April 26, 1909

CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

That is similar to the statement made by the minister a short time ago. He then said it was forty cents a bushel, and now he admits that it was sixty cents a bushel.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

You agreed with that.

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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

I could not stop to figure it out.

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LIB
CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

been existing; how much longer is the irritation going to last? The tariff war which this government has been waging for the last 13 years has been most damaging to our trade and at this eleventh hour I appeal to the government to put an end to it. In conclusion I urge upon the government the necessity in the near future, of bringing about some satisfactory understanding with Germany which will be beneficial to the agriculturists and the manufacturers of Canada.

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LIB

Alexander Bannerman Warburton

Liberal

Mr. ALEXANDER B. WARBURTON (Queens, Prince Edward Island).

Mr. Speaker; even though the debate on the budget has been continued for some considerable time, I think its importance justifies every member of this House in expressing his views on the financial and industrial condition of the country. As a new member of this House and one who takes anj earnest interest in the prosperity of Canada, I should not feel satisfied with myself were I to allow this debate to end without letting my views be known in as brief a form as possible. In conjunction with other members of the House who hold the same political views as I do, I have the utmost pleasure in congratulating the Minister of Finance on the financial statement which he has been able! to present. We have become so used to the announcement of surpluses by the present Minister of Finance that I hardly know how we would feel were he compelled to make a budget speech declaring a deficit. But from our long and intimate knowledge of the business and financial ability of the hon. gentlemen we do not look to see any such misfortune attend the country while he remains in office. But I suppose it will be unreasonable to expect all members of this House to take the same view of this matter. That would indicate a tendency towards perfection, and I am not sure that we are yet ripe for that.

The hon. gentleman who last spoke waxed warm over the advantages of the German market. I suppose we all agree that it would be desirable to get access to that market on fair and honourable terms; but I think hon. members on both sides of this House will also agree that unless we can trade with the German people on fair and honourable terms, we are not going to be coerced into taking down our walls while they shake the whip over us. The German government undertook to dictate to Canada the position she should take in regard to the British preference. They practically told us that if we dared to give a preference to the old motherland which we did not also give to Germany, Germany would punish us; and she at once put us under her maximum tariff. I frankly say that much as I would like to see the Ger-Mr. ARMSTRONG.

man trade with Canada restored, I would not, as one member of this House, consent to the surtax being withdrawn so long as Germany continues her present attitude towards this cuontry. I look on Canada as a great and growing nation that should maintain her dignity in her dealings with Germany or any other nation. What does the hon. member want to do? We know the result he aims at; we would like to have the same result ourselves; but does he wish us to knuckle down to Germany, to take our licking lying down?

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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

Is there no other way?

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LIB

Alexander Bannerman Warburton

Liberal

Mr. WARBURTON.

It would appear that there is no other way. I was not brought up in that school of politics. My people and their people before them belonged to the old Liberal school; we have always been willing to make friends where perhaps we had not friends before; and I do not wish to depart from that principle. But I hope never to see the day when I shall consent to get any advantage for my country by dragging her honour in the dust. The market of Germany may have been lost to our farmers temporarily; I do not believe that it is permanently lost. The German people, I believe, possess a fair amount of common sense. I believe the mercantile community of Germany and the people of Germany generally are possessed of much more common sense than their rulers; and I have seen it stated in the press in different times in recent years that the mercantile community of Germany are getting together in regard to the falling off in their trade with Canada, feeling that it was an unwise action on the part of Germany to enter into a tariff war with this country. It was not Canada that began that tariff war, but Germany; and so long as Germany continues that war, so long I think should the surtax continue. I think that is a matter that will cure itself. It appears to me that there is a certain amount of inconsistency on the part of the hon. gentleman and his friends in the strong grounds they take on this question. His friends applauded what he said, and therefore I presume they entirely agreed with him. This is a tariff war, they tell us, and report has had it lately that we are threatened with another kind of war with Germany. I have not seen any indications on either side of this House of a disposition to lie down and take a licking from Germany. Our hon. friends of the opposition are loyal and patriotic, and they were going to do great things in a physical war with Germany if the occasion arose, and I would be heartily with them. They were prepared to throw Dreadnoughts costing millions of dollars into the fray, if neces-

sary they would shake the red rag before the eyes of the German bull. Yet when Germany threatened what was supposed to be a small and helpless colony with a tariff war, these hon. gentlemen say that Canada should not resent that, but should give way.

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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

Mr. Speaker, I must correct the hon. gentleman when he says that I suggested that Canada should give way or anything of that kind. The hon. gentleman knows full well that he is telling something that is not true.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Order.

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LIB

Alexander Bannerman Warburton

Liberal

Mr. WARBURTON.

I am quite prepared to accept the correction of the hon. member; but I do not think it is quite in order for him to tell me that I am making statements which I know are not true. If I have not correctly understood the hon. gentleman, it is due to my ignorance of the English language.

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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

I rise to a point of order. I have distinctly said tha the hon. gentleman's statement with regard to me is an untrue statement, and he should withdraw it.

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LIB

Alexander Bannerman Warburton

Liberal

Mr. WARBURTON.

The hon. gentleman said that the statement which I made was untrue. If I have made an untrue state-men, I will withdraw it with pleasure. I would be very sorry to make an untrue statement with regard to the hon. member or any one else. But the meaning I drew from his remark was, I venture to say, the meaning drawn from it by many other hon. members. If I was mistaken why were the Minister of Customs and the government generally asked repeatedly to get busy and come to some arrangement with the German government in this matter?

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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

Is there any harm in that?

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LIB

Alexander Bannerman Warburton

Liberal

Mr. WARBURTON.

I do not say there is any harm in that; but the inference to be drawn from that suggestion, in view of the stand taken by Germany, is, in my mind at least, that we have to go to Germany, which has been threatening and trying to bulldoze us, and say: Here we are, prepared to take back water if you will let us get into your market.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

And do away with the preference.

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LIB

Alexander Bannerman Warburton

Liberal

Mr. WARBURTON.

Yes. The hon. member did not answer the question whether or not he was willing to do away with the preference-because I take it that must be in his mind, otherwise what would be the use of going to Germany and asking

her to remove the maximum tariff against Canada? The reason Germany adopted a hostile tariff against Canada was because we enacted the preference.

At six o'clock, House took recess.

After Recess.

House resumed at eight o'clock.

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LIB

Alexander Bannerman Warburton

Liberal

Mr. WARBURTON.

At six o'clock I was discussing the question of our trade relations with Germany; and in that connection it seemed to me that the ground taken by the hon. gentleman who last addressed the House (Mr. Armstrong) was not consistent with the position taken by the financial expert of the Conservative party (Mr. Foster). In his speech on the budget the other evening, the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster), referring to the position _ taken by the United States in _ its negotiations with foreign powers, pointed out that it always avoided entang-ing alliances, so that it was always in a position, in dealing with any foreign country, to deal with that country alone regardless of others. For instance, in negotiating with Spain, the United States had only to look to what was beneficial between Spain and the United States. Going on in that strain, the hon. member for North Toronto spoke as follows:

I am decidedly of opinion that the old method' of most favoured nation treaties is entangling and embarrassing, and that it is constantly leading ns into difficulties. With .'ur largely increasing trade in Canada, I be-Leve we cannot go on any longer without very carefully considering and making up our minds on this matter. There is another reason why I would plead with the government to hold its hand for at least a time in making these arrangements with different foreign countries. I am one of the men who believes that if we can get a proper arrangement between ourselves and Great Britain and the British empire, that there is an opening field for the richest, the best, and the most secure trade in the world. I look over this great British empire and I find that there is no variety of climate which it does not possess, there is no possible thing that grows which is not grown in more or less abundance within the borders of the empire. It is in that respect absolutely self-contained with reference to powers of production and facilities for trade.

I feel very much inclined to agree with the hon. member for North Toronto in the remarks I have just read, but these remarks do not appear consistent with the argument made by the last speaker (Mr. Armstrong). If the principle laid down by the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. Foster) holds good, that hon. gentleman would be opposed to our entering into negotiations with any other country for the establishment of special trade relations. I commend these very pregnant remarks of the hon. member for North Toronto (Mr. COMMONS

Foster) to the consideration of my hon. friends in the opposition, because if those remarks are pondered, and pondered carefully, they will be found to run counter to a good many that have fallen from the last speaker (Mr. Armstrong), and others who think with him.

I listened with a great deal of interest, and a certain amount of amusement, to the speech made by the hon. member for Dauphin the other evening (Mr. Glen Campbell). That hon. gentleman is a genial and pleasant speaker to whom we always like to listen, but it did appear to me that, in some of his remarks, he did what I am sure my hon. friend, who is a manly man, wall on reflection regret hav-in done. He struck below the belt. He spoke of bouquets having been given hon. gentlemen who had been taking part in late election campaigns in widely separated parts of this country. Bouquets were put on their desks to welcome them on their return from these elections, but, he said, there were none laid on the desk of the Minister of Mines (Mr. Templeman) when he took his seat. True, there was no bouquet laid on his desk when he took his seat, nor was any sent to him, when he lost his election in Victoria, but I would far rather be in the position of the Minister of Mines (Mr. Templeman), when he went down to defeat like a man in Victoria, than be in the position of the victor in that contest, who won it by the means he did. The hon. minister will, I hope, pardon my referring to him for a moment or two, and I do so because I think that the references made to him the other evening were not those which should be made to a gallant opponent who went down in unfair fight, as the hon. minister did. It is not necessary to revive the discussion which has already taken place in this House regarding the methods employed in order to secure the defeat of the Minister of Inland Revenue (Mr. Templeman) in Victoria. And I wish to say emphatically that the remarks I am about to make are not intended to apply to any member of this House. But I do say that outside of this House, there seems to be some sort of conspiracy on the part of the worst elements of the Conservative party to bring that party into disrepute, and I feel sure that the leaders of that party, and every hon. member belonging to it in this House, personally regrets that sort of conduct. Nevertheless, such conduct has prevailed and continues to prevail; and no doubt some one or other, acting in the supposed interests of the Conservative party, resorted not only to the ordinary means of political warfare in order to bring about the defeat of the minister, but went further and added criminality to these methods. And I do say that when hon. gentlemen criticise the Minister of Mines (Mr. Templeman) because he lost Mr. WARBURTON.

his seat, I do not think they are acting a manly part. If they had seen fit to attack any other hon. gentlemen who had come to grief in the last election, and who came to grief in fair fight, there would be something to justify their remarks, but I am quite sure there was nothing to justify them in the case of the Minister of Mines. That hon. minister nailed his colours to the mast. When he went into that fight in Victoria, he knew that he was going into a very difficult one because of the strong feeling which had been worked up over the Asiatic question ; and when he gave his adhesion to the policy which this government had adopted, he knew that he was likely jon that account to alienate a lot of votes. But he went into the contest, knowing he had that handicap against him, and if he went down, he went down like a man.

A good many hon. gentlemen have spoken on the balance of trade. I should have thought that the balance of trade question had been pretty well threshed out in this House and in this country on many a previous occasion, and even that it had been pretty well threshed out during the present discussion. I certainly do not propose to go into the merits of the balance of trade theory, because I think those who have preceded me have done that quite as fully as there is any occasion for. But when I hear hon. members talking of this terrible thing, this balance of trade against us of $118,000, 000 or thereabouts, and of the evil effects it must have upon the welfare of Canada, I cannot but ask myself how it is that almost every nation of which we have knowledge which has a balance of trade against it is a prosperous nation, and almost every nation which has a favourable balance of trade is not a prosperous nation. If my memory serves me well, Russia is a country with the balance of trade decidedly in her favour. On the other hand, Great Britain, as we all know, for many years-I do not remember how many-has had the balance of trade enormously against her. Canada has usually had the balance of trade against her; but can any man look around this Dominion to-day and not be compelled to admit that Canada is going on prospering and to prosper? Never in her history has Canada been in a more prosperous state than to-day. In every part of the Dominion from the small province from which I come, the other maritime provinces, the central provinces of Ontario and Quebec, the great west and the Pacific coast, the Canadian people are better off than they have ever been before. How can we reconcile this prosperity, which is evident on every side, with the opinions of our theoretical friends that an adverse balance of trade is ruinous ? It seems to me that in calculating the balance of trade our friends of the other side overlook a great deal. I

am not aware that in making up the balance of trade in personal and other effects any part of the $70,000,000 or more of wealth brought into this country from the United States by the immigrants that are pouring into Canada, is taken into the calculation. I am not aware that large sums in cash brought in by the immigrants coming into Canada are counted in making up the balance of trade. I am not aware that the most valuable asset of all, the men and women who come into the country, have been calculated in making up this balance. Again, if this unfavourable balance of trade 1 is such a terrible thing, and if it is so bad as hon. members tell us and that the duties are all against the Canadian farmer and in favour of the United States farmer-and, of course, it is quite possible these hon. gentlemen may be right-how is it that thousands and tens of thousands of farmers in that tax-blessed land are shaking the dust of their own country from their feet and are coming across to dwell in the Northwest of Canada seeking for homes where the taxes are not so great and, light as they are, according to our friends opposite are very much less favourable to the farmer than are those of the United States?

I listened with considerable curiosity-I think that is the word that best describes my feeling-to the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Cowan) who spoke in reply to the hon. member or Nanaimo (Mr. Ralph Smith). He said that at some meeting which he addressed, and which had been referred to by the hon. member for Nanaimo, he "had grown reminiscent. I thought we might all grow reminiscent in a case such as that brought before the House by these two hon. members. Judging from the hon. member's remarks there is what looks to me like a conspiracy of the worst elements of the Conservative party to bring the members of this House belonging to that fine old party into disrepute. We find that the hon. member for Vancouver has been the victim of that awful typographical enor microbe which seems to be spreading far and wide amongst the Conservative constituencies and people. The hon. member (Mr. Cowan) waxed bold at the conclusion of his speech and threw out challenges to the members of the government, to the right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) and to every member of the government. These challenges were far flung like 1 Kipling's ' far flung battle line,' and seemed to take in every member who professes to be a follower of -the right hon. gentleman who is now Prime Minister of Canada. It struck me that challenges of this kind do not indicate prudence or wisdom on the part of the person who issues them. I fought my own way and carried a constituency along with my hon. friend (Mr. Prowse), and I think I could do it again. But I had enough trouble in that campaign to cause me not

to flash challenges round and to keep out of the fight until, by the effluxion of time, I have to go into it again. And I fancy my hon. friend who is looking at me (Mr. Staples) feels as I do. I do not think it an evidence of wisdom on the part of any hon. member to throw these challenges loosely around. I have said that the hon. member for Vancouver (Mr. Cowan) grew reminiscent. I should like to be allowed to be reminiscent too. I had not the honour of a seat in the -last parliament, but I occasionally sat in the gallery and listened to the discussions that took place on the floor. I remember that in the last parliament there were two members sitting on the opposition side who seemed to be very fond of throwing out challenges. I am satisfied that hon. members who sat in the last parliament will remember hearing these challenges. They were thrown out to the Prime Minister, to every minister in his cabinet, and to every man who took up arms in behalf of this terrible government. I must say that no one seemed to regard them very seriously. An hon. member whom I may call a knight errant of politics went into that warfare from which those of us who are now in the House returned victorious while some fell in the melee. This hon. gentleman (Mr. Chew) had never had a seat in this House, but he went out to test his prowess in the riding of East Simcoe against a member of the last parliament who had issued these challenges and about whom I do not wish to say anything more than that he is no longer here. In the province of New Brunswick, there was another gentleman who often threw out challenges and talked in very loud tones of voice about the members of the government side of the House. But a friend of mine, a gentleman in the medical profession, a very clever and able man, who had not had a seat in parliament before, applied, I presume, to the political life some of the arts he had learned in the management of our physical bodies, and the hon. gentleman who had been heard so often giving forth his challenges died the death, politically. The honourable and learned member (Mr. McAllister) who succeeded him seems to have added the duties of undertaker to those of the politician, for he buried the gentleman below a cairn of some 350 of a majority. So, Mr. Speaker, I think you will agree with me that challenges of this kind are not wisely made.

The hon. member for Argenteuil (Mr. Per-ley) spoke on financial matters fully and clearly, and I think very well, although I did not agree with all he had to say. He asked us if we knew where the surpluses came from, and said that if these surpluses had not been taken from the pockets of the people the money would -still be in their pockets. I do not always agree with him, but in that case I do, that is unless the money was spent for some other purpose.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

Would my hon. friend explain how it comes that the best sale of bonds ever made in the history of Canada was made a year after this government came into power?

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LIB

Alexander Bannerman Warburton

Liberal

Mr. WARBURTON.

The hon. gentleman is asking me a question that, I think, has been explained before. The reason is that in the money markets of the world at that time money was cheap and there was no difficulty in floating first-class bonds. Money was much cheaper then than it is now. The same remark applies to more than bonds. A farmer who wanted to borrow money on mortgage on his farm four or five years ago could borrow it at a cheaper rate of interest than he can obtain to-day. I happen to know something about this because I do some business for loan companies. Within a couple of years they have increased their rate of interest even on gilt-edged farm land mortgage loans. I cannot explain what the causes were which led to cheap money in 1896, but we do know that money was cheaper in all the money markets of the world at that time. What the cause was I leave to financiers to explain I have no doubt the time will come when money will again be cheap. But, to revert to what I was saying, times have improved in this country and the people have become better off. It does not require a great array of figures to prove that the people were better off than they were thirteen years ago. If you drive along the roads or walk along the streets you can see it for yourselves. They live better, dress better, and they buy more, with the natural result that the revenue has increased. There is nothing very extraordinary about that. The trade of the country has doubled, and if the trade of the country h^s doubled there must be larger receipts coming into the treasury. The people that were turning their faces to

the south and crossing to the United States are not doing that now. They are finding their way back and helping to make up the revenues.

Some few evenings ago the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Harris) made a very excellent speech in this House in which he referred to a very excellent article in the Ottawa ' Citizen ' of that day. The ' Citizen ' the next morning, in referring to that, published another article which was also a veTy excellent article, but the keynote-I might also call it the text-which ran through the whole of the article was to let the dead past bury its dead, that it was not well to keep up this reference to old financial times or to compare the bookkeeping of to-day with the book-keeping under a former government. For some years past the opposition have apparently been trying to get clear of the dead past, but so long as they have as their financial expert-and I have not a word to say against him-a gentleman who in all probability would be Minister of Finance should the Conservatives ever get to power during his political career, how can they bury the dead past? Is not the whole official utterance of our Conservative friends on the fiscal policy simply and solely a voice from the dead past? I was going to call it a moan from the whited sepulchre of Conservative finance.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I wish to refer briefly to the policy of granting bounties, and I would say, right here and now that so far as I am individually concerned I am no great lover of bounties. But I love bounties more than I love high protection, and I can very well recognize that there may be occasions when the application of bounties, like the application of the knife in surgery, or of a mustard poultice may do good. I do not believe in the principle of granting bounties as a general thing, nor do I believe in the principle of protection either, although of course we must have revenue to carry on the affairs of the country, and so a revenue tariff is an absolute necessity. I have, however, noticed that industries which get bounties would very much prefer to get protection instead of bounties, and in that light I am led to have a preference for bounties over high protection. I think the fact is undisputed that when duties are levied the manufacturer may in turn levy on his purchasers to the extent that the duty will allow him to do so before outside competition comes in, but when the manufacturer gets a bounty then the moment he goes beyond the bounty outside competitors come in it and keep the price down for those who buy his wares, and so of the two evils I prefer the bounty system to high protection. We have heard a good deal of argument with regard to the system of bookkeeping followed by the Dominion, and possibly the system may be an Mr. WARBURTON.

antiquated system of keeping our accounts, but the difficulty is that if you do change the system you render it difficult to make comparisons between the present and the past condition of public affairs. Let me say in conclusion that I listened to the budget speech of the Minister of Finance with satisfaction and pleasure. I knSw that the times were hard, and I was simply surprised that the Minister of Finance had been able to add another to the long list of surpluses which hg,d become a sort of habit with him since he has assumed office.

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April 26, 1909