Mr. ROCHE (Marquette).
reform in the Senate, and they are disposing of senatorships to those who are the largest contributors to the campaign fund. We have one member of the government preaching free trade, another member of the government preaching increased protection, another one preaching revenue tariff, and as to several others it is immaterial to them what they do preach so long as they are left on the treasury benches, all in opposition to that well known rule of constitutional government that all the members of a government are expected to be a unit in matters of public policy. They have been guilty of a violation of pledges that has been a disgrace to this country, that shocks our electorate, that has brought reproach upon the country. They have brought reproach upon our country at home and aboad. With such a record as this I think the time surely cannot be far distant when a long suffering public will refuse to longer tolerate these autocratic politicians who are more wedded to office than to principle, and though up to the present time, the hands of chastisement have been temporarily stayed, it is not at all because of any display of virtue on the part of the government, but rather from the practice of those methods that will not stand the light of day. I do not desire to go over the mass of figures that have been presented during this debate or to occupy the attention of the House repeating arguments which have been traversed much more a'bly by those who have preceded me, but I will simply say that it is my intention to support the amendment of the hon. leader of the opposition and for this reason; the people of this country I claim, are in favour of a government that has the courage of its convictions, and they will have a declaration of policy of some kind. The present government have no declared policy on which to go before the country as to whether they are protectionists or free traders, because they are, as a matter of fact, practising protection while they are preaching free trade and even then their ranks are divided. The people of the country must be at a loss to know to whom to look. Here are the men who are the advisers of His Majesty. One-half of the cabinet are preaching one tariff while the other half of the cabinet are preaching another, while we, as Conservatives, believe, that, situated as we are alongside of the most highly protected country in the world, the United States, with 4,000 miles of a boundary line between this country and that, it is an impossibility, no matter how beautiful the theory may appear, to inaugurate a policy of free trade for this Canada of ours and that unless we have a system of protection for all the industries of this country, not merely for the manufacturing industries, but for the agricultural industry as well, we cannot hope ever to be a thriving nation. It is also true that when we state that we
are in favour of moderate protection, in this country that does not mean that we are going to have very high rates of duties on every article grown or manufactured in Canada. It was not the intention of the designers of the national policy that we would have certain fixed high rates of duty for all time to come, but only until such times as our industries could be placed on a footing to withstand the keen competition offered by the Americans and the keen competition of the world, when they would be able to compete with them not only in our home market, but in the foreign markets as well. There are some articles that I would object to having the duties raised upon, but there are others that if it could be shown that by an increase of duty it is necessary and desirable to keep establishments going in Canada to be operated by our own people these people to be fed by Canadian farmers, then I am in favour of adopting such rates of duty as are necessary for this purpose. But, some hon. gentlemen opposite take the stand that protection is a folly and a farce so far as the agriculturist is concerned and that it is not possible to protect him. It is true that the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce has always taken this position, but surely that hon. gentleman should have taken a lesson from the 17th of September, 1878, when prior to that time, when he was Minister of Finance of Canada, he was approached by one hundred thousand farmers with a petition to parliament asking for agricultural protection, and hie told them that practically they did not know what they were asking for. The result was that he met with condigu punishment when his government went to the country in 1878. It is paying a poor compliment to these farmers who ask for protection to toe told now that they must be so green that they will not burn. Articles that are grown on the farm can be and are being protected. Take as an illustration the protection to pork. Our opponents, when on this side of the House, when the tariff was raised on pork by the Conservative administration asserted that it would be of no benefit to the Canadian farmer. What was the result ? The quantity of American pork which came in to displace so much Canadian pork immediately shrunk in value. The importation did not cease entirely, but It greatly diminished. The market was enlarged for our Canadian farmer, and he was enabled to export a very much larger quantity of his pork thdn he would have been able to do but for this protection. If those hon. gentlemen who say to-day that that protection was of no value, why do they not remove the duty on pork ? What is it kept there for if it is not for protection ? If a duty of 15 cents a bushel on wheat was of no use in Conservative days, why is 12 cents a bushel imposed now 7 If it is of no use as a protection to the farmers, why not remove it ? Why, Sir, the
whole thing shows the absurdity of the statements made by those gentlemen when they say that the farmers cannot be benefited by protection.
For the reasons I have given, it is my intention to support the amendment moved by the hon. leader of the opposition, which amendment will, I believe, commend itself to the intelligence of all right-minded people. We are a country of diverse interests. To-day we may not be a manufacturing country in the west, but we hope in the future to have extensive and profitable manufactures there, and then, Sir, these very same gentlemen who are now decrying protection will be just as ready to cry out in favour of protection.
Subtopic: COMPARISON OF ESTIMATES.