June 17, 1903

LIB
CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OSLER.

We must have protection if we are going to be anything more than an agricultural country. What agricultural country ever made a name for itself in the world ? I know of none. Unless we have large factories, our brightest young men the best sons of our farmers, who want to go to the cities in order to find an outlet for their energies will, if we have not manufacturing industries, go to the States.

The other question is the question of transportation. Granted protection, it follows as a matter of necessity that we must carry our goods to the market for those goods. We are preparing to expend, and are expending, large sums of money in improving our transportation facilities. I think the hon. member who proposed this resolution probably forgot that we have the promise of the government that the transportation question shall be put in the hands of a very able, a first class commission, and the question is to be solved without any delay and without any doubt. It is quite true that, before these able gentlemen are to have possession of the question, the government wish to dispose of two or three small matters that might embarrass this commission. For instance, they propose, before this commission is appointed and before the government have the benefit of the commission's advice, to give away $3,000,000 to Montreal harbour. That is a trifling matter, and the commission would have nothing to say as to what is to be done with that money. It is time that our interests are considerably bound up with our connection with the North-west. There is the Grand Trunk Pacific scheme, involving about 2,000 or 2,500 miles of railway, which is to be bonused by the government to an enormous extent. That is another trifle which the government wish to have disposed of and out of the way before they ask their big commissioners to report on the question of transportation. Then, there is the Canadian Northern, a matter of eight [DOT] or nine hundred miles of railway, in the same condition. But, when these inconsiderable things are disposed of, the government are going to have the commission look into the transportation question. I think the hon. member for St. Mary's must have forgotten that the government are going to carry out so thorough a transportation scheme-after these trifles are disposed of. However, I only wished to say that I support thoroughly and entirely the resolution that is proposed, believing that it is in the true interest of Canada and that without some such policy Canada can never gain the standing to which she is entitled by

t

her position, her wealth and her natural resources.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. K. L. BOUDEN (Halifax).

Before the question is put, I wish to say a few words, and 1 promise the House 1 shall not detain them more than a few minutes. The resolution proposed by the hon. member for St. Mary's division (Hon. Mr. Tarte) while somewhat more elaborate in its terms, is to all intents and purposes the same in purport as that proposed to the House by myself during the present session, and the same in purport as those 1 had the honour to propose during last session, and the session of 1901. The hon. member for St. Mary's has supported this resolution with a very able and very exhaustive speech, and he has given to the House and the country two object lessons at least in connection with this matter. In the first place, he has taken the ground that the agricultural interest of this country is of greater importance to the country as a whole than any other, and he has directed the attention of the House to the result fipon the agricultural industry of Great Britain of the policy of free trade which has been maintained there for the last fifty years. He has pointed out-or if he did not, lie might have done so-how much more fatal to the agricultural industry of this country a policy of free trade would be than to the same industry in the mother country. Because while Great Britain has been mainly a manufacturing country, she did have agricultural resources to a very considerable extent, and formerly those resources were developed under different conditions to such an extent that they were almost of as much importance as the manufacturing industry. The hon. gentleman might have shown, as I have said, that if free trade is ruinous to agriculture in Great Britain it would be infinitely more runious to this country. We are competitors with the United States in the sale of agricultural products in the markets of Europe. And we must always be so. The United States may possibly, as years roll on, find more and more a home market for their agricultural products, but they must always to some extent, look to Europe. Our competition with the United States is carried on under very peculiar conditions. Not only are the manufacturing industries of that country coming under the control of great trusts and combines, but the agricultural industry -or, at least the agricultural output-of the United States is largely coming under the control of great combines which control prices not only in the United States but throughout the world's markets. Look at the condition with regard to the iron industry to-day. The United States, with its enormous output of iron and steel controls through its combines, the output for export from Germany as well, and, in that

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CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OSLER.

way, dictates the prices of iron and steel to the world. If free trade has been so injurious to the agricultural industry of the mother country I think the hon. member for St. Mary's division put it none too strongly when he pointed out how a similar policy in this country must be fatal to the agricultural industry here. Let us consider for a moment what the effect would be if we threw down our tariff wall and admitted the agricultural products of the United States on the same terms as those products are admitted into the mother country. Can any one doubt that great combines that control food products and agricultural products in the United States would bring about a condition of affairs under which our farmers would contend on mdst unequal terms with those of the United States ? So far as that is concerned, the hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Tarte) has, by his able and exhaustive argument, taught a lesson to the people of this country as to the necessity, not only to the manufacturing industries but to the agricultural industry, of a measure of protection.

Then, the hon. gentleman pointed out the results of a protective policy in the United States upon the manufacturing industries of that country. He pointed out that in many manufacturing industi'ies the United States had not only overtaken but surpassed the mother country. And, in answer to my hon. friend from Victoria, N.S. (Hon. Mr. Ross), I would point out that this question is assuming very important dimensions in the mother country, and that every day is adding to the acuteness of the situation as bringing more and more attention to the question whether free trade shall be maintained in Great Britain or whether England shall attempt to stem the torrent of competition throughout the world by some measure of protection to her industries.

Now I would call the policy which the hon. gentleman has advocated to-night, and which we on this side have advocated in the past, a policy of national commercial self-defence for Canada. That is what it is, nothing more and nothing less. We remember in the old days of fifty years ago, when the volunteer movement was first agitated in Great Britain, the motto of the English volunteer was ' Defence not defiance.' So it is in commercial matters in Canada to-day. We are face to face with high tariffs, with policies of protection prevailing in every country in the world ; and the question is whether we shall adopt in Canada that policy which is so well outlined in the resolution of my hon. friend for St. Mary's, and which I think we might well call a policy of national commercial selfdefence for Canada. If we do not adopt it, where are we to stand ? Are we to stand alone in the world in allowing our markets to be open to foreign competition to such an extent that our own industries will be

destroyed ? Outside of England there is nothing like our position among all the nations of the world.

I think, Mr. Speaker, that the government might well have made some pronouncement to-night. It is true that the Minister of Finance made a pronouncement earlier in the session, and if I might be permitted briefly to refer to it, it amounts to this, that our industries are so prosperous in Canada, our warehouses so full and overflowing, that there is not the slightest need for a revision of the tariff. Well, I think some incidents that have taken place during the past few months have perhaps taken away something of the weight which the utterances of the Minister of Finance possessed at the time. The hon. gentleman told us that no capitalist was deterred from investing money in Canada by reason of the uncertainty of the fiscal policy of the government. I do not know whether the Minister of Finance would be so confident about that to-day, and I am not sure that if he were very frank with the House, he would jot be able to tell us that certain assurances have been required, at least, whether they have been given or not, before further capital will be invested in some of the great industries in Canada which hon. gentlemen on both sides of the House are most anxious to maintain in this country. Now let us look for a moment at the resolution of my hon. friend from St. Mary's. He declares :

That it is the bounden and imperative duty of the government to revise and readjust, without any further delay, the present tariff in such a manner as to leave no doubt as to the determination of the Canadian people to adopt and maintain a fiscal policy adequately and firmly protective of the large national interests at stake.

Now that is a pretty definite statement, it seems to me. It may be characterized by the Minister of Finance as being vague.

I do not know whether he would ask his followers to vote it down because it is too vague, or because it is inopportune, or on what other ground. But I venture to say that no hon. gentleman on the other side of the House can stand up in his place and give any adequate reason why there should not be a declared and pronounced policy in Canada to the effect stated in the resolution. At least, no hon. gentleman on the other side of the House has seen fit to do so, if I may put aside for a moment the somewhat general utterances of the hon. member for Victoria (Hon. Mr. Ross), whose courage and sincerity, and whose convictions, I am sure, we all admire. But if my hon. friend the Minister of Finance and the government think that by sitting silent and refusing to discuss these motions, they are going to better their position in the country, I am inclined to think they will find themselves somewhat mistaken. They will have to answer these matters sooner or later in the end, and there will come a time when

155 i

they cannot sit dumb in their seats and say nothing about motions of this kind proposed to the House. That time may not be very far off. What are the reasons, what are the grounds, advanced in the resolution of my hon. friend ?

To assure the permanency and the further progress of the existing industries, as well as the creation of many new ones that only -wait the proper policy to spring up ; to inspire greater confidence in Canadian, British and foreign capital seeking investment in our own country.

I ask hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House whether we cannot look around Canada to-day and observe in the condition of certain industries the best possible ground for my hon. friend from St. Mary's proposing this resolution to the House, and supporting it by the arguments we have heard ? Then he proceeds :

To secure for the farmers now tilling our soil and those that we invite to share the blessings of our institutions and the wealth that Providence has placed at our disposal, the full advantage of a prosperous home market.

My hon. friend has put his grounds with regard to that so well that it is not necessary for me to amplify them, except possibly by one illustration. Would it be better or worse for the farmers of this country if we were to throw down our tariff walls, and if the great industries which are being built up, and which should be built up in the future, were built up in the United States of America ? Would it be better or worse for Canada that that should happen ? The articles which are required in Canada for use by our workingmen and by our farmers, are articles that we can manufacture in Canada ; and will anv hon. gentleman in this House, in his sane moments, say that it is not better for Canada to have the cities and centres of industry in our own country, and to supply these articles for our own people, by our own workmen, by means of our own capital? Well, that is what my hon. friend from St. Mary's proposes by this resolution, and bv the reasons which I have just adduced. The hon. gentleman points out that so far as the farmers are concerned it is better for them to have the centres of industry in our own country, because the creation of these centres of industry affords to the people a prosperous home market. Then he goes on further and he advances another reason :

To comply with the legitimate desire of the working classes to see their labour rewarded by fair and uninterrupted wages, and by comfort in their families.

That is a ground which has been taken before in this House, a ground which I myself have taken, when I pointed out, during previous sessions, the fact that the conditions of life in Canada among the labouring classes are different from those which prevail in many countries whose

goods enter into competition with our own. We know that the workmen of the continent of Europe and of some of the Southern states of the neighbouring republic do not live under the same conditions, do not have the same standard of living as that to which the people of our own country are accustomed. We cannot expect that the manufacturing industries of this country can be maintained unless they are protected by a tariff which is as much for the advantage of the workingmen who are employed in our factories and industries as it is for the advantage of the man who puts capital into these industries.

To render impossible the slaughtering ot our markets by the products of foreign industries, of foreign combines, of foreign agriculture and of cheap labour countries.

This is carrying out the idea so many times advanced in this House, that while we can deal with combines in Canada by our own legislation-and we have attempted to deal with them by legislation introduced by this government-legislation of that kind is only useful against foreign combines so long as we have an adequate protective tariff, because when you once throw down the tariff wall you admit the combine to do in Canada exactly what it is doing iu the United States, or in any other country. Yon can only guard adequately against the influence of foreign combines by giving proper protection to your home industries, and unless you do that, you will have the industries of this country, and what is more, the consumers of this country, placed at the mercy of such combines, whose effects are well known, and have been commented upon over and over again by writers on political economy in the United States of America. Then my hon. friend continues :

To bring about a quicker development and a more rapid expansion of our vast resources.

I will not pause to discuss that point. And as his last reason :

To promote closer commercial relations between the different provinces of the Dominion and between this Dominion and the mother country.

Then, in regard to that and especially iu regard to that, my hon. friend has concluded his resolution in these words :

And also to carry out an energetic transportation policy which will give to our merchandise and products of all kinds commodious, quick and cheap access to the markets of our country and to those of foreign nations trading with us.

There is this peculiarity in our situation that the portion of Canada which is more particularly inhabited is what might be called relatively a narrow strip lying for 4.000 miles alongside of tbe United States of America, and while that gives an opportunity to the merchants and manufacturers of the United States to seek Canadian markets it is very difficult for the people in the east and the people in the west of

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

I _

Canada to have that communication between tbe different parts of this country which is essential if Canada is to become a great and united nation. My hon. friend points out that to promote closer relations between tbe different provinces of the Dominion and between this Dominion and the mother country it is not only necessary that we should have a tariff adequately and firmly protective of our national industries, but that we should have these transportation facilities which are necessary not only to enable us to send our products to the chief markets in Europe, but also to secure the advantage of the home market by enabling the products of the west and the manufactures of the east to be easily and cheaply exchanged the one for the other. That is the object and the spirit of my hon. friend's resolution as I understand it, and I do not think there is any thinking man in Canada or in this House who does not thoroughly concur in tlie spirit of the resolution, although hon. gentlemen in this House may vote down this resolution to-night. I say, Mr. Speaker, that it is necessary that that particular part of the resolution should be carried out. It is necessary if we are to have transportation facilities, such as my hon. friend has said in this resolution are desirable and necessary, that this government shall come down to the House at once with some broad, well-thought-out and comprehensive scheme of transportation and not come to this House with a subsidy here or a charter there without any comprehensive scheme taking this matter'up bit by bit: not letting the House know when the charter is passed whether or not the company to which the charter is being granted is to receive a subsidy ; giving aid to 600 miles of railway without telling the House whether or not the scheme of the government includes aid for that railway to the Pacific coast, and not telling the House what is their scheme for transportation from Fort William, or Port Arthur, to the Atlantic ports. It is all very well for this government to come to the House and say "that this is simply 600 miles of railway, that it stands alone and must be dealt with alone. So far as the promoters of the railway are concerned that may be all very well, but so far as the interests of this country in regard to transportation are concerned. I most emphatically deny that it can stand alone. You must have one great transportation policy for this country and this government should do one of two things: they should either hold their hands until they are able to announce that policy to the country or they should come down and announce that policy, while we are dealing with these matters during this session. Therefore, I say it ill-becomes members of the government to sit still in their places when matters of this character are being discussed by hon. gentlemen with ability in this House. It ill becomes them

to sit still in their places and simply call upon their followers to vote down motions against the soundness of which no plausible argument can be adduced by hon. gentlemen opposite. W*e have listened to speech after speech advocating the views so ably set out in the resolution of my hon. friend, but we have not had one hon. gentleman on the treasury benches who has deigned to open his lips even to say a word about this question of transportation. Every hon. gentleman in this House and all thinking men in this country know that no question is engaging the attention of the people more fully at the present time than the policy of transportation advocated by my hon. friend and listened to by a mute government on the treasury benches to-night. Now, I did not intend to detain the House at this length when I rose to my feet. I was not iu the expectation of finding it necessary to say anything on this resolution, because 1 had taken the opportunity of explaining my views pretty freely in the opening part of this session, but having regard to the fact that not one member of the government has seen fit to say one word about this all important question, I thought it my duty not to give a silent vote but to rise and say what I have said in support of my hon. friend and in support of the resolution which he has so ably advocated in this House, and to say that I for one will take the greatest possible pleasure in voting for it.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE (Hon. W. S. Fielding).

Mr. Speaker, if I may be permitted first to refer to the last observations of my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden, Halifax) on the question of transportation, I would desire to say that it is quite possible for us to use empty words and neglect the question of transportation. It is all very well for hon. gentlemen to speak of the great question of transportation in respect to some broad and general policy, but none of these empty phrases means anything to the business men of this country. While some hon. gentlemen are content to talk about transportation the government are acting in the matter of transportation, and we propose to go on acting in spite of my hon. friend's statement that unless some broad, general transportation policy is brought down we should not deal in a piecemeal way with it. We propose to go on dealing, if necessary, with these things in a piecemeal way, if by doing so we promote the interests of the country. If it is necessary in order to develop the western country to build 600 miles of railway, we are rea'dy to deal with the transportation question in this practical way to meet the requirements of that new and important territory. If it is necessary to aid the harbour of Montreal, which is the chief port of Canada, we bring forward a policy to advance the money to assist the commissioners at the port of Montreal in

doing what is required. That is practically transportation work. Hon. gentlemen can talk of transportation, but, as the need arises, whether it is in the far west or at the port of Montreal or in the maritime provinces, each of these duties as it arises will be met day by day, and we will work for transportation while some hon. gentlemen are content to talk about it. I trust that my hon. friend from St. Mary's (Hon. Mr. Tarte) will not think it was a discourtesy on our part that we have failed to follow him through his somewhat lengthy address of this evening. For reasons which we think are good, and some of which I will venture to mention, we did not deem such a course necessary. My hon. friend's speech, which was quite full of information, was to a large extent what I might call an academic discussion on the question of free trade and protection. And it was not so much a discussion of free trade and protection in Canada as a discussion of free trade and protection in England, with which at the present moment I am not sure that the Canadian parliament has a great deal to do. My hon. friend (Hon. Mr. Tarte) seemed to congratulate himself upon the idea that the cause of protection was making vast progress in England. Well, I think he was a little hasty in that. Has the hon. gentleman forgotten that only a few days ago when the question of the corn duties came up in the British parliament, only twenty-eight members were found to be in favour of these duties ? My hon. friend will hardly find in that a vindication of his view, that England is running away from free trade. And even the more moderate and more comprehensive policy of Mr. Chamberlain, which has our sympathy, because he is following the Canadian policy-

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Hear, hear.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

It is recognized in England to-day that the line that Mr. Chamberlain is taking is the outcome of the policy of Canada, and therefore what Mr. Chamberlain is doing is precisely what we have been doing for seven years in this Dominion. But even that more moderate and more comprehensive policy of Mr. Chamberlain is only meeting with a moderate degree of support at present. ( My sympathies are with that right hon. gentleman, and I trust he may go ahead and that his movement may make progress; but there is no use in our pretending to-day that England is accepting Mr. Chaplin's ideas on the corn duties, or even the larger and grander ideas of Mr. Chamberlain. Mr. Chamberlain is going to have an uphill fight before he accomplishes his object. Our hearts go out to him, but at the same time let" us not shut our eyes to the fact that he is encountering a great measure of hostility and that he is not going to win in a moment. There is no reason therefore why we should

occupy ourselves in academic discussions. The leader of the opposition has talked of what would happen if we should throw-down our tariff walls. Who is proposing to throw down the tariff walls V

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

The hon. gentleman from Victoria (Hon. Mr. Ross).

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

The hon. gentleman from Victoria is not proposing anything of the sort. The hon. gentleman from Victoria was a member of a cabinet that had a tariff. There has been no free trade in Canada at any time since this Dominion existed. There is no free trade in Canada to-day. There is no likelihood of a policy of free trade being adopted in Canada in the life time of any man in this Chamber.

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Some hon. MEMBERS

Oh.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Why, then talk on academic questions of free trade and protection.

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CON
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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

My hon. friend from' Toronto (Mr. Osier) interrupts. Does he dissent from that ? Have I not stated the case correctly ?

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CON

Edmund Boyd Osler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OSLER.

I was admiring how your followers applauded your statement that there was going to be no free trade in Canada.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Does m.v lion, friend know any one who says we are likely to have free trade in Canada in the early future.

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CON
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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Who is it ? My hon. friend knows that ever since we have been a Dominion we have had a fiscal policy which included a tariff, and in that tariff there was some measure of protection. It always has been, it is now, and it is likely to be for a long time.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

May I ask the hon. gentleman a question ?

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

Yes.

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June 17, 1903