May 22, 1913

DISMISSAL.

LIB

Mr. MARCIL:

Liberal

1. Has Simon Chapados, wharfinger of the Government wharf at Anse aux Gascons, Bonaventure county, been dismissed and on what grounds?

2. If charges were made against him, what was their nature?

3. Was Chapados informed of them and were they investigated?

4. Who held the investigation, if any was held, and if none was held, why not?

5. If Chapados has been dismissed, who succeeded him, on whose recommendation was he appointed, and at what salary?

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CON

Mr. HAZEN: (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Conservative (1867-1942)

1. No. Mr. Chapados resigned the position.

2, 3 and 4. Answered by No. 1.

5. Mr. S. A. Huard was, on the recommendation of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, appointed to the position. Remuneration twenty-five per cent of the wharfage collections.

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TREATMENT OF RUSSIAN IMMIGRANTS.


On the Orders of the Day being called:


LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES:

I would ask the Prime Minister if he has received from the Trades and Labour Council of Moosejaw a communication with regard to seventeen Russians who, as alleged by the Trades and Labour Council, were improperly im ported under the Alien Labour Act, kept in an iron car, improperly housed, and, on their escape, fired on by their guards, and ran away from their employment and have not yet been found. The resolution of the council directs that copies of their report be sent to the Premier of Canada, to the Minister of Justice, to the Minister of the Interior, and to the Minister of Labour. Has the Prime Minister any knowledge of it, and, if not, would he be good enough to give it his attention?

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

I never heard of the matter until this moment. If the resolution came to my office, it has not been placed before me. I do not think it could have come, because such matters are invariably placed before me. If the hon. gentleman has a copy of the resolution, and would be good enough to send it to me, I will have the matter inquired into without delay.

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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES:

I am going away today, and I will leave this resolution with the Prime Minister, leaving in his- hands the whole matter, which is a very serious one.

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WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.


Consideration of the proposed motion of Hon. W. T. White, (Minister of Finance), for the House to go into Committee of Ways and Means, resumed from May 21.


LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. F. B. CARVELL (Carleton, N.B.):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to call the attention of the House for a very brief period to the important subject under discussion in this debate, probably the most important that can he brought before the House of Commons of Canada to-day. I am aware that the Minister of Finance does not propose any radical changes in the customs tariff. In fact, the changes which he does propose are of so little importance that practically no time has been taken up in discussing them, and the debate has proceeded entirely along the general lines of what the tariff of Canada should be and what it should not be, what we should do and what we should not do, in order to develop trade and industry in the country. Therefore, I shall devote the few moments I wish to take to discussions along the same lines that have been followed by hon. gentlemen who have preceded me. We all congratulate the Minister of Finance as well as ourselves on the great prosperity that exists in Canada and that has existed for the last two years, and I sincerely hope that it will continue. It does sound, however, a little strange to hear members like the hon. member for St. Antoine division (Mr. Ames) and the hon. member for Brantford

(Mr. Coekshutt) taking to themselves so much glory tor the splendid financial condition of the country. The hon. member for St. Antoine division even went so far as to give the financial returns on certain transactions for ten years prior to 1911 and for two years since 1911, and then to strike an average and say: Behold what this Government hath done. And yet in the same breath he has to admit that this Government has not done anything. If there has been any great advance in our trade in this last two years, certainly my hon. friends cannot take very much credit for it because they have done nothing either for or against it. So I think we may leave that as it is, and thank the legislation which has existed, and thank the Almighty, and thank the business instincts and ability of the people of Canada, and thank the immigrants who are pouring into the country, and thank ail those things which make a countrv great for the splendid financial conditions which exist to-day. The real question to be considered is, what shall we do in the future? Shall our trade relations with the rest of the world remain as they are, or shall they be changed? That is the great question that we have to consider, and that is the question to which I wish to devote my attention for a few moments.

My hon. friend the Minister of Finance was, I think, very modest in presenting his budget. He simply gave a statement of the facts as they are. He did not have sufficient egotism to take unto himself any particular glory for the facts as they are, and I give him credit for that. He did not prophesy or promise that he was going to do anything in order to change the conditions very much; but I am sorry to say I cannot give him so much credit for that as I can for the other part of his budget. The Minister of Finance has told us that we have had during the last year a surplus of $55,000,000 over and above the expenditure on consolidated revenue account; and, when he takes into considerar tion all expenditures, capital as well as revenue, he has reduced the national debt by $23,000,000. That is good so far as it goes. I am not one of those who find fault with the reduction of the national debt when it is done under proper conditions. I believe that a nation should carry on its business in the same way as an individual. If an individual can reduce his debts, he is doing the proper thing, and it is the same with a nation. The only question that arises in the case of a nation is: is it good policy in every respect so to adjust your tariff relations, that you will have sufficient money to pay your debts? I think that political economists the world over will admit that in every case it is good policy to reduce your national debt if you can do it without injuring your Mr. C.VRVRLL.

people; but if, on the other hand, you are injuring your people, making life not as pleasant as it would be otherwise, then I think political economists will admit that it is not good policy to so adjust your tariff that your national debt will be reduced. My hon. friend the Minister of Finance frankly admits that he takes advantage of the condition of affairs which was handed over to him by his predecessor, and which for the last financial year resulted in the splendid surplus of $55,000,000. For the year before, the financial conditions handed over to him by his predecessor produced a surplus of $32,000,000 or $33,000,000, and for the year before that, a surplus of something over $20,000,000. My hon. friend from St. Antoine (Mr. Ames) last evening went down the list as far as 1900, and gave the results of the financial operations during each year, showing that for the ten years prior to 1911 we produced an average surplus of $7,000,000 or $8,000,000; in one or two years it dropped to the vanishing point, while sometimes it was as much as $15,000,000. But, taking the average, the surplus under the late Government was $7,000,000 or $8,000,000. At the same time we were borrowing money on capital for the construction of the Transcontinental railway and other great works, so that during those ten years the national debt of Canada was increased, though not to a very great extent. Now, if the proper policy of Canada is to go on paying off the national debt, there may be some argument for these surpluses, but I do not think that is the argument put forward by my hon. friends opposite. If I can judge of the intention of the Government from the arguments of their exponents, I do not see any evidence of an intention to pay off the national debt. The sole object of the Government and of their followers seems to be to eat up these surpluses-to get as much money as they possibly can, and to spend it. I think it was my hon. friend from Brantford (Mr. Coekshutt) who stated that during the time the Liberals were in power the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia were starved, and that this Government was going to see that the rights of these three provinces were restored to them. The result was that the Minister of Public Works had in the estimates for this year over $26,000,000 or $27,000,000 for public works, and, according to my hon. friend, he was going to do justice to the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia. It is the first time that I have heard that these provinces were ever starved. If my hon. friend will take the different estimates for the last ten years-I have not had time to compare them, and I do not know that any good would be accomplished by comparing them-he will find that these provinces got as much as any of the other

provinces, in proportion to their population. The principal ground of complaint on the part of my hon. friend from Brantford, was that the late Liberal Government gave so much to the province of Nova Scotia. While he was speaking I went over the supplementary estimates laid on the table of the House two days ago, and I find there are 125 items for harbour and river improvements in the province of Nova Scotia, amounting to nearly $1,000,000, in addition to, and above and beyond a similar amount in the main estimates.

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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WHITE (Minister of Finance):

There is nothing too good for the Maritime provinces.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

Of course not, but I want to point out that when my hon. friend from Brantford talks about the province of Nova Scotia, he talks without the book.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

He talks through

his hat.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

I do not wish to use a slang expression. Either the hon. member has not taken the trouble to look into the estimates, or he is not treating the House fairly. The province of Nova Scotia, never got so much as it is getting this year. Some of my hon. friends from Nova Scotia will see no harm in that. I have no hesitation in admitting what is true, it is patent on the face of it. But if mv hon. friend from Brantford makes the argument that we spent money for political purposes, and not for real business purposes, surely we can throw back the argument to him with double energy, and say if we were wrong, you are wrong to double the extent. I am not arguing that there is a public work being advanced in the province of Nova Scotia that is not a necessary public work. I do not think there is a public work in Ontario that is not a necessary work. Unfortunately my hon. friends opposite have talked about everything else during this session except the estimates and business. We have never had a chance to get down to the public works supply, and we do not know what they are asking for. All we know is that they are asking for certain amounts for certain places, but the reasons so far remain blank. My hon. friends seem to be very anxious to draw this session to a close, and it seems to me that their intention, or hope, is to do so without giving us a chance to discuss those estimates to any extent. I am afraid we will not have a chance to discuss them to find out whether the proposed expenditures are fair or unfair. But we will have to do the best we can, and if my hon. friends do not apply the closure to us, I, for one, hope to find out something about the expenditures in the different provinces, and I know my friends around me have the same desire.

But it was not this that I, wished to discuss, and therefore, I will make no further reference to it. I do submit, however, that there has been an enormous increase in the expenditures in two years. My hon. friends opposite may be able to justify it, and I hope they will be able to justify it. If they can do so, no fault will be found on this side of the house. But even with the enormous expenditures which they propose during the present year, according to the hypothesis of the Minister of Finance, we will have an enormous surplus of revenue over expenditure. The condition which has existed during the past two years seems to have become almost chronic. It seems that even with the enormous expenditures which my hon. friends opposite are advocating, there is going to be a great surplus. My hon. friend from Halifax (Mr. Maclean) stated time and again yesterday that that surplus would be $80,000,000 or $85,000,000. If that be a fact, and I have no doubt it is, and if my hon. friends opposite, with all their extravagance, cannot find opportunities to expend this enormous surplus, is it just and right that that revenue should be taken from the people's pockets? That I think is the great question we have to consider in this debate. I had alwavs supposed that the true theory of government was that the people should be asked to contribute sufficient money to honestly and efficiently carry on the affairs of the country, to provide for the King's Government, and in Canada to provide for whatever necessary public works should be constructed. I admit that the science or theory of

government in Canada is very different from that in Great Britain. In Canada, a new country, it is necessary to develop the country by the construction of public works. It is necessary to assist railway companies, and other transportation companies, to develop our harbours, and to do everything possible to increase the output of the natural resources of the country and of the manufacturing resources as well. That would not be true in Great Britain, because there they have an old established country, transportation facilities are provided by private capital, and the Government are not required to assist. They expend the money which they have over and above what is required for the King's Government on the army and navy, and I ami afraid that if my hon. friends opposite are allowed to continue the mad course which they are pursuing to-day we will have the same condition of affairs in Canada. I for one sincerely hope that such a condition of affairs will not develop. I am not going into an analysis of the proposed expenditures of the different departments, but when I find this Government asking for between ten and twelve

million dollars for the militia, I say it is a useless and unwarranted waste of public money. Whan any man tells me it is necessary to spend ten or eleven million dollars on the militia of this country, my answer to him is that it is downright robbery of the people. If the money went to the people I would not care so much about it; but I do not suppose that out of the eleven million dollars, two million dollars will actually go to the men; the rest goes to the dudes and warlords who are running the show. My hon. friend from Brantford (Mr. Coekshutt) justifies this militia expenditure because there might (possibly be a war between Japan and the United States, and, if so, we must have our whole

100,000 men along the border line to see that nothing got out of Canada.

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LIB
LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

No. The Minister of

Finance wants to build a tariff wall around the country and allow nothing to come in, and the member for Brantford wants to build a militia wall around the border and allow nothing to go out. Well, I don't think that idea is approved of by the ordinary Canadian business man. The Government admits, as they must admit, that under present conditions they are taking from the people of Canada enough to carry on the King's Government, enough to provide for all our public works, enough to provide for subsidies to railways and transportation companies, and fifty or sixty million dollars in addition. The proposition of the member for St, Antoine (Mr. Ames) is. not that we should take from the people sufficient to pay the expenses of Government, but that we should tax them all they can stand. His logic is: are the people

taxed more than they can stand? and, in the second place, does the tariff take too much out of our people? Let us see about that. I give the hon. member for St. Antoine credit for being honest in his opinion and for never attempting to deceive the House as to his Teal views. The same remark will apply to the hon. member for Brantford-and I wish all hon. gentlemen opposite were as honest as they in expressing their thoughts. But the logic of the argument of the hon. member for St. Antoine is: we will so adjust our tariff -that we will make the people pay every dollar they can pay and live, and to sustain that theory the hon. member for Brantford comes forward and says: you don't want to let the people have too many privileges, because the more they have the more discontented they become, and so we will take away from them by means of taxation everything except enough to exist on. The hon. gentleman' told ns that years ago people had hut one suit of homespun a year;

Mr. CARVELL.

that they did not go to the theatre; that they did not drive carriages and motor cars, and that they were much happier than they are to-day. His argument is: do not allow the people to have these comforts of life and they will be more contented. That is good Tory doctrine and it is in line with about everything this Government is doing. Then, these hon. gentlemen opposite say: if this tariff is bad it is your tariff and you are responsible for it. But let it be remembered that what was good in 1900 may not toe good in 1913. I think it was the hon. member for Brantford who said that the Liberals took the Tory tariff and did not make many changes in it, and the member for St. Antoine sought to prove that the tariff was practi-callv the same as it was in 1896, because he showed that the total percentage of taxation to-day was very little less than then, his claim being that the actual reduction of taxation is on an average three or four per cent on the taxable goods. But these gentlemen opposite are not quite consistent in their statements. Sometimes they will say this is the old national policy of 1878, and if you tell them it is not, they will say it is the Liberal tariff, and if it is bad you must take the blame for it, and then if they are 'further cornered they will say it is the Toxv tariff wnich the Liberals adopted. In the first place it is not the old tariff of 1878, and possibly when the Liberals came into power in 1896 thev did not go as far as they should to reduce me burden upon the people.

I am not apologizing for them or attempting to palliate their conduct in any way, but I do say that the Liberal government did something for which they have received-credit all around, .they introduced the British preference which the first year it was in operation reduced taxation on British goods imported into Canada by twenty-five per cent, and which a few years afterwards reduced that taxation by thirty-three and one-third per cent. That has remained in force to the present day except that in a few cases they took away from the people some of the rights they had obtained by the British preference of earlier years, but on the whole the people of Canada are relieved from one-third of the taxation on British imported goods. The British preference very materially developed the trade between Great Britain and Canada, which went forward with leaps and bounds and which still continues to make marked progress. True, our trade with Great Britain has not grown as rapidly as our trade with the United States, even in the face of a higher tariff, and for the present I will not stop to discuss that, but not only did the preference increase our trade with Great Britain, but it reduced the cost of living to the people of Canada. The preference reduced the cost of living to our people in

two ways: it reduced the cost of every article consumed by the people of Canada which came from Great Britain, and in the second place it reduced the cost of similar articles imported from the United States, or produced in Canada. For instance, if you reduce the cost of a yard of cotton manufactured in Great Britain, the American manufacturer when he sends it into this country has to reduce his cost to meet the decreased price of the British article, and so has the Cana-adian manufacturer of cotton to reduce his price to meet the competition. If a Canadian manufacturer produces .cotton, he must sell it at a price not greater than the cost in Great Britain plus the duty under the preferential tariff. Therefore, any man can figure out what the saving to the people of Canada has been during the last thirteen or fourteen years by reason of the British preference. You can take the importations from Great Britain, calculate their value to a dollar, and say that you have saved so many million dollars by reason of the British preference. I do not believe, however, that half as many goods would have been imported from Great Britain if it had not been for the preference. But you cannot figure out how much the people of Canada have saved on the rest of the importations, because millions of dollars worth have been imported from the rest of the world, which have been sold to the people of Canada more cheaply by reason of the British preference. Then you have the third class. Millions and millions of dollars worth of manufactured products have been sold to the people more cheaply by reason of the preference. When my bon. friends opposite say that the Liberal party did nothing to ameliorate the conditions of the people through the tariff, they are not treating us fairly; they are not treating themselves fairly, and they are not stating the facts as they are.

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CON

David Henderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HENDERSON:

The hon. gentleman seems to be very well informed on this question. Can he give us a statement of how much the duties were increased on goods coming from Great Britain before the British preference was applied?

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

No, I cannot. It seems to me that a year or two ago my hon. friend from Halton (Mr. Henderson) had a little altercation with the hon. member for Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) on that question. I think it had reference to rifles.

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May 22, 1913