I am not discussing 1895 tariff but the facts of the two governments on two different occasions. It is a matter of utter indifference to me what was done by either subsequently. I am mentioning what was done at a particular time, and the government of 1894 was either right or wrong in the tariff it brought down, and so was the government of 1897. If the hon. gentleman will look at the duties in the tariff affecting the agricultural Community, he will find that they were not maintained. The hon. Minister of Customs has in this House again and again condemned the tariff of 1894. I am not saying that he condemned it with regard to jams, jellies, pickles and preserves, but he condemned it, as a whole, yet we find that practically he adopted that tariff when he came into power, except to amend it in certain respects, and in each of these he invariably amended it for the worse.
We find several reductions made with regard to agricultural products. The duty on wheat was reduced from fifteen to twelve cents a bushel, on wheat flour from seventy-five to sixty cents per bushel; but on bis-
cuits not sweetened the duty remained as it was, 25 per cent and on biscuits not sweetened at 27J per cent. Corn was admitted free, and the duty on corn meal, I believe, was reduced. I suppose perhaps that one reason why corn was admitted free was because the ministry held the idea, which was advanced by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Hon. Sir Richard Cartwright) and by the hon. member for South Brant (Mr. Heyd) and others in this House, that .it was impossible to protect the farmers. Whether or not that statement be correct, it has certainly been made again and again throughout this budget debate, and I would judge that the only reason why the Minister of Customs representing Ontario-which is to a large extent an agricultural province-allowed the duties on agricultural products to be cut while those on manufactured goods were so religiously maintained, was that he and his colleagues thought it was impossible to protect the farmer. Allow me for a moment to consider that question : We had an objectlesson in 1888. 1889 and 1890. In 1888 bacon and hams and Canadian pork were imported to the extent of 31,000,000 pounds, and in 1889 to the extent of 33,000,000 pounds. Representations were then made to the government of that day that the Canadian farmer was having his home market made a slaughter market for the Americans, and the duty was increased. The next year the
33.000. 000 pounds of importations fell off to
17.000. 000 pounds, in 1891 they fell off to
13.000. 000 pounds, and in 1892 they dwindled down to 6,900,000 pounds. So you see there, Sir, a distinct object lesson. You see there an instance in which the Americans were making Canada a slaughter market, and when, after their tariff was increased and our farmers were protected, their importations fell off to a very considerable amount. Sometimes protection may work in favour of the farmer in a way that may not appear at first sight. In the riding I have the honour to represent we have the Rathbun Company establishment, one of the largest manufacturing concerns in the country. And at a public meeting held some years ago the head of that company, Mr. Rath-bun, speaking on the subject of protection, pointed out that just as long as we lay along side the United States-a country which is liable to such sudden fluctuations in its currency and to sudden panics in its markets- it was absolutely necessary that we should have a distinct protection on products raised by Canadian farmers. Only a few months ago previous there was a panic in Chicago. The price of pork had fallen a great deal lower than it could be raised for, and Mr. Rathbun could have purchased in Chicago all the pork that he required for his shanties at a lower price than he could have got it from the farmers of Hastings, had there been no duty. But the duty was there, and he told his audience that, on account of
the duty, there was no object in his buying at Chicago, but he said ; had it not been for the duty I would have bought my pork at Chicago where I could have got it the cheapest. Then turning to the farmers who were standing around, and whom he knew by name, he said, addressing one of them in particular : You brought your pork down to my establishment at Deseronto to sell last fall as usual, but had I purchased at Chicago I would have declined to buy. Having no other market you would have been obliged to take it home again, and the result would have been you would have had to suffer a heavy loss simply because you had no market at home. There is an object lesson to show how our farmers can be protected. If they cannot be protected as these hon. gentlemen say, why do they leave all these items on the tariff ? Or d.o they simply wish the farmers to believe that something is being done for them when in reality nothing can be done ? The hon. gentleman who preceded me admitted that while the farmers in his part of the country could not be protected, there might be some in some parts of the country to whom the duties on certain items afforded some protection. But we have it admitted by the Minister of Customs that the farmers have been protected, and that in Nova Scotia itself they can be and are protected.
Hon. Mr. ROSS (Victoria, N.S.) What about the fishermen ?