When I introduced this Bill I stated that the intention was to have it referred to the Committee on Railways, Canals and Telegraph Lines. I now move that the Bill be referred to that committee.
The MINISTER OP JUSTICE moved second reading of Bill (No. 28) respecting Telegraph and Telephone Companies. Motion agreed to and Bill read a second time.
Hon. Mr. HAGGART.
Motion agreed to.
SUPPLY-DUTY ON HORSES.
The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) moved that the IJouse go again into Committee of Supply.
Mr. N. BOYD (Macdonald).
Before you leave the Chair, Mr. Speaker, I wish to call the attention of the House, and more particularly the attention of the Minister of Trade and Commerce and Minister of Customs to the law that we think is working most unfairly against the horse breeders of Manitoba and the North-west particularly, and also against the interest of the horse breeders throughout western Canada. I refer to the very low rate of the customs valuation at which horses are permitted to come into this country. The minimum value at which a horse may be imported is $15 and at the rate of 20 per cent the duty amounts only to the $3 which is practically nothing. In consequence a very inferior breed of horses has been admitted into the Northwest Territories and Manitoba. This practice has a most injurious effect upon the breed of horses. The horse breeders of Manitoba and the North-west Territories have gone to enormous expense in introducing from England, from Scotland, from Ireland and from the United States some of the very best blood to be procured in these countries. The effect has been to produce animals that are a credit to any country. But this has been seriously interfered with during the past few years by permitting cheap, low grade animals to come in at a valuation of ?15, or on payment of a duty of $3 per animal. The House will see the injurious effect that this must have on the breeding of horses in Canada. I understand that the evil has reached Ontario, and that car loads and even train loads of horses of this very inferior quality have been brought into that province during the last year or two.
Now, Sir, if there is anything that Canada is capable of producing within its own borders, it certainly is horses, because they will winter out in Manitoba and the North-west Territories and do exceedingly well. I think
it is only necessary to draw the attention of the Minister of Customs (Hon. Mr. Paterson) to this matter to show him that it is really in the interest of the horse breeders and agriculturists of Canada that a stop should be put to this practice. Indian ponies, some of the most miserable scrubs to be found anywhere, are being imported, and nearly all the disease that has broken out in Manitoba and the North-west, such as glanders and a low kind of fever, has been traceable to these inferior animals. The Horse Breeders' Association of the Territories and the Horse Breeders' Association of Manitoba have passed very strong resolutions on this subject. I believe the general sentiment is that the valuation of imported horses should be increased to at least $75 or $100. A horse that is not worth that much should not be permitted to come into the country. Any man who has had any practical experience of horse breeding knows that he always falls short of producing what he expects and hopes for-that for every animal that comes up to his expectations there will be nine or ten that will fail to do so. So that we are always able to procure within our own bounds sufficient of the inferior grades of animals; and what we need is a larger number of the higher grade. Therefore, I trust that the government, having had an expression from those who are interested in this matter, not alone in Manitoba and the North-west Territories, but in Ontario, will see their way clear to meet their wishes by raising the valuation to a reasonable rate, which I think should be between $75 and $100.
Mr. JOHN CHARLTON (North Norfolk).
Mr. Speaker, I have heard a great many complaints in Western Ontario' from those engaged in the breeding of horses and in farming operations about the evil which my hon. friend complains of. The introduction of this miserable class of cayuses, as they are termed-western ponies-which cost practically nothing, will have the effect of greatly deteriorating the quality of the stock in the country if it is not speedily put an end to. It is really a calamity to the agricultural classes of Canada that this trade is permitted, and I beg to ask the government to take the matter into their serious consideration. I think they will find, upon investigation, that it would be a public benefit to prevent the introduction of this class of horses into the country, either by the imposition of high duties or by some effective regulation. We have a good reputation for the character of the horses raised in Canada ; and, though that business has been to some degree depressed for a number of years past, it is again becoming a prosperous one. Our horses, especially our fast trotting and our carriage horses, are in good demand in the United States, and our farmers should be encouraged in the production of high grade animals. I can only
add my protest to that of the hon. member who has spoken as to the impropriety of permitting this trade in cayuses to continue.
Mr. WALTER SCOTT (Western Assiiii-boia).
Mr. Speaker, in support of the case which has been presented by the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. Boyd), I do not know that I can do better than read to the House an extract from the last report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for the Territories, which is as follows
Although the territories, particularly the western portion thereof, are plentifully supplied with native horses of a very low standard of excellence, for which it is practically an impossibility to find a market, the importation of scrub horses is still going on, thus materially aggravating the unfavourable market conditions for the above mentioned class of horses. The United States supplied us with some 6,000 horses during the past year at an average value per head of about $20. Representations have in the past been made to the Dominion government by agricultural societies in the territories, the Western Stock Growers' Association and the Horse Breeders' Association of Manitoba with a view to having the valuation of horses brought in from the United States placed on a reasonable basis. At the present time the minimum valuation is placed at $15. It would appear that no hardship would be inflicted upon dealers and purchasers if this amount were raised to $40 or $50. It may safely be taken for granted that any horse worth less than $50 is not required in this country, either for breeding purposes or for actual use.
I may say that it is not from the point of view of a protectionist in the ordinary tariff sense that I support the plea of my hon. friend. We ask that the change be made for the purpose of protecting the country from the importation of an undesirable class of horses. Nor do the Horse Breeders' Association make the request in the usual protectionist spirit. In a document issued some time ago by that Association, I find the following, written by the secretary. After stating the matter, he goes on to say :
In submitting the above I am directed by my Executive Committee to point out as emphatically as lies in my power, that the object territorial horse breeders have in view in agitating for the imposition of a minimum valuation on importations of horses, somewhat in keeping with the necessities of the case, is not to secure the benefits of a protective tariff, which such a restriction would naturally amount to were the supply of horses now in the west insufficient to fill the local requirements and the value inflated. What the territorial breeders particularly ask protection against is the importation of inferior stock, which must inevitably lower the standard of horses in this country, already much too low, and consequently the reputation of the territories as a horse producing country.
The idea which I think should prevail in this matter is something similar to that which prevails in regard to the importation of pernicious literature. I do not know
that I would wish to go farther than the association; I do not know that I would wish to goi as far as my hon. friend from Macdonald (Mr. Boyd), who asks that the valuation be raised to $75 or $100. At the last meeting of the association held in Calgary, a little less than a year ago, a motion was proposed to ask the government to make the valuation $40. An amendment was submitted asking that the valuation be made $35, and an amendment to the amendment was proposed and adopted asking for the fixing of the amount at $50. That is what the association asks, and that is as far as I would ask the government to go.
That is pretty good protection.
That would, I think, fairly and satisfactorily protect the country from animals which may be termed ' scrubs.' I might quote further from a letter which I received from the secretary of the association :
Our members, who represent every portion of the west, have no desire for protection, as the word is generally applied.
The general idea of urging upon the authorities to have the change in question made is, that in the opinion of the association, horses worth less than $50 each, are not required in this country either for breeding purposes or for actual use.
I hope the government will find that a clear enough case has been made out to warrant their acceding to the request of tha association.
Mr. JAMBS GILMOTJR (East Middlesex).
I am glad this matter has been brought up as I myself had intended to. call the attention of the Minister of Agriculture to it. I am personally convinced that there is a great deal of need for raising the valuation of horses brought into this country. There is no doubt that there is considerable disease among the poorer class of horses now brought in from the other side of the line, and some steps should be taken to put a stop to the evil. Dealers bring those small horses in droves north through Alberta up towards Edmonton, selling as they go, and spreading them over the country. I have here the report of Mr. Perry, Commissioner of the North-west Mounted Police, from which I take the following :
There is one subject that demands attention, and that is the importation of a worthless class of horses, half-breeds and Indians. They go south of the line and acquire a certain number of ponies which they smuggle into the territories. Apart from these being an undesirable class of animal, they are not inspected by sny veterinary surgeon, and as a consequence the glanders or other infectious or contagious diseases can be introduced.
It would appear further that even when the smugglers referred to in this report
are caught, they are not punished and thus .are encouraged to carry on their nefarious traffic. Here is what Mr. Perry says on this point:
During the past years several seizures of such stock have been made, and in every case the owners have be m allowed to regain possession of their horses on paying duty and expenses. In one case where the horses had been brought in by half-breeds some had actually teen sold, still they were allowed to pay the duty and go scot free. Until more severe measures are taken Indians and half-breeds will continue to smuggle in horses and take their chances of being canght. If they are caught, it means just paying duty and if not caught they are that much ahead.
These worthless horses range the southern country in large numbers, and but little attention is paid to disease among them. They are extensively smuggled across, and disease is thus spread broadcast throughout our country. I hope that the Ministers of Agriculture and Customs will do something to put a stop to this evil.
Mr. E. B. OSLER (West Toronto).
1 wish we could invent some word that would mean protection, ns we all want it, and yet would not spell it, because every man in this country wants protection, but a great many want it under some other name. Some want it so that they may be on equal terms with their opponents, but disclaim the word 'protection.' I heard a ship builder say : We want to be put on as favourable terms as our opponents so that they will not be able to sell ships cheaper to Canada than we can build them for. Our hon. friends in the west disclaim wanting protection, but they want a horse which is worth $5 in the states valued at $50 here, and have the duty charged on that extra value. But, of course, they don't want protection. Well, it is a protection that will suit us.
Make it $100.
That would be better and carry out protection to its full extent. 1 speak as a western man, interested for many years in horse breeding in the Northwest, in which business unfortunately I have lost a good many hundreds and thousands of dollars. We imported high class animals from Scotland, and for fifteen or more years have been breeding stock, and our experience is that the low grade stock which comes into the North-west competes with our high grade stock. In connection with my own ease, we suffered to such an extent from that competition that we went out of business last year. As an instance of the extent of that competition I may mention that near Edmonton, three years ago, I saw a band of least 500 horses which had been driven across from Wyoming, about a thousand miles distant. Those horses were being sold, from the boundary up to Edmonton, as low, some of them, as $5 a head. It would have been
better for Canada to have paid the value of these horses and shot them as they crossed the border. It is a great temptation to the farmers, who have great difficulty in getting ready money, to buy horses at $10 or $20 a piece, although in a few years time they realize that they have done themselves great injury. If a farmer can get a horse for $10 or $20, he is strongly tempted to buy it, trusting that no matter how poor and miserable it is, it will be able to do the work for a year or two. It is a great pity that the government should allow that class of horses to come into the country. I do not know whether they are inspected as they come over the border or not, but there is no doubt that the evil effects of allowing such poor stock to come in will be felt twenty years hence, and the thanks of the House are due to the hon. member for Macdonald (Mr. (Boyd) 'for having brought this matter to our attention.
Mr. ROBERT HOLMES (West Huron).
The amusing candor of the hon. members representing the North-west Territories is shown in the fact that they are so exceedingly anxious to have the lowest possible duty on agricultural implements and things pertaining thereto, but the highest possible duty on horses and other animals that are raised there. It shows the insincerity of the protectionist, who changes his attitude according to the interest he considers.
Mr. LaRIVIBRE. We raise horses, but we do not make agricultural implements.
I happen to represent a county in the province of Ontario that claims to raise the best horses in the Dominion, and I have not heard from the consumers of horses, if I may use the term, any special protest against these American horses coming in, the number which is comparatively small. I think that if a party wants to buy a cheap horse, he ought to be allowed to do so. The hon. member for West Toronto (Mr. Osier) gives away the whole case in the admission he makes that the introduction of these horses to the Northwest is a serious temptation to the farmer there. The farmer is struggling against the difficulties that he encounters in the Northwest, and it may be that he feels like buying a low-price horse. Of course, you do not put on a duty to increase the price, but you put some sort of hindrance in his way, so that this farmer struggling in adversity may not buy the cheap horse, but will be compelled to buy the higher-priced animal. The moment you admit the spirit of paternalism you cannot deal with one interest alone, but must consider the effect upon industry generally. It seems to me that the '' ise course is, while we have regard to Canadian interests as far as possible-and I am glad to see the development of all Canadian interests-to leave this industry as free from embarrassing conditions as possible.