May 3, 1911

LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATTERSON.

I stand corrected in that, then. But what I was quoting from was the full year's returns, ending 31st March, 1910. Therefore, I was taking a year's returns. The hon. gentleman has not given us the. year's imports, he has taken only one month, and then he multiplies it by 12. But supposing none came in, or scarcely any, during the other II months, that shows nothing. He must challenge my figures, which every one will admit are the proper basis to take for an argd-ment, and show how much of these goods came into the country during the whole year. I took the last completed year, and if any one will make the calculation and show that I made a mistake, I will stand corrected. I took the returns from the books we had with us in Washington, I *made my calculations on these, and I stand by those calculations until some one can prove they are wrong. Every hon. gentleman has the trade and navigation returns for the complete year in his desk, and, therefore, he has the figures. I think you will find that my calculations of the total importations during the whole year would amount to an ounce and a quarter for every man, woman and child in the country. I do not want to follow the hon. gentleman in anything approaching insolence or effrontery. I think it is quite out of taste for him to call in a minister to listen to personal abuse. I have to say here again what I said once before, that I endeavour always to treat every member with the utmost courtesy. But I do not want it to be forgotten that, though I am a minister, I am also a member of parliament, and I have the same right to courtesy that every other member has and no more. But the simple fact that I occupy a seat in the ministry is no justification for any hon. gentleman in this House to think he is at liberty to address to me language that he

would no*t apply to others. Last night 1 was sent for, and came into the House to listen to him. It is not evidence of very good taste to summon a person from his needed rest to come in here and listen to personal abuse, to be told that he has made statements that are false in their nature, to hear allusions to his business. It is true that I am engaged in a small business, and if any hon. gentleman can point out anything disreputable in connection with it, he is at liberty to do so. But I want to remind the hon. gentleman that in making a remark of that kind, while I may happen to have some money invested in a certain business, it is a very small amount in comparison with what is invested in that business _ by other men scattered through the Dominion. Therefore, when he endeavours to make out that there is something wrong and disreputable in that business, he is doing an injury, not to me personally, but to men who hold millions of capital invested in this industry.

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR (Leeds).

I hope the minister is not trying to misrepresent me in insinuating that I said anything implying disrepute in his business. I was simply answering an argument that he himself placed on the ' Hansard ' in reference to that business, and he will not find a word in the ' Hansard ' that I uttered against his business.

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

The hon. gentleman, though, was bold enough to insinuate that I had done something to further my own interest.

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CON
LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

That I had taken care to keep the duty up to a good high figure.

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR (Leeds).

That is nothing against the business.

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L-C

Andrew Archibald MacDonald

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. MACDONALD.

Are you in favour of protection to the business?

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CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR (Leeds).

Of course I am

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CON

John Best

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEST.

May I ask the minister a question? Why is it that you expect the farmers to produce wheat without duty, and as soon as it is turned over to the man that makes flour and biscuits out of it you give him a high protection?

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

My answer is, because I am trying to give effect to the wishes of the farmers. But I rose simply to show the hon. gentleman the position he is in. He disputes my calculations based on a year's returns which were given as a year's returns, and he presents a Teturn for only one month, and says if you multiply that by 12 the result is so and so. My figures are there, on which I made a comparison. The hon. gentleman has not attempted to Hr. PATERSON.

meet that. He has attempted to contradict that by taking the imports for one month, neglecting all the other months, and he says he will send that broadcast and that he will send it to my own constituency. For his own sake I would" ask him not to do that, because they will look at the returns for themselves and see exactly what I am pointing out to the House. They will see that the hon. gentleman talks about one month in that speech, but takes no note of what came in during the other months. I have no objection, whatever, to any one disputing my figures. If they can show that I am wrong, I am very glad to be corrected, because we do not want to have figures placed before the House that will not bear investigation. But that can be no reason for personal abuse, for attempting to use language that would not be attempted to be used between one gentleman and another, and, as I say, I do not feel particularly pleased that the hon. gentleman should think that he occupies a position in this House which would lead him to send for the Prime Minister and to disturb me from my needed rest in order to come up here to listen to him, not disputing any arguments that I have made, but engaging in a tirade of abuse. That I do object to, and I think it is going beyond the limit. These hon. gentlemen, when they try to injure the business I am in, may do harm but I would tell them that there are millions of capital invested where I have very little, and if the hon. gentleman (Mr. Taylor, Leeds), seeks to create a prejudice against that business he is not hurting me very much, but he will be hurting men all over the Dominion. I see in a paper-true he did not say it- an article in which it was stated that the article of talc had been overlooked, that it was an article that was used in an hon. gentleman's business in order to reduce the cost and cheapen the quality of confectionery-the line I am engaged in. There are millions of capital invested in Canada and in like manufactured goods, and a statement of this kind must have a deteriorating and damaging effect upon the trade, not upon my trade, but on'the trade of the men throughout the country who manufacture these goods. I know of no such article being used in the business of any man who is engaged in the trade, but to scatter that statement broadcast over the country, I am sure, must tend to lessen the quantity of the goods that must be sold for people are sensitive, and properly so, with regard to the question of pure foods. Yet, that statement is made to the detriment of millions of capital and of the interest of men who are engaged in this business, strong Conservatives as well as Liberals, without, in so far as I

am aware, the slightest shadow of foundation that any such thing takes place.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

May I ask the hon. gentleman if that statement was made in this House?

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

No, I say it was made in a newspaper and it was copied into another, I have been told. I am glad that it appeared originally only in one newspaper. But, I am only pointing out the venpmous attacks of this kind that are made upon me, and that it is an unfortunate thing for the line of business that I am connected with, because it is doing injury to others engaged in that business. I would ask my hon. friend from London (Mr. Beattie), if he believes there is any such custom as that, and if he believes that such a statement as that made in a newspaper can for one moment be believed? Yet, people may believe it. I, therefore, have made these remarks, not in my own interest so much, because my interest in business is only very slight in comparison with the millions of capital that are invested, but it is an unfair, it is unjust to the community and unjust to the men engaged in this line of business.

I need not say any more. I just rose to put my hon. friend (Mr. Taylor, Leeds), right, and to let the House know that the figures which I gave were based upon calculations that are in the trade and navigation returns, which returns are in the hon. gentleman's possession. I took the number of roounds of butter that were imported during the whole year, I brought them into ounces, I estimated the population at 8,000,000 and I said that if those figures were correct that represented an ounce and a quarter of butter for every man, woman and child in the Dominion, and I pointed out that that amount could not influence the butter market very much. I did the same with cheese and with eggs. The hon. member for Leeds says a certain quantity of butter came into Canada in one month, and then on the supposition, without any foundation for it, that a like quantity had come in during the otheT eleven months says the figures I gave were incorrect. Hon. gentlemen can check the figures I gave, they have the trade and navigation returns in their possession and, as I said before, if they will check them, and show that I am wrong I will admit that I made a mistake most cheerfully. But, while they stand uncontradicted, for an hon. gentleman to get up and make a calculation without any foundation whatever, to mention that I have uttered ia falsehood in the House, an accusation subsequently retracted, and to apply language equally offensive, is to transgress the bounds lof that common

civility that ought to prevail in this House between one member and another.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Medical men sometimes find that a patient, after a surgical operation, and especially after an anesthetic has been administered, are rather incoherent in their talk. We have an example of that, to-night which is not unusual in the experience of those who belong to the profession to which I happen to belong. The hon. Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson), has apparently diverted attention to what he was pleased to call a gross abuse of a minister. I do not think that any minister ought to be abused any more than any other member of the House, but I think he did that more for the purpose of drawing attention away from the gravamen of the charge than for any good purpose. What was the gravamen of the charge? It, was that the House was desiring to get correct information instead of information that was neither correct nor reliable. Examples were given last night by my hon. friend from Leeds (Mr. Taylor), and repeated to-night. The Minister of Customs deals with the calculation that my hon. friend from Leeds made. He made a calculation showing what would be most likely to happen if the duty were taken off certain articles of food.

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LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Liberal

Air. DEVLIN.

I would like to know what the question is before the Chair, and what the hon. gentleman is speaking joiu__________________

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The question before the Chair, is for the House to go into Committee on Ways and Means. I understand that perfectly well, and if the hon. gentleman was in the House he ought to understand it also.

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LIB

Emmanuel Berchmans Devlin

Liberal

Mr. DEVLIN.

I assume that the Minister of Customs was allowed to speak simply in answer to the hon. member for Leeds.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Air. Speaker, I have the floor, and the hon. gentleman has no right to interrupt me. What

I say is that we are not given the information we ask for. We charge that the House is misled by the incorrect, unreliable information which is given, and therefore arguments based upon such information must naturally be misleading and unsuitable to the House. Let me give an example of that. I have in my hand a return brought down to the order of the House dated the 3rd March, 1911, showing the quantity and value of butter, eggs, poultry, chilled or frozen meat, bacon, lard, apples, vegetables, wheat, barley, cattle, horses and potatoes imported into Canada during the six months ending March 1, 1911. I have read that re-

turn with a great deal of care, and there is no mention in it of the importation of butter. What do the trade and navigation returns show? They show that in the month of October, 1910, there were imported of butter from Great Britain 201, pounds, and from the United States 5,496 pounds, although nothing at all is given in this return. Then, for the month of November, 1910, we find, according to the trade and navigation returns, that we imported from Italy 213 pounds, from the United States 3,917 pounds; for December, from Australia 72,800 pounds, New Zealand 10,000 pounds, United States 5,000 pounds; for January, 1911, Great Britain, 10,000 pounds, Australia 101,920 pounds, New Zealand 115,000 pounds, Asiatic Turkey 142 pounds, United States 2,132 pounds and yet, in that return, there is not a pound mentioned. Is that not misleading the House? Have we not a right to complain of that? I think we have. We do complain that the information we get is not reliable, and that ministers found arguments upon incorrect information. There is another complaint made. The minister said that we have all the information in the trade, and navigation returns, yet the hon. member for Leeds refers to importations from other countries of articles that are not mentioned at all in this return. He gives the exports of other countries that are not in this return, and are not in the trade and navigation returns, and yet the Minister of Customs says that you have all the information in the trade and navigation returns if you will only take the trouble to look it up. That could not be so because they do not make these returns. Then, why make the statement?

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LIB

William Paterson (Minister of Customs)

Liberal

Mr. PATERSON.

I did not make the statement.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

The minister did make the statement in my presence that every member of this House had every item of this information before him, and yet there is no return before this House that contains that information. That is improper, and the minister is not treating this House with the courtesy to which it is entitled; nor, has he answered the argument advanced on this side of the House by saying something that has no basis in fact. These are the things that we complain of. and these are the things that the country is complaining of.

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CON

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO.

I was here the other evening when the discussion arose between the hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Taylor) and the hon. Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson) and I think that prett.v nearly the whole question was this: After the hon.

member for Grenville (Mr. Reid) had placed his statement on record showing the Mr. SPROULE

exports of products such as are covered by the reciprocity agreement from all of these thirteen countries, and from the British colonies, the hon. Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson) got up and, with the trade and navigation returns in his hand, said that all the information which the hon. member for Grenville had just placed on ' Hansard ' was contained in the blue-book which he slapped on his desk. As a matter of fact that is not so, and the Minister of Customs knows, or should know, that this blue-book of which he spoke does not contain the information which the hon. member for Grenville put on record because it does not give all the imports and exports of foreign countries of articles covered by this reciprocity agreement such as we should have in order to know whether these countries can send their products in to compete with our Canadian farmers. I think the Minister of Customs does not desire this debate to proceed upon information that cannot be relied upon.

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May 3, 1911