November 30, 1909

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

We were chiefly concerned in the provisions respecting Canada and of these we have no doubt.

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Mr. E. L. BOEDEN.

Still Canada has exactly the same right as any other dominion of the empire to be treated with consideration in a treaty made by the empire as a whole, particularly as that treaty was brought about under the circumstances to which the Minister of Finance has just alluded.

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. F. E. LALOE (Haldimand).

My object in asking that question was in order that we might be put right as to what appears to be our present trade relations with Germany-whether Canada was in any way to blame for the surtax placed by Germany on Canadian goods and whether we are right in retaliating. My own view is that we were perfectly within our rights and that the government acted wisely and properly in placing a surtax on German goods to offset the surtax which Germany placed on our goods. My hon. friend from Lambton (Mr. Armstrong! appears very solicitous for our farmers in connection with the export trade of Canada to Germany. But we should not lose sight of the fact that notwithstanding the surtax, our trade with Germany is greater than it was previous to the imposition of that surtax. In 1800 . we exported to Germany $507,000 worth of Canadian goods, both agricultural and manufactured. In 1891 we exported $532,000 worth. In 1892, $942,000; and in 1893 $750,000. And so on down to 1896 when we exported $757,000 worth. In 1898, when Germany placed a surtax on Canadian goods, we exported $1,837,000 worth to that country. When you look over the returns of the exports of this country to Germany, you will find that our trade with Germany has not been seriously affected by the German surtax, and I have no doubt that Germany, during the years previous to the present trade relations, was importing a large quantity of agricultural products. During those years their imports were just as great as to-day; and even though we had better trade relations then, our ex-

ports to the German market were not very great. I do not think that this is a question of much importance to Canada because our trade with Germany was very small even before the German surtax was placed on Canadian goods.

There is another side to the question. We know of the great advantages which Germany has in the way of manufacturing woollen and linen goods and a great many other lines of manufactured goods as well; and if we allow those goods to come into this country under any favourable arrangement such as the hon. member for Lamb-ton (Mr. Armstrong) advocates, we will have a slaughter market in Canada for goods made in Germany to the detriment of the Canadian manufacturer and the people who work in the Canadian factories and those who have their money invested in them.

I do not want to speak longer on this question. My hon. friend from Lambton (Mr. Armstrong) says we should not sit idle and should not allow this sort of thing to go on without expressing our views. Well, I do not propose to sit idle any longer on this question which the hon. gentleman raises from time to time. I do not see what else the government could have done than place a retaliatory surtax upon German goods. The only way by which we can get better trade relations with Germany is by cancelling our present preference to Great Britain, and I do not suppose that the Canadian people generally are anxious that should toe done.

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG.

Would the hon. member for Haldimand (Mr. Lalor) not think it possible for the government to so arrange the tariff that they could protect the woollen industry in which he is interested?

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Chisholm

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. CHISHOLM (East Huron).

There is a very important question under consideration, the French treaty, and I think it would be well to give a little attention to that matter before taking up our trade relations with'Germany. As one of those who voted against the French treaty on a previous occasion, I wish to put myself right. It has been said that I voted against it because it bore the name French. I wish to inform the House that such a statement is absolutely unwarranted, and I think I made myself very plain with regard to the matter on a previous occasion. But that is the only argument they can bring up to counteract what I have to say in opposition to the treaty. In any treaty to he made witlj France, we should be disposed to give it our most favourable consideration. Our French Canadian compatriots have been very kind in supporting us in giving the British preference, and I feel that if any favour can be done to them, the very name French treaty would induce me to swallow

a great deal I would not otherwise accept. My objection to the French treaty was simply with regard to one or two items. I objected to the introduction of absinthe into this country, also to the introduction of imitation brandy, and my reason was that absinthe is one of the ingredients contained in those imitation brandies. To show the nature of the imitations, you can for about twenty cents buy a bottle of imitation brandy in France, while you have to pay twenty times that price for a bottle of the real stuff.

Now, I object to the introduction of these two things. When this matter first came up for consideration, I requested the government to make an effort to have these two things eliminated from the treaty. But I find them named in the schedule as receiving the benefits of our intermediate tariff. I hold that they should be prohibited altogether. It would appear that our French friends can get modifications made in the treaty which are expected to benefit them. They were able to exclude our fat cattle, and apparently our representatives were willing that these should be excluded. Could not our representatives seek modifications also and ask that absinthe be excluded from this country? When I last spoke I did not wish to take up the time of the House by reading from the documents then before me, not wishing to delay the House. But to-day I shall ask the House to listen to the reading of an article which appeared in the ' Daily Standard ' of 23rd of November, in regard to absinthe. I believe the people of Canada do not know what they are doing in allowing this poisonous drug to be brought into this country. The article to which I refer says;

Alarmed by the ravages of absinthe which is sapping the mental, moral and physical life of that nation, France is demanding a war of extermination upon the deadly drink.

The trades unions of the country, leading members of the Chamber of Deputies, prominent physicians, business men and statesmen are organizing a national petition, demanding that the manufacture and sale of absinthe be prohibited. In France, this insidious poisonous liquor is held responsible, in great part, for the decadence of the nation, its falling birth rate, hundreds of murders and the appalling number of insane.

Authorities among the petitioners assert that absinthe kills tens of thousands of people every year. More of it is consumed in France than in the rest of the world together, and it is causing epilepsy, tuberculosis, madness and crime.

Formerly one of the soberest of men, the Frenchman has now become the hdhviest drinker in the world. Brought to a per capita basis, he consumes each year liquors which contain no less than three and a half gallons of pure alcohol. The American consumes one and a third gallons.

As this estimate includes women, children and many men who do not drink, the con-

sumption by the drinking population of l'rance is, as may clearly be observed, somewhat startling. Alone, Paris swallows no fewer than 5,000 quarts of absinthe daily. It is estimated that at certain hours one-fifth of the entire population is engaged in drinking a liquor which is condemned by the entire medical world.

Belgium, long suffering from the same evil, has at last aroused. Its law-making body has just banished absinthe, in every shape and form from that country.

Absinthe is a liquor, the base of which is an alcoholic solution of certain essential oils derived from a number of plants. The chief source is a form of wormwood, or absinthium.

Other absinthe of inferior quality, is made from various herbs and essential oils, and adulterations are numerous and deleterious. As adulterants, turmeric and indigo, and, in some cases, sulphate of copper, have been used, chiefly for the production of the green colour in the lower grades.

And I may say that the green colour of absinthe has led to the name given to the liquor as ' the lady in green,' or, as some call it,' ' the curse of France.'

When excessively used, absinthe gives at first a feeling of accelerating intoxication. Later, the digestive organs are deranged, the appetite destroyed, then thirst, giddiness, ringing in the ears, hallucinations of sight, heavy mental oppression, anxiety, loss of brain power and - idiocy may succeed each other.- Encyclopedia.

Unquestionably, the effects of absinthe are far more harmful than those of whisky.

Alcoholic insanity, that is where the sufferer's mind is permanently unbalanced, is a comparative rarity. In France insanity from absinthe is common. For example, take fifty men and let them drink whisky steadily to excess, and fifty other men, under the same conditions, drinking absinthe.

I warrant that twenty or twenty-five of the latter will find their way to the madhouse, and I question whether in the same time one whisky drinker will have reached the insanity stage.

These statements were made a few years ago by Dr, Charles S. Potts, a specialist in nervous diseases. Dr. Horatio C. Wood, professor of materia medica and therapeutics in the University of Pennsylvania, had this to say: The effects of the decoction differ materially from those of pure alcohol drinks, though the percentage of alcohol in absinthe is greater than in almost any other intoxicant. This percentage ranges anywhere from 47-66 in the ordinary grades to 80-66 in the best Swiss absinthe.

You can judge what the effect will be when Switzerland also introduces her absinthe into this country, for in Switzerland, a great deal of absinthe is manufactured.

Effects manifest in an absinthe drinker constitute a series of symptoms designated as absinihism. Characteristic symptoms are restlessness at night, with disturbing dreams, great tremblings of hands and tongue, vertigo and the tendency to epileptiform convulsions.

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Chisholm

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. CHISHOLM.

A strange feature of this national evil which has fastened itself upon France is the fact that it has developed within the memory of many persons now alive.

And I fear that some now living will see the time when Canada also will be cursed with absintheism as France is today.

The drink first made its appearance in the country upon the close of the Algerian war in 1S47 or 1848. While in Algiers, the French soldiers adopted the custom of the natives in using the liquor to fight the low fever of that malarial climate, and they grew to like it so well that they carried it home with them.

Since then absinthe has been the steadily growing curse of the nation, says an authority, until now the French are the most nervous and excitable people under the sun.

Not only has the liqnour its effect upon the drinker, but, through him, makes a marked impression on the succeeding generations. It is for this reason more than any other that the French as a nation are deteriorating.

Vast quantities of absinthe are used in that country. The annual importation from Switzerland alone reaches over 2,000,000 gallons, while the French distilleries produce many times that quantity.

In addition to the 5,000 quarts that Paris drinks each day, the proportion, according to figures given by the Minister of Finance, is almost as great in the provinces. It is estimated that every 5,000,000 of the population drink 10,000 quarts of absinthe daily-and there are many drinks in a quart bottle.

So it has come to pass that the Frenchman, with his annual consumption of liquors that put into his stomach three and a half gallons of alcohol, is now the hardest drinker in the world.

A much heavier statistical burden rests upon the shoulders of the actual drinkers, as the figures quoted as per capita, including men and women who do not drink, as well as children.

In point of alcoholic consumption the Swiss and Belgian come next, with two and two-fifths gallons each annually. The Spaniard gets away with two and a third gallons; the Italian with just a little less: the Englishman and German two and one-tenth, and the American with one and a third gallons. The most abstemious man in the world, the Nor-weigan, consumes only half a gallon in a year.

Not only then do the French people drink more than any other people, but they drink the most harmful intoxicant that is made.

Government officials and thinking men of the republic have long recognized the baneful affects and growing extent of the evil, but so far have been powerless to limit either.

Absinthe manufacture has become such a profitable, and even respectable, pursuit that the proposed legislation against it has always failed.

Visitors to Paris frequently remark, that they see no drunkenness on the streets. Absinthe does not produce rowdyism or cause boisterous conduct. Its evil effects are subtle, quiet and insinuating.

One French characteristic of this drink habit, however, may be plainly noticeable to

the stranger, this is the arrival of the daily absinthe hour.

For the better classes-business men, clerks and similar workers-this is between 5 and 6 o'clock in the afternoon, when the man who has been confined at his desk or counter all day thinks he must have his appetizer on the eve of dinner.

Walking along the streets, if it be summer, one notices a warm, half-sickish, sweetish odour, somewhat resembling that of paregoric, filling the atmosphere.

Looking into the many cafes that line the street, the wondering visitor may perceive the source of this smell. Every drinking place is crowded; waiters rush about bearing bottles and glasses-Paris is busy drinking absinthe.

Those who take their liquor ' as gentlemen should ' have the bottles brought to them as they sit about the cafe talking. Each man pours his drink-from one to three inches- into a tall narrow tumbler.

Over the top of this is held a perforated spoon, containing a lump of sugar. Ice water is dropped upon the sugar and allowed to trickle through into the liquid beneath until the glass is full.

Prepared in this way, absinthe is pleasant, and seems harmless to smell and taste. Nor are its immediate effects those of brandy or whisky. In fact, the immediate effects are scarcely discernible in any way.

For another class, the workmen-there are usually three drinking periods in the day, and these are recognized by employers.

At 10 o'clock in the morning the French labourer invariably lays down his implements of toil and hastens to the nearest drink shop for his absinthe. He does the same thing twice during the afternoon.

Wherever workmen are found in numbers there are generally plenty of drinking shops in the vicinity. Near where some large excavation is in progress or some big building being erected, it is not uncommon to see little canvas covered wagons or carts. Very often these may be presided over by women whose husbands are foremen in the nearest works.

The workman cannot take his absinthe with the degree of comfort enjoyed by the more prosperous or leisurely citizens. There are no chairs-he would not have time to sit down if there were.

One after another these men walk up to the cart, gulp down the poison which they erringly ' take for the good of the heart anil stomach,' and go back to their labours.

Plenty of credit may be had until Saturday night, and he may take as large a drink as lie likes. His ' bracer ' costs him three or four cents a glass.

It is not good absinthe, as a rule, that these unfortunates drink, but the vilest and most dangerous imitations. They know this very well, saying that pure absinthe is not for the poor man but for the rich.

His drink does not make the labourer jovial or light-hearted, any more than it makes the wealthier consumer in the gilded cafes boisterous. He goes back to his work morosely, and labours in solemn silence.

Then come two more drinks during the afternoon, and a fourth, probably, as he goes wearily homeward at night. His legs are not

affected, but horrible visions are forming in the weakened brain.

It is a curious thing that the absinthe drinker, especially among the lower classes, feels an acute sense of personal oppression under the spell of the insidious poison.

He hates everybody: the hand of every man is against him. Even his wife and his children are intriguing to destroy his peace and happiness.

When he passes the home of the wealthy man he mutters in anger-he is without a cent in his pocket because the rich steal it all. If he can jostle rudely a well dressed man or woman wThile on his way, the act gives him a savage sort of pleasure; ordered to move on by a policeman, an insane desire to kill the uniformed representative of law swells up in his heart.

Not long ago, labouring under the hallucination ' due to absinthe ' that his wife was not faithful to him, a Paris labourer killed her and their child. [DOT]

' Absinthe ' said Senator Beranger recently,

' is responsible for the depopulation of the country and for more than two-thirds of the . crime committed.' Even the judges who deal with criminal cases recognize the fact that to be a confirmed victim of ' absinthism ' is a reason for almost any crime.

There are many dens throughout the poorest quarters of Paris where the wretched absinthe victim, sunk to the lowest depths of degradation, may h&ve a glass of poison for two cents, and may be permitted the use of a dark corner in which to sleep.

Such haunts-and this is a sad commentary upon the gratification of human curiosity- are among the show places of that remarkable city. Professional guides conduct parties of tourists to these resorts iu order that they may witness the fallen humanity at its deepest and darkest level.

As the visitors usually tip the proprietor liberally, he welcomes them with greater pleasure than he does the trembling wretches who come to buy his wares. They may gaze upon sin and misery to their heart's content.

One never sees evidences of merry-making or light-heartedness in these haunts of depravity. Everything is suggestive of hopeless misery. Men and women may he thereat least they were men and women at one time but are now simply absinthe drunkards through whose feeble brains the shadows of weird dreams are creeping.

But once in the grip of absinthe the victim is seldom able to set himself free. He will do anything to obtain money to purchase it. Not infrequently guides on the Alps have been known to murder tourists in their care in order to obtain money for this purpose.

Whether it is the result of bad example or not,_ the neighbours of France are drinking absinthe much more heavily than formerly, not without appreciable results. While the population of Belgium for instance has increased 30 per cent during the last 15 years, the consumption of alcohol has increased 37 per cent during the same period. Cases of insanity there have increased in number 45 per cent, suicides 80 per cent, and arrests for begging and vagabondage 150 per cent.

It was a recognition of the danger into which their country was steadily moving that

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. J. DONNELLY (South Bruce).

When introducing this measure to-day, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) told us in effect that after the representatives of this government and the representatives of the French government had arranged the terms of the treaty, the members of the French Senate were afraid that its terms would permit the finished product of the stock raisers of this country to enter into France and compete with the finished products of the stock raisers of France. They pressed for and secured an amendment Mr. T. CHISHOLM

which would allow only the lean cattle, or what you might call the raw material of the stock raisers of this country to enter into France. I was somewhat surprised that the minister passed over this change in the treaty as though it were of little or no importance. To me it appears that this alteration in the treaty removes the only part of it that might be of any benefit to the agricultural interests of this country. The fact that the members of the French Senate were so anxious to exclude our fat cattle is an evidence to me that under favourable conditions we might reasonably expect to find a market for our fat cattle in that country. I wish to ent-r my protest against having the agricultural interests of this country sacrificed in order that the manufacturers of our country may obtain an increased market for their output or in order that the people of France may find here in Canada a market for their wines, perfumes and other produce.

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
CON

Wilfrid Bruno Nantel

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. B. NANTEL (Terrebonne).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker this treaty is surely not - above criticism, but we are told perfection is superhuman. Even admitting, as contended a moment ago by the hon. member for East Huron (Mr. Chisholm)-that in consequence, noxious liquors, such as absinthe and the like, will be introduced into this country, as a compensation we will have those good French wines. Although* imperfect, that treaty has evidently its good points. On account of it we will be more favourably known abroad, and our business intercourse with France will be more active. At any rate,

I do not think Canada will lose anything by it.

Now, that treaty is drawn pretty much on the same lines as that which as carried through by the Conservative government in 1893. If the treaty of 1893 was beneficial on the whole, I think this treaty also must have its good points. The fact of its having been negotiated by the hon. gentlemen opposite is not in itself an argument against its, adoption.

It has been stated that it will stand in the way of the granting of the preference which we are seeking to obtain from the mother country. The preferential tariff as we have it to-day is a one-sided arrangement, of very little advantage to us. At' all events, should the preferential arrangement be of any actual value, it will always be up to us, once it has been secured, to denounce the treaty. In fact, there is a clause in the treaty to that effect. Section 3 contains, among other things, the following:

It shall enter into force immediately after the carrying out of that formality, and shall so remain for a perod of ten years, unless however one of the contracting parties notifies the other of its intention to

cancel the agreement, in which case this agreement will cease to operate twelve months after the receipt hy the other party of said notification.

Supposing a preferential agreement were entered into with the mother country, not a one-sided' arrangement, but a preferential treaty actually on lines of reciprocity, it will be seen from the above quotation that there will always be an opportunity to cancel the French treaty which we are called upon to sanction today. To my mind, such an objection is without foundation.

Now, that treaty with France was concluded in good faith at a time when the Payne tariff had not yet been enacted in the United States. That tariff having been enacted in the meantime, I really do not believe that the ratification of this treaty would have the effect of indu

As to our future intercourse with the United States, I may say that this government having at their disposal every means of getting information has no doubt in this respect taken the necessary steps, and should such reprisals on the part of the United States follow the ratification of this treaty, the government will bear the responsibility.

I am therefore favourable to the immediate ratification of this agreement, and I shall vote in its favour, not on the ground of sentiment, but on that of business.

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. S. MIDDLEBRO (North Grey).

Mr. Sneaker, in considering a question of this kind, the paramount consideration should be the commercial advantage that we are to obtain bv the ratification of the treaty-as compared with the injury that mav be entailed. In determining this we should examine closely the present state of trade between the two countries and the possibility of increasing the same with an increasing advantage to this country. What is the present state of our trade with France? We have an export trade to France amounting to $3,176,000 and an import trade from France amounting to something over $8,000,000 a little over a million of which is on the free list. We start out with a handicap because we are going to conclude a treaty with a country which now sends us at least twice the value of goods we send them. And speaking gener-allv. other things being equal, that country is going to attain a greater advantage under such a commercial treaty than we are. Another view which should enter into the negotiation of treaties is the prospective profit which may accrue to us, and in that connection let me ask what are we going to gain by the ratification of this treaty with France? Are we going to increase to any extent the exports of our agricultural products to France? I think not. Our export of wheat to France has not exceeded 60,000 bushels a year until last year and our export of agricultural implements has not increased by more than 25 per cent, and today it stands at about $850,000 worth. We export to France about $1,000,000 worth of lobsters and what advantage is this treaty going to give us in that respect? I should think none whatever, because if I am correctly informed we have now all the market we want for our product- of lobsters and there is even a deficiency to supply the local demand. Under these circumstances, I ask hon. gentlemen opposite to tell me in what wav we are going to benefit by the ratification of this treaty. We might have benefited had we been permitted to send into France our fat cattle, but the French republic recognized that if they applied the minimum tariff to Canadian fat cattle that was a matter in which Canada would get a benefit, so she immediately withdrew that concession and said that the maximum tariff should apply on Canadian fat cattle exported to France. I am, therefore, I think, fair in saying that so far as the agricultural classes of Canada are concerned they will get no benefit whatever from the ratification of this treaty. Now to the republic to the south of us we exported $92,000,000 worth of goods during the last fiscal year and we imported from the United States [DOT] $192,000,000 worth of goods. I quite agree with the Minister of Finance when he says that Canada has reached such a stage in her nationhood that in making these treaties we should make them to suit ourselves. With that idea in mind it is our bounden duty to look first to the benefits we will receive. I do not know whether or not the passage of this treaty with France is going to entail an extra 25 per cent duty on all products exnorted by Canada to the United States, but I do say there is a risk of that, and I also say that the risk of having a 25 per cent duty put upon $92,000,000 worth of our exports is not to be compensated by the trivial advantage we may possibly attain from a possible increase of our present trade with France. And, there is another question looming up which should be considered by us. We know that for years in the motherland her statesmen have been worshipping at the shrine of the Manchester school and we know that twenty years ago any man in England who advocated anything but free trade would be considered a mental ineom-petent. However, a change has come, and we find that to-day there are seventy or eighty tariff reformers in the British House of Commons, and that there is a great

battle on between tariff reform and free trade. I make bold to say that while the tariff reformers may not succeed at the approaching election-and there is a possibility that they will succeed-they will succeed ere long, and then we will be in a position to obtain mutual preferential trade with Great Britain. Therefore it behooves us not to tie ourselves up with these treaties and not to put ourselves in the position of passing this treaty to-day which will give a number of other nations most favoured terms without any corresponding return. It is, in view of this possibility, of considerable consequence that we should be free from these restrictions'. It is quite true, as has been pointed out, that the treaty may be denounced upon twelve months' notice being given, but we all know that when you denounce a treaty, a great deal more ill-feeling is caused than if the treaty never were made. Therefore, if we pass this treaty now, and later on when we have an opportunity of negotiating with Great Britain for mutual preferential trade, we shall have to denounce this treaty, a good deal of ill-feeling may be thus created in France. I would like to ask the Minister of Finance whether or not the ratification of this treaty which gives to all these other nations most favoured treatment in Canada, will make them give to us the same favoured terms on Canadian goods entering their markets? I would like to ask also whether or not since this treaty was passed in 1907, the French government have in any way interfered with or raised their minimum tariff, because, if they did, that would be another reason for us refusing to ratify the treaty now. If it is also true that these other favoured nations which get these favoured terms in our markets are not compelled to give us a corresponding advantage in their markets, that is another reason why we should refuse to ratify this treaty.

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. SYDNEY FISHER (Minister of Agriculture).

I do not know that I would have said anything on this question had it not been for the remarks of the hon. gentleman from Huron (Mr. Chisholm) in reference to the importation of absinthe. I do not think any one disputes the evils of the absinthe habit, and I should think that .everybody would prevent, if they could, the introduction of such an evil into Canada. The impression may be created by the words of the hon. member (Mr. Chisholm) that this treaty contributes to the introduction of absinthe into this country and that its ratification may lead to the evils 'which he described. Let me say, Sir, that that is an entirely erroneous conception of the scope of the treaty. There is nothing in this treaty which will facilitate the importation of absinthe into Canada, and Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

there is nothing in this treaty which in any way hampers Canada in placing any duties upon absinthe which she may deem fit, or which prevents Canada from absolutely prohibiting in the future the importation of absinthe. I wish to make this clear, and I shall read the clauses of the treaty which bear on this matter. In clause three of the treaty there is this:

The natural and manufactured products enumerated in schedule B of this convention originated in France, Algeria, the French colonies and possessions, and the territories and the protectorate of Indo-China, shall enjoy on their importation into Canada the benefit of the intermediate tariff and of the lowest rates of customs duties applicable to like products of other foreign origin.

Now, schedule B of this treaty is the list of those French products which have the benefit of the intermediate tariff. That list refers to the different items of our tariff, amongst others to item 156, in which there is a long list of various spirituous liquors. Amongst those liquors is absinthe. That means that under this treaty absinthe, along with other spirituous liquors, will enjoy the benefit of the intermediate tariff of Canada. But when you come to examine our tariff, what is the duty on that particular item? It is this: The British preferential tariff, $2.40; the intermediate tariff, $2.40; the general tariff against all countries, $2.40. The item in the tariff includes the following:

Ethyl alcohol, or the substance commonly known as alcohol, hydrated oxide of ethyl or spirits of wine, n.o.p.; gin of all kinds, n.o.p.; rum, whisky and all spirituous or alcoholic liquors, n.o.p.; amyl alcohol or fusel oil, or any substance known as potato spirit or potato oil; methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha, pyroxylic spirit or any substance known as wood spirit or methylated spirits, absinthe, arrack or palm spirit, brandy, including artificial brandy and imitations of brandy, n.o.p.; cordials and liqueurs of all kinds, n.o.p.; mescal, pulque, rum, schrub, schiedam and other schnapps; tafia, angostura and similar alcoholic bitters or beverages; and wines, n.o.p.; containing more than 40 per cent of proof spirit, per gallon of the strength of proof.

That is the item of our tariff, and the duties against these articles in all the three schedules of the tariff are exactly the same. They will be the same under the new French treaty as they were under the old French treaty, and exactly the same as they would have been if this treaty were not in existence. Therefore, the impression which has been sought to be created, I have no doubt quite honestly but entirely erroneously, that this treaty is creating a new facility for the introduction of absinthe and other spirituous liquors into Canada is entirely wrong. Furthermore, there is nothing in this treaty

to prevent this parliament raising or lowering those duties at any time; or, if we choose, we can prohibit the importation of any one or all of these spirituous liquors into Canada from Prance and all other countries- and this treaty does not hamper Canada or prevent us making such a prohibition. I think it well that this House and the people of Canada should understand that in this respect this treaty makes no change, so that no false impression as to the action of this government mav be created. My hon. friend has referred to the fact that under this treaty fat cattle will no longer have the advantage of the minimum tariff on entering Prance. That is true. It is possible that may at some future day not facilitate a trade with France in fat cattle. But what are the conditions? For the last three years no fat cattle, no cattle of any sort, from Canada, have landed in France. In the future we are going to have the advantage, important or not important as the case may he, that cattle which are not ready for slaughter will have an entry into France under their minimum tariff. Without the treaty we would not have this advantage. If there is any benefit from that, we get it; if there is no benefit, it does not harm us to have the opportunity of that advantage. It happens that our greatest rival in France in that respect is the United States. It happens that until lately the United States have had a treaty with France, a small one it is true, which has lately been abrogated; and until they make another treaty which would give them the same advantages that we get, this treaty will give Canada an advantage over the United States in the French market, which may be sufficient to enable us to get the trade, instead of our neighbours to the south. My hon. friend from Lambton (Mr. Armstrong) has talked of agricultural implements. It is true that in the last few years we have sent about $750,000 worth of agricultural implements to France. I have no doubt that if this treaty comes into force, immediately the splendid establishments for the manufacture of agricultural implements in Canada will be able to get complete control of the French market, and will be able to oust from that market their rivals in the United States. This is an advantage which the farmers and everybody else in Canada will rejoice to see.

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Will the hon. gentleman tell us what advantage we will have in the French market as compared with the United States, if this treaty is passed?

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

We shall have the advantage of the minimum tariff, whereas the United States will have the disadvantage of the maximum tariff. This is a very substantial advantage to the manufacturers of 24

agricultural implements in this country. Hon. gentlemen opposite appear to be somewhat divided in regard to the German treaty. I do not think the time to discuss that is when the French treaty is under consideration. Our conduct and action in regard to the German treaty has been abundantly endorsed by the people of Canada over and over again. And I do not see any reason to regret it, although at the same time acknowledging clearly, as I do, from my own personal conviction ah all events, that the removal of the restrictions upon trade will be likely to redound to our advantage. And if we can remove restrictions upon trade with France or Germany or Italy or any other country with which we can make satisfactory trade relations, I personally will rejoice, because I consider that any restrictions upon trade are only justified where they are absolutely necessary for other purposes and other reasons. Fear has 'been expressed that this treaty may interfere with future possible _ mutual preference within the empire. I think that the action of the government of Canada with regard to preference within the empire was the right and proper one. I think that Canada took the lead in that respect, which the other countries of the empire are gradually likely to follow. I find that in England where to-day the tariff reform is under discussion, there is a tendency to minimize the question of preference to the colonies or outside dominions, and that straight protection is becoming morq and more the watchword of the tariff reformers. Well, that is for them to consider and for them to decide and not for us to meddle with. But to my mind the Canadian plan of preference is the best one, and bargaining between the different parts of the empire is not likely to lead to satisfaction. _ Each dominion must deal with the other in accordance with its own views. That system, which was inaugurated in 1897 and which .is maintained and carried out in Canada to-day, has received universal acceptance throughout the empire and is admitted to be the best and only sound plan of preference within the empire.

In answer to the hon. member for Grey (Mr. Middlebro) I find that as regards agricultural machinery, the difference between the minimum and the general tariff is as nine to fifteen.

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
CON
LIB
CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON.

For how much?

Mr.. FISHER. Per hundred kilograms.

A kilogram is 220 pounds. I cannot offhand give the difference in percentage, but the minimum is to the maximum as three to five.

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. A. LANCASTER (Lincoln).

With regard to this measure, I must say a few words in answer to the hon. the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) because I do not take the same view of the matter. The hon. minister says that we should make our own treaties and have regard to what is best to the interests of Canada without worrying about what other countries may think. That is a very good theory hut it is not carried out in this treaty. Nobody on behalf of the government has said anything about the merits of this treaty. All they say is that they made a bargain two years ago-which I thought was a very bad bargain and which I had the temerity to vote against-and that we should now ratify it. But the bargain is now still a worse one. The French Republic rejected the treaty .we first negotiated and wanted better terms. They wanted to prevent Canadian cattle from being sent into their country. They wanted to put an additional embargo on our fat cattle. If that were the only reason, it would be a good one for voting against this treaty. But that is not the only trouble. If we are going to adopt the principle that we should make treaties in the interests of Canada, we should have some evidence that the well-being of Canada is being served by this treaty. But what do we find? We find that we made a bargain, and -were called upon to vote for that bargain because the government saw fit to make it. But the French government asked for a modification of that bargain, and forsooth -we must agree to it. In that respect we are not carrying out the theory of the Minister of Finance that we should make our bargains from a Canadian standpoint. .

When the Minister of Agriculture spoke about certain intoxicating and other spirits brought in here, I was hoping that he would give us the whole information and tell us about the cheap wines to be brought in by virtue of this treaty at a reduced rate, and which will have the effect of putting out of business to a great extent the laro-e interest of grape-growing. If we are to have cheap wines, it is worth something to know that we are drinking honest Canadian -wine, made from grapes grown here, produced under our own eyes, inspected by our own government inspectors, which . are not injurious, which cannot be fraudulently marked and packed, rather than foreign wines about which we necessarily know very little, but which we know are impregnated frequently with some of the very things_ the Minister of Agriculture savs are injurious and are not interfered with in any new way by this treaty. Those are shortly some of the reasons -why I opposed the treaty two years ago. What reply have we to the arguments. advanced by the hon. member for East Huron (Mr. Chisholm), and South Bruce (Mr. Donnelly) Mr. FISHER.

with regard to the cattle industry? Simply this, that whether the bargain be a much worse one than two years ago or not, the fact that it is presented to us by the government ought to suffice. The Minister of Agriculture did not appear to be at all concerned about the merits of the treaty but appeared to think that as it has been negotiated by the government and as the government had consented to the modification proposed by the French Republic there was nothing more to be said.

For the reasons I have mentioned and because this is a much worse bargain than the one made two years ago I shall be obliged to vote against the second reading.

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
?

Mr. .JOSEPH PIERRE TURCOTTE@Quebec County

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker,- allow me to explain briefly my personal views on the question which is now under consideration before this House. Two years ago the Canadian parliament ratified the main convention respecting the commercial relations between France and Canada. Since then, general elections were held in this country, and I do not think that a single one of the members who then voted in favour of the ratification of that treaty has been subjected, to the least blame at the hands of the electorate.

Now, as this treaty is already ratified, there only remains to ratify the supplementary convention. I would he curious to know in what position we should find ourselves were we to refuse ratifying this convention. Is it not true that it would result in bringing again into question everything done so far by parliament and in putting an end to the treaty itself? I have come to this conclusion that it is our duty to ratify the measure voted upon by the House two years ago, a measure which the people did approve of at the general elections, and which the French Chambers themselves did sanction at the beginning of this year. Otherwise, we would have to fall back on the convention of 1893.

The question now under discussion is whether the supplementary convention which is before us is so detrimental to our interests that we should undo or abrogate what we have done so far in connection with the main convention.

It is true that the supplementary convention involves a change in the commercial convention of September 19. 1907, but should such a modification prevent us from ratifying the treaty? I do not think so. That modification is the consequence of the -general policy of the French government. Their policy is one of strenuous protection, while we are living under a regime of mitigated protection. It is easily understood that when it was proposed to give a preference to the products of the farm, as for example, in the case of animals in fat condition for butchery; the French agricultural interests were alarmed

by those concessions to Canada and they made representations to the members of the French Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate against that provision of the treaty which was threatening their interests. Such was the capital objection raised against the treaty. It was. held, on good ground, that such a preference which was being granted to the Canadian agriculturists would result in creating a most detrimental competition to the French peasant. Undoubtedly, the shipping to the French market of cattle fattened on our farms would have dealt a very severe blow to similar products of the agricultural French industry. I see here a compliment paid to our Canadian farmer, to his enterprise and his activitv.

The alarm felt was well grounded and justifiable. The granting of a preferential tariff to the Canadian farmer was withheld, in order not to trouble the economy of French agricultural interests. I believe that such a policy, considered from the standpoint of protection, such as it is being applied in France, is warranted. I am one of those who approve of the position taken by the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) and by the hon. Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Brodeur), who both represented us in France, as concerns their agreeing to that supplementary convention.

As the withholding of assent to that convention would have resulted in bringing us back to the convention of 1893, our plenipotentiaries, as the hon. member for Terrebonne (Mr. Nantel) has well said, have acted with wisdom in following the footsteps of their predecessors, and endeavouring to enlarge our commercial relations with France, in proportion to the immense development taken by our trade, our manufacturing and agricultural industries, during the last fifteen years. Our government have so well grasped the situation that they were the first to open negotiations and to take such necessary steps as were calculated to meet the needs of our trade.

On the other hand, we could hardly expect to reap all the benefits accruing from that convention, without giving anything in return. What we have received is some compensation for what we did give. I agree that we do not gain any new advantage as concerns the export of our cattle in fat condition for the butchery, but neither did we lose anything, seeing that we remain under the regime created by the treaty of 1893, with the hope, as expressed by the minister, of bettering our position in a more or less remote future.

Meanwhile, we ought to benefit by the lesson which our French cousins have been teaching to such of us who represent here rural constituencies. Let no opportunity pass without our endeavouring to promote the interests of our constituents, of that 24i .

agricultural class which constitute the sinews and backbone of the country and to whom are entrusted the primordial rights of our social and political economy.

Further, let us Temember that this treaty confers upon us advantages which largely make up for the apparent loss of benefits as respects our farm products. If it be true that the failure to ratify this supplementary convention would result in placing us again under the regime of the treaty of 1893, it is altogether out of the question that we would lose at once the benefits accruing to us from the main treaty as regards French literature, whether under that name come in sciences, law or political economy, whether it relates to works of fiction, &e. Thanks to our plenipotentiaries, under the new treaty we enjoy that advantage which Great Britain alone so far had been enjoying under the preferential tariff. Henceforward, the duty on literature of a lighter character, such as works of fiction printed in France are to pay 15 per cent, instead of the former rate of 25 per cent. As to works of a more serious character, books f science and political economy, the duty of 10 per cent is reduced to 5 per cent. It is then a foregone conclusion that henceforth French literature and English literature are to be placed at our disposal under identical conditions, and so we shall receive light from the two most powerful centres of intellectual activity in this twentieth century. .

This provision is of an immense value to us from the standpoint of the intellectual development of our youth, the more so as nowadays those literary works of first necessity are out of our reach in this country. We have had so far to. go to the fountain-heads of science, art and literature to supply our wants. Thanks to the lowered duties, all that wealth shall henceforth be within our r.each.

I may be allowed to say further, in this connection, that outside of France itself, Canada is tne only country in the world where those treasures of the French genius can be thoroughly appreciated. Therefore, in addition to such material advantages, we shall enjoy invaluable benefits in the intellectual sphere.

It behooves-us therefore to ratify the supplementary convention to the French Canadian treaty, within the shortest time, so as to fully benefit- by this treaty.

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink
CON

Eugène Paquet

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EUGENE PAQUET (L'lslet).

(Translation.) Mr. Speaker, on February 28, 1908, during the debate concerning our commercial relations with France, I went over the grounds which induced me to give my sup-nort to the Franco-Canadian treaty. Consequently, in rising to address the House, I only intend to say a few words on the question.

The opposition discharged their duty in

calling the attention of the government to the dangers to the country from an undue haste in the ratification of the treaty. Should the attitude of the government be such as to disturb our commercial relations, they will have to shoulder the responsibility for such action.

I do not approve of the convention, as a French Canadian anxious to enlarge our trade relations with our old mother country, but I approve of it as a French Canadian, sincerely believing that this Franco-Canadian treaty will promote the growth of our trade with France.

In 1898, our trade with France amounted to $5,000,000. During the last fiscal year that trade reached as high a figure as $11,204,902.

The Argentine Republic exports to France products to the value of $80,000,000. Does that same republic receive from France a more favourable treatment than is granted to Canada? Why should not our exports to France reach as high a figure as $80,000,000?

I firmly believe that this convention shall result in promoting our trade with France and in increasing our relations with that country, from an intellectual as well as from a material standpoint, to quote the appropriate words uttered by the bon. member for Quebec (Mr. Tureotte). Should we increase our trade relations with France financiers will come over to Canada in order to investigate our natural resources, the great value of which they cannot fail to duly appreciate. French capitalists may also be induced to invest their capital in this country, for the development of our facilities of transportation between France and Canada. The development of our trade and our facilities of transportation, a wise investment of French Capua*. are efficacious means of promoting a sound French immigration. Such are the ideas and the opinion which I have formerly given expression to and nothing since has occurred to induce me to change my mind.

On these several grounds, I shall record my vote in favour of the Franco'-Canadian treaty.

At six o'clock, House took recess.

Topic:   W. S. FIELDING.
Permalink

AFTER RECESS. House resumed at eight o'clock.


SECOND READINGS.

November 30, 1909