May 4, 1904

?

Hon. S@

I am sorry to learn that there is any omission in the return and shall at once call the attention of the officers of the department to it. I am sure it was an accident. My hon. friend was given access to the files and knows what letters were written, and he will at once see that it was an error on the part of the clerk who made up the return.

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LUMBER INDUSTRY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA.

LIB

Aulay MacAulay Morrison

Liberal

Mr. AULAY MORRISON (New Westminster).

I wish to draw the attention, particularly of my hon. friend the Minister of Finance, to a very grave state of affairs which exists in British Columbia in the lumber industry, and in order that I may be allowed to do this, I shall conclude with a motion. The facts to which I ask permission to refer concern what ought to be a central feature of the tariff, and that is the necessity for compromise when considering any dealings in the matter of customs duties. The prosperity of the Pacific const depends, if not entirely, at any rate very largely, upon the lumber industry. That is certainly the case in what is known as the Pacific northwest portion of the United States, and as we are, in so far as our resources in that respect are concerned, almost identically situated with that part of the United States, it must be evident that the prosperity of British Columbia depends very largely upon the lumber trade. Owing to the existence of item 611 of the tariff, the lumber trade in that province to-day is in a state of stagnation. It is in such a condition that, in my opinion, it may be very rightly and consistently protected, without any infringement on the policy of the administration. Item 611 of the tariff allows rough lumber free into this country from the United States. It encourages in the item rather a lengthy one, a kind of lumber admitted free of duty into Canada and brought into the Northwest and Manitoba. The kind of lumber which is admitted free under this item consists of 75 per cent log. The lumber manufactured out of 75 per cent of the log is the kind that is permitted to come into Canada free of duty, and one can readily see, therefore, the objection which presents itself to the manufacturers of lumber say in British Columbia, and for that matter to the manufacturers of lumber in all parts of Canada. I am, however, particularly referring to the province of British Columbia. The British Columbia

manufacturer, if he wishes to send this same kind of lumber into the United States, is met with a duty of $2 per thousand feet. Not only that, but when he starts his industry he is obliged to import machinery from the United States because lie cannot get it in Canada. The eastern manufacturers of lumber machinery do not manufacture that kind, owing to the fact that they cannot get sufficiently large logs except from the Pacific coast. The consequence is that the machinery must be imported from the United States, where alone it is manufactured. In importing that machinery. our manufacturers have to pay duty of from 20 to 30 per cent. That is not all. If they should seek a market in the United States or the Northwest Territories and Manitoba, they are met with a rate of from 50 to 55- cents over the Canadian Pacific Railway as against a rate of 40 cents charged the American manufacturers. The American manufacturer of this kind of lumber, if he wishes to send it to Manitoba or the Northwest Territories-which he does almost to the exclusion of the British Columbia manufacturer-is only charged a rate of 40 cents, because Manitoba and the Northwest Territories are within what is known as the 40 cent rate zone. Therefore on every hand, the manufacturer of lumber in British Columbia is tied hand and foot. The remedy is in the hands of the government, and I trust that the remarks which I am making and the facts I point out will not be in vain. Of course, we are met with the stock argument from our friends in Manitoba and the Territories, on both sides of politics-which they make every time this question is brought up-that this state of the affairs is justified because the farmers of the Northwest and Manitoba must get cheap lumber. They must get their lumber practically at the expense of their fellow-countrymen a little further west. The unreasonableness of that contention surely must be evident when I state that the province of British Columbia is not a manufacturing province, but has to import nearly everything, and to pay protective duties.

There is no reason why the people of British Columbia should not get something prac-lically for nothing as well as the people of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. We from British Columbia do not contend here, nor have I ever seen it contended, that there is untold wealth in our agricultural lands, and that all that people have to do is to come there and, in a few years, become practically millionaires. We have had no such facts placed before the country such as you have been hearing for the last few months or years, especially since the very acceptable administration of the Minister of the Interior-facts that I am glad to hear-that the people are flocking into the Territories and Manitoba, those from the Mr. MORRISON.

United States especially coming with lots of money, intelligent people, good farmers' who know what they are about; that they get hold of these fertile lands, which they purchase from the people already there at advanced prices, and yet, if they choose to do so can sell the lands they buy for very much higher prices than those they paid for them, and who, by the cultivation of these lands, in a few years put themselves beyond the pale of want. These are the people, the occupants of these lands in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, who are clamouring for free lumber, clamouring to get it practically for nothing at the expense of their neighbours. If I were a resident of the Northwest Territories, instead of being a resident of British Columbia, I think I would have more independence than to clamour, as my friends from that part of the country have been doing, to live at the expense of other portions of the Dominion of Canada, particularly portions that are not as highly favoured as their own. Yet. that is what they are doing. It is not a sound economic principle to live at the expense of other men. We must all live, we must all give and take. Now the danger that is pressing upon us, the danger that the conditions as they are at the present time are very likely to become much worse, makes it necessary to call attention to this matter. I would like to bring before the House a petition which has been printed and circulated privately, I believe, in the trade and among American Transportation Companies. This petition has come into my hands legitimately enough and I make no apology for using it. It is addressed to Mr. Jas. J. Hill, president of the Great Northern Railroad, St. Paul ; Mr. Howard Elliott, president Northern Pacific Railway, St. Paul ; Mr. Darius Miller, first vicepresident Burlington system, Chicago ; Mr. .Tas. W. Blabon, fourth vice-president, Great Northern Railroad, St. Paul ; and Mr. J. M. Hannaford, second vice-president Northern Pacific Railway, St. Paul. That petition is signed by manufacturers of lumber in Washington, Oregon, Montana and other western states. In the course of the petition it is represented that these interests involve a financial interest of some $100,000,000. The petition enumerates the industries concerned and explains the position in which they stand. It shows that they have lumber to ship, but no market to which to send it. And the petitioners appeal to these transportation companies to give them facilities for what they call their ' surplus stock. ' The petition shows the tremendous output of lumber from that portion of the Pacific coast; and this can hardly be gainsaid for the statistics are given. To give a faint idea of the fierce competition which the British Columbia manufacturers have to face, I may say-and it may amaze the House to know it-that the annual output of the mills in Washington. Montana and

Oregon is more than 4.000 million feet. Tills is given as a conservative estimate. The precise figures are 4,963 million feet, but, to be safe, to make a conservative estimate, they call it 4,000 million feet. Of that they export by vessel and rail, 3,633 million feet. This leaves a surplus of 636 million feet of lumber for which they have no sale, but which they have lying in their yard's taking up valuable space, and for which they must look for a slaughter market. And they do not look in vain, because they found that market in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, and have been disposing of a portion of that tremendous surplus of that kind of lumber which those parts of the Dominion require, the same lumber that we sell to these parts-or would sell, if we were not undersold in this outrageous manner by the American manufacturers. This 636 million feet of a surplus the American manufacturers are selling at a loss of from $2 to $3 a thousand feet. They show that in their petition, and that is one of the grounds that they put forward in favour of reduced rates from the transportation companies, so that the manufacturers may not make such a tremendous loss on the sale of this timber. And this is not merely beginning ; it has been going on for the last fifteen years, and getting worse and worse as population increases in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. And, on the other hand, the conditions in British Columbia, where we have the same lumber and just as good as that they have in the United States, are gptting worse instead of better. So, this great influx of population into Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, so far as British Columbia is concerned is practically doing us no good, notwithstanding that we contribute more than our share towards helping the immigration scheme of the government, of which I approve-that is, X approve of the scheme, but not of other actions of the government which tend to lay such a heavy hand Upon us as I speak of. These petitioners go further. In addition to this 036 million feet they have what they call ' waste lumber. ' This is merchantable, being turned into laths and other forms of material for building. The petition says :

One very important factor of the lumber trade of the Pacific Northwest

And this applies to us also.-

-is the waste of material in the mills and in the timber. In the saw-mills there is a great amount of side lumber burned annually in the refuse burners, estimated conservatively at 10 per cent of the cut, on account of the fact that the lumbermen are unable to shop same owing to existing freight rates and lack of market. This ' refuse ' is worked up into lath, pickets, box shooks, fence and common boards, mouldings, battens and other low grade commodities in the white and yellow pine districts -and while not sold at profit, still have the merit of contributing to the cost charged up to operating expenses.

That is sold in Canada as they have been doing. They make no mention of Canada but that is what it means. Further on they say :

The contention of this committee is that if our market for common lumber be extended this vast amount of merchantable timber an-rually wasted should contribute something to the earning capacity of the transcontinental lines as well as stand a portion of the cost of operating saw-mills and logging camps. The annual output of lumber in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Idaho and Montana Is not far from 4,000,000,000 feet, and in the production of which there is an absolute waste of not less than 800,000,000 feet, which, if marketable, would furnish a haul of 53,000 carloads, or an annual revenue to the railroads of $8,500,000. '

Now I quote these figures to emphasize the tremeudous value of this refuse trade and to show the danger that is menacing Canada owing to the existence of that state oi' affairs to the south of us and to having the government take no cognizance of it, and afford us no protection. Another argument that is advanced by our friend from the Northwest Territories and Manitoba is that if the duty were imposed, if any restriction were imposed on the importation of this lumber from the United States, the price of lumber would be increased in the territories and Manitoba. As a matter of fact since British Columbia has entered the market of the Northwest Territories and Manitoba the price of lumber has beert reduced $5 a thousand and that of shingles from $3 to $1.75 a thousand.

An lion. MEMBER. What is the date of that memorandum ?

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LIB

Aulay MacAulay Morrison

Liberal

Mr. MORRISON.

The memorandum of the province of British Columbia is dated 1901. I have not the statistics to the present time, but inasmuch as I am advised and believe that the conditions to-day are worse than they were in 1901, these figures are as cogent now as they would he at that time. In addition to that the lumbermen of British Columbia in national convention assembled, with the lumbermen from ail other parts of the Dominion of Canada expressed their opinions. Every important lumbering concern in the Dominion; of Canada was represented at that meeting and they were prepared, particularly the British Columbia and western manufacturers, to enter into any binding agreement that could be suggested by the government or by the people of the Northwest Territories and Manitoba, not to increase the prices if the competition of the Americans should be withdrawn ; or, if they were giveu a fair chance, and placed on an even footing, they were quite prepared to fight the Americans on an even footing. If they cannot compete with the Americans on an even footing I do not think they deserve my sympathy or the sympathy of this House

or the country. At the present time they are tied hand and foot and it shows the great 'business acumen and ability of Canadian manufacturers and lumbermen that they live at all under those conditions.

Now that is not all. The Dingley tariff, as we all know, provides for a maximum duty on shingles going into the United States of 55 per cent. At the present time they have a tariff imposed upon our products of that kind of 30 per cent. To-day, there is before the government at Washington a strong representation from the Pacific coast states of America urging that the full maximum of 55 per cent be imposed agaiust Canadian lumber, that the additional 25 per cent of the maximum duty be imposed. There is no manner of doubt that the American government will do this, and here we are shutting our eyes to these conditions and doing nothing. I should think that fact alone would justify the government in taking such steps as would tend to mitigate the conditions under which we are labouring. Of course, over and above all these points to which I have referred, there is yet another grievance, and that is that these American lumbermen take advantage of our concessions and of our apathy and ingenuously try to evade, and in many cases do evade, even the tariffs that are in existence against them. As I said before, rough lumber is admitted free, but they try to get in free, and do succeed in getting in free, other kinds of lumber, some of it of a higher grade. A protest has been sent by the British Columbia lumber and shingle manufacturers association to the government, dated this spring, against this attempt to evade and the partial evasion of the custom, duties and regulations of Canada. As evidence of this I shall read the letter which has been sent as well as the letter of the secretary of the association. I shall read the letter of the secretary first. It is addressed to the Minister of Customs and is as follows :

Sir,-I am instructed to inform you that there has been a large quantity of lumber coming into Manitoba and the Northwest Territories from the United States, via Sumas and Huntingdon, on some of which duty has been paid, but the greater part has been imported free of duty. Our manufacturers here have examined some of these shipments and are under the impression that there is an evasion of the tariff in connection with same. For instance, we found two carloads of 2x6 surfaced on one side to 1-i-ineh and jointed on the edge with a fine saw to 5-J inches. This we consider is subject to a duty of 25 per cent, but if the department rules otherwise, we claim that it is dutiable on the ground that it is further manufactured than ' dressed on one side ' and therefore subject to a duty of 20 per cent.

I inclose copy of a letter which was sent to one of our customers by the Foster Lumber Co., of Tacoma, Wash., In which you will note that they say the dimension will be S.I.S (surfaced one side, i.e., with a planer) * and Mr. MORRISON.

edged with a saw to avoid duty,' which we think bears out our contention.

We should like to have the ruling of your department on this, and if you should rule that our contention is correct, would, also like to have privilege of examining invoices in case of uhder-valuation.

We would be willing to send and pay the salary of a competent lumberman for a time to watch all shipments and assist the collector in ai riving at what is and what is not dutiable, and also as to values.

I have the honour to be, sir,

Your obedient servant R. H. H. ALEXANDER, Secretary.

Here is the letter which caused that protest to be written. It is addressed to Mr. Henry Byrnes of Winnipeg and is dated November 24, 1903 :-

Dear Sir,-We inclose you herewith our stock sheet and beg to offer this material, in orders calling for an assortment of lengths and sizes, S.I.S. and edged with a saw, at the following prices, delivered at Winnipeg :-

2 x 4, 2 x 6 and 2x8.

2 x 10 and 2x2.

4 x 4, 4 x 6 and 6 x 6-rough.

1 x 4-No. 1 common S.I.S.

1 x 6, 1 x 8, 1 x 10 and 1 x 12-Com. S.I.S.

2 x 3, 2 x 4, 2 x 6, 2 x 8 and wider-Clr. S.I.S.

1 x 4 to 1 x 12-Clr. S.I.S.

1x4 and 11 x 5-Clr. V.G. S.I.S.

4 x 6-Clear rough.

1 x 14 and wider-Clear S.I.S.

4 x 4, 5 x 5 and 6 x 6-Clear rough.

A list of prices is given which I need not quote.. The letter goes on :-

This stock is on hand in our yard and to dispose of It quick, we are quoting as above.

The No. 1 common and clear would he S.I.S. only. The dimension we will S.I.S. and edge with a saw to avoid duty. This we are offering subject to prior sale and trust to hear from you promptly.

Yours truly.

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FOSTER LUMBER CO.


. (Sgd.) F. E. EASTMAN. That letter shows their intention and apparent success In evading the customs regulations of the country, assisted by our own people by the Winnipeg and Manitoba lumber dealers and for what purpose ? Apparently as they say, and this is their only excuse, to give cheap lumber to the settlers o; the Northwest Territories and Manitoba. That is a condition of affairs which I think ought not to exist, and, however. anxious we might he to populate the Northwest Territories and Manitoba, I think a flagrant injustice such as this apparently has been to an important section of the Dominion of Canada should not be tolerated for a moment. The Canadian Pacific Railway, and I suppose all the other railway companies in the east, construct their roads, build their cars and employ lumber in other ways which they get from the United States. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company, this year, when an attempt was made to get them to 2565. patronize British Columbia lumber for building, cars, wrote regretting that they could not get satisfactory terms and they got from two to four million feet of lumber which came in free of duty from the United States ; in fact 75 per cent of the lumber coming to Winnipeg and used in the Territories comes from the United States, lumber which they could get just as good and perhaps better from British Columbia. As the facts which I have given tend to show the conditions which must be confronted in considering the readjustment of the tariff and as the main consideration in readjusting the tariff should be compromise I cannot conceive why such an imposition upon an important part of the community should be allowed to exist for one moment as that to which I have drawn attention. I therefore appeal most strongly to the government and particularly to the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding), that, even if he does not intend to adopt any general scheme of tariff readjustment, he will see that this state of affairs which has existed so long and which is now coming to the culminating point shall be remedied if possible this session. I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.


LIB

Thomas Mackie

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS MACKIE (North Renfrew).

Mr. Speaker, I have been very much amused by listening to the appeal of my hon. friend from New Westminister (Mr. Morrison) in behalf of the poor lumbermen as he calls them. As a rule lumbermen can protect themselves. They do not require the government to protect them. My hon. friend complains that American lumber is coming into Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. Well, there is no doubt that a small quantity of American lumber does come into Manitoba and the Northwest. I think the manufacturers of Manitoba and the Northwest, Territories are to blame a good deal if it does. The lumber manufacturers of British Columbia and the Northwest Territories entered into a combine a few years ago, one result of which was that a man who required to buy a carload of lumber could not buy it at the mill. I bought a few carloads myself and they were going to seize them on the road and no doubt they would have done so had it not been that they were a little afraid that they would get into trouble. They entered into a combine and raised the price of lumber $4 or $5 a thousand feet. I want to know who pays the duty-the lumberman or the farmer. If you want a thousand feet of lumber you have to pay from $20 to $24 a thousand feet and some of it is half rotten at that. The farmer cannot afford to buy lumber to put up his buildings. He cannot afford to erect sheds to cover his agricultural implements because it costs too much to do so. As I said before the lumbermen entered into this combine and raised the price of lumber to such a high figure as to induce the Americans to bring their lumber into Manitoba

and the Territories. They would not have brought it into the country if it had not been for the action of this combine, because they were responsible for inducing the Americans to come in. You can go about in the Northwest Territories and see farmers with their little piles of lumber which they have had to go twenty or thirty miles to buy from an agent because they cannot buy from a mill, and every agent must sell at a certain price and he will not sell at anything less. I do not think that it is fair to the farmers of the Northwest that this combine should have been allowed to exist. It should have been broken up. My hon. friend asks that a duty of $2 a thousand be imposed to prevent lumber from coming in from the United States. As far as the Territories are concerned, I have been through them a good deal and I have never seen a carload of lumber that came from the United States. There is a road which runs into the United States but very little if any lumber comes in over it. I think it would be a great imposition upon the farmer and a great hardship to him if the govenrment were to attempt to put any duty on lumber coming from the United States. It is only in consequence of having been able to get his lumber duty free that he has been able to contend against this combine. The manufacturers of lumber in the Territories and in British Columbia are in a good enough position. I think they can protect themselves. They pay very little for pine in the west. I think they get it almost for nothing. The dues they have to pay to the government are very little. I do not think that the government should entertain the request that a duty be imposed on lumber coming from the United States. I know that the farmers of the west have to work hard enough to obtain a livelihood without imposing any additional burdens upon them and the price they are paying for their lumber now is almost double what it was previously. I do not see why the lumbermen cannot protect themselves.

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. WALTER SCOTT (West Assiniboia).

Mr. Speaker, I had no expectation that this vexed question of the conditions surrounding the lumber trade in the west in relation to our fiscal policy would be the subject of discussion in the House this afternoon. But, my hon. friend from New Westminister (Mr. Morrison), in the course of his remarks, made one or two references to the people of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories which, I think, call for some answer from the representatives in this House of the Northwest Territories. Like my hon. friend from North Renfrew (Mr. Mackie) I was considerably amused at hearing my hon. friend from New Westminster refer to the people of the Northwest Territories as clamouring for free lumber and asking that they get their lumber for nothing in view of the fact that during the last two or three years especially the people of Manitoba and the

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Northwest Territories have been compelled to pay exorbitant prices for every foot of lumber which they have been compelled to purchase. I was not able to follow in detail ail the figures presented by my hon. friend from New Westminster, but I very seriously doubt whether the interest for which he was speaking this afternoon will be able to show that since they have entered into the lumber trade in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories the prices of lumber have been reduced. It is a matter withiu the knowledge of every person who knows anything about the conditions which have prevailed in the Northwest Territories, at all events during the last eight or nine years, that within that time the prices of lumber have very materially increased. I remember that in the years i895 and 1896 ordinary rough lumber could be purchased in the open market by farmers, by the ordinary consumers, at from $20 to $21 per thousand feet. It is within my knowledge that the price charged last year in the interior at points like Moose-jaw and Regina was from 40 to 50 per cent higher than the price which prevailed seven or eight years ago.

When my hon. friend (Mr. Morrison) reflects upon it, he will realize that lie has chosen, and that this interest for which he is speaking has chosen, a very unfortunate moment in which to bring forward a renewed request for the imposition of a duty upon lumber. It is true that recently there have been some importations of United States lumber to the Northwest ; but as has been very well pointed out by my hon. friend from North Renfrew (Mr. M'ackie) the conditions of which the lumbermen of British Columbia are at present complaining have been entirely brought about by themselves. Before the organization of the lumber combine in the Northwest, of which we were compelled to complain last year, there was practically no importation of American lumber into Manitoba and the Northwest. On behalf of the settlers of the Northwest Territories, I tender thanks to the hon. gentleman (Mr. Mackie) who is a practical lumberman, for the stand lie has taken on this question. Two or three years ago when this matter was under discussion in the House I made inquiry and found that for some years previously, fully 95 per cent of the total consumption of lumber in Canada, was the produce of our own mills, and only about 5 per cent Was imported.

Mr-. MACP HERSON. Does the hon. gentleman make any discrimination between eastern and western Canada, when he says that 95 per cent of the total consumption of lumber was of local manufacture.

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

I did not make any distinction: I found that of the total amount of lumber used by the people of Canada not more than 5 per cent was brought in from other countries, and of that 5 per cent, I believe that a considerable proportion would be Mr. SCOTT.

found to be certain classes of lumber which are not advantageously produced or manufactured here. It can therefore be fairly contended, that the conditions of which the British Columbia lumbermen complain in this year 1904, have been brought about by the British Columbia lumbermen themselves. Within the past few years, an association or combine was perfected in the west, which for the past two seasons, I am led to believe dominated and controlled the lumber market in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. Independent dealers and consumers who wished to buy lumber in quantities, could not go to tlie mill and buy a carload or five carloads, but were compelled to go to the retail dealer in the town in which they resided or wanted to use the lumber. The result was that the people of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, who have an independent spirit and who will not submit to dictation of that sort, were compelled to go to the United States to secure lumber. It is for this reason that within recent months there have been certain importations of lumber from the United States. We are led to believe that fortunately certain action has been taken of late, which ought to result in clipping the wings of the lumber association or combine, and an announcement w'as recently made in the public press and otherwise, by the second vice-president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Mr. Wm. Whyte, of Winnipeg, that hereafter lumber would be sold at all stations on the Canadian Pacific Railway in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, free as any other article of commerce. If the announcement made by Mr. Whyte be correct, and if lumber is hereafter a free article of commerce in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, I venture to say that there will be no further importations of lumber from the United States, and that the lumbermen of British Columbia will no longer have reason to complain. So far as I know there has been no United States lumber from the state of Minnesota or other states to the east, brought into the Northwest Territories ; at all events not as far west as Regina. The United Slates lumber that has been brought to Regina came over the Canadian Pacific Railway from Washington state through the province of British Columbia, and so there was a longer haul on it than there would be in the case of the lumber produced by' the British Columbia millmen. I take it for granted that there was a higher rate of freight paid upon it, than w'ould be paid on the produce of the British Columbia mills.

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LIB

Aulay MacAulay Morrison

Liberal

Mr. MORRISON.

Is the hon. gentleman aware, that lumber from the state of Washington is shipped from a competitive point, where there are three roads : the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Great Northern, and the Northern Pacific ; and that in consequence far better freight rates are given, than the

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mill owners of British Columbia would get from the one road ; the Canadian Pacific Railway ?

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LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

I do not think that would be so in the case of lumber brought to Moosejaw or Regina, or any point west of Brandon because to these points there is no competition. The Canadian Pacific Railway is the only company that can bring lumber to practically any point west of Brandon. There may be something in what the hon. gentleman says, but until proof is furnished that the United States lumber brought down to Regina from Washington state was carried at a lower freight rate than would be paid on British Columbia lumber to the same points, I will have to doubt that such is the case. 1 did not expect that this subject would be up for debate to-day, and so I am not prepared to, and do not propose to attempt to follow my hon, friend (Mr. Morrison) through the whole- course of his remarks. I merely call the attention of the Blouse to the fact that now especially at the end of a two year period during which a higher price has been charged to the lumber consumers of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories than at any time within the last ten years : it is a very unfortunate occasion for the lumber interests of British Columbia to come here and ask for a reimposition of the duty.

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LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. R. G. MACPHERSON (Burrard).

I was not aware that my hon. friend from New Westminister (Mr. Morrison) would bring up this discussion to-day, and I regret that it came so unexpectedly, principally for the reason that I would like to have heard those statistics which my hon. friend (Mr. Scott) says he can produce to refute the argument of the hon. member for New Westminister. The hon. gentleman from West Assiniboia says, that he does not believe that any great amount of lumber has come from the United States into the Northwest Territories east of Regina, except over the Canadian Pacific Railway. Let me tell him that during the month of March last, no fewer than 390 cars of lumber came in from the American side ; 267 of them came over the Canadian Northern and were entered for customs at Winnipeg ; 38 came over the Canadian Pacific Railway and were entered for customs at Winnipeg ; 66 came over the Canadian Northern and were entered for customs at Emerson, and 19 came over the Canadian Pacific Railway and were entered for customs at Gretna, making a total of 390 cars of lumber which were brought in east of Regina.

I may say that those 390 cars contained an average of from 8,000 to 10,000 feet to the car. At $16.50 per thousand, that amounts to $64,350 for one month on lumber carried from the American side. I have no objection to my hon. friend's making a fight for cheap lumber ; but at the same time I think the blame for their having

to pay a high price for lumber does not lie at the door of the British Columbia lumber men ; it rather lies at the door of the men in the Northwest Territories who have formed a combine. If it were a fact that the British Columbia people had a combine, they could say to the people of the Territories and Manitoba, you must buy from us and us only. But the evidence that the combine exists only among the lumber dealers of Manitoba and the Northwest, lies in the fact that they buy from the American side or the Canadian side as suits their wishes, and the British Columbia lumberman hasn't got a look-in. I do not believe in combines of any sort.

I am a free trader in one sense and a protectionist in another. I would not say that I am either a free trader or a protectionist ; but I believe in applying the knife when it is necessary, and the present instance is one in point. We in the province of British Columbia, are prepared to hold out the right hand of fellowship to our brothers in the Northwest. We are piepared to take of what they produce as much as our population will consume ; and there is no province of Canada where the consumption per head is so great as it is in the province of British Columbia. Until the Kootenay country and the different valleys throughout the province of Biitish Columbia began to fill up, the people niong the Calgary and Edmonton Railway were simply living from hand to mouth. Now they have our province for a market, and a good market it has proved to them. 1 believe that fair play is bonnie play : what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander ; and they should be obliged 1o do by us as we do by them. In the province of British Columbia we have on one side the long haul of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and we have on the other side a very high protective duty. We are obliged to pay an average of 25 per cent on every article that comes into the province of British Columbia. What the people of the Northwest Territories chiefly consume they go* in practically free. This Dominion is made up of provinces. One province has as much right to live as another province, and one province should not be sacrificed in the interest of another. If we protect them, as we do protect them, they at the same time should protect us. The hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat says that until 1894 they got lumber cheaper in the Northwest than they do tlo-day. That does not argue very well for cheap lumber : that does not prove his case, but rather the reverse. Under the old duty of $2 a thousand, which I believe my hon. friend from Macdonald (Mr. Boyd) was the means of having taken off when he sat on the government side of the House, the people of Manitoba and the Territories had cheaper lumber. I am prepared to say this-and I defy successful competition-

* *that, given a $2 per thousand duty on rough lumber, which the Americans have, the ptople of Manitoba and the Northwest Ter ritories will not pay any higher price.

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LIB
LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. MACPHERSON.

The people who are getting the benefit of the cheap lumber to day are the wholesale dealers in Manitoba. The letter which was read by my bon. friend from New Westminster (Mr. Morrison) a few moments ago shows that lumber surfaces on one side only is sold av $17.50. At the mills that costs $6.50 ; to land it f.o.b. at Winnipeg costs $10.00. making it $16.50 ; and you have to allow 50 cents a thousand for handling it. The man who gets the benefit of that is not the poor farmer ; it is the man who sells to the poor farmer, and soaks him for about double the amount. The hon. .member for North Renfrew (Mr. Mackie) says it is our people. I tell him that we do not get a look into this thing at all, and that is the reason we put up the fight we are doing, and I believe that we will eventually win. The lumber manufacturers of British Columbia do not fear competition.

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LIB
LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. MACPHERSON.

I am not a coyote from the hills, and I do not howl. I am trying to put up an argument for the benefit of our people who are suffering. I say we do not fear competition, but we would like to have fair competition. If lumber is allowed to come in free, then we ought to be allowed to have free butter, free eggs, free oats, free hay, free mill machinery and everything that we are obliged to import into British Columbia. My hon. friend says he will agree to that; but he is the first man who would ge up and howl, as he says, if he were touched. I have no quarrel with the Northwest members ; but if there is anything that has been paraded before the Dominion of Canada in the last few years, it is this fact, that the farmers of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories- and I am very glad to know it-are doing well, getting rich, piling up money. We in the province of British Columbia, are not making any loud complaint about the times there ; but our principal industry from which we expect to reap the greatest benefit, is suffering, while our friends in the Northwest Territories are getting rich. It puts me in mind of the saying, why starve when there is corn in Egypt? I say to our friends, why do they ask us to take the worst proposition, when they are doing so well? If their lumber were going to cost them any more money, they would be perfectly right to take the stand they are doing; but, as the hon. member for West Assiniboia (Mr. Scott) has said, with the old duty of $2 a thousand on rough lumber-it was 40 to 50 per cent cheaper.

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LIB
LIB

Thomas Walter Scott

Liberal

Mr. SCOTT.

If my hon. friend will permit me, I may say that in 1894 the duty that did exist was taken off. and immediately the people of Manitoba and the Northwest felt the benefit. Prior to 1894 the consumers of lumber were paying an exorbitant price, and Mr. Foster, who was then Finance Minister, went into the country and made an investigation, the result of which was that in the session of 1894, the duty was taken off, and very material relief was felt for a number of years until the formation of the combine.

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LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. MACPHERSON.

The hon. gentleman has had time to revise what he said. I took his words down, and he said : lumber has increased with the duty off from 40 to 50 per cent. That is what I took down. I do not wish to misquote my hon. friend. He knows that I am the last man in the House who would wish to do so.

Mi-. SCOTT. If I did use the words quoted by my hon. friend, I said what I had no intention of saying, and I think that ' Hansard ' will show that I did not use those words precisely,

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LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. MACPHERSON.

I am bound to accept my hon. friend's statement, although I was very careful to take down his words.

Topic:   FOSTER LUMBER CO.
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May 4, 1904