February 28, 1911

CON
LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

Order. There is no point of order before the Chair. The Minister of Agriculture has the floor. Unless a point of order is brought before the Chair, the minister must be allowed to . continue his address.

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CON
LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

Unless the

hon. gentleman (Mr. Lennox) arises to a point of order, I cannot hear him.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

I rise to a point of order. I want information for my guidance. I Mr. FISHER.

have no question to ask the minister at this time

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LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

Unless the

hon. gentleman has a distinct point of order to raise, he is not in order in speaking.

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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

It is a distinct point of order. I want your ruling distinctly. Am I to understand that, if I have a question to ask the minister, I am not at liberty to ask it?

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LIB

Gilbert Howard McIntyre (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER.

While the

minister is addressing the committee, no member has the right to interfere with question or interruption. With the permission of the member addressing the House, it may be done, but, the hon. member having distinctly stated that he desires no more interruptions, it is my duty to see to-it that he is not interrupted.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

I think I was patient under interruptions. I would be glad to answer questions, but, on several occasions, questions have been put to me almost in the middle of a sentence, and in a way to interrupt the thread of my remarks- questions sometimes entirely irrelevant. Therefore, I feel I must decline to be interrupted. I do not desire to appear discourteous, but I am afraid I shall have to maintain that position.

Adding to what I was saying with regard to quarantine, I may point out that we have dairy laws for this country which have the same effect as quarantine. I do not know that anybody has raised the point in the House, but in different places it has been raised that, in consequence of the free entry of American butter into our markets, oleomargarine, butterine and other things of that kind may be introduced into the country. I have only to say that the Canadian laws which forbid the manufacture, importation or sale of these articles in Canada are as much in force and will be as much in force after this arrangement goes into effect as they are now and have been for years past.

My hon. friend from Brandon (Mr. Sifton) did not say much about conservation, but the question has been raised by some hon. members opposite on several occasions. Conservation at the moment is an attractive and rather popular appeal. We are all anxious to preserve the natural resources of Canada. I think I may say that I have been as prominent in that respect as anybody in this country. I was one of those, with my hon. friend from Brandon, who attended the international conference at Washington called by President Roosevelt to discuss this ouestion. It was I who introduced and put through the Bill for the creation of the Commission of Conservation, and have encouraged, and am a member of, that commission. As I said a moment ago

about our animals and dairy products, so the question of conservation is a question of regulation and administration within our own country of our own resources. Conservation is the preservation of our resources from waste, the utilization of our resources under wise and proper management. My hon. friend from Red Deer (Mr. Clark) gave a very good illustration of conservation when he talked about the steers and * what we have we'll hold Conservation of forest resources, for instance, does not mean to forbid the cutting of any tree in Canada; it means the cutting of the trees that are ripe to be cut and the proper preservation of those that are not yet ready for cutting from the destructive influences of fire, insects and other enemies of our forests. If conservation means that we are to stop lumbering operations in this country, if it means that we are to keep our trees until they fall from age and rot upon the ground where they will be a hiding place and breeding place of insects injurious to the forests and a means of spreading fire, then, conservation means putting an end to the utilization of our forest resources. It does not mean anything of the kind. Conservation means that we shall so regulate the cutting of our trees that no tree too small to be cut shall be cut, that no tree when it is cut shall destroy other trees around it, that when the tops and the debris of the trees which are cut are left in the forest, they shall be taken care of so that fire may not spread among them, and thereby generate those destructive fires which are the worst enemies of our forest resources. Conservation means that we shall see to it that the insect pests that infect our forests and trees shall be fought and combatted, that fires shall not be allowed to spread, whether originating by settlers, or by hunters, or by trappers, or by railroads. Forest conservation means that forest areas shall be set apart as forest reserves, to protect the sources of our water supply, the sources of our streams, in order that water may be procured for agricultural and manufacturing operations and kept at a continuous flow. Sir, we have done all that. We have set apart large forest reserves. My hon. friend at Quebec the other day, in a conservation meeting, praised this government for the fact that the Minister of the Interior this very session is introducing a Bill to make statutory what was done last year by order in council, namely, setting apart the whole eastern slope of the Rocky mountains as a forest reserve, which will be the greatest on the continent of North America. I think we know fairly well how to conserve our natural resources. The regulation of all these things remains in the hands of the parliament of Canada, and it is only by parliament becoming recreant to its duty

in this regard that our natural resources can be depleted.

Hon. gentlemen opposite say, Oh, but these horrible Americans will come in here and eat up our natural resources. I do not know but that to-day a good many Americans own many of our forest reserves,

I do not know but that they own some of our mines and some of our water-powers.

I am quite sure that a Canadian who owns any one of these resources in fee simple, if ah American came along and offered him a higher price for it than he could get from anybody else, he would sell it to him. I think that perhaps our hon. friends opposite would do just like any of the rest of us in that respect. But if an American has bought a natural resource of Canada, he is just as much subject to the rules and regulations of Canada, and to any safeguards we may establish for their conservation and utilization, as any Canadian, or any Englishman, or anybody else in the world. When Americans come in here to invest in our natural resources and to operate them they will be controlled by the laws and regulations of Canada just the same as anybody else. This is the meaning of conservation, and this arrangement has no effect upon conservation at all.

' In speaking upon fruits and vegetables, the hon. member for Brandon said that the hon. member for Yale-Cariboo (Mr. Burrell) had presented an argument in that respect which was unanswerable. I am afraid I must differ with him a little in that. That argument of the hon. member for Yale-Cariboo, like a great many others, is the argument of a man interested in that business alone. I am not going to attribute any selfish motive to the member for Yale-Cariboo, he is entirely in his right in what he is doing. He spoke of his own interest as a fruit grower, and he spoke of the interests of a majority probably of his constituents. Now I am going to say frankly that it is possible that the fruit growers of the dry belt of British Columbia may suffer by this arrangement a little more than any other interest that I know of. They are to-day growing fruit in the dry belt somewhat similar to the dry belts of Washington and Oregon to the south. They are starting out on a large scale in an industry which has been well tested and wed established on a small scale, and they are probably at a stage when for the moment keen and superior competition may stagger them. But I do not believe it will knock them down. I do not believe for a moment that my hon. friend from Yale-Cariboo himself is going to sell out his orchards and leave the business. I think he and his friends will con-

tinue to grow fruit. They have exactly the same opportunity under this tariff arrangement that their competitors to the south of them have. They are not at the moment quite so well established in business, but I am glad to say that they are becoming established. I am glad to see that for a year or two back they have adopted the best methods of packing that are known, and have been getting a good repute for their fruit, just as good a repute as the people to the south of them. The Okanagan Valley fruit has just as good a record as the fruits of Washington. They can grow just as good fruit, and probably a little better, and they can grow as much of it to the acre. They have beaten their American neighbours time and again in exhibitions by reason of the superior quality of their fruit. They have not had so many acres under fruit as their competitors to the south, and for the moment that competition may be felt. But I have confidence enough to believe that the people of that region, like other Canadians in the east, like the people of the west who have to compete on wheat, will hold up their head and enter into the fight, and show the same results that other people have been able to show in competition between Canada and other countries. I observe that some gentlemen in the fruit business take the same view as themselves. [DOT] A little while ago I read an article in regard to the fruit growers of that country, and I think the Minister of Customs has read it. It is taken from the Vernon ' Okanagan/ which I understand is a Liberal paper. The article is written by a Mr. Lee. Mr. Lee, this paper says in another number, is the secretary of the Okanagan Farmers' Institute. A few weeks ago he supported a resolution at the annual meeting of the central institute which strongly advocated that not only should the duty on fruit be retained, but that the duty should be raised to a parity with the United States tariff. Mr. Lee spoke warmly in favour of that resolution, which was carried unanimously and forwarded to Ottawa. They go on to say that he ought to be consistent. Mr. Lee, I think is consistent, and I think he occupies about the position many other people occupy in this country* When he moved that resolution he did not know the terms of the arrangement. When he moved that resolution for keeping the duties on a parity, he meant to raise the Canadian duty to the American duty. While the American duty existed that perhaps appealed to a good many people.

But we have put the duties on a parity, they have disappeared and, to-day there is no duty on our fruit going into the United States any more than there is on the fruit of the Americans coming in here.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

But later, when he knows the details, Mr. Lee writes an article of a page and a half, in which he points out the advantages of the American market to the Okanagan fruit grower. He says that he understands and knows the details of this arrangement and that he believes it is in the interests of the Okanagan fruit grower. That is the spirit of the'Okanagan fruit grower, which I anticipated and hoped for, and which I am glad to find in Mr. Lee, although we did not find it in the hon. member for Yale-Cariboo (Mr. Burrell). Sir, we have in eastern Canada too, fruit growers who seem to be a little afraid. I will only speak in very general terms, but I will say this, that if anybody in the world can raise fruit and succeed in open competition with anybody in a good market, it ought to be the Niagara and Lake Shore fruit growers in Ontario. They have every advantage which their competitors to the south have. They have the advantage of teaching from the Department of Agriculture in Ontario, and the Department of Agriculture here, which is superior to anything that there is in the United States. They have quantity of production, they have every opportunity of co-operation and oi'ganization, and I am glad to know that to-day . the fruit growers of the province of Ontario are organized and are able to put their fruits on the markets either of the United States or Canada equally well, with the fruit of any other producers. Hitherto they have had the Canadian market alone. The Americans had to pay duty to come in here, and our people had to pay duty to go into the United States. Notwithstanding that duty, our people have sent hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fruit into the United States markets of Buffalo, and places across the line every year. With a free market, with the opportunity of sending their fruit into Buffalo, down to New York and to other big cities south of the line, they will have an abundant market that will stimulate fruit growing in the Niagara peninsula. I have no doubt that it will do so, and that the result will be an immense increase in the business of fruit growing in this province. We have another fruit growing district in the Annapolis and Cornwallis valleys of Nova Scotia. They send out every year hundreds of thousands of barrels of apples. They have been looking with longing eyes to the New England market, but they have been forced by the United States duties to send all those apples across the Atlantic to the London and other English markets. They can do so still, but they will have in addition, free entry to this great market in the New England States. We know that the qualify of Ontario and Nova Scotia fruit, especially apples, is superior to that of the United

States producers, and that our apples, even with the duty, are sought for there, as being the daintiest, prettiest and the most tasteful of any apples that are put upon the American market.

The hon. member for Brandon stated that prices in the United States were lower than they were in Canada. He referred to the tables which have been published by the Labour Department as being most excellent. I thought I had a general table of the prices of products in Great Britain, United States and Canada, but I am not able at this moment to put my hand upon it. The table shows very clearly that the general trend of prices in Canada and the United States, while varying occasionally, is the same, but that as a general rule, the prices of the articles of ordinary life are higher in the United States than they are m Canada. It is a truth which I wish to impress, that the continental market is better in the United States than it is in Canada, and that if we can get entry into that market we have a better continental market than we have to-day. The same table shows that the genera] trend of prices of the same articles is lower in Great Britain than it is in the United States and that, therefore, the American market is one that we will be likely to cater for in the future. We will cater for it, because it is the best paying market and for no other reason.

This brings me naturally to the last thing that I am going to say.. Hon. gentlemen opposite and their press especially, have talked about this as being a movement which is going to lead to annexation. Perhaps what I have just said with regard to a continental market here, the American market and the English market, may confirm them in that. I have yet to believe that the people of any country are bound to their allegiance, to their King, or to their flag, by any feelings or influences of commercial ties. I do not believe it. I believe that Canada is loyal to herself, to the empire and to the King, from feelings of sentiment, of attachment to the institutions of this country and of the empire, and inspiration from the traditions of the empire, and consequently the people of Canada are proof against any relaxation with regard to their enthusiasm, loyalty or patriotism which might occur, because of any change in commercial relations. I do not* believe it, and I do not think that anybody else believes it. They raise this cry and they wave the flag because they think it is going to bring some votes. I cannot imagine for a moment that the hon. member for Brandon thinks that, because a man in the Northwest, or in Ontario, or in Quebec, gets a little higher price from a Yankee for the goods that he sells him, he is going to want-to join that Yankee country. On the

contrary, the free entrance of commerce into the United States market removes the only possible inducement to annexation. If we were going to be influenced by commercial reasons, the fact that we were shut out from the American market which we find to be the best market, might induce us to ask for annexation, but when we get free entry into that market without annexation, in the name of goodness, why should we think of annexation? Hon. gentlemen opposite did not think of annexation, or at any rate, they pretended that they did not think of it, and they continued to wave the flag when they were asking for reciprocity. Then they did not think it meant annexation. I did not think i't would mean annexation then and I do not think that it means annexation now. They have changed their minds, while we have consistently and continuously maintained our confidence in the loyalty and patriotism of the Canadian people.

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR (Leeds).

What did Edward Blake say?

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

Edward Blake ; I have dealt with that and I am not going to go back to it now. My hon. friend from Brandon was not so afraid of the Americans a few years ago. Perhaps, if there is one thing more than another that is striking in his political and public career it is the magnificent inauguration and carrying out of the immigration policy into the Canadian northwest. I give him all' credit for it. I have always admired what he did, and I know he did it in the true interests of the country, and with an eye to the advancement of Canada. He succeeded beyond expectation, but the striking part of his immigration policy was the campaign in the United States, and the eSort directed to bring Americans into our north west. It was carried on against great obstacles but with magnificent success, and to-day we have in the northwest hundreds of thousands of American-born citizens ths great majority of whom, being here only a few years, have sworn allegiance to our King and our institutions, and are to-day good British subjects. That is the kind of annexation we want, and I venture to think that when those lormer American citizens, knowing that the only difficulty they experienced in settling in our country was exclusion from their old market, find that the barriers are thrown down, they will be followed by tens of thousands of their former friends, and in a few years we will have our northwest more and more filled by that class of immigrants which the member for Brandon over and over again has admitted were the most progressive and intelligent settlers. And why should they not come to Canada? They

tell us they have higher priced lands in* the United States ; they say they have harder conditions under which to live ; they say that their labour there costs them more; they say their transportation rates are higher, they say they cannot grow as good crops there; they come to Canada and henceforward they will have the same market exactly as they had before they left their own country. We are removing the last obstacle to the immigration of Americans into our northwest. I suppose some of our friends on the other side of the House may say that the immigration of Americans into the northwest, is dangerous, that it is disloyal, that it is improper. I ask them to take the view of their friend the hon. member for Brandon as to that. He has often told us that the American is the best settler in the northwest, because he comes there ready to go to work at once, and he is able to immediately add to the production of the country.

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR (Leeds).

Nobody has ever said anything to the contrary.

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LIB

Sydney Arthur Fisher (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. FISHER.

many more to get the free entry of Canadian agricultural products into the great market to the south of us. The reasons, however, are obvious-I will not detain the House with them.

Sir, I appreciate that on a question of this kind it is quite within the judgment of any man to leave his party and divorce himself from his political friends. I believe this arrangement is in exact accord with the general policy of the Liberal party of Canada, that it is in full accord with the Liberal principles which have actuated us in our administration of the affairs of this country. 'I believe that this arrangement does not in any wav materially hurt or injure any class or any industry in the country. I believe that it does give an enormous boon to the agricultural class of the country; and, as it helps them and gives them more markets and more riches, it will affect favourably every interest in Canada. I appreciate, Six, that my hon. friend from Brandon does not view this arrangement in the same way. He has stated that in consequence of it he is obliged to cut himself off from his former colleagues and friends. Nobody regrets that more than I do. I had anticipated from him the ablest possible statement of the views of those who are opposed to this arrangement. I have no doubt that we heard that this afternoon. I know the hon. member foT Brandon well enough to know that there is no man in the Conservative party who can put a case better, abler, more intelligently and more clearly. We have seen what he has done. I can only say that I do not aeree with him that any of the arguments or any of the facts that he has put forward called upon him in any way to divorce himself from his former associates and from the party with which he has worked for many years. The thing that we are doing is not in any way antagonistic, but, on the contrary, falls in exactly with the principles in which be has been brought up and which he has followed for many years in his public life-the principles of Liberalism, the principles of freedom, the principles of seeing to the interests of the masses of the community, and at the same time trving. and I think succeeding, in doing no injury to any of the classes or interests in the country, and if the arguments which he has put forward, the details which he has given, have been sufficient to justify him in the course he has taken. I think thev will not justify him in the eyes of the great mass of the people of the country, who do not see eve to eye with him and will not follow him in that course.

On motion cf Sir Wilfrid LauTier, House adjourned at 10.43 p.m.

Mr 'FISHER.

Thursday, March 2, 1911.

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February 28, 1911