They won't do it.
I do not intend to prophesy. My hon. friend from Brandon says he is obliged to leave his party on this question. We have a majority on this side of the House of about fifty, and even if the hon. member for Brandon votes against us we shall still have a majority of 48. I venture to say that the members on this side of the House are just as well able to gauge public opinion in this country as anybody on the other side of the House-
Am I to understand by the remark the hon. minister has made that it is not the intention of the government to put this arrangement into force until after they have appealed to the people? Did he say it was to be ratified by the people before it should go into fcrce?
I said ratified by the representatives of the people.
Is the hon. gentleman (Mr. Goodeve) a representative of the people?
He sure is.
On what ground does he say so? I suppose, because he was elected to this House. Hon. members on this side were elected also and in larger numbers
than hon. gentlemen opposite. If these hon. gentlemen opposite arrogate to themselves the honour of representing the people, then the majority in this House may fairly claim to represent the people.
The hon. member for Brandon explained clearly that this question was not an issue in any previous election.
And I have just pointed out to the committee that my hon. friend from Brandon himself was a party to putting through the British preference without any better mandate. It is true that, throughout this country, there is being worked up an agitation against this arrangement. It is true that there is very considerable talk of it in the press. I have even seen the names of gentlemen connected with this agitation, who, when that fact came to be known, repudiated what had been attributed to them. I had a rather remarkable instance in Hamilton the other day, when at a meeting, the names of two gentlemen were used as moving and seconding a resolution against this reciprocity arrangement, and the next day both these gentlemen came out and stated over their own signatures that they were not present at the meeting, had not authorized the use of their names, and had not drawn up the resolution. Hamilton is rather favoured in that respect. We have been told that the industries which came over to Canada from the United States and established themselves here to supply the Canadian market would all disappear, and that their big buildings would be emptied and their workpeople left out of employment.
But we had a day or two afterwards a statement that the Oliver Plough Company, which was one of those industries in Hamilton, was not only not going back, but was going to add a plant of $600,000 to serve the increased demand by the Canadian market under the tariff which has just been arranged in regard to agricultural implements. I might mention many other instances, but I will not go into details. Hon. gentlemen opposite may quote newspaper paragraphs and statements of individuals, but I am content to rest on the common sense and the intelligence of the electorate of Canada, and we know on this side of the House that we represent on this question the men of Canada to-day who sent us here two years ago. Hon. gentlemen opposite say: Co to the country.
We have heard that cry over and over again. There has not been a parliament since this government came into power when hon. gentlemen opposite have not called upon us to go to the country on the most trivial occasions. But, Sir, we have
some responsibility, to the country, we Mr. FISHER.
have some responsibility to the electorate, and we do not propose to go to the country until we feel the need of a fresh appeal, or until this parliament ends. When we have gone to the country in the past, in election after election, this government has been endorsed by the people, and on the ground of its tariff policy perhaps more than on any other ground.
At six o'clock, House took recess.
House resumed at eight o'clock.
House in committee on Bill (No. 105) to incorporate the Imperial Steamship Company.-Mr. McKenzie.
Mr. MACLEAN (York).
I would like to ask the government whether any arrangement has been recently closed with any of the steamship companies in connection with carrying the mails from Canada to Great Britain?
Subtopic: PRIVATE BILLS.
Sub-subtopic: IMPERIAL STEAMSHIP COMPANY.
Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
Bill reported, read the third time, and passed.
Subtopic: PRIVATE BILLS.
Sub-subtopic: IMPERIAL STEAMSHIP COMPANY.
Bill (No. 130) for the relief of Matilda Emo.-Mr. Hodgins.
WAYS AND MEANS-RECIPROCAL TRADE WITH THE UNITED STATES.
House again in Committee of Ways and Means.
Mr. Chairman, before dinner I dealt with some aspects of this question, and with some of the remarks of my hon. friend from Brandon (Mr. Sifton). Amongst other things he took exception to the manner in which this arrangement has been made, and gave it to be understood that the representatives of the government of Canada had taken no care or pains to inform themselves as to the point at issue, and as to the details of the trade of the country which would be affected by this arrangement. I take direct issue with the hon. gentleman and I tell him, and I tell the country, that the government . did consider these things, went into them carefully, that my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) and my hon. friend the Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson) employed those advantages which, as ministers of their departments, they had to obtain information, that when they went to Washington and met the representatives of the United States, who were assisted by their tariff experts, they too had tariff experts
from Canada in the person of Mr. Mc-Dougald who has now been for about twenty years, I think, Deputy Minister of Customs, and therefore, has at his fingers ends every detail of the customs administration and all the incidents of the customs tariff, and in the person of Mr. Russell who is an expert in these matters, he having been also for many years in the Customs Department, and having been transferred, some years ago, to the Finance Department as a special expert and adviser of the department on the details connected with the tariff administration. Therefore, I say that the hon. member, in making this accusation against the government, did so without full knowledge or without thought and absolutely without foundation in fact.
The hon. member referred to my following him to-day, and said that no doubt as a farmer the Minister of Agriculture knew something about these things. I do not presume to say that I do ; I prefer to leave it to the farmers of the country themselves to put their side of this question to the public at large. Hon. gentlemen who have approached this question on the floor of this House and elsewhere have been very willing and glad to accept the statements of various interests in the country as being the obiter dicta with regard to their particular interests, but they assume to themselves and to everybody except the farmers to give information with respect . to the interests of the farmers. Personally ' I prefer to let the farmers do that for therp-selves. We had here a little while ago a iarge demonstration of farmers.
It is the custom to say that they were solely representatives of the Northwest, but as a matter of fact of the 800 delegates, probably 200 were from Ontario, 100 from the Quebec and the eastern provinces, and 500 from the Northwest, and they were not merely individuals expressing their views but most of them represented organizations of farmers throughout the country anil came to place before the government the resolutions of representative agricultural bodies. I believe that this great delegation truly represented the farmers of the country. I do not pretend to say it represented the manufacturers, I do not pretend to say it represented the transportation interests, but I can safely say that it represented the agricultural industry of this country, and its views and aspirations, far better than any man not engaged in agriculture himself, possibly could. The farmers of Canada have ever had the advantage of free entry for their goods- into the British market, it is the glory of the mother and that she allows food products to enter her market without discrimination or customs duty. There is no good reason to believe that our farmers will in future lose that advantage in the British market be-140
cause Britain has decided to keep to free trade, and even though she did resort to certain customs duties, those who advocate such -a policy, at all events pretend that the products of the dominions beyond the seas would still have free entry. Well, Sir, there is not in this arrangement -a word or a line, and there is nothing in the spirit of it, that would tend in any way to cut us off from entering the British market under the same conditions as in the past. The hon. member from Brandon (Mr. Sifton), said in effect that we were throwing -away the British market for the purpose of getting the American market, but that is an absolute misrepresentation of the fact-. We are not throwing away the British market; we -are simply adding to it the American market for the products of our farms, and, we have -still the home Canadian market which nothing can take away from us. Again, there is strong evidence that in the near future, if not actually to-day, the American market will be, or is, the best market in the world for agricultural products. My .view in this respect may be disputed, but having for some years investigated agricultural problems and the markets of the world, in respect thereto, I believe it is coming about slowly, but surely, that the market of the North American continent is the best market of all markets. The prices on the British market -are not -so superior as they used to be -over the prices in our own market, and they are not in most instances as good -as the prices obtained in the United S-tates,
Is it not -a fact that you are practically -throwing open to the whole world, the home market which the farmer of Canada formerly possessed?