I desire to remind the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) of the statement that he proposed bringing down with respect to the German tariff as applied to other portions of the empire. In that connection, I would like to point out that the memorandum laid on the table of the House enumerates certain articles as they are enumerated in the German con. ventional tariff. It omits, however, certain information which was submitted to the House in the papers brought down with respect to the French treaty. It does not disclose the duties applied to these articles under the conventional tariff, or the maximum tariff. Perhaps the hon. gentleman will be good enough to have a statement made conveying that information, so that we can more easily appreciate what will be the effect of the arrangement which has been entered into.
In addition to that, I observe, that, by the third article of the agreement which has been entered into with the imperial German consul for Canada, the agreement itself is a provisional one, and that the question of a general convention for the regulation of commercial relations between Germany and Canada should be deferred for consideration at a time that may be found mutually convenient. I would ask if such negotiations are now in progress, and, if not presently in progress, whether it is the intention of the government to embark upon such negotiations immediately?
Answering the last question first: no such negotiations are in progress, and no immediate negotiations are contemplated under that clause. It is intended that, as the clause itself says, at a time mutually convenient, such negotiations may he taken up, but there is no immediate intention to deal with the matter in that broader form. With regard to the papers brought down, they were necessarily, having regard to the time when they were prepared, confined to the agreement itself, and in the agreement was not necessarily furnished the information the hon. gentleman suggests. But it is proper that the information should be furnished to the House, and I will have such a statement prepared and brought down at an early day. [DOT]
I have already given directions to have such a statement prepared, converted approximately into Canadian currency as the most convenient method of conveying the information to the House. The first part of the hon. gentleman's question wa3 as to a statement which was to be brought down. I have not contemplated bringing down any document; it was rather a question of a general inquiry, and while the inquiry is not complete perhaps; I think I might say that so far as it has gone it has confirmed the impression which I expressed the other day, that the other portions of the British empire do share with the United Kingdom in the privileges of the conventional tariff of Germany. share, as I understand, to the fullest extent, but which receive that consideration in return for the most favoured nation treatment which those various portions of the empire are obliged to grant to Germany. That is the information and the impression that I have. I have every reason to believe that we could obtain the same consideration on the same terms, that is, if we are willing to give to Germany at this moment what is called the most favoured nation treatment, that is, the best treatment that is granted to any foreign
country, we could receive in return the full conventional tariff, just as it is to-day enjoyed by other portions of the empire. But in order to do that we should be obliged to reduce our duty on * German goods to the schedule of rates set forth in the French treaty; and whatever may be done in the future, for the present we have not thought it expedient to take that step. I think that is a correct statement of the situation.
It is quite satisfactory so far as it goes, but it does not clear up one matter I had in mind, and I am not at all sure that the other day I made my meaning quite apparent in that respect. What I desired to know above all was whether, in consideration for receiving the advantages of the German conventional tariff, the other dominions of the empire are bound to concede to the German empire any tariff concessions which such dominions might make to the United Kingdom?
No, I think not. At the time of the difficulty between Canada and Germany, Canada was the only portion of the empire which had granted a preference to Great Britain; consequently Canada was the only portion of the empire which was brought into antagonism with Germany. My hon. friend had the impression that immediately after the denunciation of the old treaty a new treaty was made, giving to the various portions of the empire, except Canada, all the privileges that the former enjoyed. So far as I can ascertain, there was no treaty, but in another way the same result was brought about by an exchange of correspondence. Privileges which had formerly been extended to the British empire were extended to the British empire except in the case of Canada, and the reason for that was that Canada was the only portion of the empire which at that time granted a preference to Great Britain; consequently Germany had no quarrel with the rest of the empire, she quarrelled with Canada, and the result we know. So I have no doubt that in consequence of the contest with Canada, in consequence of the contention which Canada set up, and successfully set up, I think it is correct to say that Germany no longer insists unon the right of receiving the same treatment as other portions of the British empire; consequently to-day the other portions of the British empire would be receiving the full conventional tariff of Germany. That is my impression.
Yes, these tariff concessions which have been granted in more Mr. FIELDING.
recent years. As I have pointed out, at the origin of the trouble Canada was the only country which granted such concessions, and it was several years afterwards before the concessions were granted to Great Britain by some other of the overseas dominions. In the meantime Canada had made a fight on that question, and I think it is not too much, to say that the German government began to take a different view, and that to-day they do not insist as respects the other portions of the empire on that or which they contended a few years ago.
While dealing with this matter I would like to ask the Finance Minister if there was any special reason why such important grains as peas and rye, rye especially, should not be included in the German conventional tariff.
I might have difficulty in giving a reason as to particular items. If we were dealing with a permanent treaty, a comprehensive treaty, it would be important that we should contend for every item. This only professes to be a provisional agreement. We could not expect to get the whole conventional tariff from Germany, because we are not prepared to give what others give. As to the merits of a particular item, I might have difficulty in answering my hon. friend. Those items which we have received we think are important. I have no doubt there may be others which some hon. gentleman might also think important.
I would be pleased if hon. gentlemen desiring information on a particular point like that would be good enough to let their questions stand, and I will make inquiry. I do not pretend to give reasons why any particular item is not there. We could not obtain the whole earth, but we think we have obtained our < share of it.
I would like to ask the Finance Minister if it is too late to make any representations in regard to the item of hay. I have received a large number of communications from extensive hay dealers in Montreal, and they have requested me to ask the government if it would not still be possible to have that item included. It seems to me that there is a possibility of a large trade with Germany in hay. I
was asked to bring this question to the notice of the government at once, in order to find out if it were possible to include that article in the temporary arrangement.