March 11, 1914

?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MAKCH IX, 1914
Permalink
LIB

David Bradley Neely

Liberal

Mr. NEELY:

I can tell my hon. friends here that when it comes to a question of veracity, I will stand my ground with the Solicitor-General. What I did say with regard to the Solicitor-General, and his friends of his own persuasion, was, that they held out the hope to the farmers that if the Conservative party came into office at the last election there would be a substantial reduction, if not a total abolition, of the duty on agricultural implements. I maintain that there were Conservative candidates in the West; my hon. friend from Qu-'Appelle (Mr. Thomson) inis pointed to one candidate at least, who took the position that he would support the total abolition of the duty on agricultural implements. But whether the promise was for a substantial reduction or the total abolition of the duty on agricultural implements, these gentlemen opposite, without any doubt, hold their seats in this House owing to that promise. And to-day we find them in the position that they have not a word to say on the question, and the reason is, the Prime Minister told us, because we were bringing in this amendment as a motion of want of confidence in the Government. In the name of common sense, when can a member of this House place himself on record, so far as this question is concerned? If we were to introduce this very same amendment when the Budget is brought down, and when the tariff has been settled for the coming year, we would still be guilty of introducing a motion of want of confidence in the Govern-

ment. Let me point out that when the hon. member for Rainy River (Mr. Carrick) yesterday discussed the proposition of putting a bounty on steel and iron, we did not have the same sort of answer from the Government benches that we have had from the Prime Minister to-day. The Minister of Finance was then not afraid to anticipate the Budget Speech by encouraging the member for Rainy River, in the hope that something might be done by the Government in the way of putting bounties on iron and steel. But when it comes to this demand from the farmers of Canada, that there shall be abolition of the duty on agricultural implements, the Prime Minister says to the introducer of the amendment: Sir, you are out of order, the proper place to discuss this matter is when the Budget is brought down. I preface my support of this amendment on the fact that every member of this House must recognize that farming conditions in this country at the present time are not as they ought to be. I am not going to speak so much for the farmers in Eastern Canada, with whom I am not so much in touch, as I am with the farmers of western Canada, but I say, on behalf of the farmers in western Canada, that in my judgment the motion made by the hon. member for Moosejaw (Mr. Knowles) is an opportune motion, and that the Government at this time should very justly and very fairly give us some encouragement as to what we may expect in the way of relief. My hon. friend from Moosejaw is not anxious, I am sure, to press the amendment if the Government is prepared to say, either through its Prime Minister or its Finance Minister: We have this matter under consideration, and we propose to give the farmers substantial relief. We have had no such indication, not the slightest word of encouragement, not one syllable of cheer or hope in the reply of the Prime Minister to the hon. member who moved this amendment. I say, if the Government want to put aside this motion of want of confidence, they can do it by a word, and that word is that they propose to give to the farmers what they know the farmers want and that the condition of the farmers requires-relief from the great burdens of taxation under which the farmers at least of the West are labouring.

That the conditions of the farming industry in the West are far from what they ought to be can be demonstrated in many different ways. I do not ask the

House to take my unsupported word as to that condition, but wish to give evidence that I consider as authoritative as any that can be adduced in support of the arguments I propose to make. As you are aware, Sir, something over a year ago the Government of the province of Saskatchewan appointed a commission to investigate all the conditions surrounding the industry of agriculture in that great province. It is but a couple of months since that commission compiled and presented their report. And what condition of affairs is revealed so far as the farming industry in the Prairie provinces is concerned? Why, Sir, we find an alarming condition; we find that in the year 1913, in the province of Saskatchewan while the average price received by the farmer for his wheat was 66ie per bushel, the cost of producing that wheat and getting it to market was 62c a bushel, leaving the farmer the splendid profit of 4Jc a bushel for the magnificent crop of wheat that was raised in our province last year. And the Commission give a much more favourable statement of the case than is contained in the annual report of the Bank of Commerce, an institution which, as hon. gentlemen know, has a great many branches throughout western Canada. The Bank of Commerce gives the average price received by the farmers of western Canada as 62 cents a bushel. That statement was .given in his annual report by the superintendent of western branches. Comparing the figures of 1909 and 1913, we find that while the prices for farmers' products has been rapidly decreasing, the cost of production has been rapidly increasing, so that to-day the profits of the farmer have almost if not quite reached the vanishing point. In 1909, the average price realized by the farmers of Saskatchewan for their wheat was 814 cents a bushel, against 66J cents a bushel as given by the report of the Saskatchewan Commission for 1913. On the other hand, according to that report, the cost of production has increased 12.01 cents per bushel. That, of course, is due to higher freight charges, higher terminal charges, increased cost of handling, increased cost of labour and other factors that enter into the situation. So, with decreasing prices and increasing coist of production, the farmer, even with the best crop he has had in his history, finds himself unable to do more than meet the obligations of the year without taking up a dollar of the obligations of the less successful years that have gone by.

I am free to admit that in one respect the farmers of the West have had some relief this year; but that relief has not been due to any action by this Government, but rather to the act of the Government of the United States. Live animals and certain other products of our farms have been put on the free list under the new United States tariff. And would you believe it, Mr. Speaker, such authorities as the president of the Bank of Montreal, the general manager of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, and the president of the Royal Bank of Canada, some of whom, as we remember, associated with the Minister of Finance, formed part of the ' noble eighteen ' in Toronto who took such a decided stand against the trade agreement proposed by the late Administration, and bewailed the possibility of Canadian natural products crossing the border and finding a market in the United States, to-day in their annual reports to their shareholders are actually congratulating themselves and the people of Canada on the great benefits accruing from the abolition of duties by the United States. The Minister of Finance knows what I say is true, ftfr I can give the pages in the annual reports where these admissions are made. I say I admit that it is through the act of a Government outside of this country that the farmers have received this measure of encouragement during the past six months. Nevertheless, even with that assistance, grain growing, at least under present conditions, is not a profitable business in western Canada.

No man in the country is more proud of his occupation or of his position in the community than the grain grower of western Canada. Hon. gentlemen who represent western constituencies know that full well. Yet we find that the western farmer is to-day confronted with the fact that the heads of banks doing business in eastern as well as in western Canada charge him with being more dilatory in paying his bills than the farmers of other parts of Canada. What is the reason for this ? Simply because the western farmers are so far from their ultimate market, and have to pay such excessive charges for the implements they use in developing the wealth of the soil. Unless year after year they harvest and market their crops under favourable conditions, they are bound inevitably to face the situation that is facing them today, a position almost of bankruptcy. What is my authority for these statements? I find it in the annual reports of the various banks doing business in western

Canada. The Union Bank of Canada and the Canadian Bank of Commerce have a very large number of branches in western Canada. In the annual report of the Union Bank of Canada I find this statement in reference to business in western Canada last year:

Collections are reported by manufacturers and wholesalers to be very good from the eastern province but not so satisfactory from the western provinces.

I find in the report of the Canadian Bank of Commerce this statement:

The implement companies admit that in the period of high grain prices they dispensed credit to the farmers too liberally, with the result that they have been carrying an unduly large amount of past-due farmers' paper.

That refers, of course, to the farmers of the West, because a large part of the trade done by the implement manufacturers of this country is done west of the Great lakes. The report goes on:

Consequently, at the commencement of 1913 they adopted an extremely conservative selling policy. Their conservatism was supported by the indisposition of the farmers to buy more than absolutely necessary, and in the case of heavy and expensive' machinery, such as threshers and tractors, there has been a reduction in sales of at least 65 per cent while sales of all other implements were reduced by about 33 per cent.

That is, the manufacturers of agricultural implements report that in the year 1913, in which we had our banner crop, the sales of the heavier class of implements were reduced 65 per cent and the sales of ordinary farm machinery were reduced 334 per cent. The authority I have quoted makes the statement that this was due to a conservative selling policy on the part of the implement manufacturers. I deny that. Any one who knows the West knows that in 1913 the salesmen of the implement manufacturers were as industrious in selling their products as in any preceding year, but they failed to make the average number of sales 'because the farmers of the West, notwithstanding the prospects of a splendid crop, found themselves unable to purchase machinery as liberally as they had done in years gone by. The situation revealed to us by these authorities is that the profits of the farmers of the West, so far as grain growing is concerned, due to falling prices and increased cost of production, have almost reached the vanishing point, and the implement manufacturers find their sales enormously curtailed because of the lack of purchasing power on the part of the farmers. As we know, and

as the commission appointed by the Saskatchewan Government to investigate these matters pointed out, one of the elements that enters into the cost of production of grain in western Canada is the excessive price the farmer has to pay for his agricultural implements. The hon. Solicitor General (Mr. Meighen) questioned, I believe, the assertion of the member for Moosejaw as to the comparative prices of farm implements on the Canadian and on the American sides of the western part of the continent. I think the member for Moosejaw said that there was a disparity of something like 20 per cent, and the hon. Solicitor General objected in some way. The hon. member for Moosejaw went on to say that these figures had never been disputed before, and that he was quoting from a speech made in the House by the member for Regina (Mr. Martin). I think the hon. Solicitor General made some motion of the head or some remark which caused the member for Moosejaw to make that further assertion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MAKCH IX, 1914
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It was not from me; it was from some one behind me, I think.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MAKCH IX, 1914
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LIB

David Bradley Neely

Liberal

Mr. NEELY:

I take the hon. gentleman's word, but I was looking at him, and I thought he was the guilty person. There were some who doubted that the abolition of duties on farm implements would result in a reduction of prices, and I have taken the trouble to find out what -were the comparative prices as between certain implements in the city of Minneapolis and the same implements in the city of Winnipeg during the season of 1913. My authority for these figures, Mr. G. F. Chipman, editor of the Grain Growers' Guide. The hon. member for -Dufferin (Mr. Best) smiles; so far as political sympathies are concerned, Mr. Chip-man is supposed to lean to the party of my hon. friend. Of course, anything he might quote which proves any contention of hon. gentlemen on this side of the House certainly would not seem right to the hon. member for Dufferin. These figures were published, I think, in one or more issues of the Grain Growers' Guide of last year: Implement. Winnipeg. Minneapolis.

8-foot binder . . . . $162 00 $140 007-foot binder .. . . 157 00 125 006-foot mower . . . . 60 50 46 005-foot mower . . .. 58 50 43 0010-foot hay rake .. 33 50 24 0012-foot hay rake .. 38 00 28 0070 bushels manure spreader 155 00 120 0012-inch gang plough. 76 00 60 00

march 11, 1914

14-inch still beam

walking plough . . 17 00 12 00Hay tedder

49 50 36 00

The other prices correspond. The information I have here includes a great number of implements. Mr. Chipman told me in a subsequent message that while the Minneapolis prices in 1914 are identical with those of 1913, the Winnipeg prices of practically all of these lines of implements advanced for 1914. But I have taken the figures for 1913, and taking a sample of each of these implements and the prices quoted, and taking the total prices of the same implements in Winnipeg and Minneapolis, I find that the Winnipeg prices for 1913 were 27-9 per cent over the prices paid by the farmers in the vicinity of Minneapolis, and Mr. Chipman assures me that while the prices across the line have remained stationary for 1914 they advanced all along the line in the Canadian West Surely the abolition of duties will put us in a more favourable position as compared with that of the American farmer, who has this double advantage over his neighbour on the Canadian side, that lie not only has a better market and gets a better price for his product, but he is able to produce that product at a much less cost because of the lower prices he pays for the tools of production He not only gets a better price for his product but he is able to produce it at less cost than his competitor on the Canadian side. Is that a condition of affairs that appeals to hon. gentlemen in this House, I do not care where they sit or what constituencies they represent, whether urban or rural, whether in the East or in the West? Do hon. gentlemen like to see the Canadian farmer in that humiliating position? As he looks across the international boundary line he sees his neighbour to the south getting a better price for his wheat and other natural products of his farm while the, Canadian farmer has to pay 27-9 per cent more for his agricultural implements. That condition of affairs is intolerable, absolutely intolerable. Hon. gentlemen say: Why did not the late Administration remedy that condition of affiairs when in office? There

10 p.m. is an answer to that question.

Hon. gentlemen opposite may not accept it as an answer, but it is one that appeals to me, and it is that the Liberal Government did propose, previous to the last election, to give relief to the farmers of this country. They were opposed by hon. gentlemen opposite. It is true that the tariff schedule of the reciprocity agree-lOOi

ment did not contain a very substantial or pronounced reduction of duties, but at least it was a reduction that did give to our western farmers a free outlet for the products of their farms. But, Sir, we know perfectly well that in this country there is a great deal of national pride and patriotic sentiment, and when public men in this country said: Take down the tariff wall;

give consumers of this country cheaper manufactured articles, it did always appeal to the people of this country to say to them: Oh, how can you do it when your nearest neighbour is a large country with ninety millions or one hundred millions of people who are surrounded by a tariff wall so high that the Canadian manufacturer cannot scale it. I say, Sir, that there was force in the argument that you must not allow the Canadian manufacturer to be competed with in his home market by the American manufacturer. As long as the American manufacturer was protected in his market by a tariff wall much higher than ours, that was an argument that appealed to the patriotic sentiment of the people of this country. But I ask if that is the condition cf affairs by which this Government finds itself confronted today. Unlike any preceding Administration in this country it does not encounter such a condition. It is not, because we know that on October 3 of last year there came into effect across the line a tariff schedule which put agricultural implements absolutely on the free list, so that to-day you cannot raise that argument so far as the manufacturers of agricultural implements are concerned, that the Canadian manufacturer is in a disadvantageous position because of the high tariff wall around that big market to the south. The American farmers will benefit from free competition, they will have the benefit of the abolition of the duties on implements entering the United States. But I cannot see that it will be a very great advantage to the American farmer, because to-day he enjoys a much lower price for agricultural implements than is being paid by the Canadian farmer. If the duties are abolished on agricultural implements coming into Canada, I can see where the Canadian farmer is going to derive a great deal of benefit, because, in this respect at least, he will be on an even footing with his American cousin. The revision of the American tariff then has abolished the argument in favour of protection of the agricultural implement industry in this country because of the high tariff wall around the market of the United States.

And, Sir, what do we find? We find that to-day the implement manufacturers in this country are in this advantageous position, that they are not only protected in their own market, but again by the action of a Government outside of this, the manufacturers of this country, have the benefit of that market to the south of us, the privilege of entering into that market and competing with manufacturers of agricultural implements across the line. I say it with pleasure, it gives me great pleasure to he able to shake the hand of the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt). I congratulate him that in his future shipments of ploughs across the line he is not going to have to pay that 15 per cent duty which he formerly did. We know that the hon. gentleman and his company have been for some years back shipping ploughs across the line that we in the West think are good ploughs, and they have been paying the duty and they have still been able to sell their ploughs cheaper in the United States than in the Canadian West. I can congratulate my friend that that duty has been abolished, it must mean a considerable benefit to him. I do not know the valuation of those particular ploughs, but as a result of the abolition of that duty I presume my hon. friend's company can now put into their pockets 15 per cent of the valuation. Are the manufacturers of agricultural implements in this country to be given the boon of this wider market to the south of us and have our Canadian farmers still to bear the burden that the tariff imposes and always has imposed on them? I ask: is that a square deal? The Prime Minister stated an absolute fact when he said that the people of the West are not icOinodlasts. They do not want to destroy any legitimate industry in this country, but I would like to see the Prime Minister or anybody else undertake to convince an audience of western farmers-and I trust their eastern brothers are just as intelligent-that the agricultural implement industry of this country still requires the protection it has enjoyed for so many years. We do not want to hurt the manufacturers in any legitimate industry in this country, but I can tell the Prime Minister that if the purchasing power of our farmers is not very measurably increased beyond what it is at the present time, a great many of the legitimate industries of this country are bound to suffer. If this Government will give this House their pledge to abolish these duties, I believe there will be such a substantial increase in the purchasing r&lr. Neely.]

power of the farmers not only of western Canada but of eastern Canada as well, that every manufacturing industry in this country, outside of the agricultural implement industry, will feel the benefit of that abolition. We have heard rumours that something may be done by the Government this session. I do not know how much truth there is in that.' From the personnel of the Government I think one might fairly presume that something will be done this session to alleviate the burden of taxation on the farmer.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MAKCH IX, 1914
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LIB
LIB

David Bradley Neely

Liberal

Mr. NEELY:

My hon. friend does not seem to have the faith that I have. My faith is based on the fact that this present Government contains in its personnel three hon. gentlemen representing the province of Manitoba-the Minister of Public Works, the Minister of the Interior, two very important portfolios, and not the least influential, although he does not hold the most influential position in the Government, my hon. friend the Solicitor General, who has recently been added to the ranks. If something is not done this session what will the House and the country believe ? They will believe that these gentlemen have not the dominant position in the Government that they are presumed to have, and the prestige of these gentlemen will suffer a very severe blow in their own part of the country. Who inspired, I would like to know from my hon. friends from the West, the resolution passed unanimously by the Manitoba legislature in favour of free wheat ? Who inspired the recent resolution in favour of a substantial reduction-I believe to 10%-in the duty on agricultural implements ? The sentiment in favour, not merely of the reduction but of the abolition of the duties on agricultural implements, is so strong that even the Tory legislature of the province of Manitoba has been compelled to take cognizance of it, resulting in the resolution to which I have just alluded. It is a well known fact that a provincial election is pending in Manitoba and Sir Rodmond Roblin needs help very badly from this Government at the present session, and he is looking to my hon. friend the Solicitor General and to the Minister of Public Works and to the Minister of the Interior to carry into effect the resolutions passed by the province of Manitoba. So you see, Mr. Speaker, this is a question of common consent; it is not a party question. I am astonished at the absolute silence on the

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MAKCH IX, 1914
Permalink

XI, 1914


part of these hon. gentlemen, now that the amendment is before the House. Just a word as to the promises of the Government with reference to this matter. I do not want to be guilty of the charge of unfair dealing, and I want to tell my hon. friend the Solicitor General-I do not know whether he will take it as a compliment or not-that I have gone very carefully over the speech he made in this House in 1911. While his argument on that occasion was strong and logical, it did not fairly represent the facts, in that he charged the late Administration with actually increasing the tariff on agricultural implements by raising the valuation. While the valuation was undoubtedly raised from time to time, my hon. friend in his speech took no account of the fact that the cost of labour had increased and that the agricultural implement of to-day is of a much better class than that produced many years ago. I am told that my hon. friend has said on several occasions -I would not say whether it was in a byelection in Macdonald, as my information is not explicit enough, and I am speaking subject to correction by the Solicitor General- but I am told that the Solicitor General has said on certain occasions that the reason that the Government, up to date, have not made a substantial reduction in the duty on agricultural' implements is because the Senate has killed the Tariff Commission Bill. The hon. gentleman smiles; he does not say ' yes ' or ' no.' I do not know what that means. I do not know whether it means that he ever made that statement or did not, but whether he did or did not, it sounds very much like what the hon. gentleman and his friends on the other s'de would say and I would not be very far astray, I presume, in assuming that argument has been made by the hon. gentleman and by his friends on that side of the House. As my hon. friend does not say ' yes ' or ' no ' to this proposition, I assume from his silence that he has made that statement or that he has taken that position probably before his electors and others. Whether he has or not, Sir, it is undeniable that hon. gentlemen opposite have taken the position that the Senate killed the Tariff Commission Bill and that, therefore, this Government were not in a position to know whether or not the agricultural implement industry could stand a reduction in the duties. What are the actual facts of the case? I have in my hand the journals of the Senate for the years 1911 and 1912 when the Tariff Commission Bill was presented to the Senate, amended and returned to this House. What is the nature of the amendment? The Senate did not kill the Bill and never attempted to kill the Bill. They amended that Bill and this House and this Government refused to accept the amendment which the Senate had made. The Senate demanded that in any case where the Government proposed to increase duties there must be the fullest publicity as to the capital stock of the company, or companies, interested in the industry and there must be absolute publicity as to the cost of production and all the circumstances surrounding this particular industry. That was in the case of an increase in any particular tariff item. That was the nature of the Senate amendment. The Senate amendment premised that before any such tariff increase should be made the tariff commission should make public, at least to this Parliament, all the facts relating to the industry in question. I trust that if hon. gentlemen have made that statement they will do themselves, this House and the country, the credit of investigating this fact and satisfying their own minds from the journals of this House and the Senate that what I state is the case and hereafter make amends by not repeating statements of that kind. My position in favour of the proposition of my hon. friend from Moosejaw simply amounts to this, that the farmer is not in a prosperous condition to-day, that one of the items in the cost of production is the high price paid for agricultural implements, that the agricultural implement industry, as has been demonstrated by those who have preceded me in this debate, is at the present time well able to take care of itself and that it will be to the interests not only of the farmers but of every manufacturing industry in Canada, outside of those who are engaged in the manufacture of agricultural implements, to agree to and support this proposition having for its object the abolition of the duties on agricultural implements. I want to say one word in closing. It is a strange thing that when we come into the realm of the learned professions, as we call them, such as medicine and law, we find that people are willing to leave the practice of medicine to the doctors and the practice of law to the lawyers. But when it comes to the industry of farming, there is no class of our people who enjoy so much free and unsolicited advice as to how to make their business profitable as the farmers. The farmers do not want honeyed words and diplomatic phrases, they do not



want unsolicited advice; what they want is relief from the burdens of taxation by which they are oppressed. They do not ask, like my hon. friend from Thunder Bay and Rainy River (Mr. Carrick) for a bounty on the biggest industry of the country. They do not ask any undue advantage in the race side by side with the other industries of the country. All they ask is a square deal, a fair deal, and I maintain that whatever this Government may do or may not do on this question, in so far as the farmers of western Canada are concerned, absolutely nothing will satisfy them but the taking away of the duties so that in respect to the purchase of implements they will be placed in the same advantageous position as are their cousins to the south of the international boundary. __ Mr. THOMAS MACNUTT (Saltcoats): Mr. Speaker, as a western man and a farmer, I feel that I would not be doing my duty if I allowed the debate upon this important question of free agricultural implements to pass without making a few remarks. It will not be necessary for me to take up a great deal of time because the question has already been very thoroughly dealt with. I might be allowed to say, however, that the Canadian implement manufacturer is very well able to take care of himself. He has passed the long-dress, bottle stage long ago. He is selling on equal terms with his rivals from the United States in all the agricultural countries of the world. He has been able to compete in Great Britain, the continental countries, including Russia, and even in the United States itself, although heretofore his exports to the United States have been subject to a duty of about 15 per cent. The Canadian manufacturer is the only one in Canada who benefits by the Wilson-Underwood tariff which reduces or abolishes duties on manufactured products entering that market. The American farmers will benefit because the intention of the United States Congress in abolishing the duty was to bring in competition from this side and cheapen agricultural implements to the American farmer. But the Canadian farmer does not benefit in any way and the Canadian manufacturer is able to increase his profits which are very large already. A great deal of consideration is always given to the capitalist, and to the manufacturer. How much is given to the farmer, the man who is really producing the wealth of the country? It is thought by many people in the East that the farmers of the West are making a good deal of money, and it is said that the East has sent out its money and its best blood to assist the upbuilding of the West. The people that they sent out to the West are now the people who are asking for the reduction of duty on agricultural implements. What effect would the abolition of the duty have upon the cost of agricultural implements? If the future destiny of Canada depends almost entirely upon the agricultural development of that western country, as is now generally admitted, it is surely in the interest of the East to encourage anything that will promote and develop the agricultural interests of the West. The cheapening of the price of implements will, of course, have a very beneficial effect on the farmers of the West. You cannot till the ground, of which we have millions of acres still untouched, without proper implements, and what agricultural implements cost means a good deal to the farmer. Of course, if there was no means of getting them cheaper they would have to put up with it, but there is a means of getting them cheaper, and it is an injustice to every one but the manufacturers of implements that the duty is retained at its present rate. In order to show what effect a reduction of duty will have on the price of implements, I may mention that during the campaign of 1911 tylr. Hutcheson, manager of the John D-eering Plow Company, an American concern, stated publicly at Winnipeg that if a reduction of only two and a half per cent or five per cent were made, his company would at once reduce the prices as follows: On every harvester, $5; mower, $3; rake, $1.50; seeder, $5; wagon, $5, and all other implements in a similar ratio. If this considerable reduction were made as the result of reducing the duty two and a -half per cent or five per cent, what would it mean if the reduction in the duty was 17J per cent, 20 per cent, or 25 per cent? I claim that the Canadian manufacturers take advantage of this duty to the utmost extent, as may be seen from this instance: A McCormick 6 ft. cut hinder (American) is -sold at Minneapolis for $112 wholesale, at Winnipeg $122.50, that is $10.50 freight being added. The Frost and Wood (Canadian) costs $122 wholesale at Winnipeg, the freight being at 64 cents per cwt., that is $10.88, as against $10.50 on the McCormick. These implements are of the same description, and retailed at the same price, and should cost the same to manufacture. The duty is about $20, which the Canadian manufacturer charges, and extra profit is about $18, as it takes about $2 to cover the duty on Ms raw material. There is no doubt that if the duty were abolished the prices of farming implements would be considerably lessened. I claim that the small farmers are the real developers of the West; they are there with their families to make homes for themselves, and they are not there as speculators. I believe that ten one-half section farmers are of more value to the country than one large farmer handling 2,000 acres. As a rule the very large farmers do not seem to be so very much interested in the cost of implements. We have many large farmers who are very beneficial to the country, but often they are there sirhply as speculators. They buy a lot of land and put motor ploughs and machinery on it and cultivate it, but they expect to make their money out of the increase in the value of land and not out of the crops they raise, and if they have a bad year they have money behind them and are not so badly off. I am speaking now of the ordinary small farmer, who is the man we should encourage. I have a tabulated statement here, which I think is about right, showing the implements that an ordinary farmer should have to cultivate his land, and this statement gives the average retail cost, the duty as it is, the customs valuation, and the duty collected: o vi d U S .2 s ri 3 -S rf w 3 3 O n 3; M o K 0 > o p.e. A breaking plough.$28 00 20 $16 $ 3 20Gang plough. . . . 80 00 20 51 10 20Harrow 28 00 20 17 3 40Land packer. . . . 90 00 2a 40 10 00Seeder 125 00 20 56 11 20Disk harrow. . . . 35 00 25 24 6 0050 00 20 20 4 00Binder (8 feet).. 1 75 17| 110 19 20Fanning mill.. . . 40 00 25 25 6 27Hay rake (10 ft.) 35 00 20 17 3 40Mower (6 ft.) . . 65 00 17J 41 7 1785 00 25 40 10 00Buggy 110 00 35 60 21 00Sleigh 35 00 35 17 4 25Cutter Sundries, including 50 00 25 30 10 50repairs 175 00 25 100 25 00$1,206 $664 $154 84 There are other important implements, such as a manure-spreader, which I have not included in this table. It will thus be seen that these implements above referred to would cost $154.84 less if the duty were abolished, and that is a very considerable sum to a small farmer. With regard to the difference in valuation, I think the facts show that the valuation under the late Government and under the present Government does not vary very much, but that it is a departmental matter. I gleaned information from the Trade and Navigation returns for the fiscal year 1896, which shows that 1,201 harvesters were brought into Canada from the United States at twenty per cent duty, the valuation being $131,080, or an average valuation of about $109 each; and in 1910 there were imported 1,481 harvesters from the United States, at a duty of 17J per cent, the total valuation being $165,759, or an average of $112 each, or $3 more than in 1896. Every practical farmer knows that the value of a binder is very much more to-day than it was in 1896, because the binders at the present time are supplied with trucks, and are much wider, and they are a better finished article all around. The figures will show that the late Government in reducing the duty actually reduced tne amount collected. Now, the cost of implements is not entirely due to the tariff, although, as pointed out that makes a great difference. A part is due to the business methods followed. The manufacturers axe so eager for the business-there is so much money in it-that they send out canvassers from the head office. I do not see why that should be done. The grocers or other dealers do not send out canvassers into the country to compete against one another; in this way they advertise and the people come iin and do business making their selection from the different stores. Bu-t the implement men have inspectors and canvassers at high salaries and expenses, and this adds to the cost of the goods. The canvasser is followed by the collector, and there is quite a difference in manner and method between these two. The canvasser is a very plausible gentleman, the collector is anything but that. As soon as the order is signed the farmer is a slave. I do not know that this has much to do with the question before the House, but I thought that I might be allowed to touch upon it. I think the 'Saskatchewan Government had this matter up and were thinking of preventing the head offices from sending out canvassers by making it illegal.


LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

Has the hon. gentleman one of the contracts that he could read to the House?

Mr. MACNUTT. I have none here.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   XI, 1914
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LIB
LIB

Thomas MacNutt

Liberal

Mr. MAONUTT:

The canvasser will often camp right with the farmer for days until he gets the order. The farmer may say that he has an old machine that the blacksmith can fix up to do his work, but this does not suit the canvasser. Of course, he represents that it nays in the long run to have the new machine. But while it pays in the long run, it has to be paid for in the short run. The farmer signs the order and the collector comes along in the fall. This kind of thing accounts for a good deal of the mortgaging of farms in the West. Of course, a considerable amount of the money is put into improvements and stock. But the homesteader, as you know, frequently has no capital and must buy on credit. He has only his own energy, persistence and determination to get on, and he generally does get on by some hook or crook. But, by the time he has his deed, he has also an accumulation of debts, much of it for implements and those implements dearer than they should have been. So, he mortgages his place to meet these liabilities, and it takes him some time to get rid of that mortgage. If the implement prices were lowered there would be just that much less for mortgaging. The Saskatchewan Commission of Inquiry looked into this matter and made a table of mortgage percentages at different points. The table shows that the farmers were mortgaged for from fifty to ninety per cent, and that the rates of interest run from eight per cent to fourteen per cent, most of the loans being at 9 or 10 per cent. Weyburn, for instance, a fine farming country, showed mortgages of 65 per cent, with an interest rate of from 9 to 14 per cent. In Saskatoon the mortgages were 90 per cent and the interest rate from 9 to 10 per cent; Regina mortgages 60 to 90 per cent and the rate the lowest of all, 8 per cent. There would not be nearly so much money borrowed on mortgages were it not for the high cost of implements.

Another point is that while many people have been induced to go to that western country, a good many of them have since gone away. I know myself many who have come into the country and who would have been good settlers, yet who, when they found the cost of implements and market prices, thought the proposition would not pay, and left. A letter was written by W. D. Scott, superintendent of immigration with regard to people leaving the country: He says:

I am forced to the conclusion that a number of Canadians are leaving this country for

the States, and a still greater number of recent arrivals in Canada are leaving for the States and returning to their home lands.

The British immigration figures show that in 1913, 26,401 people went back from Canada to England. A great many of these people might have been retained and I believe would have remained in Canada had the conditions been somewhat different. It is not too late to change these conditions. It would be a very easy matter for the Government now to follow the example of the United States and abolish the duty on implements. What is good for the farmers in the United States should be good in this country; and evidently the manufacturers of the United States do not fear the competition from this side of the line or from any part of the world. I think the Government now has a very good chance to do what is right in this very important matter, and in doing so to make itself very popular in the West.

There is nothing particularly sentimental about the manufacturers of implements in their dealings with people in the West. As I have said, their methods of collection are pretty drastic. And I think the members from the West will endorse my remark when I say that the Canadian manufacturer is harder on those who owe him than is the American manufacturer. The bailiff at one point informed me that he had sixty writs for implements handed to him for execution by Canadian manufacturers and not a single one from an American manufacturer although they do about the same business. So, I do not think we need to be very sympathetic with regard to the Canadian manufacturers. They want to sell their goods and get their money for them, and that is about all they think of. That is my experience.

I have been for many years in the West, mixed up with the people and have seen a good deal of pioneering and know pretty well what the progress of the West has been. I feel very strongly that the reduction on agricultural implements would assist the West very much. The manufacturers, as has been said time and again, have done well, they have made money while the farmer in the West, it has been shown, is not growing wealthy. Charge up the wages to which he is entitled for his work, and the farmer's dividend does not amount to anything; in fact, his hired man often gets more in the course of the year than the farmer himself is able to make from his operations.

While there is a perfectly justifiable feel-

ing that the West is a good place for an industrious man to go, and that there are good chances of his being able to establish a good home, there are many things that prevent him from succeeding as he should succeed. I trust that when the Budget is brought down there will be something in it providing for relief for the farmers along these lines. They have been refused a market to the south, and they should at least be given the benefit of this proposed concession. They are justly entitled to it, and I am sure it would be appreciated.

I have a number of additional notes on the subject which I have not touched, but I will not enter upon any further discussion of the matter, as there are several others to follow me, and I understand that a vote is to be taken to-night.

Mr. GEORGE E. McCRANEY (Saskatoon): Upon quite a number of occasions the question of the reduction or abolition of the duties on agricultural implements has come before this House. I understand that under the Mackenzie Government the duties on binders and on mowers was seventeen and a half per cent. In the figures which I am going to give to the House, I am quoting binders chiefly because I believe that the minimum tariff on agricultural implements is applicable to them. Between 1878 and 1894, under the Conservative Administration, and under the National Policy, the duty on binders was thirty-five per cent; it was reduced by the Conservatives to twenty per cent and remained at that figure until 1907. After 1907 the duty was seventeen and a half per cent, as it was under the Mackenzie Government. In 1911 it was pro-posed in the reciprocity negotiations further to reduce the duties on binders to fifteen per cent.

Of all articles the reduction of duty upon which might be considered to be beneficial, agricultural implements have been more seriously discussed by both parties in this House with a view to reduction, because as has been stated before in this debate, agriculture is the basic industry of this country. There is the further reason that agriculture pays less profit than any other industry in which capital is invested. I am quite satisfied that of all the money which is invested in the various industries of this country, none produce so small a profit as that invested in agriculture. It is one of the canons of taxation that those shall be taxed who are best able to pay, and any industry running upon a minimum of profit should be the first to be afforded relief.

During 1911 the hon. Solicitor Genera! (Mr. Meighen) introduced a resolution looking toward the reduction of duties on agricultural implements. At that time there was under consideration a reciprocity arrangement with the United States, and whilst the terms of that arrangement were not known to the public, the fact that it was to be a very liberal arrangement was a matter of common knowledge. It was before the terms of this arrangement were brought before the House that the resolution of my hon. friend the Solicitor General was moved. Both the resolution looking to a substantial reduction of the tariff on implements and the movement in favour of a reciprocity arrangement had their origin in the fact that agriculture in this country needed some strong support and encouragement. The scheme which was proposed by the Conservative party to meet the Liberal proposals was the resolution of the hon. the Solicitor General to which I have referred. When the reciprocity arrangement came down, there was a slight reduction on binders from 174 to 15 per cent, but so many other advantages accruing to the benefit of our agricultural population were contained in the reciprocity arrangement that a consideration of the reduction on any particular item would disclose but a very small portion of the benefit to the farmer. When one compares the position of the farmers of to-day under the Wilson-Underwood tariff, with what it would have been had reciprocity gone into effect, it will be seen that the farmers are labouring under a very serious handicap in getting their goods into the United States, which is their great foreign market. Under reciprocity they would have had free entry for their wheat to the United States; now they have to pay ten cents a. bushel. They would have had free entry of their oats; now they have to pay six cents a bushel. Our barley, which would have been free, pays fifteen cents a bushel, flax, fifteen cents, horses ten per cent. Our hay, which would have been free, now pays $2 a ton. If the Canadian farmer who wants to put his wheat into the United States market is charged say $20 on the quantity which he sends in-and this $20 does not go into the treasury of this country-if he has that imposition placed upon him by the refusal of this Government to make a reciprocal arrangement with the United States, I say it does not matter very much -whether you relieve him in one way, or in another; if you make him pay $20 in the one case you ought to let him

have $20 in the other. The position of the farmer to-day is decidedly inferior to the position he would have held under reciprocity or under the proposals of the bon. Solicitor General to reduce substantially the tariff on agricultural implements. Assuming, for the purpose of argument, that the reduction would have been ten per cent, that being the figure suggested by the Conservatives when the resolution was put forward. There is no comparison at all; our farmers, by reason of the victory of the Conservative party, are suffering under disabilities to which they would not have been subject if the Liberals had been returned to power in 1911.

I say further that there is no desire upon the part of the farmers of this country to escape their fair share of revenue raising. But when I take a stand in favour of the total abolition of duties on agricultural implements, I do it because those very people have been denied a boon which would have meant very great profit, a greater profit than would result from the abolition of any duties on agricultural implements. I do not want to exaggerate at all the benefits which might come from either the reduction or total abolition of these duties. I think it would be a benefit, but I think this Government has got to go a very much longer way than either the reduction or the abolition of the duties on agricultural implements to make up to the farmers what they have lost by the defeat of the reciprocity pact. The Solicitor General made his appeal to this House in the early part of 1911. It was a well-reasoned appeal, the arguments were good, and I only want to add that as they were good then, they are much 'better now, in view of the changes in conditions between 1911 and 1914. I need not repeat the statements which have been already made as to the increase in the manufacture of agricultural implements and the great increase which has taken place in the export of agricultural implements to other countries, by which the strength of these manufacturing institutions has been shown. The hon. member for Humboldt has also shown that from about 1910 or 1911, a time which synchronized with the advent to power of this Government-I shall not say that this Government is responsible for it-but from about the time that my hon. friend made his speech, there has been a very considerable increase in lake freight rates, amounting to $10 per thousand bushels of wheat, and of ocean freight rates, I understand, amounting to

some $35 per thousand bushels. As the manufacturing industries have become stronger and more able to stand alone, the price of wheat has been reduced, the cost of marketing has become greater and, as the argument for reduction was good in 1911 as it was made by the Solicitor General, so I say that in this year 1914 it is a much stronger argument for the total abolition of these duties. The Prime Minister has pointed out to us that this is not the time for declarations as to the intentions of the Government; but he at once violated the principle which he had laid down by a very positive assertion to this House that the request which we make for the abolition of duties will not be carried into effect. The fact that we are about to vote a want of confidence in this Government will not, I think, make much difference eitSer to the other side of the House or to this. We on this side of the House were not elected to support the pre-11 p.m. sent Government. We were elected in support of a Government which was giving a very substantial relief to the agricultural interests of this country, a relief which this Conservative Government, as long as it may be in office, is never likely to equal. I am sure that we on this side have no hesitation at all in showing our want of confidence in this Government and in any proposals which it is likely to bring forward. I would point to the fact, in conclusion, that the Liberal party in 1878 went out because it refused to increase the customs duties. It made a very substantial reduction in 1897 in those duties and it went out of power in 1911 in an attempt to further reduce duties and to relieve the agricultural classes of this country. I do not know that we can hope very much from this Government, but so far as I am concerned I want this Government to know where I stand, that there shall be no uncertainty as to my favouring the abolition of duties on agricultural implements; and if later on they see fit to bring in a proposal for abolition, of course it must receive the unanimous support of the members on this side of the House.

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LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. J. J. HUGHES (Kings, P.E.I.):

Mr. Speaker, the question now before you, namely the abolition of duties on agricultural implements, is not by any means exclusively a western question although members from the West have chiefly spoken on it tonight. It is a question just as broad as this Dominion, it affects every province and every industry in this Dominion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
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XI, 1914


Agriculture is the basic industry of this country, an axiom which has been stated time and time again by Governors-General in opening this Parliament, and hy lieutenant-governors in opening the provincial legislatures. Now, if the basic industry of any country is sound and progressive, all subsidiary industries, and all their branches, must be progressive. Is agriculture in Canada as progressive and as profitable as it should be? I think not. If it were, we should not see so many people leaving the land to engage in other industries m the cities. That fact is worthy of the consideration of the Government. The motion before us asks for some measure of relief for the farmers of this country. Is this measure of relief that we are asking reasonable? Will free agricultural implements injure unduly the makers of such implements in this country? I think not. It has been stated here to-night, and on other occasions, that the makers of agricultural implements in this country are able to meet competition in the open markets of the world. The fact that they are sending agricultural implements to Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and to the United States, is proof that the men engaged in the industry are able to meet competition anywhere, and surely they should be able to meet it in Canada, where they have at least the advantage of freight in their favour. Under these conditions, and if agriculture is ever to receive any consideration at all, is the proposition before the House unreasonable? I do not think it can be argued that protection is to-day necessary to the continuation of the agricultural implement industry in this country; and if that cannot be argued, there is no reason, even from the protectionist standpoint, for continuing those duties. All that the fathers of protection asked when they introduced that policy into this country was that it should be temporary, that the industries that could not otherwise succeed should have some measure of protection for a time, and that the infant industries should receive protection. Surely no one will say that the implement industry is now an infant industry; and, if it is not, then protection is no longer required. The Prime Minister told us this afternoon that when he was in the West he found no body of farmers who wished to injure or ruin any industry in this country. I am quite sure that is correct, and I am quite sure the Prime Minister would not meet any body of farmers in the East wishing to ruin or injure any industry in this country. But if the protection which makers of agricultural implements are now receiving is not necessary to the welfare of that industry, then the statements and arguments made by the Prime Minister are not apropos to the question now before the House. If the farmers of this country are not to receive this small measure of relief that we are now asking for them, it must be because protection is so entrenched in Canada that it cannot be touched at all. If that be so, the sooner the people of the Dominion know it the better. Protection is economically unsound and morally wrong. No class of people should be taxed for the benefit of any other class. It would be just as reasonable for the farmers of this country to ask the Government to legislate so that the implement manufacturers would have to pay taxes for their benefit, as it is for the implement manufacturers to ask this Government to legislate so that the farmers have to pay for the protection of their industry. One proposition is just as reasonable as the other.


CON
LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. HUGHES:

The protected industries of this country, generally speaking, _ are getting all their machinery free. Agricultural implements are the machinery of the farmer, and why, then, should the farmers not get their machinery free? On what economic grounds should they be refused that ? Is it even fair play ? The only reason why they are refused-if they should be refused when the Budget speech is delivered-is because the farmers of this country are not organized in their own interests, because it is easy to divide them on political questions, and because other people are organized and will not follow party lines where their private interests are concerned. When the farmers of this country are organized and vote for their own interests regardless of party politics, they will receive more consideration than they do now. That is why burdens are placed on the farmer for the advantage of other industries to-day.

The Prime Minister said also that if the customs duties on agricultural implements were removed there would be the danger of the farmers being subjected to the operation of a trust or combine and that the last condition would be worse than the first. If the agricultural implement makers of this country are able to meet the competi-

t.ion. of the world, as has been pointed out to-night, and time and time again, how in the name of common sense would the removal of the duty be the means of establishing trusts and combines? The time has passed when it is necessary, in the interest of the manufacturers of agricultural implements to have a protective tariff. The only reason why it is retained, if it be re. tained, is because the Government have made up their minds that they will not touch the system of protection.

We are told that this is an inopportune time to raise this question and that the Government cannot announce its intentions until the Budget is delivered. It will be too late then to give advice to the Government. We would be told then that it was too late because the Government had submitted its tariff proposals, and it certainly could not change them after it had brought them down. Whatever is in the Budget speech when it comes down will necessarily be final) land therefore whatever advice we can give the Government must be given now. This is an opportune time to give the Government advice on this question whether they take that advice or not. There is no reason why the Government should refuse advice of this kind, or why they should refuse to give to the farmers as much consideration as they give to other industries. There is no reason why the agricultural industry of the country should be taxed for the benefit of all other industries. It appears so unreasonable that I cannot understand why it is carried out. Is it for the reason that it is supposed that burdens can be placed upon the farmers of the country that other interests would not submit to?

I have given these views to the House because I considered it was my duty to do so, because this is a question that affects every province and every industry in this wide Dominion and because it is a question upon which I think every man in this House should give his opinion. I cannot imagine how men representing agricultural constituencies can oppose the proposition which is now before the House.

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LIB

Roch Lanctôt

Liberal

Mr. ROCH LANCTOT (Laprairie-Napier-ville):

Mr. Speaker, as a farmer representing one of the foremost farming communities in the province of Quebec, I think I would be neglecting my duty should I not express my own opinion on the motion now before us.

I must first congratulate the honourable member for Moosejaw (Mr. Iinowles) for having presented this motion in amend-

ment whereby the Government is asked to remove the duty on agricultural implements brought into this country. This question does not affect but the West, it affects the whole country, and more especially the province of Quebec because there are at least fifty agricultural counties out of the sixty-five which she numbers. I have the honour to represent one of those counties in the House.

This amendment prays that the duties on farming implements be removed altogether. Is it not a fact that the manufacturers in this country have enjoyed a protective tariff ever since 1878? From that, time the child has grown up, it has reached the age of 36 years, and I think that, at this age, it could be left to depend on its own strength.

I say, that the manufacturers have been protected long enough, and as for the great mass of the people, I believe it is time that they should enjoy, in their turn, the abolition of protection duties, on farming implements first of all. Those manufacturers of farming implements, who dispose of their goods in Europe, selling them 25 or 30 per cent cheaper than here, could, one thinks, stand foreign competition in this country and make a very substantial profit. Why do they sell cheaper outside? Because there is no competition in our country. Such is always the case in every country under a protective system; the consumers have to pay a higher price for the goods, owing to an impassable gate which prevents competition. Such is the system under which we of the farming community are now labouring.

Is it not a fact that, no later than yesterday, the present Goverment has been asked, as was done under the late Administration, to grant a bounty on the steel works of this country? The late Government granted it, but when they were satisfied that this industry had enjoyed such protection long enough, they removed it. We farmers do not feel envious of' the favours granted to other industries. We do not want the Government to give us money with which to buy our implements,* we do not ask for such favours; we only believe it is now time that the protective duties should be removed and that free course should be given to competition. This is only reasonable.

During this debate, as the honourable member for Humboldt (Mr. Neely) was addressing the House, the honourable member for Peterborough (Mr. Burnham) asked him this question: 'What about a revenue tax?' Well, the Government is

going to collect this year, as customs duties, from one hundred and ten to one hundred and twelve million dollars. The removal of the duties on farming implements which we buy would mean but the small sum of $845,300 as a rebate on that revenue and surely this would not be enough to affect the treasury. At all

events, I think there should be some easy means of making compensation for this so-called deficit, for instance, by reducing certain extravagant estimates, by striking off a few estimates from the Militia Department for useless arsenals, some of which are supposed to cost as much as $500,000 or $600,000.

Mr. Speaker, after the budget speech has been delivered I shall submit to the House a few other small details which I would not like to allude to just at present.

I had no intention to take part in this debate, but it being unceasingly repeated in the press that this question is one which interests the western part of this country exclusively, I claim, on the contrary, that it does interest the whole country, the province of Quebec as well as all the'other provinces of Confederation.

Let me add, in concluding these few remarks, that I would be in favour of a general reduction of the duties. I woidd be glad if some honourable member should propose such a measure so that the duties were not higher than ten per cent as a general rule.

The honourable member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark) is accused of being a free trader. Well, I think I belong to his school and that I am a free trader myself to some extent, and I am confident that were there less protection in this country, everybody would feel more contented and more satisfied.

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LIB

William Ashbury Buchanan

Liberal

Mr. W. A. BUCHANAN (Medicine Hat):

I must express my surprise that the only expression of opinion on this question from the Conservative side of the House, has been given by the Prime Minister, and all he had to say was: wait until the Budget has been brought down. But this was not always his cry. Prior to 1911 the right hon. gentleman definitely promised that as soon as he came to power a great many of the grievances of the people of this country would be remedied. As a member on this side of the House, I am not prepared to wait any longer, and so I shall express my opinion to-night. I believe it is necessary that this Government should be impressed with the importance of this matter, and

should be reminded of its want of concern for the interests of the farmers of western Canada. Those of us who come from the West have been told that in giving expression to our candid views this session, we have been libelling Canada, and doing harm to the West. I believe in being frank, with regard to conditions in western Canada and in my own part of the country, and I say to-night that we are not as well off to-day as we were prior to 1911. I am not going to put the responsibility on the Government for bringing about this condition, but I do place the responsibility on the Government for not having attempted to improve it. One of the greatest obstacles now facing the western farmer is that he has to pay big prices and high freight rates on his farming implements, when he knows that on the other side of the line the same implements are sold at a much lower price. The agricultural implement industry in this country is an old industry. A great many years ago, in nearly every county in eastern Canada there was an agricultural implement factory of some kind, but these factories have been combined from year to year until now there are few of them as compared with the number in the past. However, the combination has created an industry of great wealth and power; it has created millionaires in practically every one of its branches. I do not object to that, if these men are prepared to face free trade in agricultural implements to-day. They can ship their implements across' the line and compete with the American industries, and they can go to Russia, and to Australia, and to every agricultural country, and sell their machinery in the open market, in competition with the manufacturers of other countries. That is all we ask that they should be compelled to do in this country.

I think this subject is worthy of more attention than was given to it by the Prime Minister to-night. It might have been well had he invoked a free and frank discussion from some of his own supporters, because I know that in the ranks of the Conservative party in western Canada there is a very strong feeling in favour of free agricultural implements. The Prime Minister told us today that the reciprocity arrangement did not include free agricultural implements, and I know it did not. but I would like to inform him that the Conservative speakers in going around my constituency in the last campaign always declared: reciprocity does not go far enough; it does not give you free agricultural implements-

wait until our party comes into power and we will take the duty off. Well, the Conservative party has been in power since 1911, and there has not been a reduction in the tariff of any kind in favour of the farmers and their industry.

It has been said that the farmers of this country do not want to pay any taxation to the exchequer,-and my hon. friend from West Peterborough (Mr. Burnham) insinuated that-but I can tell him, and I can tell others who have that idea, that the farmers of Canada are just as willing to pay taxation into the exchequer of Canada as any other part of the population. They are not prepared however to pay taxation also to the manufacturers of Canada, and that is what they are compelled to do under the tariff as it exists to-day on agricultural implements and on certain other things. I would like to have seen a little more interest displayed by members of the Government and by their ijupporters from western Canada, in this question. When a man goes into western Canada, and enters upon a homestead and tries to make a living for himself and his family, he is not facing ideal conditions. Some people have the misconception that once a man takes up a homestead in the West he immediately becomes rich; that he has great crops every year, that he gets high prices, and that in a very short period of time he is able to retire and live in one of the towns or cities. But what are the facts? Within the last two or three years the prices of grain have gone down, so that the farmer to-day is not farming on a profitable basis, while at the same time he has to pay a big price for his agricultural implements, which are the tools of his trade, and he also has to pay a high tariff on the other necessaries of life. I say this Government is not trying to do anything to relieve the situation in western Canada. I want to be frank, and honest, and I .say that western Canada is not prospering as it should prosper in a country of such great natural riches and possibilities. And, if this Government does not carry out more of the promises it made to relieve the burdens of the people of the West, the first opportunity the peojile of western Canada have-and the people of eastern Canada as well, because the East is realizing that the development and prosperity of the West means the development and prosperity of the East-the first opportunity the people of this country have to render a verdict on the failure of the Con-

servative party to -carry out its promises, this Government goes out of power.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
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LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Liberal

Hon. H. S. BELAND (Beauce):

At this advanced hour of the night, I intend to say only a few words on the amendment moved by my hon. friend from Moosejaw (Mr. Knowles). There is a common, and I think an erroneous idea in the House that in the country, the western farmer is the only one interested in the removal of the duty on agricultural implements, but it is safe to say that a larger number of people are interested in this question in the East than in the West. One has only to go through Ontario and Quebec, not to speak of the Maritime provinces, to realize the large number of our people who are engaged in the farming industry. I am not in a position to declare myself in favour of free trade; I believe in a moderate form of protection for some Canadian industries, and especially when they are in their infancy. The preceding Government, and the Conservative Government of 1878, have both given a sufficient amount of protection to this particular industry. It has protected it to such an extent that now those engaged in that industry have found it advisable to instal plants in the neighbouring republic and are able to make profits out of them. Then, since the Canadian agricultural implement manufacturers are able to cross the line and establish plants there, and realize profits on their industry, and when they are selling their product at a price 25 per cent lower than they are charging the people of Canada for the same implements, I think it is high time that we should endeavour to give to the farmers of the country some of that prosperity which we have given to these manufacturers.

The reciprocity pact, which was condemned in very strong terms by the party opposite, was a step in the right direction. It may be claimed that it was a very slight reduction. Indeed it was, -but still it was a step in the right direction; and I believe it was the intention of the late Government to proceed further-that Government of which I was a member, but, I am sorry to say, an ephemeral member. During the election of 19X1 Liberal candidates in the farming divisions of the province of Quebec declared themselves in favour of further reductions, and some in favour of the total abolition of the duties on agricultural implements. I am merely carrying out one of the promises I made to my electors in that instance. Now, the public revenue would not be materially affected if the duties

on agricultural implements were entirely removed; everybody will agree to that. On the other hand the industry itself would not be seriously injured, because, as was very properly pointed out by an hon. friend behind me, the manufacturers of agricultural implements in this country and every other country have amassed immense fortunes. And, in the last place, the farmers would indeed profit considerably by the removing of the duty. Make the farmers prosperous in a country like this, and you make the entire country prosperous.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   XI, 1914
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March 11, 1914