[DOT] I am glad to have the commendation of my always amiable friend from East Northumberland (Mr. Cochrane). Whilst the discussion which took place was largely academic,
I must admit that there were some few patches of new colouring thrown in, some of which afforded temptation to hon. gentlemen on this side of the House to say a word. As an example, the hon. member for St. Mary's pointed out that we have a surplus of $13,000,000, and said that this is the time to readjust our tariff. I have never heard in any country where political economy of any sort was taught, that when you had a large surplus that was the time to increase the taxation of the country. If the hon. gentleman had come forward and said : You have a large surplus and therefore you should reduce the taxation of the country, he might have had a point against us, but to that we would have had a fair reply, because we could contend that the tariff is not a brudensome tariff-and hon. gentlemen opposite do not allege that it is burdensome but on the contrary they say it is too low-we could contend that the tariff is not burdensome and that the people are not complaining of it being too high, and since it is not a burden, and since under
that tariff we receive a large and liberal revenue, then we would say it is a sound policy that we should apply this surplus revenue for the payments on capital account and thus avoid going into debt.
But that would be a fair matter for debate. If the hon. gentleman had come forward with the complaint, that in the time of great surpluses we were not reducing taxation, then he might have had some point in his criticism, but there is no argument in the hon. member saying: Because you have
a large surplus and more money than you need, therefore you must increase the taxation and take more money out of the people.
My hon. friend who seconded the motion says hear, hear, but he must have forgotten that at a later stage of his speech the hon. member jfor St. Mary's undertook to prove that an increase of duties will not shut out imports, and he elaborated that to some considerable extent. Well, Sir, if you shut out imports it must be because you make the goods more expensive at home, and you do not thereby diminish taxation. You diminish revenue, but you take as much taxation or more out of the pockets of the people, and 'instead of putting that taxation into the treasury of the country you put it into the hands of the manufacturers. I am amazed to find the pictures of blue ruin which the hon. gentlemen opposite have presented to this House to-night. The one comfort we have is that nobody is likely to take them jvery seriously. If the speeches made by (hon. gentlemen opposite in this House tonight were to go abroad and be treated ISeriously, they would have a most damaging effect upon the credit, the reputation, and the industries of this country. There is fa popular impression, based on facts, that this country is somewhat prosperous at the present time. We have not only evidence of that at home, but throughout the wide world, In the great journals of civilization, you will find articles speaking of the great progress, the wealth and the prosperity of Canada. Is it not true ? Do we not know that it is true V Yet hon. gentlemen opposite stand up to-night and tell us that it is not true-that this country is not prosperous.
My hon. friend's remarks on that subject might be taken as seriously as we had to take his observation on another occasion, when he held the policy of the Canadian government responsible for a slump in American stocks. My respected friend from Centre Toronto had a pitful story to tell about machinery that was idle in the factories, and about men not being able to get employment. We do not take that seriously, because I have the circular of the merchants and manufacturers of the city of Toronto which says that they cannot get men enough to do the work.
In the midst of this picture of blue ruin, which we have had to-night, the hon. gentleman, an old and respected merchant, engaged in large affairs and interested in manufactures, confesses that the industries of Canada, as a rule, and particularly in his own city of Toronto, are so prosperous that the demand for men is greater than the supply. Then, we are told that this movement is in the interest of the farmers. There was a story years ago, when railroad accidents were frequent, that they would put an English director on the cow-catcher to meet all the accidents. Hon. gentlemen opposite seem to-night to want to put the farmer at the front, where they would have us understand he is to receive the greatest benefits ; but I suspect, he is intended to meet all the difficulties that are to come. But how is it that we do not find any considerable number of applications from the farmers of this country for a higher tariff ?
Yes, that is the industry which my hon. friend from Halton (Mr. Henderson) wants to ruin by reducing the duty on German sugar. The deputation in the interest of beet sugar industry was not particularly a farmers' deputation, although some farmers came with it.