March 8, 1911

LIB

Onésiphore Ernest Talbot

Liberal

Mr. TALBOT.

How is the hon. gentleman going to vote against it if he is compelled to vote for it?

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CON

William Barton Northrup

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. NORTHRUP.

If I were able to vote for such a measure as this, I would not think it necessary to call attention to myself in public. I would retire to the remotest privacy, and would hope that I would not be discovered. I was appealing to those who have to accept this measure as a whole or oppose it as a whole. Surely hon. gentlemen opposite can see if they lay aside party feelings and apply their common sense to the question, that it is a monstrous thing to be placed in this position, when deliberating in the interests of the country, for each man here, though elected by a single constituency, represents the whole electorate of Canada. Therefore it seems extraordinary that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, who represent British Columbia, are obliged to vote to kill one of the greatest industries of that province, or else refuse to accept the bargain as a whole. If this House undertakes to amend a single clause in the agreement, the whole thing has to go back to the United States again for their ratification. The right hon. the Prime Minister represents the fruit growers of British Columbia as much as the hon. member for Yale-Cariboo, and the Minister of Finance represents the milling interest just as much as any man from Manitoba; and they must either vote to kill the industry which is interested, or to take back this agreement as a whole. I, therefore, hope that the government will see that there are advantages, Mr. NORTHRUP.

and very great advantages, in withdrawing, the measure for a time, as it is quite possible that the American Congress may not agree to it all. If this House should pass this measure, in the opinion of many of the best financiers in this country-and surely they are more competent to judge of a question of finance than even the toiling masses whom the minister so much respects -the very passing of it by this House would have an injurious effect on the country. This measure affects the banks, the transportation companies, the investment of capital from the mother land and even capital from the United States, which has been coming here so rapidly of late; and if it is true that the mere passing of the measure by this House, irrespective of carrying it out, is liable to cause tremendous injury to Canada, why not let it stand until we see whether the American Congress will pass it? ' If they fail to pass it, we shall have done no harm; and if they pass it, the right hon. the Prime Minister will still have an opportunity to have it dealt with by this House. It must be borne in mind that the Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives, and that while the Republicans have a majority in the Senate, it is a very uncertain one, being only eight or nine, including the insurgents; so that it is by no means certain that this measure will pass the Congress of the United States. It cannot be too well remembered also that their system of government is very different from ours. If the right hon. gentleman insists, this Bill must sooner or later pass this House, but it is not so in the United States. The President might use every means in his power to secure the passage of the Bill, and yet it is not certain that it will pass. For these reasons I appeal to the right hon. gentleman to let the measure stand at all events until the American Congress decides what it will do. If it should pass that body, I can quite understand that the right hon. gentleman might feel bound to endeavour to have it passed by this parliament. But in the meantime the country will have an opportunity to consider it; and if the measure is, as he seems to think, so transparently in the interest of this country, and the people express their approval of it, he will then be able to have it passed by parliament, supported by a majority of the people of this country, and all criticism from this side of the House will of necessity be closed.

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LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN.

If action is delayed here, and the United States Congress passes the measure, will the hon. gentleman then favour the proposal before the House?

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CON

William Barton Northrup

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. NORTHRUP.

Most certainly not. I would not act so illogically, I hope.

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LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. H. GUTHRIE (South Wellington).

Mr. Speaker, the question before the chair seems to be a simple one, and not one which

invites a general discussion of the main issue. Therefore I think we might limit ourselves to discussing the single question whether, in view of what has recently transpired in the Congress of the United States, it would be well for the parliament of Canada now to halt, or whether we should proceed. I believe the wording of the motion is that in view of the failure of the United States Congress to approve of the proposed trade agreement, the discussion of the matter in this House should be postponed, and the matter should be referred to the people. Now, we must all agree that the question is to-day fairly and squarely before the parliament of Canada. I think it came properly before us. It was the result of negotiations which took place between Canadian ministers and negotiators on behalf of the United States government.

It does come before us 'and is launched in the regular form, and we are discussing it, I assume, as a serious matter and one on which we expect to reach a definite conclusion one way or the other. Is it not more dignified to discuss this as a matter pertinent to Canada and Canadian interests, independent altogether of what in the meantime Congress may or may not do. The fact that the 61st Congress has not seen fit to deal with the matter ought not to influence this parliament. If this pro-nosal be a good proposal for Canada, why halt in the discussion? If it be not a good proposal, then let us refuse to entertain it; but to my mind, no proper logical reason has been offered for postponing that discussion. The 62nd Congress will be just as powerful and potent as the 61st. Its session will probably last- two, or three, or four months. True, it may deal with other questions besides the tariff. That is the privilege of a special Congress of the United States; but it has been convened for a single purpose, the trade arrangement with Canada, and it is very probable that that arrangement will be given precedence. We can, therefore, reasonably expect that the Congress about to be convened will pass upon that arrangement one way or the other within a very limited range of time. Then why should we halt or hesitate in dealing with it or discussing it? There has been no attempt on the part of this government to limit the discussion in any way. I have heard no threat of closure, and I think I am correct in saying that there is no rule of closure really applicable to the proceedings of this House. We can, I think, fairly say that it is the desire, not only of the government, but of all members on this side, to have this matter most fully threshed out before a vote is taken, and we are having a most full discussion of it, not only here, but throughout the country, and in the press of the country, so that all the people and their representatives, if they pay any attention to what is

going on, will be fully aware of all the aspects of the proposed bargain now before parliament.

My hon. friends opposite, however, give as their reason for delay that they want to submit the question to the people before this House passes on it. Well, I am just as thorough a believer in the voice of the. people as any hon. member of this House, and, perhaps, just as often as any other hon. member have I consulted my constituency with regard to matters which come up in this parliament, and I would have no hesitation in submitting this matter to my own constituents at any moment.

I am satisfied that there is a very strong opinion, in that part of Ontario at least, in favour of this proposal. But is it proper or necessary that in so many of these questions the will of the people should be directly taken? I submit it is not. I cannot accept the doctrine that we are mere delegates of our constituents. I believe that we are here in a representative capacity to_ exercise our own judgment, after discussion and deliberation, and we are in a position to do this more fully and effectively than our constituents, and we are consequently in a better position in all probability to pass on this question. But if we are mere delegates to register the wishes of our constituents, there is no necessity for our being here at all. A letter would serve the purpose just as well as our presence. We are here, however, as representatives, and as such we have the right to deal with this matter if we see fit so to do. During my experience in this House I remember that when the Transcontinental railway question was up it was said that we should have had a mandate from the people. Again, when the new northwest provinces were being established, it was said that we should wait for a mandate from the people. And, lastly, when the naval proposals were before the House, we were equally told that we should have waited for a mandate from the people before submitting them to parliament. Why, if appeals to the people had been granted in all these cases, we would have had a succession of general elections and no time to discuss the business of the country. For these reasons I submit it is not necessary that on a question of this kind we should go back to the people for a mandate. Surely we have a mandate with regard to the regulation of trade, the raising of taxation, the arrangement of our fiscal policy. Surely the arrangement of our fiscal policy is one of the first reasons for sending us here at all. On this matter, therefore, if on no other, we have authority from the people to act as in our best judgment we feel warranted in doing. I think that is about all that can fairly be said on the motion before the Chair. Are we to postpone or go

ahead? I see every good reason for our going ahead with this discussion without curtailing it in any way, and I see no good reason for postponing it. It is said that when the 62nd Congress of the United States meets, in all probability we shall receive better terms from that country than under the proposed arrangement. Well, if I understand the arrangement, better terms will not affect it so far as Canada is concerned. The tariff may be lowered, the free list may be as much more extended as the United States Congress may see fit to enact, but so long as we get what we have agreed for the agreement will stand. In other words, there may be as much plus as possible, but no minus.

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

Does my hon. friend realize that by this arrangement we allow all parts of the British Empire and 12 of the most favoured nations in on the same terms? Whereas if the United States, of their own volition, give any of these privileges, we do not have to extend them to other countries.

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LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. GUTHRIE.

I , realize that situation quite well, but I really have so little regard for that favourite argument of my hon. friend that I pay absolutely no attention to it. I think that this objection has no weight. I was surprised to hear the hon. member for Hastings (Mr. Northrup) talk of the Argentine Republic and the 45 cents per day labour in that country and ask how Canadians could compete against that labour. I do not know the rates of labour in the Argentine Republic, but I do know that the chief exports of that country are cattle and wheat, and that we are competing with them and beating them every day in the British market, and I do not expect to see the day when cattle or wheat from the Argentine Republic, or Bolivia, or Colombia, or the eight or ten other countries mentioned will ever come into Canada in serious competition with the products of this country.

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CON

Glenlyon Campbell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAMPBELL.

Might 1 interrupt? What authority has the hon. gentleman for stating that Canadian cattle are beating the Argentine cattle every day in the British market? In stating this he is stating what is absolutely not the fact, and I would refer him to the hon. member for St. Lawrence division of Montreal (Mr. Bicker-dike).

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LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. GUTHRIE.

I can answer my hon. friend that the county of Wellington sends beef to the English market labelled Wellington beef, and it commands the highest prices in that market to-day. I have never discussed the question with my hon. friend from Montreal (Mr. Bickerdike), who is well up in the cattle business, but I do say that the general price of cattle, as between Canada and the Argentine, is regulated in Mr. GUTHRIE.

Liverpool, or, at least, in Great Britain, where we are selling our cattle, day after day, in competition with the Argentine and with the world. I suppose that, in regard to the general grades of cattle, prices will be about equal. But my point is that this 45-cent-labour which my hon. friend from East Hastings (Mr. Northrup) states will be ruinous to Canada has never been ruinous to us in the past.

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CON

William Barton Northrup

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. NORTHRUP.

We have always had a tariff.

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LIB

Hugh Guthrie

Liberal

Mr. GUTHRIE.

Not in Great Britain- we have never had the benefit of a tariff there, and yet we compete in that market, and compete successfully. And, if we can compete in the market of Great Britain, three or four thousand miles away from Canada, surely we can compete right here at home where we save that long haul. I have more faith in the Canadian farmer, and the Canadian stockmen than to be afraid of the competition with which my hon. friend from East Hastings threatens us from the Argentine Republic. Now, to come back to the question immediately before the committee, and avoid discussion on the general issue, what is the dignified course for Canada at the present moment?-to cry ' Halt! * or to go ahead? We have launched on the consideration of this question, and not any action of the United States short of refusal should terminate these proceedings in this House. To take the other view, it seems to me, might be called accepting the dictation of the United States. I think our proper course is to go ahead-either to enact the arrangement or to refuse the arrangement; at all events, do not let our action be dominated to the extent suggested by possible action of the United States. If they give us what we think they will give us on this arrangement, well and good; if they do not, as I understand it, the arrangement falls to the ground. There need be no unsettling of trade, no uncertainty about the matter. If it should be that we approve this arrangement before Congress approves it, as my hon. friend from East Hastings well knows, it will not come into force until this government is assured that it has received the sanction of Congress. So, there need not be any uncertainty or any unsettling of trade about the matter. Why should we hesitate? It is possible, if not probable, judging by some statements we have seen in the newspapers, and even statements made in this House, that this discussion will be a long one. It may be that Congress will decide this matter on their side before the House decides it on this side. If I am to take serious meaning from the statements of the hon. member for East Hastings, we are almost face to face, in this country, with something like

rebellion. I do not like the idea of rebellion against the anthority of the Crown coming from any member of this parliament of the standing of the hon. member for East Hastings. My solution of the matter would be a simple one. I think we should proceed. I have not the power my hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster) has in regard to those members on the other side of the House. I cannot turn around on this side and declare that every man will stand up and support this agreement as he announced that hon. gentlemen on that side would vote against it. I have no doubt that the real idea of the hon. member for North Toronto and of his leader (Mr. Borden, Halifax) is to obtain what might be called a snap verdict in this matter without experience or full consideration; and what they most fear is that there will be a ratification of this arrangement between Canada and the United States, and that the arrangement may have one or two years to operate and bear fruit before there is a general election. And,' while predictions do not count for much, I can at least give my prediction that, if an election comes on only after this agreement has been ratified, and has had a fair opportunity of working out as between these two countries, there will come back to this parliament after the next general election only the wreck of the Conservative party.

Mr. FOSTER, I wish to correct my hon. friend (Mr. Guthrie) on a point of fact. If he-questions-it,-J -suppose- we shall have-4o-leave it to ' Hansard ' to-morrow. I did not undertake, in my own right, to say how hon. gentlemen on this side would vote. What I did say is that every member on this side of the House would be ready to cast his. vote

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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Liberal

Mr. BELAND.

On the measure?

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

On the merits. We never cast our vote on anything but the merits.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER (Prime Minister).

Before I address myself directly to the motion of my hon. friend (Mr. Borden, Halifax), I think it would not be amiss if we had a word of discussion upon the assertion which has been made several times in this debate by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden, Halifax), and repeated, I think, by almost every one on that side who spoke after him to the effect that, in asking parliament to ratify this agreement, we are departing from true constitutional principles. It was stated that we had carried out a new idea, the idea that tariffs could be made in secret and brought before parliament to be ratified or rejected. If there were anything in this statement, you would have to come to the conclusion that this is the first time in any British parliament in which a treaty of commerce was

ever presented for ratification. The treaty of commerce necessarily implies a change in the tariff of the country. Well, is it the first time that such a thing has happened? You have to-day twelve treaties, which have been spoken of in this House, and which are still in force. These at one time or other have been negotiated by Great Britain as this treaty was, and presented to parliament and accepted by parliament.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

May I ask the Prime Minister how many of them defined specific duties and contained tariffs?

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

These treaties are tariff legislation as affecting relations with these countries, with which they are made. I will go further -and call my hon. friend's attention to a treaty which was negotiated by Mr. Cobden, in 1863, between England and France, and which certainly affected the wine duties of England. It was negotiated just as this was, secretly- if you choose to call it so-and brought to the parliament of Great Britain and by that parliament ratified. We have even heard in this debate of the treaty of 1854, which was accepted unanimously by the parliament of Canada. Was this treaty negotiated by Lord Elgin and Mr. Hincks in any manner different from this arrangement which was made by my horn. friend the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) and my hon. friend the Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson). The procedure was exactly the same. In the face of these historical facts, whichuafeTnown" to "every-schoolboy, it is idle to say that we are introducing any new departure in constitutional government. And I am reminded by my hon. friend the Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson) of a case which applies, if possible, even more directly. My hon. friend from North Toronto (Mr. Foster), when he .was acting Prime Minister, was one of those who ratified a treaty which had been negotiated by Sir Charles Tupper, in secret-to use the _ words of hon. gentlemen opposite-with the French government.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

May I ask a question? There must be a limit somewhere

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Oh, oh.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

What I want to ask is this: If the right hon. gentleman claims that right in regard to the items of the tariff changed by this agreement, does he claim the right in this- way to change the whole tariff? For instance, would he make a treaty in the same way, including manu-fatures as well as natural products?

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

All this is subject to parliamentary approval. And what we have done has been done again and again, and done by my hon. friend him-

self, although he has forgotten it in a moment when he is served by a treacherous memory. But he knows he did this very thing in 1893, which he now reproaches us for doing. But my hon. friend knows that they did this very thing in 1893 which he now reproaches us with doing. There was a treaty, not a secret arrangement, tout an actual treaty negotiated in secret toy Sir Charles Tupper with the French government, which was brought here and accepted by the whole Conservative party. So I say that it is childish to _ present such an argument at the present time in opposition to this agreement.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess.

House resumed at eight o'clock.

House divided on amendment-(Mr. Borden, Halifax).

Messieurs

Ames,

Arthurs,

Barker,

Barnard,

Beattie,

Best,

Blain,

Blondin,

Borden (Halifax), Boyce,

Bradbury,

Broder,.

Burrell,

Campbell,

Crocket,

Crotbers,

Currie (Simcoe), Daniel,

Donnelly,

Edwards,

Elson,

Foster,

Gilbert,

Goodeve,

H'aggart (Winnipeg), Harris,

Henderson,

Herron,

Hughes,

Jameson,

Kidd,

Lake,

Lalor,

Lancaster,

Lennox,

Lortie,

Macdonell,

Maclean (York, S.), McCall,

Maddin,

Marshall,

Medgben,

Middlebro,

Monk,

Nan tel,

Northrup,

Owen,

Paqnet,

Perley,

Porter,

Price,

Reid (Grenville), Roche,

Russell,

Schaffner,

Sexsmith,

Sharpe (Lisgar), Sharpe (Ontario), Sifton,

Stanfield,

Staples, !

Stewart,

Taylor (Leeds), Taylor

(New Westminster), Thoburn,

Thornton,

White (Renfrew), Wilcox,

Wilson Lennox & Addington) and Wright.-70.

Messieurs

Allard, McColl,

Allen, McCraney,

Aylesworth (Sir Allen) McIntyre, Beauparlant, McKenzie,

Beland, McLean (Huron),

Black, McLean (Suntoury),

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March 8, 1911