want them; we will send our last man and our last dollar to preserve the integrity of the empire, but do not send your woollen goods here, for our loyalty won't stand that.

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CON

William Rees Brock

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROCK.

Does the hon. minister mean to say that doing away with the preference would do away with the importation of British goods altogether ?

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The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS.

No, I do not think it would. But I do think this -and I would say it in answer to the hou. gentleman (Mr. Brock)-that their policy, if carried out on the only basis on which Mr. Chamberlain said it could be carried out, and woollen goods were admitted free, that would close the woollen factories; and, for that reason, while we are prepared to accept a preference in the British market when Britain is able to give it to us, the distinction is that we say that this is a matter for the British parliament to consider-this parliament cannot legislate for the British people. And therefore we come to consider the question whether, until the British people adopt, if they ever do, this policy of preference for preference Canada shall continue to give them what we have given. So far as this party is concerned, we say we will continue to give it. That is plain. But what do hon. gentlemen opposite say ? That is what we want to know and what we have a right to know. What does the first lieutenant (Mr. Monk) of the leader of the opposition say ? I have made a fair statement, will he make one as fair ?

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

Well, I would drop it right off.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS.

Now we have it. And the statement was applauded and cheered. Here is another illustration of the beautiful harmony that exists in that party. The hon. leader of the party says: No, it would be an ungracious thing, and the Liberal-Conservative party never said that it should be done. But the hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) coming out from lying low, declared for dropping it. We do not find unanimity even in the applause that greeted the remark of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk). I am glad that we know where hon. gentlemen stand on the question. They

are opposed to the preferential tariff, but afraid to present a resolution calling for its repeal. Sir, we are in favour of it.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

The hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Paterson) will understand me. I said I was opposed to it as it is now, but not opposed to a mutual preference.

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The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS.

I understand perfectly. But we say we are in favour of it as it is now. We take the ground that when we took that step and gave that preference, we benefited ourselves. We left the general tariff high, too high for some people, but we carried out our policy as announced by giving a preference to Great Britain. And, by doing that-hon. gentlemen opposite may smile-we believe that we touched the British heart. You cannot convince intelligent people who read the comments of the English press when that was done, nor can you convince those who have been to the old land and he'ard the expressions of opinion by people over there, that the preference did not touch a sympathetic chord in the British heart and so became a means of opening the doors of the march of commerce to our products. A large part of the increase of your exports and the extra price you have got for them are due to that feeling that was aroused in Canada's favour by the preferential tariff.

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CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

Will the hon. gentleman allow me to ask him in what respect does that tariff preference benefit us ?

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The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS.

If he will ask the hon. member who sits beside him, the hon. member for Centre Toronto (Mr. Brock), he will get the answer that it has benefited the people of this country because they are buying their woollens cheaper than many of the mills could make them, and if it be considered an advantage to have a lower rate of duty, as the hon. gentleman has been blaming us for not having in view of the surplus, then it must be a benefit to us that we have this reduced rate of taxation. I say when you bring the question up as to whether Canadians will accept a preference in British markets, the Canadian people, the Canadian government, the Canadian parliament, will of course accept a preference if Britain sees fit to give it to us. But that is a question for the British people to decide, and we say that if ever the British people come to that determination, the strongest and most effectual step that ever could be taken to secure that preference will be found to have been the action of Canada in first giving a preference to the mother land and in maintaining it. I venture to say that if the time ever does come-and these gentlemen say it is coming fast, I shall not enter on the prophetic role, I know that things move fast in these days, I am not going to say the British people will never reverse their trade

member for East Toronto in this House. It is in 'Hansard.' The last man in a position of authority who ever tried to interview British statesmen in reference to the matter was that hon. gentleman.

I must not detain the House any longer. The question of expenditures have been dealt with, and charges of recklessness have been made. One hon. gentleman says that we have increased the expenditure by $33,000,000 in five years. These statements are so extreme that the people themselves would be prepared to discredit them upon investigation. But, let me just show how it was that instead of $33,000,000 of an increase in the expenditure, the increase has been much less. I have a statement of the four years from 1S97 to 1900, as compared with the four years from 1893 to 1896, and it shows that on consolidated fund account we increased the expenditure a little over $12.-

500,000, and that on capital account there was an increased expenditure of $4,000,000, making a total increase in expenditure in the period of four years from 1897 to 1900 as compared with the previous four years, of something like $16,000,000. Hon. gentlemen opposite hide from you the fact that the revenue that is derived from some sources does not mean taxation out of the pockets of the people to the extent they are speaking of. They do not point out the fact that while you have an expenditure of a million and a half extra on the Intercolonial Railway, not a cent of it came out of the pockets of the people hy way of taxation, but out of the increased earnings of that road, and that while you have had an expenditure during these years of some $4,000,000 in the Yukon, it did not come out of you in the way of taxation, but out of the receipts of the Yukon. Hon. gentlemen do not point these things out to you. It is the taxation that is taken out of the pockets of the people of the country that they are interested in, and the rate of taxation, as I pointed out before, has been materially lowered by this government since we came into power. [DOT] I just want to say a word more, because we are charged with extravagance in our expenditures of public money. Allusion was made to-day by one of the speakers, or perhaps the other night, to the charge that we had multiplied public officials, and it was asserted that we had run up the cost of the collection of revenue. That is true, to a certain extent, as far as the Department of Customs is concerned.

I am prepared to admit that there has been an increase in expenditure. But, you cannot collect $28,000,000 of the money for the goods that represents at the reduced rate of taxation without adding to the customs staff, to say nothing of the improvements we have made by way of statistics, the prevention of smuggling, &c. For every additional bill of goods that may come into tiie country you have additional work for clerks, landing waiters and appraisers.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

You cannot bring the Intercolonial Railway from Point Levis to Montreal and operate it without having some extra train hands. You cannot enlarge your postal service, and give facilities to different parts of the country without paying for it. There has been an increase, but people such as dwell in Canada will endorse an increase in the public expenditure for the collection of revenue, provided the public revenue has so increaseed as to warrant it. Turn to the Public Accounts, where it gives the cost of collection of revenue in the excise, the customs, the railways, the canals, the weights and measures, the post office, and in 1894-5, which. was the last fair year's

expenditure of the Conservative party

for their accounts in 1896, in my judgment, were not fair accounts-and you will find in the last year's fair expenditure of the Conservative government, that the charges under consolidated expenditure for the collection of revenue amounted to $9,129,416, while the total revenue collected that year was $33,978,129. The cost of collection was therefore 27 per cent. Now, in 1900 the total charge for collection of revenue amounted to $11,044,526, but the total revenue collected was $51,029,994, the cost of collection being 22 per cent, or 5 per cent less than it was under the Conservative government in 1894-5. If the cost of collecting revenue in 1900 had been at the same rate as in 1894-5, the expenditure would have been in round figures $2,750,000 more than it was, and I think that is an answer to the gentleman who charges us with having increased the expenditure.

Before concluding, Sir, I wish to allude to the subject with which the hon. gentleman from Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) closed his remarks in which he entered into the question as to whether there had been in the province whence he comes questions of race and creed introduced at the last election. I was glad to hear the words he spoke. They were a rebuke to men-I will not say in this House-but at all events they were a rebuke to a portion of the press which supports the Conservative party in the province of Ontario, and to a portion of the people there. I am glad he uttered these words. I re-echo the sentiment of the leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden, Halifax) given utterance to in this House on more than one occasion, and I cannot forbear quoting those words of his, which ought to find an echo in the breast of every man who is a lover of his country :

As has been well said by the right hon. gentleman, this is a matter into which party consideration should not enter. This is a 'matter which should be above all party considerations, and I, for one, as long as I have any voice in this House or in this country shall protest against any question of race or creed being introduced into the party politics of Canada. Grand sentiments these. In this debate that hon. gentleman (Mr. Borden, Halifax) dealt

*with this question again, and he used this language :

I think that to stand for the unity ol the people of this country and to suppress any cry of race or creed that may be raised, is a matter of greater importance to any political party in Canada than is the effort to obtain or retain power.

Grand sentiments. He recognizes the fact that ought to he recognized by all : That you may hold to a high tariff or to a low tariff, but that you should strive for a united people ; a people animated with if common desire to advance the welfare of their country, and to promote its progress in every portion of it. Why should these race and religious cries be introduced in a grand country like this ? Why should an attempt be made to separate the people and to obliterate that united feeling which is absolutely necessary : I will not say to the existence of confederation, but to the progress of Canada under confederation. I wish, Sir, it might be said that gentlemen on the other side, each in his place endeavoured to give effect to the noble sentiments uttered by the leader of their party. The hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) said in his speech the other day :

In the debate in this House the other day it was stated that race issues were being raised in North Bruce. I do not know whether 'they have been or not; but North Bruce has evidently remained, according to last reports, true to its old policy. I hope the electors of North Bruce did not vote on racial lines. If they voted on party lines, they had a right to vote as they did, it is a free country.

And here the hon. gentleman from East Grey (Mr. Sproule) arose in his place and said ;

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I would like to tell the hon. gentleman, as one who was there, that the racial question was never mentioned, so far as I know, either on the platform or off the platform.

I am bound to take the word of the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule), but not long before he uttered that statement he had a copy of this paper which I hold in my hand in his possession, and he brought up in the House as a matter of privilege, a statement contained in that paper, and when the Speaker ruled him out on that point he brought up, on going into Supply, an article headed ' Shameful Tactics,' which alleged that two mail clerks who had been sent, it was alleged, out of Wiarton to Owen Sound, so that they would not be present at the election. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Sproule) therefore had this paper in his possession. It is the Wiarton Canadian and Liberal-Conservative Banner of North Bruce. He read this extract from the paper :

The Grit machine has commenced its work in connection with the North Bruce by-election, and the act which has been perpetrated this

week by the Tarte-Laurier combination is one of the most shameful.

That alone ought be sufficient to indicate to the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sproule) that there was an attempt to raise the race and religious cry. We who went through the contest in Ontario know how a sneer accompanied the utterance of these words on more than one occasion. But, if the hon. member for East Grey did not detect it from that, he might have turned to the editorial page and read this :

Who raised the race and religious cry in reference to the coronation oath ? Who but John Costigan, a member of the present Reform government.

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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

It is pretty near.

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The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS.

The hon. member for West York says pretty near. He does not wholly repudiate that reference, you see, as a man with a proper sense ought to, when a deliberately penned lie is read to him.

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CON

Nathaniel Clarke Wallace

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALLACE.

I said a little premature. We are looking for his advent day by day.

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March 26, 1901