November 30, 1909

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

But there is a marked distinction, as any one who has looked over the British treaties of the past twenty years will have discovered, between those which in terms cover the various dominions of the empire and those which do not. I would like to avoid any misapprehension. As I understand it, all the governments of Great Britain within the past fifteen or twenty years have made a distinction in framing their treaties in that regard.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

In recent years of course, as every one knows, no treaty is made concerning Canada except with the co-operation and concurrence of the Canadian government, and any treaty made in recent years would not be included unless it is specifically made with Canada, that is, it would not apply to Canadian products. To-dav there are a number of treaties which have been held to be binding on Canada, made many years ago, and it is these to which I refer.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

The vital part, the essential part of it is that the most favoured-nations clause practically is one applying in respect of Canada to the foreign countries alluded to.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

In the case of the older treaties there is no specific reference to Canada, in some cases there is no specific reference even to the colony.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I am not speaking of specific reference at all.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Some oi the older treaties, such as the Swiss treaty, which was a subject of some doubt, and which was made awav back in the fifties, do not specifically refer to Canada, or even to the colonies. But I suppose in the general terms of all such treaties there was room for debate as to what that meant.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I think my hon. friend does not quite understand me.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

The hon member for North Toronto put the question. What are the countries through which these goods may be shipped from France.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

My hon. friend, in answer to the member for North Toronto, defined it in respect to the United Kingdom. I say that it ought to be defined, so far as I understand the treaty, in respect to Canada. because there are some treaties that bind the United Kingdom and do not bind Canada.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

My answer was that every one of the countries which, by virtue

of the favoured-nation treaties, become entitled to the privilege of this French treaty. Have I made the point clear?

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LIB
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

, That is what I have in my mind. I think I have met the question of the hon. member for North Toronto.

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CON
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

The -United States has no favoured-nation treaty that affects us.

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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AEMSTEONG.

How many other countries would receive similar advantages as France is receiving in this treaty?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

That matter has been from time to time one of doubt; it is not as simple a problem as it looks. The language of some of these treaties is open to doubt, and there is sometimes a conflict of opinion as to what countries are entitled to favoured-nation treatment. But the countries which are recognized as entitled to the favoured-nation treatment are: The Argentine Eepublic, Austria-Hungary, Bolivia, Colombia, Denmark, Japan, Eussia, Sweden, Venezuela, Norway and Switzerland. Most of these are old treaties, in the framing of which Canada was not asked to take part. But the Japanese treaty is one which was made directly with the co-operation of Canada.

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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AEMSTEONG.

There is another question I would like to ask the minister. I sent a question into the Clerk of the House, but it has not appeared on the Order Paper to-day, though it appears in the Votes and Proceedings, I wish the minister would be good enough to answer it before we proceed jrith the discussion. Is the government prepared to grant to Germany a similar treaty to the one accepted with France?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I do not mind anticipating the orders of the day for to-morrow. But a similar question was put a few days ago, and the Minister of Customs replied that it was not deemed expedient, while these matters connected with the French treaty were still unsettled, that we should enter into negotiations with other foreign countries.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Mr. E. L. BOEDEN.

I have very little to say wtih regard to the treaty at this stage. My hon. friend has very correctly pointed out the situation. We already ratified the main treaty two years ago, and there was a subsequent delay owing to the inaction of the French' Senate. My hon. friend said that the amendments and provisions of the supplementary treaty are regarded as important by those interests in the French Senate which objected to the Mr. FIELDING.

original treaty. He considers that they should not be regarded as very important by this House. I am inclined to think he is correct. Perhaps I will give his argument a more comprehensive application than he himself would be inclined to do, because I have serious doubt indeed whether the treaty will have any great effect upon trade between France and this country. The treaty entered into by the Conservative government of 1893 did not, I think, have any great effect upon trade* I do not think that this treaty will give us any very marked change, either in the imports or exports of this country from or to France. We have to remember that France is a highly protectionist country. If we look for a moment at the articles to which the Minister of Finance has alluded, and to the French tariff applicable to them, we will see what the situation is. In regard to articles 4, 5, 6 and 7, the maximum of the French tariff is 30 francs per 100 kilograms, the minimum tariff is 20 francs for 100 kilograms.

In other words, under the minimum tariff which is available to Canadian exports, provided the cattle are not fat cattle for butchering, an animal weighing 2,000 pounds would pay $36; under the French maximum tariff, a similar animal would pay $54. The figures which I have given are not absolutely exact, but they are sufficiently accurate for practical purposes. These duties are in my opinion practically prohibitive. I think, therefore, the Minister of Finance is perfectly justified in saying that he would not anticipate a very large export from Canada to France under the minimum tariff, and I am sure he can be absolutely positive that there will be no export whatever under the maximum tariff. So when he points out that this supplementary treaty does not bring about any amendment which is of importance, I entirely concur with him, but perhaps not for the reason that he suggested. I concur with him because I do not think that the treaty in its original form, in respect of this item or any other touching especially the agricultural interests of this country, will be of the slightest benefit to Canada in the immediate future.

Something may be said by way of emphasis in addition to what was said when the treaty was under debate two years ago. It is hoped by a great many people in this country and throughout the empire that we may have under the British flag some day in the not too distant future a system of mutual preferences. We at the present time give to Great Britain a preference in our markets, a preference which is very much cut down by comparison under the provisions of this very treaty, so far as France is concerned. I doubt very much the wisdom of complicating our tariff by treaty provisions which would prevent Canada

from fully entering into a system of such mutual trade preferences. However, I did not vote against the treaty on that ground two years ago, and I am not disposed to vote against it to-day on that ground for the reason that the treaty includes a very important clause by which it may be brought to an early termination in case of necessity. There is a provision in the treaty that it can be denounced, that is brought to a termination, at any time upon twelve months' notice. If that provision were not in the treaty, I would be disposed to vote against it for the reason I have lastly given, but as that provision is in the treaty, I think probably it will safeguard our interests, so far as the probability of a system of mutual trade preferences between Great Britain and the rest of the empire is concerned.

Has the Minister of Finance given us, In his remarks this afternoon, everything which is of importance in the correspondence brought down? It was my expectation that before this treaty was brought on for debate, the correspondence would have been printed and placed in possession of every hon. member of this House. That would seem to be the usual and wise course; but if the Minister of Finance has placed before us everything of importance in that correspondence, of which we are not in possession except in some returns in the hands of one of the officials of the House, I will not be inclined to object on that account. Otherwise I think the treaty ought to stand until we have the correspondence printed and placed in the hands of every hon. member so that we may thoroughly realize what we are doing when we ratify the treaty.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

If any intimation had been given that it was desired to have the correspondence printed, I would have had no objection. There is nothing in it as between France and Canada except a formal notice that the treaty has been, in due course, approved. But there is some correspondence which passed between the Canadian government and the British government on inquiries from Switzerland on the lines to which I have referred, not touching the treaty directly but raising this question as to the proper interpretation of one clause. I think I am correct in stating that the correspondence contains nothing between Canada and France with reference to the treaty, but there is correspondence incidental to it, respecting the inclusion of other countries, and that it will be found in the correspondence brought down.

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November 30, 1909