March 26, 1901

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The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS.

Again, perhaps the hon. member for West York will say this is not so far out :

Look at the construction of the present Grit government. Is it not nearly all French? Its majority is made up of French members, elected on the race and religion cry, and the cabinet is composed of a majority of representatives of Quebec.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Shame, shame.

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The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS.

I wanted the hon. leader of the opposition to be in his place to-night, because he said that so long as he had a voice left, he would protest against this kind of thing. I wanted him to be in this House to raise his voice in protest and to denounce the utterance of his banner sheet in this riding. As he truly said, it is important above any party consideration to preserve the unity of the people of this country; it is away above any party question as to whether you will have a 20 per cent tariff or a 25 per cent tariff. This paper goes on :

And yet they ask you to send a representative from North Bruce to assist this French majority in voting away Ontario's money for the benefit of Quebec, and have the effrontery to tell you that Conservatives raised the race and religion cry.

I am glad the hon. member for East Grey (Mr. Sproule) never heard the thing mentioned on the platform or off it, when he had this paper in his hand at the time, and could read about shameful tactics; and 1 hope that when the hon. gentleman rises, as I believe he is to follow me, he will express himself as his leader did, for I take it that he is opposed to such utterances as this. When he rose to assure the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) that

lie had never heard the race and religion question mentioned, he left the Impression that if any one had dared to mention it in his presence, he would have stamped it out. Now, they have formed a company in Wiarton to start a beet sugar factory. The people are interested in it, and anxious that this government should give it a bonus; and this paper says :

The beet sugar factory agitators support the Conservative candidate in North Bruce. In parliament the French members and government opposed the granting of the bounty, and secured a postponement of the discussion. We cannot have the bounty unless the Dominion assumes the provincial debt of French Quebec, which only amounts to $32,000,000, and with their majority they can succeed in that outrageous demand. Will the electors of North Bruce sanction this by sending to Ottawa a man to swell this French majority? We trow not.

I read this with pain. The general elections were over, and this election in North Bruce was not a matter of life or death to the Conservative party; but this is printed in this organ which was supporting hon. gentlemen who were battling in that contest. I hold with the hon. leader of the opposition that above any question of obtaining or regaining power it is important to frofwn down this sowing of the seeds of dissention among the people of Canada who, differ as they may in their origin, have equal rights and equal liberties. To seek to raise a prejudice against any portion of our people because of their origin or their faith, is something that should be frowned down by every man who is a lover of his country; and when it comes to the penning of deliberate lies, which gentlemen opposite know to be lies, to the effect that a majority of this government are French members, when hon. gentlemen know that of the sixteen members of the cabinet with portfolios, only three are of French origin, then the ungenerous nature of such statements is apparent.

Sir, if they would give honour where honour is due, as honour might be given to that element in this House which is accused of seeking domination or undue influence, they should know that when the cabinet of the right hon. leader of the government was formed, himself a leading French Canadian, he had, I think, one colleague of the same faith and religion as himself, with portfolio, and one without portfolio; and besides, from his province, which sent a large majority of its representatives to support him, he had an English-speaking Protestant without portfolio, and an English-speaking Protestant with portfolio, and a Protestant of French origin with another portfolio. That was the composition of it; and when unfortunately, and to the regret of the people of this country, that French representative in the cabinet without portfolio was taken away, instead of filling the vacancy, as he was entitled in justice and fair-play to his Mr. PATERSON.

own province to do, if it were disposed to take a narrow view of the matter, with one of the same origin and faith as the gentleman who died, he gave it to the province of Ontario and to a Scotch Presbyterian. And yet papers will be found to publish what I have read in your hearing against men who have acted in that noble way; and they venture to sneer at the names of Laurier and Tarte, as if there was something wrong and wicked about them, trying to sneer away men's reputatiofts. Men in public positions have feelings like other men; and if they have done wrong, accuse them of the wrong and prove it against them; but do not sneer away a man's reputation because he happens to differ from you. I am one of the few members left in this House who took part in the selection of the leader of the Liberal party who is now Prime Minister of this Dominion, and I can tell you that when Mr. Blake left this country and it became necessary for the Liberal party to select another leader, the minds of the party representatives turned instinctively towards one of their colleagues, and unanimously asked him to take the leadership. He declined; he asked us not to press it upon him; he fairly besought that we should give it to some one else. He even then intimated that it was possible that he might not be as strong as some others might be, because he was not of the origin or the faith of the majority of the people of this country. Instantly every Liberal replied: We are not asking you to take the leadership of the Liberal party because you are of French origin or because you are of the faith of the minority; we are not asking you from motives of policy; we are asking you because we believe you are the one amongst us all who is fitted to be the leader; and the Liberal party, when they find the man best fitted for the position, ask his services without caring what his race or religion may be, and that is why we want you to lead us. And he assented to it. It is possible that he may be stung by these insinuations thrown out at times. It is possible that a man of high feeling must feel once in a while the Injustice of such appeals. But I can only tell the right hon. gentleman that the right-thinking people of this country, whether Liberals or Conservatives, recognize in him the foremost man in Canada. I tell him that he has entrenched himself in the affections not alone of the French people-I am not speaking of them-but of the people of my own province. I give it as my unhesitating belief that he has entrenched, himself in the affections of the people of Ontario as securely as in those of his own province. When I think of the services he has rendered to this Dominion, when I picture the honour he reflected on his country among that galaxy of statesmen gathered in the streets of London from every centre of the world-encircling British Empire, when

I hear the shouts acclaiming him as he passed through the streets of that great metropolis, when I think of the standing which he gave Canada among the nations of the world such as she never had before,

I cannot but feel humiliated that any paper in the province of Ontario should publish such an ungenerous attack, should use such unworthy language as I have read, should strive to stir up the most ignoble prejudices against the leader of this government, and all to gain a temporary party advantage in a by-election. I am glad that the hon. gentleman who leads the opposition took the manly stand he did. I was delighted to hear his first lieutenant (Mr. Monk) tell us that in the province of Quebec political questions are not decided on lines of race and creed, but on lines of public policy. That is the way these questions should be decided, and we on this side reciprocate and re-echo the opinion expressed by the leader of the opposition, that questions such as I have referred to should never be raised in this country. As far as it lies in our power, we will abstain from using them, and our best exertions will be made to show that appeals such as 1 have read are unworthy of any people who pretend to the privilege of Canadian citizenship in this fair Dominion.

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Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).

The tragic display, Mr. Speaker, to which the hon. gentleman who has .just spoken worked himself up in his beautiful peroration, and the righteous indignation which he introduced into that fulsome eulogy that he expended on his leader, suggested to me that there was a little something indelicate about it. What it had to do with the financial policy of the government or the great questions of the day, I am unable to see. All through the hon. gentleman's speech, or at different times through it, the conviction was forced on >my mind that the hon, gentleman imagined that noise was strength of argument, or that his argument was strong in proportion to its noise. If it was, he certainly treated the House to a very strong argument. But a careful analysis, I am afraid, would lead to another conclusion. The hon. gentleman, in his peroration, selected a subject that he thought would be attractive from its sympathetic na- j ture, and one admirably suited to the occasion, and that was the race and religious cry, and in so doing he referred to some remarks made by the hon. member for East Grey a few days ago when the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Mar-cil) referred to the race and religious cry raised in North Bruce. I replied then that although I had taken part in that campaign,

I had never heard race and religion mentioned on the platform or off it, and I repeat that statement here to-night. The hon. member the Minister of Customs took that as his text, and took up the Wiarton Canadian, and read the heading of an article that

I brought to the attention of the House-an article complaining that the mail carriers in North Bruce had been taken away from home to prevent their voting in the by-election then going on. I read that article from first to last, and the hon. gentleman, holding it up, exclaimed in his righteous indignation with that fervour so peculiar to himself, and asked in thundering tones : Was there any race and religion cry in that, when 1 you talk about the Tarte-Laurier combine ? Well, Mr. Speaker, that is a very common form of expression. We speak of the Ross-Hardy combine and the Mowat-Hardy combine. And our Reform friends used to speak of the Macdonald-Langevin and the Macdonald-Cartier combine. Therefore, there was nothing in that, in my opinion, disrespectful or severe from the race or religion standpoint. Why then should the hon. gentleman have worked himself up to such a righteous indignation over something that had not a solitary word of race and religion in it from first to last. The hon. gentleman did not dare to read it all, because if he had the House would have seen that all his indignation went for nothing, because there was not a word about race or religion in the whole article.

He then selected another- article treating of French domination. Well, I would like to ask him if he could not have taken up many French papers in the province of Quebec during the last campaign and read articles that savoured very much more of race and religious cries than were contained in the one he quoted ?

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

No.

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Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I have seen many of them quoted and can assure you the language was much stronger and the spirit of the articles much more intensely imbued with the race and religious cry than any the hon. gentleman has read.

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE.

I can tell the hon. gentleman that it is not so. I would like him to quote any such papers.

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Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

I have not the papers, but have seen them quoted over and over again in other papers, and never saw them repudiated. Speaking of the race and religious cry, I passed through that campaign in Ontario last September, and I say, and say it frankly and in justice, not only to our own party, but to the French people of this country, that although I spoke in various ridings and on many platforms, I never heard the word Frenchman oi-| Catholic mentioned on any platform in that campaign. The conduct of the government was discussed, their management or mismanagement of our affairs. their carrying out or failure to carry out the promises they had made, their

extravagance, their unbusinesslike policy- but not a word about race or religious questions. And X should have considered myself beneath contempt if I had used such arguments or even allowed them to be used in my presence without rebuke. So far as I know, and I think I am in a position to know, such a cry was not raised in Ontario, no such argument influenced the election. I wish to say that in justice to the Frenchspeaking people and to the English-speaking people. The English-speaking people would not want to win an election on such a cry. I am surprised that the memories of hon. gentlemen opposite are so short that they cannot remember how we were obliged to meet that same cry of French domination every year from 1878 to 1887. I have stood on platform after platform and have had to defend the Conservative party against the cry of French domination. I thought it an unworthy cry, and I met and fought it as best I could. The hon. Minister of Customs should not think that the memory of the people of Ontario is so short that they cannot remember when the cry of French domination was one of the most successful raised in the interest of the Liberal party.

Now, I wish to refer to some arguments that the hon. member used, before I speak on this question generally. The hon. Minister of Customs said that the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) says that it is no part of our duty to give parliament and the country the benefit of our views of policy, and he criticised him adversely, because he did not do it. Does he forget that he sat behind his own leader for years when that gentleman was intrenched, as he said, behind the lines of torres vedras, and declared on platform after platform that it was the duty of an opposition to criticise the government, not to furnish them with a policy. To-night he sings another song-as an hon. gentleman beside me remarks, he cannot sing the old song. The hon. gentleman tells us that there are three or four hundred items in the tariff and that we must not expect the supporters of the government to agree upon them. We have had ample proof that they do not agree. During this debate, member after member on that side has arisen and declared that he favoured protection, or incidental protection, or bounties on iron, or bonuses, or some other of the various plans embodied in a protective tariff, while all the time admitting that they were prepared to vote against these things in support of the government. The hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) was in favour of protection. We remember that in 1879 his father was in this House declaiming against protection. I could not help thinking, when the hon. gentleman was speaking, of the adage about the boy being the' father of the man. I do not think yon could find half a dozen men among Mr. SPROULE.

the government supporters who are in exact agreement as to the proper tariff for this country or whether the present tariff is a proper one or not. The hon. minister refers to the fact that the government is taunted with the imperfections of the tariff, but he asks us if we forget that the country has endorsed them and their tariff. I would remind the hon. gentleman that the great province of Ontario before which he laid that tariff so eloquently, both he and his friends, declared against them by a majority of eighteen or nineteen. He went to the country with a majority of twelve from Ontario and, after doing his best to convince the people that the tariff was right, he comes back with a minority of eighteen from that province. As he is one of the leaders of that party in Ontario, the fact that his own province lias declared against him, notwithstanding his efforts to win it over to favouring his argument, should cause him to be less vigorous in his claim that the country has supported him. The hon. minister went on to speak of the development of our trade and to say that this was a justification of our tariff. He noticed the fact that the government were reminded that the increase in our exports was due to the beneficence of Providence and not to anything the government had done. He says they acknowledge all that Providence has done, but, if there had not been a wiser, businesslike government in control of affairs, that development could not have taken place to the same extent. But I have figures here to show that that development in the export trade was no greater than that which has taken place in similar trade in the United States, and that country did not have this wise and beneficent government to direct its affairs. It had the advantages of Providence the same as the hon. gentlemen over there had. But I only give this as an evidence that the expansion of our trade was not due to any business management of the government of the day. but was rather due to the fact that we had good crops, we had bountiful harvests, we had comparatively good prices for what we had to sell, and there was a revival of trade all over the world after the stagnation that had prevailed for several years in manufactures and industrial pursuits. Good times prevailed all over the world, and as a result we enjoyed an expansion of trade during that time.

Then he goes on to say that it was largely due to the Minister of Agriculture's cold storage. Now, how much had it to do with it, it would be interesting to inquire. I heard a statement made in this House the other night that amused me. An hon. gentleman, speaking on the other side, said : Do you suppose that the development of the butter trade, of the cheese trade, of the fruit trade, would have been so great but for the admirable cold storage system introduced by the Minister of Agriculture?

I wonder if the Minister of Agriculture thinks he was responsible for that development by his cold storage. I have no doubt that he endeavours to make the people of the country believe it, and his friends behind him try to make us believe it, when they resort to arguments like that. Now, in view of this contention, let me refer to the report of the Minister of Agriculture himself, where he gives a comparison of the exports of the country in cold storage for the last three years :

Of butter, while there were 209,175 packages sent out in cold storage in 1898, and 429,734 in 1899, in 1900 there were only 227,863. Of cheese, while there were 5,000 packages sent out in 1898, there were only 1,000 sent out in 1899, and not a single package in 1900. Of fruit, there were sent out 25,564 packages in 1898, 16,381 in 1899 and only 8,785 in 1900.

The cold storage had been responsible, as the hon. gentleman behind him said, for the great development in the cheese trade when there was an export of $19,000,000 worth. What, then, about this cold storage now ? Would the hon. gentleman not like to take that argument back and revise it ? Will he not refrain from addressing such an argument to the House, when the Minister of Agriculture's own report is so readily at hand ? Now, take fruit. In 1898, they sent out 25,000 packages ; in 1899, only 16,000 packages ; in 1900, only 8,000, one-third as much as they sent out in 1898. I give that as an answer to the argument of the hon. Minister of Customs, who attributes the great development in the exports of these lines to the admirable cold storage arrangements of the Minister of Agriculture.

Then, the hon. gentleman went on to tell us what statesmanship was, and lie referred to some definition of it from this side of the House. He gave his own definition, and said that statesmanship consisted in compromising and harmonizing what was otherwise antagonistic. He read from a carefully-made statement of what statemanship is. I suppose he went into the library and culled out from standard authors his argument.

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The MINISTER OP CUSTOMS.

No, I was reading an extract from the speech of the hon. member for East York (Mr. Maclean).

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Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The hon. gentleman went on to define what he regarded as statemanship. His explanation of it reminded me of the story of a professor who was demonstrating to his class what chemistry was. He said : You will take an effervescent, you will add a deliquescent, there will be a precipitation, that is a conglomeration, that is a demonstration, and that is chemistry. That is about as intelligible a definition of chemistry as the hon. gentleman's definition of statemanship, and about as convincing. Then, the hon. gentleman spoke about the preferential tariff. It is true, he said, that it

struck one or two lines, it is true that it has struck the woollen trade of this country. He says: I sympathize with the woollen industry, I am sorry if they stand to lose by it; but, I believe that by applying themselves with energy to the situation, and employing all the resources of their enterprise and their intelligence, they will be able to overcome these difficulties after awhile. Does not that savour a little of the answer given by the hou. member for South Oxford (Sir Richard Cartwright) to the manufacturers in 1878, when he told them that all they had to do was to work harder and eat less? It is practically the same answer. That is the solution he offers to the woollen trade.

Then, the hon. member went on to give us a dissertation with regard to book-keeping, why you should charge a certain item to capital account and another to current account. He selected the iron bounties as an example, and said the iron bounties was a permanent improvement in the country, because it developed the mines, and should, therefore, be charged to capital account. It was exactly the same, he said, as if you were to put money into a railway which would run on indefinitely in the future for the benefit of the country. Does he forget that when that bounty is paid on iron a large percentage of the article goes out of the country, and is of no further use to the country ? The only benefit it is to the country is the employment it affords to men in mining the raw material, and in manufacturing it, but after it goes out it is of no permanent benefit to Canada ; therefore, I say it should not be charged to capital account. There is no comparison between charging an item of that nature to capital account and an item that goes into the construction of a public building, or a railway, or something that must remain in perpetuity an asset of the country.

The hon. gentleman went on to tell us that the average rate of duty, from 1896, as compared with 1900, was much higher in the former period. He said it was 24 per cent higher in 1896 than in 1900. Now, I would not like to apply to the hon. gentleman what I once heard a speaker say on a public platform with regard to another, who had given a lot of figures to strengthen his case, and who had tried to clinch his argument by reminding his audience that figures will not lie. 'No,' replied his opponent, ' figures won't lie, but sometimes liars will figure.' I do not wish to apply that saying to the hon. gentleman, because I would be sorry to believe that he deliberately tried to misrepresent figures. But, I want to say that if he had wished to be fair, he would not have taken those periods. He took the very best year for showing a low percentage of duty in imports during the whole time his party was in power, in 1900. Does he not know that the larger importations of free goods would

have reduced the rate of duty ? Does he not know that the larger importations of certain lines would do it ? He took the very worst year of the Conservative government to make that comparison. If he had desired to be fair he would have taken the four years of the Conservative administration and the subsequent four years of the Liberal administration. Had he done so, it would have shown him that during the four years his party was in power, the average rate of duty was 17'.125 for the whole four years. Now, take the previous four years, and we find it was 17'445, or a difference of exactly 32-100ths of 1 per cent. Now, does not the Minister of Customs think he would have been much fairer if he had used the argument in that way, and given these figures to the House ? To fake the very best year under their regime and the very worst under his, misleads the people and the country.

Then the hon. gentleman went on to speak of the efforts made by the hon. member for East Toronto (Mr. Kemp) and some of his associates in England to discuss the question of mutual preferential trade with Lord Salisbury, and he very properly said that Lord Salisbury said that it was not an opportune time to discuss that question. He gave his reasons. In the first place, the Australian colonies are endeavouring to confederate, and therefore they cannot join in the request made by Canada. In the second place, we have the South African war on our hands and this is monopolizing the attention of the British Empire as of the rest of the world. We have an election coming on in the near future, we desire to appeal to the country, and therefore it is not an opportune time. Was that not a reasonable and correct reply ? Certainly it was a correct reply. Lord Salisbury's aim was to appeal to the people of England upon the policy that was carried out In South Africa and he did not want to have it mixed up with anything else. He said that it was not an opportune time because he did not want to mix up these other questions which were comparatively irrelevant to the situation as it then existed. The vital question was whether the government were carrying out a proper policy in South Africa or not. That is the reason he gave, and a proper one it was, why he did not wish to grant an interview to the deputation. I wish to touch upon that afterwards, and I will say no more about it at the present time.

The hon. gentleman went on and gave us another evidence of the way in which they are conducting the affairs of the country. He said : We are told that the management of the affairs of this country is extravagant because we have appointed dozens and dozens of officers more than are needed, and the argument he adopts to prove this is by showing that it cost 5 per cent less to collect the revenue last year than in 1896. On its face it would appear prima Mr. SPROULE.

facie to be a good argument along that line, but the hon. gentleman would be the last man not to see where the fallacy of that argument comes in. Does he not know that the larger the revenue is, the lower is the cost of collecting it ? A hundred customs officers could collect a revenue of $10,000,000, but if you require to collect a revenue of $20,000,000 it would not necessarily follow that you would have to employ 200 officers. The same men will do the same duty and collect the double amount just as easily as the smaller amount. So, the argument of the hon. gentleman is very unfair. Then, he took a year when the collections were very large, when the importations were large and when there was comparatively no increased cost in the collection of the revenue, compared it with the year in which a smaller amount of revenue was collected, divided it by the number of collectors, or struck the percentage, and in that way made a favourable showing. I will give the hon. gentleman another illustration: Go down to the station and you will find a conductor, an engineer and a brake-man, who are to have charge of a train carrying one hundred passengers. You will have the same number of men if that train carries two hundred passengers, and it will not cost a cent more to do it. If the hon. gentleman's argument is correct, it would cost twice as much to carry two hundred passengers as it would cost to carry one hundred. I do not propose to touch any more upon the hon. gentleman's arguments at the present. I may refer to some other portions of his remarks later on.

I wish to say a few words in regard to the speech that we were pleased to hear from the hon. Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Fielding), who said that the country as a whole was in a prosperous condition, and that the people were amply employed at remunerative wages. This affords us quite as much pleasure as it does hon. gentlemen opposite, but, it was unnecessary to tell us that, because we all knew it. The people of the country knew it quite as well as the hon. Minister of Finance did. But we differ from the hon. Minister of Finance and his friends in their contention that this prosperity is brought about by their wise management of public affairs. We claim that it is not brought about by their wise management of public affairs, and it is proper to analyse and ascertain how far, if in any degree, they were responsible for bringing about these good times. The good times which we enjoy is the result of the cycle of good times coming after hard times. The whole world is enjoying better times. The surplus productions of the looms and factories had been used up after many years during which there was a larger output, leaving us with increased demands for these lines, and when the good times started the looms started again, the factories extended their business, the workmen were employed

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at larger wages, values were higher, aud we had good times. In addition to that a bountiful Providence gave us good crops for several years. Does the hon, gentleman forget that the worst years for failure of crops we ever saw in the last quarter of a century were the few years preceding 1896 ? In our section of the country we never saw the like of them since I was a boy eight or nine years of age. One of the chief factors in bringing about good times is that the people are being employed at remunerative wages, and it is not the result of the management of the country by the government or anything of that kind. In what way do hon. gentlemen claim that they have brought about these good times ? Will they tell us in what way ? We have asked the question over and over again and have not received an answer. We asked them to give us the particulars, to specify what way they have brought about good times. Have they given the people employment at higher wages or have they done anything else to bring about this result ? If they can say that they have done so, we will be inclined to believe that they are entitled to some credit for the good times. Good times are the result of ample employment for the people at remunerative wages, bountiful crops and a good market in which to sell. What have lion, gentlemen had to do in regard to making the crops bountiful ? Sunshine, rain and atmosphere have accomplished that and they had nothing to do with it. What did they do towards getting us better markets ? They have not got us a new market in any part of the world other than the markets we had when they came into power. How have they increased the value of the product of the people of this country where employed industrially ? Did they increase the value of the product of the farmer? No, not by a single fraction of a cent. They cannot successfully claim that they are responsible for the good times by anything they have done in their management of public affairs. What have the government had to do with bringing about this development ? Nothing, except so far as their additional expenditure of public money gave employment to the people. I admit that they have spent money a little more extravagantly than their predecessors, and that in that way they may have helped to give employment to the people. Their management of public affairs might be very well criticised at the present time, may properly be adversely criticised in many lines, but I do not deem it proper to detain the House for that purpose to-night, because this debate has been prolonged to such an extent that it would only be using time that I believe I can put to a better purpose in other lines.

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The MINISTER OF CUSTOMS.

Are you through with me ?

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Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Certainly, in respect to the hon. gentleman. I thank the hon. gentleman for his courtesy because he has shown a good deal more than is sometimes exhibited by some hon. gentlemen on that side of the House when we endeavour to answer them. The government claim that their system of revenue tariff based on free trade lines, has produced an overflowing revenue, and has given them ample means for the needs of the country. Well, their tariff system has resulted in one thing, and that is that it gives them lots of money to spend. But, if the hon. member for South Oxford (Hon. Sir Richard Cartwright) were in opposition to a government which pursued the policy which they are pursuing, he would no doubt apply the same argument that he did to the Conservative government when they had a surplus of $6,000,000, and when he said that every dollar that you take out of the people of the country more than is absolutely needed is a dollar that goes to impoverish the people, and a dollar of taxation based upon unsound economic principles. Therefore, according to the opinion of the hon. gentleman (Sir Richard Cartwright) in the past, the present Liberal tariff is all wrong in principle. These gentlemen opposite tell us that theirs is a revenue tariff approximating as closely as possible to free trade, but let us analyse that a little; let us ask ourselves: what is a revenue tariff and how should a tariff be framed for the sole purpose of getting revenue. When you impose a tariff solely for the purpose of getting revenue you impose it upon the necessaries of life which the people must purchase, and which the country does not produce. Therefore, a duty on tea, sugar, coffee, and such articles would be in the line of a revenue tariff. Nor does it necessarily follow in this, that you must impose a high tariff. I quote from Perry, a free trade writer who is one of the ablest authorities on this tariff question, and he says :

While revenue taxes select by preference things wholly Imported, protectionist taxes are placed of course on such foreign goods as are also and especially made or grown at home.

A revenue tariff taxes imported goods alone, but a protectionist tariff aims at shutting out foreign importations and, therefore, keeping the home market for the people of the country.

Otherwise their plain and sole purpose would be thwarted, which completes the contrast between the two kinds of tariffs. For illustration, tea and coffee are the best things to tax under a revenue tariff.

Did this government tax tea and coffee ? They did not. The hon. member (Sir Richard Cartwright) taxed them in 1876 when he was adhering to the principle of a revenue tariff, but his experience in that line did not cause him to repeat the experiment. He taxed tea and coffee two cents more in 1877, but he found still he could not raise sufficient revenue owing to hard times, and consequently greatly reduced importations. Then he acted on the correct prin-

ciple of a revenue tariff, but this time he left tea and coffee aloue, because the people had checked him severely for his policy in that direction before. Although he declared before the last elections that he wanted a revenue tariff, he did not put a tax upon those articles which can only be selected to produce a revenue tariff. Tea and coffee are lit subjects to produce a revenue tariff, because they are in universal consumption and are wholly imported, and taxes upon them do not raise the price of anything else in the country. Again, Perry in his ' Principles of Political Economy,' says :

There is a tariff for revenue. The sole purpose of the tariff, as such, is to get money by this mode of indirect taxation out of the pockets of the people for the coffers of the government, in order to be then expended. ... As the sole object is to get money for the national treasury, and as money can only be gotten as the foreign goods taxed are allowed to come in. such taxes must be levied at a low rate.

Now, a 17 per cent tariff is uot a low rate, and a 20 per cent and a 30 per cent tariff is not a low rate. I quote this to show that when the Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Fielding) declared that he was imposing a tax for revenue purposes only, he wandered very far astray from the principle upon which a revenue tariff can only be imposed :

Such taxes must be levied at a low rate on each article taxed, so as not to interfere essentially with the bringing in of that class of goods with a proiit to the importers, and not at all to encourage the smuggling of them in.

Perry goes on to say that when England raised taxes on a revenue basis she placed a tax on coffee, tea, chicory, chocolate, fruit, malt, pickles, tobacco, &c. She placed a customs duty upon these because they were necessaries of life which must be imported and on which the people could not get out Sf paying the tax. Therefore, according to one of the very best authorities on this question, the policy of this government cannot in any sense be called a revenue tariff. Now, as to the ways and means by which they are raising that revenue. In what respect does the principle of taxation adopted by this government materially differ from that adopted by the Conservatives '! These gentlemen tell us that they impose a tariff for revenue, but so adjusted and so imposed as to give us as nearly as possible free trade. The Conservative policy was, to distribute these customs duties and excise' taxes so that they not only raised a revenue, but protected the interests of the people against foreign competition. That is the principle of political economy that divides the two political parties to-day more than any other. The member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) asked a very pertinent question when he said :

Do these gentlemen opposite charge that the government in its past management of the financial affairs of this country, or in its proposals

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

for the future, has violated some economic principle? If so, what is it?

My answer is in the affirmative. The Liberal government violated that economic principle of tariff, when they told the people of the country that they were imposing a tariff for revenue purposes, and when they framed their tariff on exactly the same lines as their Conservative predecessors who had a tariff for protective purposes. The Liberal party always held that a revenue tariff based upon free trade lines as nearly as possible, is the correct principle, and they say that they are pursuing that policy now.

Their contention is that their tariff is a tariff for revenue only, while it is to a great extent the same tariff as that imposed by their predecessors. Let us analyse it a little further. I may say in passing that a tariff may be at once a protective tariff and a revenue tariff. That was the kind of tariff which we had under the Conservative government from 1879 to 1896 ; but a tariff cannot be at once a free trade tariff and a revenue tariff, because they are entirely inconsistent with each other. Hon. gentlemen opposite have always claimed that the national policy was a protective tariff, while their tariff is a revenue tariff, on free trade lines. Let us suppose that the Finance Minister is talking in that way to an audience of farmers. I would answer him by saying, how can you say that when two cents a pound was imposed on pork coming into the country under the tariff of 1896 that it is a high protective tariff, and the same duty is levied still, when you now call it a revenue tariff. How could it be a protective tariff in 1896 and a revenue tariff in 1900 ? It was a protective tariff in 1S96, is it not the same to-day, when you have exactly the same duty ? I would like him to explain that to the farmers of the country. Then, I would take some of the other lines. He would say to the farmers : We have changed the principle of taxation ; we have given you a revenue tariff based on free trade lines as nearly as possible. Then I would say to the farmers, ask the Finance Minister this question. There was 20 per cent imposed on agricultural implements in 1896, and it was declared year after year by the Liberal party that that was a high protective duty and that the farmers should have it reduced so as to enable them to get cheaper implements ; but the hon. gentleman has been in power for four years, and the duty on these implements to-day is 20 per cent, exactly the same duty that existed in 1896. If it was a protective duty in 1896, how can it be otherwise in 1900 ? On live hogs coming into the country in 1896 there was a duty of 14 cents a pound. There is the same duty to-day. It was a protection to the farmers in 1896; will the hon. gentleman say that, although the duty

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MAECI-I 26,1901


is tlie same to-day, it is no longer a protective tariff, but a revenue tariff on free trade lines ? On meats brought into the country in 1896 there was a duty of 2 cents a pound, and it was declared to be a protective duty in the interests of the farmers. When the hon. gentleman went to his own province, he asked the people there. Are you going to stand a duty of 75 cents a barrel on flour that comes from Ontario, and 15 cents a bushel on wheat ? He said it was the most odious tax that could be imposed, and declared that the principle of it was wrong. But he came into power and introduced his own tariff, and continued these duties. If it was a protective tariff levied on the protective principle in 1896, it cannot be otherwise to-day ; it is exactly the same. On fresh meats there was a duty of 3 cents a pound in 1896, and there is the same duty to-day. If it was a high protective duty in 1896, it must be a high protective duty to-day. I take canned meats ; there was 25 per cent on them, and there is 25 per cent to-day. I take condensed milk : there was 3 cents a pound duty in 1896; there is 3 cents a pound today. If it was a protective tariff then, it is to the same extent to-day. On apples there was a duty of 40 cents a barrel then, Imposed in the interests of the farmers, and it is 40 cents a barrel to-day. Therefore, I say that if the tariff was a high protective tariff in 1896, it is the same in 1900. Take hay, on which a duty of $2 a ton was imposed in 1896 ; the same duty exists to-day. On potatoes there was a duty of 15 cents a bushel then and there is the same to-day. On butter there was 4 cents a pound then, and there is 4 cents a pound to-day. On cheese there was 3 cents a pound then, and there is 3 cents a pound to-day. I merely cite these articles, because the farmer will be familiar with the argument and can analyse it for himself. It will enable him to see how he is deceived by the Finance Minister, who says to-day, our tariff is not levied on the same principle as the tariff levied by our predecessors ; it is levied as a revenue tariff on free trade lines, while our predecessors' levied their tariff for the purposes of protection. But I say that on every one of these articles the tariff that was a protective tariff in 1896 cannot be a free trade or a revenue tariff to-day. To that extent the arguments of hon. gentlemen opposite are entirely fallacious. When they say that their tariff is a revenue tariff based on free trade lines, I ask, what do you think of the bounty system ? The father of the hon. gentleman who represents South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie), when in this House in 1879, as the member for that riding, said that the bounty system was one of the most odious and extreme forms of protection that any government or any country could apply. But I was amused to hear his son, twenty-two years afterwards, 68} get up and say : ' We do not object to these systems of protection, but we do object to those who use them to delude the people.' He said he did not object to the bounty system, although it is a system of protection, so long as it is kept within reasonable bounds; and he went on to defend the bounty on iron. I thought how time brings about changes, because the father took the very opposite ground to that taken by the son. The rebate is another system of protection ; but this government are giving rebates just as their predecessors did. Drawbacks are also a protective principle. I remember very distinctly the father of the present member for South Wellington saying that drawbacks could be defended on no grounds. He was speaking of the drawback given to the millers who ground wheat being sent out of the country. Then he went on to try and get a little sympathy from the people of the maritime provinces by saying that the millers of Ontario are allowed to get a drawback on what they sent out of the country. The millers of Ontario are allowed a drawback on what they send out of the country, but you are obliged to pay a duty of 75 cents per barrel on that flour when it goes down to you, and, therefore, it is wrong. I say that we do not object to the system of protection which these hon. gentlemen have adopted so much as we do to the fact that they have endeavoured to delude the people by telling them that the system is not what it is in reality-by pretending that they have adopted a free trade policy, or something very much nearer it than the policy of their predecessors, and that the taxes are not imposed on protective but on free trade lines as near as possible. What we on this side claim is, that in this tariff system which they have adopted, and which is to some extent protective-and to that extent we do not object to it-the protective element is very much impaired by the way it is carried out. How is it impaired ? In the first place, by the preferential rate. By that rate they have struck at one of the most important industries in the country. The Minister of Customs said that the woollen men had his sympathy, and that he was confident they would devise a means, with their energy and enterprise, of protecting themselves, and he hoped sincerely they would succeed in maintaining their status. The hon. member for South Oxford (Hon. Sir Richard Cartwright), in 1877-8, was just as sincere in his regard for the manufacturers who were going to the wall at that time, but, like the present hon. minister, he did not raise a hand to relieve them from their difficulties. I say that the protective system of our tariff is very much impaired by the reduction on British goods. I have cited one line, but could easily cite others, which would furnish an argument quite as strong, to show the importance of the woollen industry. I need only refer to the



fact that there is a capital of about $25,030,000 invested in plant and machinery, and the requirements necessary to keep this machinery in operation. About one-half of that is a turn over every year. That industry employs about 50,000 workingmen, to whom very good wages have been paid, until lately, when the establishments had to reduce the wages on account of their present condition. The output every year represents a value of about $30,000,030, but, at present, in ail human probability, it will be reduced to about one-half on account of this preferential tariff. Will it be any satisfaction to the labouring men and others engaged in that industry to know that we have given a preference to England, when it is this preference which tnrows them out of employment ? Will it he any consolation to them to know that in our generosity we have thrown off one-third of the duties imposed on British goods, when our generosity has prevented them earning bread for themselves and families ? I do not think it will. Let me give the figures for one mouth to show what the preference is doing to these men. Take the importations of worsted fabrics in January, 1900, compared with January, 1901. In January, 1900, we imported worsted fabrics to the value of £82,871 sterling, and in January, 1901, the importations had increased to the extent of £105,440 sterling. Woollen fabrics, we imported in January, 1900. to the extent of £36,168 sterling, and in January, 1901, that import had increased to the extent of £50,871 sterling. Is it any wonder that the men interested in this industry are beseeching the government to protect them against this condition of affairs ? Is it any wonder that they are imploring the government to give that great industry a chance to live, and not sacrifice it to their desire to show generosity to the old country. 1 have in my hand a copy of a letter addressed to the Finance Minister, and which shows the condition of that great industry to-day. When I read it, then the House will see that there is a strong reason why the government should not disregard with callous indifference the appeals made to them to save that1 great industry, and keep employed the workingmen engaged in it : I beg to inclose herewith a paragraph taken from last week's Journal of Fabrics, showing the imports of woollen and worsted fabrics as compared with last year. You will notice a startling increase for the month of January, nearly 40 per cent, in woollen fabrics, and over 35 per cent in worsted fabrics. You will note also that there Is a falling off in all other textile exports from Great Britain to Canada, except carpct3, which is slightly increased, about 10 per cent. When we interviewed you in Ottawa we told you that the 33J preferential rate had not fully gotten into operation, and that we should feel It when the spring imports were received. Our worst fears are more than realized. Our future looks desperate. Surely there is some way in which you can afford relief. There were


CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

over fifty employees discharged at the Auburn mills, Peterborough, last week. Fifty more will be laid off this week, as the orders are being completed, and no new orders coming in. During the past month we have discharged over 200 employees at Hespeler alone. Lomas's mill at Almonte has completely closed down, and other mills are running on short time. The repeat orders for spring are of such a small character, and coming in so slowly that it looks as though there would not be in six months from now 25 per cent of the woollen-machinery in operation that there was in July of last year. I cannot think that you will allow that condition of affairs to continue. It is a case of life and death with us, and matters should not be allowed to drift along until next year. Our help will be scattered. I am informed by Mr. Brodie that forty-seven men left Hespeler last week for the United States.

Yet, these lion, gentlemen say that their policy is giving employment to people and keeping them in the country. Forty-seven operatives, men who have learned their trade, who are valuable as consumers, who are good citizens, and who have been producing wealth every day, have gone across the line to enrich Uncle Sam, but to impoverish us to the same extent.

They left their families behind until they obtained work, when they propose to send for them. Our machinery will he lying idle and getting out of condition. Fixed charges will be running on, and there will be a very ruinous loss of capital before the end of this year. Our general manager informs us that owing to the state of his orders he will be obliged to discharge over 200 more persons by the 10 th April

Within three weeks two hundred in addition to the number already discharged, and yet the Finance Minister sits by and allows this to take place-does not move a hand to prevent it.

-which will* leave only 400 at the mill, where we employed up to quite recently, 800. I fear you do not realize the serious condition of the woollen industry, and the danger it is in of being completely extinguished.

Woollen machinery is only fit for making woollen goods, and buildings are erected especially for the convenience of manufacturing woollens. It is all very well for people who have no practical knowledge of these things to say with a light heart

as many members of parliament do in their speeches-' why not turn your attention to something else?' Well, when everything one has got is invested in an enterprise, what can he turn his attention to? It requires capital and experience to embark in any manufacturing enterprise. Our capital Is Invested in the woollen industry, and our experience is in the manufacturing of woollen goods. I venture to say that you do realize that the woollen industry is the only one that has been hit and hit hard, and I may say, without the slightest exaggeration, is on the brink of ruin by the operation of the preferential tariff.

We do not object to the preference to Great Britain, we are prepared to support it, but the tariff should be so arranged that we should be put on an equality with the Lancashire manufacturer.

I can assure you that the situation is really serious, and the financial institutions who are

supporting the various large woollen industries -what I mean by supporting is discounting their paper and making them advances-are becoming seriously alarmed. If they withdraw their confidence and refuse to continue to make advances, the mills will have to close down, and that is just what is in sight, I fear.

It looks to us, and to a great many of the members of the House, that the woollen industry has been singled out for the severest competition, not only by reason of the extent to which German goods are smuggled into Canada through Great Britain under pretense of partial manufacture in England. You will note that the several departments of the textile trade are relatively untouched by the preferential tariff. The silk trade, the linen trade, the jute trade, and the cotton trade all appear to be exempt from severe competition suffered by the woollen mills.

I greatly regret to say that many of the members of the House I have spoken with do not vote as they talk, as I have been assured by many of them, including some jnembers of the cabinet

Do not forget that.

*-that they were protectionists, and that we ought to have some relief; but they vote the other way when relief is asked for. I hate to put it in that way, but it is a true statement of the case.

In making this appeal I do so in the hope that the facts already before you, and the additional information contained herein will be fully and fairly considered by the government, and that something will be done for us this session.

Now, is it any wonder that the men engaged in this trade have been almost on their bended knees beseeching the Minister of Finauee for relief from their present conditions.

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LIB

Ralph Smith

Liberal

Mr. SMITH (Vancouver).

May I ask the hon. gentleman (Mr. Sproule), who is the author of that letter ?

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

There is uo name on it. It is a copy of a letter sent to the Minister of Finance, but there is no signature on this copy. But the hon. minister knows who is the writer, and he will be able to give the name.

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?

The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

If 1 were reading the letter I should do so.

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March 26, 1901