Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (South York).
I would like an explanation from the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier), or the Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson) in regard to a very important question of construction of the tariff arrangement recently made. The construction put upon it in some quarters seems to be quite different from that conveyed to this House. In the New York ' Herald ' of Saturday last appears a despatch from Washington, from which I read a few sentences in order to explain what I desire to know:-
The American Newspaper Publishers' Association insists that paper and wood pulp will be free as soon as the agreement becomes law. The official announcement issued by the State Department yesterday said regarding this matter: 'Printing paper is to
become free on the removal of all restrictions of the exportation of pulpwood.'
This would mean that unless the restrictions in the way of the provincial charge were removed paper would continue to come in at the Payne rate of $3.75 a ton, plus $2 a ton countervailing duty.
The agreement made by Mr. Knox and Messrs. Fielding and Paterson makes paper, paper board and pulp free with a provision which, stripped of all verbiage, says free paper and pulp provided no export tax of any form or device should be imposed by Canada on paper or wood pulp or the wood used in the manufacture of 'such paper.'
It is felt here that if this means wood used in the manufacture of 'such paper' for export it does mean free paper, because no tax is imposed by any of the Canadian provinces on pulp wood cut from Crown lands which enters into the manufacture of paper made in Canada, whether for home consumption or for exportation to the United States. Should this be true, then the real issue has been waived and the purpose attained by the use of an ambiguous expression deliberately framed.
There is the statement, in effect, that a proposition deliberately framed-^and with the implication to deceive-will allow free paper under the agreement. I would like to hear from the Minister of Customs an interpretation of that clause of the agreement.