June 7, 1904

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Yes.

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John William Bell

Mr. BELL.

But I understand that the hon. minister stated that he is going to have a maximum tariff imposed on certain imports, maximum tariff and a general tariff.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

No ; I said that in the working out of the general revision of the tariff to take place later, I thought it would be well to set forth each individual item and set forth the difference in rates which we might see fit to establish. In that case there would be a maximum general tariff, a minimum general and British preference. But, that does not refer to any thing that is to be done at the present time. It is simply an indication of the lines upon which we should proceed in regard to the fuller revision of the tariff. As to how we shall deal with the surtax that will depend on what the state of matters may be at the time. If there be a special state of things we shall have to get special legislation concerning it.

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John William Bell

Mr. BELL.

I thought that in the earlier part of my hon. friend's speech in which he was referring to the tariff, he stated that he was about to adopt practically what would be a maximum, a minimum and a regular tariff.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

No, that all refers to the manner in which the detailed revision of the tariff will be brought about later. It had no reference to anything we propose to-day.

We have practically that system to-day because, we have the German surtax, the general tariff and the British Preferential tariff. The change that I was suggesting was that it would be well to set these forth in separate columns, dealing with each item separately. I have submitted to the House all that the government have to propose on this great question. We quite realize the difficulties connected with tariff changes ; we quite realize the difficulties which business men experience in regard to the tariff ; and while we have been willing to consider all reasonable requests, while we have been anxious to meet the legitimate demands for changes we have always had a strong opinion that there was a great deal of merit in a policy of tariff stability. I have met many manufacturers, who, while they wanted some particular change, frankly said that rather than go into any broad changes in the tariff policy, they would submit to what they considered a disadvantage for a little while longer, because they recognized that frequent tariff changes are not desired by business men. Our tariff has been in operation since 1897 with a very few changes. It would not be surprising if changed conditions should necessitate changes in the details of this tariff. We believe that in what we have proposed to-day we have met the most urgent matters which have been presented to us. We believe we have met to a very large extent the complaints which have been made by our manufacturers by the introduction of this policy in regard to dumping or slaughtering. We believe that in the form in which the tariff will stand when these amendments have been adopted, as I trust they will be by parliament, the tariff will be in a condition which will give general satisfaction to nearly all classes in this country, but as respects the items with which we have not dealt, we do not for a moment assume that the tariff is perfect. We admit that in a number of instances circumstances may have arisen under which, after proper investigation, it may be necessary to make further changes. We are prepared as I have said to make a careful inquiry into all these things, such a careful inquiry as every business man must desire should be made before sucll policy is introduced into this House. But, I think we are justified in saying that in the main, we have, by introducing and devising tariff measures to meet the conditions of the country, given a reasonable assurance to the country now and in the future that this government can be relied upon, while guarding against monopolies, trusts and combines, to give reasonable aid to the legitimate industries of the country, and to adopt a tariff policy which will not only be a policy for the benefit of the manufacturers, but a policy, which, while giving them all due Consideration, will have regard also to the interests of every class and section of the

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

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Mr. A. C.@

BELT* (Pictou). Mr. Speaker, the speech of the Minister of Finance contains some information of a most important character ; it has furnished some admissions which to us, on this side of the House, cannot fail to be agreeable. The Minister of Finance casually told us that Sir Charles Tupper had estimated that the reduction in postal rates would represent one million dollars, and the Finance Minister represented this as a lightening of the burdens of the people to the extent of $1,000.000 a year. It occurred to some of us on this side of the House, who have looked with surprise upon the consistent course followed by the Minister of Finance in rolling up large surpluses year after year ; that the reduction of his surplus either for one year or for a succession of years, might prove a lightening of the burden of the people, because the money taken out of the people in customs duties is quite as much an exhction as is the money which they pay for their postage.

The Minister of Finance told us that both parties in this country were united in favour of the British preference, and in making that statement he assumed something. I have heard no representative man admit that the Conservative party was satisfied with the preference, granted as it has been granted. We have always thought that for it we should enjoy some quid pro quo from the mother country. Although Sir Wilfrid Laurier had promised the people of Canada to press preferential trade with a view of deriving some advantage in return for it, vet, when he met the British statesmen in England, he disavowed the idea that any one in Canada desired or expected to receive any consideration in return for the British preference. He told them in England, that the preference was given as a mark of appreciation by Canada for that splendid freedom which we enjoy, and upon one or two occasions that language was echoed by the Minister of Agriculture. I do not know that any Conservative in this country (no matter how highly he prizes the splendid British freedom which we as a British people are in possession of), is disposed to feel that we owe any consideration of a pecuniary character. or in the character of a commercial advantage to the mother country for that priceless freedom. We are disposed to make our own commercial treaties so far as possible. or at least to have a voice in their making. We have always entertained the idea-which seemed to be strong in the mind of the Minister of Finance at a later period in his speech-that we should utilize what-

ever preference favours we have to give in order to receive others in return. The Minister of Finance seemed to oscillate in the course of his speech ,between the attitude of a free trader and that of a protectionest. It almost reminds me of some of his old free trade utterances, when, speaking of the reduction of taxation upon kerosene oil, he described the amount of money which would be saved to the consumers of this country by that reduction as being about $370,000 a year. . I wonder if it occurred to the Finance Minister, how he and his party when in opposition promised year after year to remit the whole of the taxation upon kerosene oil ; I wonder if he realized, that had he and his party carried out their pledges to the people in this respect, they would have relieved the people of Canada not of $370,000 a year but of practically $750,000 a year. The attitude of the Minister of Finance in this connection, reminded me of the story of the Irishman who was advised to buy a new stove because he would save half the fuel, and he concluded that he had better buy two of these stoves to save the whole of the fuel. There was another feature in the speech of the Minister of Finance wdiicli struck me as being somewhat out of the ordinary, and that is that he made no reference at all to the finances of the next fiscal year ending June 30, 1905. It is usual for the Minister of Finance not only to review the finances of the last year and the current fis'cal year, but also the expected revenue and expenditure for the coming year. There was also a very significant failure on the part of the Minister of Finance to refer to our trade with the United States. We had a chart placed in our hands showing the development of British trade, but we had no information at all as to the expectations of the hon. gentleman in regard to trade with the United States. In years gone by, the Liberals of Canada used to attach enormous importance to that subject. The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir Richard Cartwright) and others were continually harping upon it in years past, but the budget speech of the Minister of Finance to-day passed over all references to that market of 70,000,000 people in the United States. Is it possible that this is one of the old songs which the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir Richard Cartwright) no longer sings ? There was another significant feature of the speech of the Minister of Finance wherein he called attention to the enormous aggregate surplus of some $58,000,000 which the present government has had during its tenure of office. The hon. gentleman is able to claim this enormous surplus, but in return for the $5S.000,-000 of taxation poured into the hands 'of the administration, by the willing people of Canada, all he is able to promise in return is a reduction of the public debt by about $1,000,000. The remaining $57,000,000 has been used up and has disappeared, and all Mr. BELL.

that remains to show for the enormous exactions that have been taken from the people of Canada by this government, is the reduction of the debt by about $1,000,000.

Perhaps one of the most expected announcements in the budget speech was that a commission would be appointed to inquire into the propriety and the necessity, and the course of tariff revision. This government has fairly earned the distinction of administering the affairs of Canada by commission, and it was not unexpected that when they came to deal with tariff revision they would entrust that to a commission also. Is it not extraordinary that a government comprising men of such ability ; men vaunted by their friends as being the ablest men in Canada; men collected not only from Dominion public life but from the public life of all the provinces ; men who are supplied with officials in their departments of the highest technical skill in matters of trade ; men who have been receiving delegations from manufacturers and merchants throughout the country ; is it not an extraordinary thing that such men instead of dealing boldly with the tariff, should refer it to a commission, thus gaining time and enabling themselves a little longer to keep in touch with both the free trade element and the protectionist element in this country ? In 1878, when the Conservative party came Into power pledged to tariff reform and protection, they did not resort to a commission, but dealt with the question in a bold and fearless manner assuming the responsbility of dealing with it satisfactorily and promptly. It cannot but strike the people of Canada, that this promise of a tariff commission is merely the holding out of a hope to those who are in favour of higher protection as well as to those who are in favour of free trade. The announcement of the Finance Minister on this matter is a clear indication that the coming general elections are not far off, and by the promise of this commission the government hope to leap the gap, and to secure the adhesion of protectionists and of free traders as well. It seems to me that the time has come when the government ought to have made up its mind as to what fiscal policy the country needed, and as to what it was going to do for the country. But after eight years of experience, after having themselves as a commission visited and interviewed the manufacturers and -workmen of Canada in 1896, a flier having obtained every particle of intelligence and information which the manufacturing community could give them, they are now unable to decide whether the interests of this country require more protection, or whether they would be better served by free trade ; and they are going to send a commission through this country to enable them to decide whether they should raise the tariff or lower it, and how they are to proceed to do it.

Now, Mr. Speaker, it was impossible to listen to the speech made by the kon. gentleman to-day, and contrast the manner in which he seems yet to look with favour and hope on every measure of a free trade character that promises cheaper goods to the consumers with his attitude when he comes to use those arguments which are generally held by protectionists. The hon. gentleman to-day, When talking about dumping, used the argument of the protectionist as skilfully as any protectionist could. He is well aware of the nature and the effect of dumping. It is practically mercantile piracy, mercantile war ; and when the hon. gentleman turned round to his followers and said that this evil practice rather prevailed in countries which had the highest tariffs, a sentiment which might seem condemnatory of high protection, he was applauded by them ; and when shortly afterwards he went on to develop the arguments of the protectionist against this practice, he was-equally applauded. So that it would seem as if neither the government nor the party have any decided opinions on this most important subject. The hon. gentleman says that dumping is not carried on with the idea of doing any beneficial service to the country hi which the dumping is done. He says it is done for the purpose of injuring and destroying the industries of that country-that the low prices will not prevail longer than is necessary to accomplish that destructive work, and that the moment those industries are destroyed, up goes the price. That is precisely the argument held and advanced by the protectionists time after time ; and yet until to-day the hon. gentleman has allowed this dumping practice to go on, has not interfered with it, has rather endeavoured to keep himself and his government before the public as if they were still imbued with those opinions which they held when the hon. gentleman, who is now the Finance Minister of Canada, occupied an important position in the Ottawa convention. The hon. gentleman who made the budget speech today is credited, probably truly, with having had a great deal to do with the preparation of the trade resolution adopted in that historic conference ; and what does that declare ? It declares :

That the customs tariff of the Dominion should he based, not as it is now, on the protective principle, but on the requirements of the public service.

How can that declaration, possibly prepared by the skilful hand of my hon. friend and adopted by his party in convention assembled, be reconciled with the promise held out to-day of a step towards that highest development of the protective principle to which any protectionist country has ad vanced as yet, that is, the adoption of a regular minimum and maximum talriff ? Then, again, how can you reconcile the maintenance of my hon. friend's tariff and his

boast to-day of an expected surplus of $16,' 500,000, following one of over $14,000,000, with -this other sentence, also taken from that memorable document :

That the protective system of this country should be destroyed, and that to that end the tariff should be reduced to the needs of honest, economical and efficient government.

What consistency, what inspiration is derived by the party now at the right hand of the Speaker from these utterances of their past V They have blotted out every word of this, which was at one time their political catechism ; and still, by the expedient of a commission, hope is endeavoured to be kept alive in their hearts that they may succeed in obtaining the support of the protectionists of this country and of the consumers as well. This historic document goes on to say :

On this subject the issue between the two political parties is now clearly defined.

Who that heard the hon. Finance Minister's speech to-day can say that so far as protection and free trade in this country are concerned, the issue is clearly defined ? The speech made by the hon. gentleman today was practically a protectionist speech ; and as we have welcomed the conversion of that hon. gentleman to sounder views of political nationality, as we have been delighted to see him renounce the more sectional and provincial views Which he once entertained, and rise to the full stature of Canadian manhood, so we may now congratulate him upon recanting what he must have come to regard as the errors of his earlier political education, and the errors of the party with which he was associated, and upon being prepared to advance towards the development of Canadian industries as the policy to be avowed openly and maintained in its most perfect development by the government of the day.

The hon. gentleman has given to us in the course of the day several tariff changes to which I shall refer very hurriedly. Woollens have been raised from 23J to 30 per cent. That is a step in the direction of higher protection. Twine and cordage have been raised from 16* to 20 per cent, again a protectionist move. On the other hand, I suppose to compensate the mother country somewhat for interference with the preference in connection with the woollen industry, the duty on window glass has been lowered ; but that is not a free trade move ; it is a protectionist move, because the kind of glass reduced is used by the manufacturers of mirrors as raw material. Then pails and tubs are taken out of the class on which a duty of 20 per cent is imposed and are put upon the free list. But when we come to consider what has been done in the case of the carriage manufacturers, there again a certain measure of protection is accorded. A minimum value at which an open buggy can be entered for duty is $40 and a covered;

buggy $50, a measure taken in the interest of protecting the carriage manufacturers in this country. The next item is practically the adoption of a policy urged repeatedly from this side of the House by gentlemen from the west. It is a move to prevent the importation into Canada of cheap horses.

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LIB
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John William Bell

Mr. BELL.

Sly lion, friend from Brant seems to think that is a good move. But how is it he has continued to support so long a government which took so long to make that move ?

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LIB

Charles Bernhard Heyd

Liberal

Mr. HEYD.

I knew they would when the necessity arose.

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John William Bell

Mr. BELL.

I should think that the gentlemen who represent the west ought to know best when the necessity arose and they have been imploring the government for years to take this step. It is satisfactory at last to see that the government in this measure is following in the course indicated by the Conservative party. Then paraffine oil is reduced and crude oil is reduced to It cents a gallon and the cheaper grades to nothing at all, as I understand it. Molasses, which hitherto paid 1} cents per gallon, is made free, a concession undoubtedly to the consumers, and when the government is so disposed to make these comparatively small concessions, one is prompted to ask why they did not make larger concessions. Why is it necessary that they should have surpluses to boast of -surpluses of from $14,000,000 to $16,000,000 ? They could get clear of a large portion by extending the reduction of duties from molasses to sugar. They could also make a reduction in the duty on tobacco, which would prove an immense boon to almost every man who contributes to taxation. But when we come to the free list, there it is my hon. friend shows his skilful hand. The first item is goats. Whether these goats are to be imported for the use of secret societies or for the improvement of the stock of goats in the country, I am not aware.

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LIB

Mahlon K. Cowan

Liberal

Mr. COWAN.

For the Orange lodges.

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John William Bell

Mr. BELL.

Or for the consumption of the tin cans, which we know are a nuisance in almost every locality, is not stated, but I presume the leading position in the government's programme is given to that noble animal the goat, from the fact that the goat is clearly an animal which can go it, if put in the front place, the rest of the procession will move along with alacrity. Then there is a great article of industry, whale oil soap largely used. I am reminded very much by these concessions made by the government to the trade of the country of another revision, when they put dragons blood, attar of roses, ice and several other articles on their free list, none of which would very much disturb the balance of trade in the Mr. BELL.

country. Then there are photographic paper and glass to be used in the manufacture of the materials of the photographers' trade. There are also printing presses of a class not made in Canada and machinery for the manufacture of linen and brass, not made in Canada, and for drilling wells not made in Canada. Then showing how the government, when it discovers that it has been false to all its principles, may feel the necessity of procuring an outfit of false teeth in order to make a presentable appearance in public, they have put artificial teeth on the free list. That reminds me that not very long ago they put artificial limbs on the free list, feeling convinced that in their limping condition regarding the tariff they would require the assistance of wooden legs. In their last revision they adopted the wooden leg reform, and they have now the artificial or false teeth reform. Then there is quassia juice. That is 'an artible which enters enormously into the trade of this country. No doubt this is an immense concession, and I only hope that the surplus to which my hon. friend looks forward next year may not be too much impaired by the amount of duty he is going to lose on quassia juice.

With reference to what my hon. friend has said regarding the advantage which the British preference has been to us in setting an example to the world, we are not going to offer any objection. At the same time if he is disposed to adopt such a cheerful tone with reference to the attitude of the government on the subject, we should not forget all that was involved in the manner in which that preference was adopted. The government very jauntily assumed that they were going to give a British preference and put it into effect at once. They made a very blind move and the British government in pity let them out of the difficulty into which they had fallen in their endeavour to gratify British public opinion in this country by a British preference. That preference practically applied not only to Britain but to every country with which Great Britain had a treaty containing the most favoured nation clause. Germany and Belgium and every other country which had a treaty with Great Britain containing the most favoured nation clause was enabled to demand the admission of its goods under the preference and did so. So that instead of its being a well-considered move, it was a move made without a proper knowledge of the situation and without anything like a realization of the consequences. Every word that was uttered in this House by Conservative statesmen, every criticism passed on that measure by the Conservatives, turned out to be absolutely correct. Had it not been for the courtesy of the British government in denouncing the German and Belgian treaties this government would have been

compelled, In order to preserve our own markets, to repeal the preference at the next session. Nothing but the fact that the British statesmen, pitying this government in the humiliating position into which it hdd landed itself, saved it from being compelled to repeal the preference, by denouncing the treaty. We on this side approve of everything in the direction of extending the imperial idea. We are in favour of everything that will draw the different parts of the empire more closely together. We are in favour of developing the trade of Great Britain with Canada and the trade of Canada with the other colonies, but we are not disposed to see our friends who simply blundered into this move and succeeded in securing the denunciation of those treaties in the manner I have indicated, take away the credit of Conservative statesmen who for twenty years had been working for the denunciation of those treaties and to put Canada in a position in which she might give preference to the mother country and the colonies as well.

It was a Conservative policy advocated by Sir Alexander Galt. Sir Charles Tup-per. Mr. Foster, advocated by every leader of the Conservative party and although they did not blindly leap into the hole into which the present government plunged themselves, they were endeavouring for 20 years practically, to have these obstructive treaties removed and to secure for this country the opportunity to develop the idea of a British preference not only with the mother country, but with the other colonies as well. Judging from the utterances of the hon. gentleman to-day. he is going to adopt as soon as possible-at the next session of parliament, he says-a tariff which, in order to fill his description of it must be an out and out protectionist tariff, a tariff which will permit of retaliation, which will not he a tariff for revenue but a tariff for protection, a tariff which will protect Canadian industries even to the extent of using drastic measures to prevent dumping, to prevent an attack on Canadian indiretries by the industries of any foreign country. When he, as the representative of this government promises the people of this country an out and out protectionist policy, it is not at all to be wondered at if hon. gentlemen on this side of the House, who have in the past heard that hon. gentleman and his party speak upon the platforms throughout this country, are filled with amazement. Is it possible that this gentleman and his party can come here to-day and without a blush proclaim that their every utterance for 18 years was an absurd and mistaken one, that their every promise to the people was an impossible one, that they sit to-day in the parliament of Canada pilloried, monuments of incapacity, unable to accomplish anything they ever promised the people of this country. Now that the Finance Min- , istfer has come out as a protectionist let

me read to him what his friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce said in 1893 :

The Finance Minister lays down, or did lay down, as a proposition that it was possible to increase our collective wealth by increasing our taxes. I beg leave to tell the hon. gentleman that I regard such a proposition as about the ' ne plus ultra ' of folly in a country like Canada. When the hon. gentleman is able to pour water into a sieve and keep it there, when the hon. gentleman is able to leap from one of these buildings and sustain himself in mid-air by grasping his waistband ; when the hon. gentleman can take snow in his hand and hold it before the fire without its melting ; then, and not until then, will the hon. gentleman increase the collective wealth of the community by increasing their taxes. Sir, we do not look for grapes from thorns and we do not look for figs from thistles, hut we had better do that than look for prosperity to a policy the very keynote of which is to enrich one or two special classes at the expense of the great hulk of the community. I tell the hon. gentleman that his government and his policy may indeed displace wealth-that they have done to a large extent-hut they are helpless and powerless to create it.

Has the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce changed his opinions? He sat to-day beside his friend and colleague the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) and saw him deliberately perpetrating this act of folly, saw him, so to speak leaping from one of the windows in this building and hoping to sustain himself by his waistband, yet he did not raise one voice of remonstrance, he did not protest against that act of folly. Apparently he has come to the conclusion that, after all. that and all his other utterances of a like character were folly and . folly in the highest degree. It is useless to waste time upon such a subject, but it is not useless to extend my congratulations to the hon. gentleman on the fact that having learned wisdom he is wise enough to retain liis position even in the despised Department of Trade and Commerce and to swallow all the protectionist doses that the Premier of Canada and his Finance Minister are disposed to pour down his throat.

It is not too much to say that it is high time that the government proceeded to deal with this trade question. Speaking of the utterances of the right hon. gentleman the Minister of Trade and Commwe, the Minister of Customs, the Minister of Agriculture, and many other hon. gentleman who raised their voices in this House to denounce protection, the Attorney General of Nova Scotia, in a thoughtful and moralizing spirit, cast his eye backwards over the course of events and told an audience in Nova Scotia a short time ago that these hon. gentlemen talked all this nonsense in the years when they were in opposition, because gentlemen who were along time in opposition were inclined to acquire the habit of talking unmitigated rot. I think it is beyond doubt that the attitude of our horn friends to-day

thing promised in the tariff in favour of the wire rod industry. Of sheets of all kinds we import 74,000 tons.

Of bars and rods of different kinds we imported 84.000 tons. Now, these goods come very largely from the United States and while in this country the duty varies from $2.50 to $7 or $8 a ton, in the United States the duty upon precisely the same class of products rises to the height of $14, $18 and $30 a ton. Nothing is done for that industry. If the right lion, leader of the government or his Finance Minister has come to the conclusion that the country can be benefited by the development of these industries, there, in the iron industry, that brought into this country nearly $30,000,000 worth of these products in the past year, is an endless scope for his action. He has right beside him, in the United States, an example of how that work is to be accomplished. He knows it has not been done by tinkering with the tariff ; he knows it can only be done by protection whic;li will be adequate, to use the expression of my hou. friend the leader of the opposition, by adopting the protection that will protect.

Then again there is the woollen industry to. which some concession has been made today. About six per cent has been added to the protection on woollens, but what is the position of the woollen industry in this country ? Canada, a country which is adapted to the raising of sheep for the production of wool, imports $13,700,000 worth of woollen products. The United States, where the duty is 90 per cent, where the population is 80,000,000 as against our five and a half millions, imports $19,500,000 worth of woollens or less than one-quarter dollar per head of the population of what we import and they manufacture all the woollens used in that country with the exception of what costs 25 cents p?r head of the population. Why ? Because the industry there is so protected that it can live. In this country, although remonstrances have been addressed to the government day after day, the imports of woollens have grown from $9,709,000 in 1899 to $13,700,000 in 1903. The protection Canada now affords may be sufficient-if it is not it will be a great misfortune-but if it is why is it that the government does not make up its mind to adopt the protective system throughout and instead of touching the tariff here and there, giving some small measure of relief to this industry or that industry, take its stand upon one side or the other of this great controversy in which all the nations of the world are engaged and either proclaim its belief in protection, and holding that belief in protection, go on and develop the protective system so as to make of this country a hive of industry, fill it with factories, stop the exportation of animals, stop the exportation of wheat and bring about a condition of affairs which would result in the consumption of these things in this country ? It might be that my hon.

friend the Minister of Finance would have to submit to a great deprivation, that he would have to submit to the aggregate of his trade being largely reduced. That trade naturally would be done in this country. The movement of products would be 'from the farm to the town, from the town to the farm. My hon. friend could not boast of such an enormous increase in the aggregate trade of the country but how much better off would be the people of the country ? How much stronger would the country be and how much better would the interests of this country be served by adding to our population which would consume the products of our farms and prairies in the cities of Canada rather than that our products should be exported to the mother country ? We are disposed to do everything we can to develop imperial trade, but no party in this country, and certainly not the party sitting on the other side of the House, are disposed to push that matter of a British preference to the length of injuring Canadian industries. If there was any doubt at one time there is no doubt now after the speech made by the hon. Minister of Finance to-day because he has broken in on the British prefer-erence by raising the duty against the woollen manufacturers of Great Britain.

A reading of our trade figures will show us that we are not progressing in the direction in which a protective country should move. We are progressing along the lines in which a free trade, country might hope to progress.

Our exports of home products in 1903 as compared with 1896 were as follows :

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EXPORTS, HOME PRODUCTS.


1896. 1903. Mines $8,050,000 Animals and Products.. 36,500,000 Agricultural Products. . 14,000,000 Fisheries 11,070,000 Forest 27,170,000 Manufacturers 9,360,000



$106,150,000 $214,317,890 Miscellaneous 83,784



We are making progress, but not satisfactory progress, not the progress that this country ought to make. In my mind there can be no doubt at all that in this country, with our population, with our climate, with our natural resources, there is no reason why we should not at an early date, with the protective system, with the manner in which our fertile lands are attracting population from outside countries, make progress very much more rapid than we are making at this moment. We are doing well, my hon. friend the Minister of Finance tells us. We are delighted on this side of the House to recognize the fact that we are doing well and we are delighted to find that our hon. friends on the other side of the House have made up their minds that this country is not going to the how wows alto-


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John William Bell

Mr. BELL.

gether but that we have here a good country to live in. But, we maintain that if our country is not making more rapid progress than it is the government should not stand still. If our policy laid down in 1879 is a wrong one it should be reversed. If it is a right one it should be extended and maintained. Now, as I have already said there may be the one little drawback, as far as my bon. friend the Minister of Finance is concerned, that he may find it unsatisfactory to see his exports and imports diminished. He might be in the unhappy position that he would not be able to point to an enormous increase of trade or taxation or to surpluses, but would it not be a benefit to the population of this country that he should be deprived of some small part of the glory and pleasure which he seems to derive from boasting of these thing's and that we should go on developing this country, and advancing the prosperity not only of the great farming community but of the great industrial community as well ? My hon. friend the Minister of Finance promised us to-day a surplus of $16,674,000. He also promised a capital expenditure of $11,500,000 and a net reduction of the debt to the amount of $7,-[DOT] 500,000. Now, it seems to me that my hon. friend ought to have come to the conclusion by this time that he should not boast as he does and that his party ought to have been tired by this time of his boasting of this prosperity. There was a time when prominent gentlemen now seated on the- government side of the House maintained that the government could do nothing at all to contribute to the prosperity of the country, that the government was a fly upon the wheel, that the wheel turned indifferently to their posturing or prayers or desires. But, it is not so now. Why, my hon. friend the Minister of Finance has only to stand up here and recite figures of the greatness of Canada's trade, of the greatness of her receipts, of the greatness of her revenues and his followers, even at the end of eight years, still cheer him to the echo. I think I detected a little falling off in the spontaneity and force of the applause to-day. It is getting to be an old story-I suppose they will tell me. Is it possible that the conclusion is beginning to come to their minds that it is not always very good financing that would go on year after year taking enormous surpluses from the people of this country simply to enable the government to boast when it goes to the country, of a surplus ?

This government has been favoured with a marvellous good fortune ; it came into power when Canada was very prosperous, and so the Minister of Finance enjoys the annual opportunity of reciting another chapter of the continued story of Canada's well being. To what is that prosperity owing ? We are rejoiced to see it, although we do not think it is used as wisely as it might be. To us it seems that it would be far better for this country, if the government would 140

show less pride in large surpluses and more desire to alleviate the burdens of the people ; to us it seems that it would be better if the government should so adjust the tariff as to make it not a great revenue producing tariff but a great industry producing tariff. What is the secret of this story of success ? Is it due to anything the government has done ? If so, it would be an agreeable variation if some member of the government would point to some act of administration which has contributed to the prosperity of the country. Many hon. gentlemen would seem to have come to this House believing apparently, that the prosperity of Canada was due to the beams from the countenance of the Prime Minister, who was pictured to us as the iSunny Jim of Canadian politics. But, Sir, I do not think it is possible that those effulgent rays from the Prime Minister's countenance could have continued to give to this country the prosperity it has enjoyed for several years. Still, none of all the very clever men who sit in the government have devised any more probable theory as to the prosperity of this country, than the fact that Sir Wilfrid Laurier is Prime Minister. In the press, in the House, on the hustings, we are told that prosperity prevails throughout Canada because the right hon. gentleman is at the head of the government. It is a beautiful thing to know that in Canada there is a man of such radio-active powers that his efiflu-ency is not circumscribed by the area of this Dominion, but that his beneficence radiates throughout the world, because we know that the world generally has been prosperous. We have not heard from our friends in the extreme north that the icebergs are being melted by that sun which beams from the countenance of the Prime Minister of Canada, but we do know that the world over, good times have prevailed since my right hon. friend has become premier. Is it not possible that there are other reasons for our prosperity ? We have had bountiful harvests in Canada since 1896, and although the Prime Minister may be responsible for them, we would piously hope that providence may have something to do with it. Is it not possible that part of the good times in this country, part of the large figures in the trade returns, part of the large receipts from taxation, part of the large surpluses, may be owing to the high prices which have prevailed since 1896, for lumber, for animal products, for butter, for cheese, for almost everything that Canada produces to sell. Is the Prime Minister responsible for these high prices ? Perhaps it is that owing to some momentary inertia on the part of the Prime Minister, the cheese and butter industry have suffered a decline this year. It may be possible that because of having his attention too much devoted to that great railway project which is to make his memory famous, his friends say, he has withdrawn to a certain extent his attentive

benignity from our great agricultural interests and that the prices of butter and cheese have dropped in consequence. In fact, when one admiring supporter of the Prime Minister was urged to call his attention to the decline in the price of cheese, this gentleman replied that the Prime Minister was very busy just now, but in a little while he would have time to attend to Hhe matter and then it would be all right. But, is it not possible that the prosperity of this country is in a certain measure due to the discovery of the Yukon, to the development of 'mining, to our gold and our copper and our nickel ? Do the right hon. gentleman and his supporters take credit for that ? Do they take credit for the discovery of the Yukon, a country which was purchased by the Conservatives and the purchase of which they opposed ? Do they take credit for the development of the mining industries of the Kootenay owing to the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the construction of which they opposed and denounced as folly ? If in a more thoughtful frame of mind we try to discover what the true cause of our prosperity is, we have to look in another direction. In what phase of the administration of the present government, are we to look for any change from the policy of the Conservative party, with one exception and that exception is that instead of pursuing the cautious and careful financing of the Conservative administration whose policy was to alleviate the burdens of the people and to avoid surpluses, this Liberal government has exhausted every means of extracting cash from the Canadian taxpayer, increased taxation beyond any necessity, and expended the money which they have taken from the people in an extravagant and unjustifiable manner. Is not our prosperity due to the fact, that through a long continued course of a wise and cautious administration by the Conservative government ; of a wisely constructed banking system, of a wisely constructed system of protection to our industries ; the foundations of prosperity in this country were laid, so that when this world wide era of prosperity did arise, Canada was in a position to derive the advantage of it. Was it not owing to a wise government that Canada passed almost undisturbed through the great depression which shortly prior to 1890, struck the United States with cyclonic force ? Was It because this country had been so well and wisely governed that an eminent United States authority at the time, contrasting the, condition of things in the United States, where thousands of financial institutions were going down in ruin, with the prosperous conditions of Canada, where no financial distress was felt, wrote as follows :

In the Dominion of Canada separated from ns on the north by an imaginary line there has been no panic, no increased demand for money, no stoppage of industries, no restriction of trade, no increased rate of interest, in short

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   EXPORTS, HOME PRODUCTS.
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?

John William Bell

Mr. BELL.

nothing beyond the ordinary course of events except so far as these events may have been influenced by contiguity to what may be termed a financial cyclone whose pathway of destruction was contiguous to, but not within Canadian teritory.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   EXPORTS, HOME PRODUCTS.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Who said that ?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   EXPORTS, HOME PRODUCTS.
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June 7, 1904