That depends very much on whether the imperial government are ready to contribute or not. New Zealand, has always been Teady to contribute handsomely; Australia has not been so ready. Unless we have the good will of Australia, I have no hope that we shall have an All Red Route. The matter no doubt will be taken up at the next conference. If we can prevail on the British government to give us a subsidy also on the Atlantic ocean, whether they contribute to the Pacific ocean service or not, that would mean a good deal. A good deal of the success of the All Red Route depends on what service we would obtain on the Atlantic. If we could obtain a fast service on the Atlantic for a reasonable sum, no doubt we could have a service which would go far to make the All Red Route an accomplished fact.
The All Red Route is not in such a position of certainty that we should neglect the opportunity of having a good service on the Pacific ocean. Moreover, to organize the All Red Route service and secure the proper steamers would take nearly five years.
Is it not a fact that at the last Imperial Conference the Prime Minister of Australia said it would be impossible to do a freight service by the All Red Route over Canada on account of the transhipment of goods, and that they could send freight just as quickly, and cheaper by way of the Suez canal?
On a previous item the right hon. gentleman said that this government regulated the freight rates of these companies to which subsidies were granted chiefly on the goods exported from Canada. I would take that to mean that to a certain extent the government also regulated the freight rate on the goods coming in by these lines.
I understand that we cannot regulate these rates absolutely. We Tun up against what is known as the North Atlantic Conference. As to the goods that are shipped out of the country, we control the rates absolutely, but as to the goods coming in we do not.
The main object of these subsidies, I should think, would be to facilitate the outgo of Canadian products. But when we consider the figures in the report of the Department of Trade and Commerce as showing the amount of our produce sent to Australia and New Zealand, we cannot but have some doubts as to the advisability of granting $300,500 a year- that is what this item and the next, covering the trade between the Canada and Australia and New Zealand, both on the Atlantic and Pacific amount to-to facilitate that trade. Another point that suggests itself is that all the time we have been granting these subsidies and so endeavouring to facilitate the outgo of Canadian products to Australia and New Zealand, these countries have maintained pretty high tariffs against the goods from this country. But it is quite possible that if the agreement now pending before the House is ratified we shall be paying these hundreds of thousands of dollars of subsidy to bring goods into Canada to compete with our own products. For instance, take the item of mutton from Australia. There is a very remarkable growth of the amount of that product brought into this country in recent years. It grew from 60,000 pounds in 1905 to over 1,000,000 pounds in 1908, and in 1910 it was 1,377,270 pounds. I do not know what it was in the fiscal
year just closed, but the indications in the answer given to questions were that not only the amount of mutton, but the amount of other products, coming from these countries to Canada is increasing, notwithstanding the duty they have to pay at the present time. At the same time, our exports to Australia and New Zealand have grown comparatively little. In 1908 our exports amounted to $992,442. That is the sum total of the goods shipped from this country, both home and foreign, for Australia and New Zealand. In 1909 it was only $996,901, and in 1910 it dropped to $890,549. There does not seem to be any very great growth in the outgo of our products to New Zealand-it seems rather declining. This makes me doubt the advisability of the subsidy.
No doubt my hon. friend (Mr. Edwards) is right; we have received very small returns indeed for the large outlay we have made in providing steamship accommodation between Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Trade has not grown correspondingly. New Zealand has given us a preference, as we have given her, but Australia has not, up to the present time, gives us a preference. But we have a promising trade in Australia, chiefly in agricultural implements. Notwithstanding the very high tariff against it, this trade has grown and is still growing. The subsidy for which as we are now asking the approval of the House is not confined to Canada alone, but is correspondingly maintained by New Zealand. The question simply is: Are we to have communication with the sister colony, New Zealand, or not? These steamers are chiefly mail and passenger steamers. We expect, in the course of time, if we cannot get the whole of the freight trade of New Zealand and Australia, we ought to have a very large and increasing proportion of the passenger trade. Would my hon. friend (Mr. Edwards) advise us, in the face of the fact that we have, on this continent a British Dominion, and that there are on the other side of the world two British Dominions, that it is not worth while to pay to have steam communication between them? The matter is not only one of business. There is a question of sentiment, and more, one of high policy that we should keep steamship, telegraphic and any other communication possible with our fellow subjects on the other side of the world. That is partly the reason we have the subsidy. And if we pay these subsidies, we must expect that the steamers will carry goods into Canada also. We sell some of our goods to the British subjects in Australia and New Zealand, and we must expect that they will send in return what goods they can sell us. I think the policy Mr. EDWARDS
a wise one. It is not a new one, and I have never heard it seriously challenged up to the present time.
Of course, if the granting of these subsidies is to be considered on sentimental as wrell as economic lines, it opens up a very different field. I may be wrong in my recollection, but I think I have heard somebody say, or have read somewhere that some person said, in this House, that very little consideration ought to be given to sentiment in the matter^ of trade relations. However, I have no wish to sever the connection between Canada and other parts of the empire. If the link can be made stronger by subsidizing steamship lines all right. But it occurred to me that as a business proposition, it would be quite right to consider the possibility of goods coming in on these subsidizing vessels as well as going out on them. And, in view of the growth of the" importation from Australia and New Zealand into Canada, and notwithstanding the present rate of duties, it would seem to me that if the agreement which has come up for consideration in this House for some time is ratified, there would he still greater importations of their products into this country to compete with the farm products of Canada; and so the subsidy we grant will not be so much to facilitate the outgoing of Canadian products as the incoming of the products with which Canadian products will have to compete.
I would not for a moment advocate that these subsidies be discontinued. They have been granted for many years, and I would feel like subordinating my own view' to the views of men of greater experience in such matters. I would like to know the character of our export trade to Australia and New Zealand. I know that a great part of it consists of agricultural implements, and I have no hesitation in saying that I do not feel like facilitating the exportation of agricultural implements. I feel that the agricultural implement people have had the big end of the stick in this country for a long while, and if we are granting subsidies to take so many hundred thousand dollars of Canadian produce, chiefly agricultural im-Dlements. to Australia and New Zealand, the return cargoes being the produce of
these countries coining into direct competition with what our farmers produce, then it seem to open up another field of consideration as to the advisability of continuing to grant extensive subsidies for that purpose.