Hon. FRANK COCHRANE (Minister of Railways and Canals):
In reference to the Ocean Limited, we have come to the conclusion to discontinue it through February and March. Last year we ran it for the first time in history throughout the winter and met with a considerable loss, a very great loss, by doing so. The traffic is much less this year than last, and therefore we have come to the conclusion that it is not in the interest of the road to run the train. Another thing is that we are short of rolling stock on the Intercolonial, and if we continue the Ocean Limited we would not have an opportunity to clean and paint the cars and put them in good condition for next year's traffic. In reference to the other lines, I may say that we propose taking off the Southern Express between Windsor Junction and Halifax-a distance of thirteen miles-leaving ten trains running; the Express between Halifax and Bedford-eight miles-leaving ten trains running, the train between St. John and Hampton-twenty-two miles-leaving eight remaining; one train between Point Deschenes and Painsec-twelve miles-leaving four trains; one train between Campbellton and St. Flavie, leaving two trains; one train between Fredericton and Marysville-three miles-leaving three trains each way per day; one train between Windsor Junction and Dartmouth-twelve miles-one train remaining each way per day.
minister would tell us whether there will be any change in the running of the Maritime Express. If it continues to run as now, leaving Montreal at 8.30 in the morning, it will be impossible for Ottawa passengers to catch that train without remaining in Montreal all night. I may say that, formerly, when the Ocean Limited was not running, the Maritime Express left Montreal at 12 noon, making it possible for Ottawa passengers to catch the Express by leaving here on the 8.30 morning train.
not my purpose to take up the time of the House with many general observations in reference to the gracious speech of His Royal Highness the Governor General at the opening of the session. There are, however, one or two remarks I would like to make before I come to the reason for my rising. In my judgment, the Speech from the Throne is remarkable, not for the legislation it foreshadows this session, but for the number of its omissions.
It has been charged again and again on the floor of this House that this Opposition and their political friends in the Upper Chamber are responsible for depriving the farmers of Canada of the aid proposed by this Government on two successive occasions for the improvement of the highways of this country. In my constituency, which is largely a farming one, the road question is one of the most important with which we have to deal. There are districts in that constituency where farmers are 35 and 40 miles away from a railroad station, and road-making in some parts of that constituency is a very difficult proposition. So far as I am concerned, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to assist the Government in voting almost any sum for the improvement of our highways, if the proposal were put in such a form that it would leave the power of spending the money in the hands where it properly belongs, namely, the provincial legislatures of the various provinces. I wish the Prime Minister were in his seat to-day, because I would like to ask him a direct question in reference to this Highways Bill. In his absence, I would like to ask his special pleader in the House, the newly appointed Solicitor General, whether any single amendment made by the Senate to the Highways Bill was in opposition to the expressed intention of the Prime Minister himself with regard to the expenditure 17}
under that Bill. I maintain that the Prime Minister expressed on the floor of this House his intention of using the money identically in the same way as the Senate proposed in their amendment. All the Senate did in their amendment was to incorporate therein the expressed intention of the leader of this Government. And yet I, a representative of a farming constituency, and many others in the same position, are to be charged with opposing the passage of this Bill. There is an hon. gentleman in the Government who holds the important portfolio of Minister of Railways. He wished to add to that portfolio the portfolio of Minister of Highways. I for one have no objection to his being Minister of Highways, but I had very serious objection to his becoming Minister of By-ways, and that, in my mind, was the ulterior object of the legislation proposed by the Government in respect to highways.
Remark has already been made of the absence of any reference in the Speech from the Throne to the question which occupied the attention of this House for the greater part of last session. The hon. member for Dundas (Mr. Broder), expressing, I suppose, the farmers' views-and I might also say the view of the Government, because we know that but for geographical reasons the hon. gentleman would have been a member of the Government-tells us that he thinks it would be very inopportune for Canada to undertake the building of ships in this country at this moment, because experts in the old land have not yet decided whether the wars of the future are to be fought by aerial or naval fleets. Is that a hint from the hon. member for Dundas that the position of the Government in regard to naval affairs is still the position in which they found themselves last year-that is to say, very much up in the air? They are so high up in the air that they cannot see any way of getting down again without great damage to themselves.
The hon. member for South York (Mr. Maclean) told us last night that in his view the people of Canada should take this question out of politics, and get together and grant a contribution in recognition of our duty to the mother country. Of course, we recognize our duty to the mother country, and, to ourselves, but the hon. gentleman knows that the contribution policy pressed by his Government last session was passed purely on the existence of an emergency, and to-day the right hon. the leader of the Government cannot get
any of his followers to believe, nor does he believe it himself, that an emergency exists. Now that the emergency has disappeared, surely the hon. member for South York does not want us to get together on a proposition based on an emergency. Let me tell the Government, whether they like to believe it or not, that they have already a permanent naval policy on the statute books of Canada. The anomalous position in which Canada finds herself to-day is, that notwithstanding that the present Government undertook to pass an emergency contribution last year, they had not the courage to repeal the Laurier Naval Service Act passed in 1909-1910. Therefore, whether they like it or not, this country is now committed by legislation to a permanent naval policy of a Canadian naval service, in harmony with the unanimous resolution of this House passed in 1909. That is the situation to-day, and are the Government going to continue that anomaly? In my judgment, if this Government are going to be true to themselves, and to the position they have taken on this question for the last two sessions, they must support the Bill introduced by the hon. member for Mont-magny (Mr. Lesperance), and they must this session wipe off our statute books the Laurier Naval Service Act which is the permanent naval policy of Canada at the present moment. I say further, this Government has got to deal with the question of the defence of the commerce and of the coasts of this country, whether they like it or not. Whatever may be the internal situation as to the complex constitution of the Conservative party in this House, they have to face the question sooner or later of the defence of our coasts and commerce. So much with regard to the navy.
I especially rose, Sir, to address the House on the particular paragraph in the speech which refers to the bountiful crops with which the Dominion was abundantly blessed during the past season; to these crops having been harvested under unusually favourable conditions; and to.the successful transportation of these crops to the markets. Judging from any reference made by any member of the Government to the occurrences of the past year with reference to the great fiscal and trade changes that have taken place on this continent, you would think they had all passed the intervening months since last session in some place absolutely devoid of newspapers, or of any other means of obtaining up-to-date information. Since last session of Parliament, that great protectionist country to
the south of us has experienced a change in the governmental control of its affairs, which change has brought about a revolution in the fiscal and commercial situation on this North American continent. The new Administration in the United States, by lowering the tariff and placing a number of natural products on the free list, has compelled our friends opposite, who voted so nobly against giving away the natural products of Canada to the United States in 1911, to look on at the export of hundreds [DOT]of thousands of live stock from this country to the markets of the United States. Unfortunately a number of the articles placed on the free list by the Congress of the United States are not placed there unreservedly, and while we have been glad in the West-as I have no doubt gentlemen in the East who represent rural constituencies are also glad-to see our farmers getting so much better prices for their hogs and their cattle since the inauguration of the Wilson-Underwood tariff in the beginning of October last, it has been our great regret that the wheat-growing farmers of the West have not received any benefit up to the present moment. I have no quarrel with the statement in the Speech from the Throne, that our harvest last year has been a bounteous one; I agree that the statement is absolutely correct. I believe that this year produced the finest crop of wheat ever grown in the Canadian West without any question of doubt, the finest in quality and the finest in yield; but I do regret that the string in the Wilson-Underwood tariff attached to the putting of wheat on the free list has prevented the farmers of western Canada this year from taking advantage of the market for wheat in the United States, as they have been able to take advantage of it for the sale of their cattle and other live animals. The Wilson-Underwood tariff has reduced the duty on wheat from 25 cents a bushel to 10 cents a bushel, but to all countries which permit United States wheat and wheat products to come in free, the United States allows the wheat and wheat products of these countries to their markets free of duty. I do not purpose, Mr. Speaker, to treat this question in any partisan way.
Topic: THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY.
My hon. friend cannot understand that attitude on my part, and I quite appreciate that it is because he is not capable of taking such a non-partisan position. I wish, as I have said, to discuss this question in a non-partisan way, be-
cause it is one affecting not merely the welfare of western Canada, but every province in this great Dominion of Canada. I would like to ask my hon. friend the member for Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt) if the prosperity of the people of western Canada is not just as vital to him and his friends as it is to the people of western Canada themselves. The prosperity of the people of the West undoubtedly means the prosperity of every province in this Dominion. If our farmers are not reaping a proper reward for their toil, then they have not the money to spend for the necessities of life and for those tools and implements by which they dig the wealth out of the soil.
Here is the situation so far as the wheat crop of this year is concerned. Up to the close of navigation over 92,000,000 bushels of wheat and over 25,000,000 bushels of oats were forwarded from the ports of Fort William and Port Arthur. That, of course, is not by any means the total wheat crop of the West. In this connection it may surprise the House to learn that while in former years under Liberal administration -I am not prepared to go the length of saying that the Liberal administration was responsible for this condition, but this condition actually existed then and this dissimilar condition exists at the present time -the port of Montreal received and handled the larger portion of our export wheat. Would you believe, Mr. Speaker, that in the year 1913, with this bumper wheat crop, nearly 100,000,000 bushels of which were forwarded from Port Arthur and Fort William before the close of navigation, the greater portion was forwarded to American and not to Canadian ports, and that American ships and American railways to-day are actually handling the bulk of the western trade? Where is the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce ' (Mr. Foster), that he has not observed this alarming state of affairs, and that our Canadian shippers, our ships and our railways are to-day handling only a small percentage of the Canadian wheat crop that is exported from this country? Of course, the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce cannot be omniscient and omnipresent. He tries to be omnipresent, but that of course prevents him from being omniscient. When he tries to be present everywhere, he cannot know everything. Travelling as he has been doing during the last twelve months in all parts of the habitable globe looking for markets, although he and his friends were returned to power in 1911 on the question of refusing the greatest market
in the world, the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce cannot be expected to be aware of all these facts. As I do not intend, however, to discuss this question in a partisan manner, I am going to leave my hon. friend the Minister of Trade arid Commerce at this point.
I have the figures, month by month, in regard to these shipments of wheat. I am giving you round figures. In the month of December, up to the close of navigation, there were shipped to Canadian ports just a little over 2,000,000 bushels, and to American ports over 6,000,000 bushels. In the month of November, the whole month there were shipped to Canadian ports 12,000,000 bushels and to American ports 22,000,000 bushels, and in the month of October, there were shipped to Canadian ports 15,000,000 bushels and to American ports 18,000,000 bushels. These are the figures for the handling of .the greatest wheat crop that western Canada has ever produced, and practically the same proportion holds good with regard to the handling of oats and other cereals grown in the west.
It surely ought not to be necessary for me to undertake to demonstrate that the great need of the wheat grower in the West is a market for his surplus grain. Here are the figures as to the crop of 1913. These figures show that Western Canada produced something over 209,000,000 bushels of wheat. If we take the population of Canada at 8,000,000 in round figures, 50,000,000 bushels or at the outside 60,000,000 bushels of wheat would provide for the home market. Of course, we do not use western wheat alone because some wheat is grown in the East. Great Britain can take from sixty to eighty-five or ninety million bushels of wheat. That is our export market for wheat. If we take the maximum figures, 60,000,000 bushels for Canada and 90,000,000 bushels for Great Britain, that makes 150,000,000 bushels. Will any member of the Government, the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce or any gentleman representing a western province be good enough to tell this House what the Canadian farmer is going to do with that wheat surplus, which is increasing every year?
Topic: THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY.
It may startle the House when I say that, while this year -we have had the best wheat crop in the West so far, it has not been by any means one of the most profitable ones.
What is the situation? As I said, the wheat ripened early; it was harvested early. We have had one of the finest fall seasons that has been seen in the West for many years, with the result that the farmers have been able to get their wheat forwarded rapidly to the market and the railroads have been able to handle it with much greater ease than in any previous fall for many years. The farmers have only one export market. Therefore, they were forced to throw their wheat upon the market before the close of navigation; that is what it means to have only one export market the reaching of which depends upon navigation. As the farmers were compelled to throw their wheat upon the market before the close of navigation, the price was materially affected. Therefore, in the province of Saskatchewan, the farmers received a lower price for their wheat, I think, than in any season for the last ten or twelve years. There was a somewhat unfavourable season in the year 1912, and in 1913 the prices were unfavourable. Therefore, I am not able to report to the House that improvement in the material condition of our western farmers that I had hoped to report when I saw this year the splendid harvest which we had through-,out the length and breadth of the three prairie provinces.
Is there any member of this House who will deny that it would be an advantage to the western wheat growers to have access to the mills and markets of the United States of America ? I know we heard that argument a couple of years ago; we heard it about cattle, about swine, about all sorts of agricultural products. But, the experience of the East and of the West in Canada has disabused the minds of thousands of the farmers of this notion, including many who in 1911 were of the opinion that it would be of no advantage to them to have the United States market for natural products. Some may say that the result will be that we would deplete our own farms of the live stock which we need. We would do nothing of the kind. We may do temporarily; but as a permanent proposition wc establish so much larger-and consequently so much steadier -a market for these natural products that the ultimate result must inevitably be to greatly stimulate mixed farming throughout the length and breadth of Canada. The hon. member for South York (Mr. W. F. Maclean) in his speech last evening was interrupted by the hon. member for East Lambton (Mr. J. E. Armstrong) with the suggestion that for some months last summer wheat was lower on the United
States side than on the Canadian side. That is a condition which, I believe, actually existed for a brief period, a very brief period indeed. But it was at a time when there was practically no surplus wheat in the granaries of either the American or Canadian farmers. But if my hon. friend from East Lambton will look up the prices for that period of the year when the farmers are compelled to put their wheat on the market, he will discover a totally different state of affairs. Under the tariff of 25 cents a bushel which existed until the first of last October, for years the price of same qualities of wheat on the Canadian side was from 8 cents to 10 cents a bushel less than the price on the American side. At the present time, with the reduction of duty from 25 eents a bushel to 10 cents a bushel, there is not so marked a difference in price, but I notice that 3 p.m. recent quotations show that there is a difference of from 41 cents to 5 cents a bush 1. Take a crop of 200,000,000 bushels of wheat, and, even cutting the advance of price in two and counting it at only 3 cents a bushel extra profit through access of our wheat to the United States market, "what is the net result to the farmers of our western country? At least the net result would enable them to pay their bills for agricultural machinery and other eastern manufactured products very much more promptly, and had the farmers made that profit, many of our eastern manufacturers would probably be in a much happier state than they are at the present moment. .
Now, there was objection, -when the reciprocity agreement was under consideration, that reciprocity was an arrangement entered into by the two countries and was not independent legislation on the part of each country. No one can find any objection on that ground with the proposal with which I intend to close my address this afternoon, the proposal that this Government shall take immediate action to enable the Canadian wheat growers to have free entry for their products to the markets of the United States. The American Government has taken action, and all that is necessary is for any other country in the world to take similar action in order that they may gain a free exchange in natural products. Now, Sir, not only have the United States put wheat on the free list but they have also put wheat products, including flour and all the by-products, upon the free list. I remember very well what
the millers said in 1911 in opposition to reciprocity; they said that reciprocity was not a square deal, because they would have to compete with the American miller in paying the price for the wheat, but were limited in their market on the by-products,
I am free to say that from their point of view there was some truth in that contention. I am proud to recognize assistance from any quarter in a great cause which I think affects the welfare of our country, and particularly that part of our country which I represent, and so I wras delighted to hear the hon. member for South York make the statement he made last evening with reference to the millers of Canada being able to take care of their own industry.
I could not possibly use more emphatic words, more wisely chosen words, than the hon. member for South York used in his reference to this point. Speaking of the railways being able to take care of themselves in case wheat was put on the free list lie went on to speak of the milling industry in words which, with his permission, I will quote:
The same Is the case with the millers. Do you mean to tell me that Canadian millers, with their mills almost at the seat of production of the wheat, cannot compete with the American millers ? I say they can; I say that they are ready for the business. Of course they would like to keep the monoply they have to-day in regard to wheat milling in this country, and they have got a great monoply. They are well linked up together and are in a position, by reason of their monoply and the association of the railways, to keep down the price. Thus in two ways the Canadian farmer will benefit.
That is, by putting wheat on the free list.
They will benefit by the competition of American railways and they will benefit by the fact that the millers will have to come up to the scratch and give them more for their Canadian wheat if they want to grind it in their mills.
To use an ordinary expression, that is the case in a nut-shell, as presented by the hon. member for South York. Granted that under reciprocity the miller of Canada would have to compete in the purchase of wheat with the United States miller, and have a limited home market for the by-products of his mill, if. we accept the olive branch held out in the form of the Wilson-Underwood tariff, and take the duty off wheat and wheat products, what shall we find? We shall find that there will result a great advantage to the millers of Canada in that they will be given free entry into a market of ninety millions of people, not only for the flour which they manufacture, but for the by-products of the wheat
which they have to sell. If any one entertains any doubt as to whether the Canadian miller can compete with the miller of the United States, I think I can very speedily disabuse his mind of that idea by referring to a short article^ which appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on Monday of this week. I do not think any hon. gentleman in this House would have the temerity to say that so far as the quality of Canadian wheat is concerned, it cannot compete with any wheat in the world if the millers are given the benefit of free entry for their products into United States markets. This is the article:
Canadian flour drives American flour out of the Orient. Hon. G. E. Foster's Trade Arrangement produces great results for the millers of this country and alarms United States Representatives.
The weekly trade report contains an item that is of exceeding significance in connection with Canadian trade with the Orient.
The American Consul-General at Hong Kong, reporting to his home government, states that Canadian flour is practically driving the American product out of the market, and that unless there is some change the American producers will lose this trade. He attributes the popularity of the Canadian flour in China to its high percentage of gluten, and says that no mere drought can explain the American falling-off, which was more marked in November than in any previous month.
It will be necessary, he declares, for the American wheat growers to get new seed and produce a different kind of wheat before they can compete with the Canadian product.
That is, in the market of China. The article then goes on to say:
It will be remembered that Hon. G. E.' Foster, after his trip to China last year, predicted that this country would yet take leading place in the flour market of China, and his predictions are being made good.
This is delightful information to receive from such an authority as the United States Consul-General at Hong Kong, and we are delighted with the compliment paid to the Minister of Trade and Commerce, and to know that his trip to China was not, after all, in vain. But the point of the article is that Canadian .flour is actually driving United States flour out of the neutral markets of the world. We know that our Canadian flour is holding its own not only in China but in the other neutral markets of the world, the British market included. In what position would the taking advantage of the Underwood tariff in reference to wheat and wheat products leave the millers of this country? It would open up to them a market of ninety millions of people, from which they have been up to the present rigidly excluded by a high tariff wall. Not
only the grain growers, but the millers of Canada as well, should be sending deputations to this Government to ask for the right to sell their wheat where they are today selling their cattle to such advantage. We quite agree with the hon. member for South York that the putting of wheat products on the free list would have some effect on our Canadian railways, but the evidence which I have produced so far goes to show that the high railway rates charged in this country are already driving the export trade of Western Canada to United States routes, and if the Canadian roads are determined to keep their freight rates at the high-water mark it is for the stockholders of these railroads to deal with the matter; the Canadian farmer should not be obliged to suffer because the railways refuse to bring their rates down to a proper level.
Some reference has been made in this House to the remarkable labour conditions that exist throughout the length and breadth of this country. When I happened to notice in a recent issue of the Labour Gazette a statement showing that in the city of Vancouver the building permits for the month of November amounted to only $300,000, as compared with about $1,500,000 for the same month of the preceding year, I was quite prepared for the information given by the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Verville) that there were 10,000 unemployed in greater Vancouver. But, on the authority of a recognized leader of the farmers' movement in the province of Alberta, Mr. George Lane, I can tell the House that the exodus that has taken place from the province of British Columbia in the last four months is actually taking place off the farms in the province of Alberta. More than that, I have information in a less pronounced form that the same condition of affairs is being brought about in every one of the prairie provinces. Sir, what does this Government mean? Do they want the farmers to export their wheat or do they want them to export themselves? That is the issue on this question at the present time, that unless the farmers of western Canada are given free access for their greatest product, which is wheat, into the markets of the United States, we are going to see, not an increased tide of immigration into our country, but an exodus out of the country, which, Sir, has actually begun. That is surely not the object or the desire of the members of this House of either political party. We want to see our country grow, we want to see the population increase; we want to
see the people increase in prosperity. But if we are going to say to the western wheat grower who to-day is face to face with a surplus of 50,000,000 bushels of wheat that he does not know what to do with: we, the Government of Canada, will prevent you from getting free access to the markets of the United States, there is only one thing for the western Canadian farmer and that is to pick up his kit and belongings and get out of the country to some place where conditions are more favourable.
Topic: THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY.
Does my hon. friend understand the meaning of the term? If he wants a d .ftniition so that he will understand it I shall give it. All he requires is a definition of the term and then he will know that I have been discussing the countervailing duty during the last half hour. I may say, if my hon. friend does not understand the proposition, it is this, that the United States Government has put wheat and wheat products on the free list for all countries that similarly put the United States wheat on the free list.
Topic: THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH.
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY.