It may be interesting to know that while the public debt of Canada is strictly increasing, the rate of interest is decreasing. At confederation, fdrty-two years ago, the dominion paid an average rate of 5 -55 per cent on $67,069,115 which London had advanced. The interest on this which had to be remitted, either in the sale of produce or in gold, amounted to $3,700,000 yearly. After the lapse of ten years, or in 1877, the debt of the country to London had increased to $122,477,629, but the average interest rate had been scaled down to 4 -74 per cent. In the next ten years the federal debt of Canada had reached $171,075,735, while the average rate of interest had fallen to 3 -.99 per cent. This entailed the sending abroad of $7,000,000 for the payment of interest on the debt. In the next decade, ending in 1897, Canada's obligations to London had increased to $218,225,503, necessitating an annual interest of $8,125,664, but the average rate of interest had fallen to 3 -72 per cent. According to the return for the past fiscal year, our debt to London had swollen to $262,000,000, on which the interest charge will be about $9,300,000, which is at the rate of 3J per cent. In the forty-two years, therefore, of the life of the Dominion of Canada, her obligations to London in borrowings had grown from $67,000,000 to $262,000,000, an increase of $195,000,000, and while the total annual cost to the government had expanded from $3,700,000 to $9,300,000 annually, the aver-
age rate at which the borrowings had been made were reduced from 5-55 per cent, to 3-56 per cent.
There, I think is a complete answer to the contention of our hon. friends opposite that the government is not effecting loans cn as good terms as they should be able to do. Let me quote also from the remarks of Mr. Byron Walker, president of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, made on his return from England this last summer:
There never was a time when the English investor was so ready to consider favourably Canadian investments. Mr. Walker said,
* As a matter of fact there never was a time when Canadian credit was so good. It is so good that we Canadians must be careful. 1 think I can truthfully say that rve have never sold the English investor bad securities. We have given him good value for his money, and we must continue to do so/
The London 'Standard' remarks:
Having regard to the present monetary conditions we think the Canadian government is to be congratulated, first upon the policy of raising money at the present moment in short term maturities rather than on stock, and second upon the terms on which the bills were sold.
It was only a few days ago that our Finance Minister cabled to his financial agent in London that he wished to avail himself of i the privilege stipulated in a loan, made in 1885, of £4,000,000, for fifty years at four per cent. That privilege allowed the government to replace that loan at the end of twenty-five years on giving six months' notice* and on the 31st of December, the hon. the Finance Minister cabled to London that he proposed taking advantage of that option. No doubt he believes that the present is an opportune time for the government to replace its four per cent loan effected in 1885 by the former government, and I have no doubt he will be able to do so on more favourable terms.
My hon. friend from North Simcoe (Mr. Currie) seemed very much concerned about the claims that are urged by our western friends, who claim to have a record wheat [DOT]crop of 100,000,000 bushels, and he went on to say:
If they look into the trade returns, they will find that 44,000,000 bushels of wheat is the largest amount exported from this country in any one year.
If my hon. friend had taken any pains, if he had looked up the trade and navigation returns he would have found that that is not a correct statement. For instance, we find that in 1898 the exports of wheat amounted to $44,000,000, which would represent a good deal more than 44,000,000 bushels, because wheat was not woTth $1 a bushel in that year. That was of the crop of 1907 and previous years, ,not the crop of 1908. I do not see where the hon. member
found his figures, for, in these returns, right in the adjoining column he would find the returns for 1909 showing an export of $57,891,304 worth of wheat-and this would be of the wheat crop of 1908 and not of 1909, and, in addition, $7,991,517 worth of flour, making a total value of $65,882,821 worth of wheat and flour exported of the crop of 1908 and preceding years.