April 7, 1914

REPORTS AND PAPERS.


Reports of Experimental Farms for the year ended March 31, 1913.-Hon. Martin Burrell. Papers relating to the Lobster Fishery Regulations established by Order in Council, 25th March, 1914.-Hon. J. D. Hazen.


PRIVATE BILLS.

FIRST READINGS.


Bill No. 150, to incorporate The Prudential Life of Canada.-Mr. Nickle. Bill No. 151, for the relief of Charles Low Hutcheon.-Mr. Fripp. Bill No. 152, for the relief of Jessie Eleanor Grassett Parkhurst.-Mr. W. H. Bennett. Bill No. 153, for the relief of William Godfrey Thorp.-Mr. Carvell.


SALARY INCREASES.

CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Rt. Hon. R. L. BORDEN moved:

That it be resolved, that tne recommendation of the hon. the Speaker, laid on the table of the House on the 2nd April instant, relative to the yearly increase in salary to certain officers and clerks and employees of the House, including a clerk in the Joint Distribution Office of the House of Commons and Senate, pursuant to section 37 of the Civil Service Amendment Act, 1908, be approved.

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Motion agreed to.


CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN moved:

That a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their Honours that this House has ap-

proved the recommendation of the hon. the Speaker of the House of Commons for the payment to a clerk of the Joint Distribution Office of the House of Commons and Senate, of the yearly increase in salary, pursuant to section 37 of the Civil Service Amendment Act, 1908.

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Motion agreed to.


THE BUDGET.


Consideration of the motion of Hon. W. T. White (Minister of Finance) for the House to go into 'Committee of Ways and Means, resumed from Monday, April 6.


LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN (Halifax):

wheat exports from September to November last were extremely heavy. There was a tremendous pressure on account of financial conditions to sell Canadian wheat. Our wheat was available for export earlier than was usual, and our railways were able to comfortably take care of that export, but financial conditions actually compelled heavy sales of our export wheat in those months of last year, with the result that Canadian wheat declined relatively more than any other wheat of the world which went upon the British market. And while this of course explains a great deal of the abnormal rise in values of our exports of last year, it does not necessarily follow that it was a profitable export trade.

I might say the same thing in connection with the export of oats. I have not the figures, but I understand that our western provinces exported to the United States- that export being made possible by the reduction of duty on oats to six cents a bushel in the United States tariff-24,000,000 bushels of oats which would not ordinarily have gone to the United States, this being a further explanation of the abnormal exports of last year. These figures indicate that the export figures of the present fiscal year will not, upon reflection, appear so favourable by reason of the fact that a great deal of our exports which usually would be credited to the present fiscal year are credited to last year, thus accounting for the abnormal increase in our figures.

This is the appropriate occasion for a discussion of the expenditures of the Government. I ask the attention of the House while I discuss this matter generally and with some degree of detail. A very prominent economist has said: ' The question of expenditure is just as much a financial problem as that of revehue,

4 p.m. neither in theory nor in practice is it advisable to separate them so completely.' Mr. Gladstone once very justly remarked: 'Good finance consists more in the spending than in the collection of revenue.' I submit that these two views should be accepted as axiomatic in *the matter of public expenditure. Particularly is this true of a large country, rich in undeveloped natural resources, and where a system' of popular government prevails. It is fast becoming evident to all reflecting citizens of qur country that we are extravagant in the disposition of our national wealth and income for purposes that frequently are both unnecessary and unproductive, and devoid of sound business principles. I am not ascribing all the blame to bon. gentlemen opposite. BotA poli-

tical parties must assume responsibility in this respect. It is time, however, for a * fundamental change in the character of public expenditure. All public expenditure should answer some substantial purposes or it should not be tolerated.

When out of power the Government party were emphatic and insistent that the late Government were grossly extravagant in expenditure. In the opinion of hon. gentlemen opposite the annual expenditure was so large as to constitute, in the judgment of the Prime Minister, prima facie evidence of corrupt expenditure. It was said that controllable expenditure was so excessive as to be criminally wasteful. To-day it is very much higher, yet we hear no apology or admission of extravagance, criminal or otherwise. They promised much in the way of establishing sounder principles for public expenditure, but so far, their record for reckless expenditure, and expenditure without principle, is without a parallel in our financial history. Their high sounding promises in respect to public expenditure is but as a tale that is told. Never for a moment since their entrance to office, have they disclosed or professed a desire for sound business expenditure.

' Dash away and spend the money ' was the openly expressed injunction of an hon. gentleman opposite this session to the Government. There was no need on the part of the member from Prince Edward Island to inculcate this principle for the guidance of the present Government. They have given ample evidence of their gifts in this direction, although it required the frankness of a private member supporting the Ministry to acknowledge publicly what we all believed to be true, namely, that the Government are more interested and ' concerned in devising means for the expenditure of the revenue than for providing the requisite revenue for necessary and legitimate expenditure. I remarked last year that it ordinarily was the function of Government first to fix its budget of expenditures, and then provide the revenue by taxation, but it is obviously the practice of the Government to obtain all the revenue possible, and then provide means of expending it. As I said last year, the Committee of Supply has become merely the committee of ways and means to spend the revenue. Yes, ' dash away and spend the money ' is the open and avowed programme of the Government. I trust this policy will not receive the support of the people of Canada who are providing the money.

But the Government reply: The Opposition party do not object to the items of Supply voted from time to time. This is a weak and fatuous defence. No opposition has the opportunity of discussing in detail the items of the Expropriation Bill. Protest availeth nothing when it is possible even. The Government must take the full responsibility of its own supply and expenditure. They alone are responsible, and I charge that they are needlessly prodigal in this respect, and are not in any degree, it would appear, guided by principle or policy. Witness the utter lack of principle in the increase of subsidies to one province in the first session of Parliament. What more reprehensible than the arbitration reference provided for aiding British Columbia in its mad policy of expenditure, as if there was anything to arbitrate? Conceding that the province was justly entitled to an increase of provincial subsidies, I say nevertheless that the submission of such a matter to arbitration, when there was no issue to arbitrate, was a piece of administrative folly that should wreck immediately the strongest Administration that ever held office. That one act alone should be regarded by reflecting people as a sufficient ground for a vote of want of confidence in the Government at the first opportunity.

Take the expenses incurred to-day in connection with Fenian Raid bounties. Speaking for myself, I say that the administration of that Act is nothing more or less to-day than a public scandal, and I say that although the people of my province will probably benefit more by the bounties than the people of any other province. Not the slightest business-like attention is given to the administration of the Fenian Raid Bounties Act. In fact, in a by-election in the province of Nova Scotia recently promises were made by prominent supporters of this Government that improper applications for the bounty would be condoned through the influence of prominent Conservatives in that county with the Government administration. It is quite proper to give the Fenian Raid bounty to those who are entitled to it. But I want to tell the Minister of Finance that it would be worth his while to. see that the Fenian Raid bounties are paid promptly and in business-like way and it would certainly be worth his while to inquire how much of the public money of this country is being improperly expended in that connection. To illustrate

the peculiar methods adopted tjy hon. gentlemen opposite in making expenditures, let me refer to another matter. We are promised legislation this year to provide moneys wherewith to reimburse the depositors of the Farmers' Bank. If that legislation is introduced, if the money is voted and subsequently paid to the losing depositors of that defunct banking institution, it will not be because of any sympathy on the part of the Government with those who lost their money in the failure of that bank, it will not be because of any principle, but it will be because this Government want to pay the election expenses of their own friends in the last Dominion election. That is a pretty strong statement and perhaps requiring some little explanation, but I have no doubt hon. gentlemen opposite can understand my meaning very well indeed. Many hon. gentlemen now occupying seats on the other side of the House, in the election of 1911, promised that if their party was returned to power, the depositors, at least, of the Farmers' Bank would be refunded their losses by the Government of this country. That was a corrupt bargain to make as between a candidate and the electorate to which he was appealing. If he were using his own money it would be a corrupt bargain; but there would not perhaps be so much objection to it, as to those hon. gentlemen who have secured seats in Parliament coming to the Government and saying: I cannot liquidate the promises I

made to the depositors of the Farmers' Bank, myself, as I have not the money, will the Minister of Finance he good enough to do it for me. I repeat that if that expenditure is made it will be absolutely devoid of principle as are many of the other expenditures made by the present Administration. _

Now let us investigate briefly the actual expenditures of the present Government. In the year ending March 31, 1912,-and the Government was not responsible for the Appropriation Act of that year,-the expenditure chargeable against revenue, amounted to $98,161,440.77, in 1913 it had grown to $112,059,537.41; for 1914 the estimate is $129,000,000, and for 1914-15 it doubtless will reach $150,000,000. The Expropriation Act for this year will provide for expenditures on consolidated fund account in excess of $146,000,000, and the Supplementaries will contain a substantial amount also. The following figures may be of interest:

24S8

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CON
LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

I just wish that a

detectaphone had been within range of tha hon. gentleman in that election, and that it were here to-day, so that we could hear its record. I will accept the hon. gentleman's statement that he never used the exact words which I have suggested; but if he will give to me and to the House the exact words he used in discussing privately and publicly the tax upon agricultural

implements, I will merely ask that he allow me to interpret the meaning.

I know that my hon. friend the Solicitor General (Mr. Meighen) would not place himself in such a compromising position as to display the banner: 'Vote for Meighen and free agricultural implements.' He is a very skilful dialectician, and he knows how to make a statement that is open to many constructions. I know that my hon. friend never promised free agricultural implements in the last campaign, but he will not deny that many people in his constituency thought he did promise it.

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CON
LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

I see my hon. friend from Annapolis (Mr. Davidson) in the Chamber. He was in favour of free agricultural implements, and yet he voted against it the other night. I have in my possession a card which he circulated amongst his very intelligent electors, and it was a strange one. His slogan was: 'One King, one flag, one fleet-and free agricultural implements.' This is rather an anticlimax to a trinity of election platitudes which did not mean much and which my hon. friend did not intend to mean much, but he gave the cry of free agricultural implements a royal and imperial importance by ranking his policy for free agricultural implements with: one King, one flag and one fleet.

The Minister of Finance advised us yesterday that he had had the advantage of special information respecting agricultural implements. He said:

We have made inquiries. For considerably over a year past we have been making inquiries and investigations into the question of agricultural implements. We have made an investigation into the prices of agricultural implements on both sides of the line, in Canada and in the United States. We have made an inquiry as to the factory cost of production of the principal agricultural implements in Canada and in the United States. We have examined the balance sheets of manufacturers with the idea of ascertaining what their position is and whether or not they are making undue profit upon their business.

I think it is only fair that when the House goes into Committee of Ways and Means we should have the advantage of the researches of the Department of Finance into the agricultural implement industry and that we should have all the knowledge which the hon. minister has respecting the balance sheets of the respective manufacturers of implements on this continent. I trust it is the intention of the minister to

give us this information. When we have that 1 am sure that we on this side of the House will be pleased to engage in a fair and businesslike discussion of the tariff upon agricultural implements-and there I must leave the subject.

I wish to discuss at some little length the question of removal of duty upon wheat in chis country in order to secure from the United States admission into that country of our wheat and flour. I also wish to discuss the policy enunciated by my distinguished leader (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) in favour of the principle of the elimination of the duty upon staple foodstuffs in order to secure for the people of this country the vital necessaries of life, food-

5 p.m. stuffs, at the lowest possible price, which is a pressing, serious human problem for us who are the representatives of the people to discuss and legislate upon in this Parliament. Dealing first with the question of wheat, the United States Government in effect say to the Government of this country: If you place wheat upon the free list you can have entry into our market for wheat and wheat products, inclusive of wheat flour. Members upon this side of the House say it should be done. We proposed a resolution to that effect only a few weeks ago. Hon. gentlemen opposite say it should not be done and that Canada should maintain the duty as it now stands. The issue is clear, clean-cut and well defined. It is an interesting issue to debate It is one of great interest and importance to this country. I believe that the position that we upon this side take upon this question is the correct one. I believe that the position which the hon. gentlemen opposite take, is wrong and cannot be supported, and I do not think that they have up to this moment given-us, or that they will be able in the future to give us, reasons which will sustain and justify the position which they assume . in respect to this question. There are many people in this country who will sustain the Liberal party in the position which they take respecting the wheat duty. I think that the people of the Prairie provinces almost unanimously will do so. The Legislature of the province of Manitoba passed a resolution on this subject and, as hon. gentlemen know, the dominant party in that Legislature is one in sympathy with hon. gentlemen opposite. In fact, it is this "" Legislature which gave this Government its present Minister of Public Works, and I have no doubt that that hon. gentleman is

still strong and influential in the councils ol the government party in the province of Manitoba. That resolution reads:

Whereas the Congress of the United States of America have by recent legislation reduced the duty on wheat and wheat products entering the said United States of America.

And whereas provision has been made in the said legislation for the total removal of such duty on wheat entering the United States of America from any foreign country who would likewise remove such duty.

And whereas it is the opinion of this House that the removal of such duty by the Govern-nv t of the Dominion of Canada from the United States of America would be beneficial to the agriculturalists of Manitoba.

Therefore let it he resolved that in the opinion of this House the Parliament of Canada should enact such legislation as would give the farmers of Manitoba the benefit of the countervailing duty on wheat and wheat products as provided in the Underwood tariff.

T!i is is an important question. I do not wish to say, even though I may think so, that there is nothing in the contention of hon. gentlemen opposite.

Let us take the wheat industry in our northwest and ascertain, if we can, the present condition of that industry, and what its future prospects, so far as we may safely venture. And I refer to the prairie provinces, because it is the seat of the major portion of our wheat production. Let me first call attention to the relative importance of this industry in Canada.

The total value of our exports of agricultural produce to all countries in 1913 was $150,000,000 cf which wheat and wheat flour comprised over $107,000,000. Wheat and its flour comprised in 1913 in value nearly 75 per cent of our exports of agricultural produce to the United Kingdom, and over 30 per cent of our total exports of Canadian productions of all kinds. Those figures alone will sufficiently impress one with the importance of the wheat industry alone; while there is much to say about other natural productions in that part of Canada.

Now, what are some of the outstanding facts regarding the actual condition of the industry at the present moment, and what I am about to say is applicable to the grain industry as a whole, and agricultural conditions generally in the prairie provinces. The acreage under cultivation has not shewn any increase during the past three years. For the year ending March 31, 1913, there were 10,000 less homestead entries than in 1911. In 1911 the land sales were 19,000,000 acres, while, in 1913 it had fallen to 9,000,000 acres. In 1914 the figures to these matters will, I fear, be less favourable. Further, let me say the number of immi-, 158

grants settling on western lands, has been declining, and we are now face to face with the problem how to procure for the future a substantial quantity of land immigration. It is from Eastern Canada and the United States that furnishes land settlers for the West, the major portion of immigration from Europe including the United Kingdom have for some time past been settling in our towns and cities. Our free lands are pretty well disposed of, and European immigrants, as a rule, are not possessed of sufficient capital to purchase. To-day we find ourselves with an immigration policy that has passed its usefulness and it is unsuitable to our needs because it lacks selection methods. Consequently, I say that without the adoption of some new land immigration policy -we cannot look for any substantial increase in land settlement in the West.

Further, we have the following facts particularly relevant to the wheat industry. It is baiely remunerative, if at all, to the producer, the average cost being at least 55 cents per bushel, and the cost of production is apparently increasing, it is said lj,i per cent since 1909, while marketing ar.d exporting charges have as well increased. These facts are important because a large section of the prairie provinces it is conceded must remain grain producing areas, and not easily convertible into mixed farming lands. Important also because the production costs are important to Canad-', whose exportable surplus is large and must consequently meet export prices.

It is to be remembered also that we have tremendous areas not yet devoted to grain growing, which must, if utilized, and if we are to make the desired progress, double and quadruple our production, and that is only possible if the costs of producing are reasonable and the markets available. The production costs and the markets for our western wheat is therefore of vital importance, and always worthy of the most careful consideration. It is true that we usually proceed upon the assumption that our wheat production is to continue to increase greatly, and many at least, presume that markets are awaiting not only our. present productions, but any anticipated increases as well. Now, a>-e we reasonably sure of such markets and under what conditions are any of the world's markets open to us ? Let me present to the House some considerations respecting markets.

Our important wheat market to-day is the United Kingdom. In 1913 the value of our total wheat exports was $88,608,000,

of which the United Kingdom took $74,-

978,000 or over 88 per cent. In the event of an increased production is it sufficiently capacious to consume any considerable proportion of the same ?

The United Kingdom imports about 200,000,000 bushels of wheat, of which to-day Canada supplies about one-fifth, British India one-fifth, Australia one-tenth, the United States one-fifth, and the Argentine one-seventh. While the volume of our exports have grown in the last 15 years, so has that of foreign countries. Two facts should be here noted, namely, that the domestic consumption of the United Kingdom is an almost constant quantity, and that she will continue to buy from all exporting countries of the world which offer the most favourable prices, and particularly those with whom she has an export trade and of which she is creditor nation. It is therefore clear that our only hope of increasing our exports of wheat and wheat flour substantially to the United Kingdom, is by displacing foreign wheat by advantages in quality and price. It is a fact that at present prices the growing of wheat is not very remunerative when in competition with other export wheat, consequently, the price at which we can produce and sell is of manifest importance to Canada.

Now, let us consider the United Kingdom as a market for wheat exported in the form of flour. In 1913 our total exports of flour was 4,478,061 barrels of which 2,880,167 barrels were taken by the United Kingdom, or nearly sixty-five per cent, and the total consumption of flour of the United Kingdom is about 35,000,000 barrels. Will our exports of flour to the United Kingdom increase substantially? I do not think so, because her millers are to-day our strongest competitors. The British miller buys the export wheat of the world and consequently it is cheap. Britain will continue to buy foreign wheat to employ her ships and in payment of interest upon her foreign investments. Again the British miller mixes his wheat, and the British consumer likes the resultant of the mixed product, and consequently the British miller has an advantage over the Canadian miller in buying the variety of raw material.

It is true that Canadian wheat is well regarded for flour purposes because of its strength in gluten, but the United States, Russia and Argentina grow a wheat also strong in gluten, which the British miller buys, consequently in quality of flour required for the United Kingdom we meet strong competition from the British miller.

Again the most modern mills of the world are now found on the docks in Great Britain, and they probably produce flour as cheaply, if not more cheaply, than any country of the world. Newspapers recently reported that a Scotch mill recently exported flour to the United States.

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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCRAFFNER:

Has the hon. gentleman the figures showing the amount of wheat the United States exports to Great Britain?

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

No, I have not these figures. Let me continue. I saw in a Canadian paper last week, the statement that soon Canada will supply the United Kingdom with flour. The conditions rather indicate the fact that we will be sorely pressed to hold what we have, unless we can undersell the British miller. The United States miller doubtless thought the same at one time. In 1906 the United States sold to the United Kingdom 10,152,770 cwt. of flour, in 1913 it was 6,157,644 cwts., and it is said that so keenly do American millers find British competition that they are largely withdrawing their selling organizations. And why? There are, I suppose, many contributing causes, hut chiefly the high cost of producing wheat there, and I believe it is even greater than in Canada, unremunerative prices obtained, whether in the form of wheat or wheat flour, in competition with other wheat growing countries and the ~ British miller. To-day we have a milling capacity of over 30,000,000 barrels per year, with an actual production of 15,000,000 barrels, and a domestic consumption of say

10,000,000 barrels, and I ask you, while we talk glibly of increasing our wheat and flour production, where are we going to obtain the market, the consumers?

We have the opportunity, if we want to accept it, of free entry into the markets of the United States, of wheat and flour. Is it worth accepting? The man who produces the wheat is apparently anxious to accept the offer. The Canadian miller objects and the Government objects also or at least it sustains the objection of the Canadian millers. Is his objection just or sound? Our millers are labouring under the mistake that Great Britain will largely absorb our flour exports no matter to what dimensions it grows. Facts rather prove this is an hallucination of the Canadian miller. If it is expected that our exportable surplus of flour is to grow, and it should, our millers should be more alarmed over the competition of the British miller than that of the United States miller, I understand that our miller has requested an ocean steamship service

specially .subsidized for flour exports. This would be a discrimination that- is unnecessary, and would, I think, prove futile, as it has whenever tried. I think if our millers devoted the same energy in utilizing the advantages they possess and in fighting for markets close by, that would consume even the milling capacity we now have, thus reducing the cost of production per unit, it would be found .more profitable to themselves and advantageous to their country than .persistent solicitations for Government favours which I venture to believe would not be helpful. Surely it is clear that we do need other markets for wheat and flour, and it is equally as reasonable a proposition that to ensure this we must do everything to make it possible to produce more cheaply

We can have an additional market. The United States market is open to us. The decision rests with the Government of Canada. The sooner we accept this market the sooner will we there establish ourselves and displace American grown wheat and flour. There would be another .set of mills grinding our wheat. It would enable our millers to grind more steadily and thus more cheaply because our milling capacity would be in use. The problem of the 'Canadian miller is the lack of stomachs to consume flour and cattle to consume offal. The British market is not the panacea nor are ocean freight rates the cause. We want a readjustment of tariff taxation to enable cheaper production. This can be done without any injury to Canadian interests, and it should be done. This matter' should have had the sympathetic consideration of the Government at this session. Wheat should have been placed upon the free list to afford an additional market and other tariff adjustments should have been enacted to encourage all productions in order to render more effective our position with competitors, and particularly for the producers of the prairie provinces where conditions are not too healthy.

Yesterday the Minister of Finance urged as a reason why it was not advisable to put wheat upon, the free list, that it would withdraw traffic from our transcontinental railway lines, which were specially constructed with the view, and in the hope, that our exports would travel east and west thus affording these railways profitable long haul traffic. I wonder if the Minister of Finance was in earnest in propounding that idea? During the campaign of 1911, I often wondered if any man in , 158i

the Conservative party was really sincere . when he said that free wheat between. Canada and the United States would be inadvisable, because it would destroy the east and west-bound railway traffic, and consequently injure our railways. That, in my opinion, is the most absurd proposition ever propounded. If it be true that the Canadian, railways are at 'the mercy of the United States Government, then the United States Government can withdraw the tariff upon wheat any day and destroy our railway systems. Hon. gentlemen opposite say: why do you want the American market; Canadian wheat will not go there? If that be true, then Canadian wheat will continue to go over the Canadian railways, and the Canadian railways will not be hurt. Hon. gentlemen opposite further say: the price of wheat to Canadian producers, will not be increased by its free admission to the American market. I do not think it is important either to deny or to affirm that contention, but if American wheat is not higher in. price than Canadian wheat, then Canadian wheat will not go to the United States in great quantities and again railway interests will not be hurt. But I go father, and I take the position that there is no reason for imagining that we cannot export to other foreign countries the amount of wheat we are now exporting, and ship it over Canadian railways, while at the same time sell wheat to the United States. Surely the export of our wheat to the United States i.3 not going to destroy our export wheat trade with the other countries of the world. Carry it to the most absurd conclusion the human mind can imagine, and suppose that all our wheat went to the .United .States and none went abroad over the Canadian railway systems, would that hurt the Canadian railways?

I doubt it very much, and I challenge the hon. member for St. Antoine to make good his position, if I understand him to controvert the position which I am now taking. The purchasing power of the people of the Canadian West would be all the greater if they were selling their wheat in the United States alone and not anywhere else in the world, and they would only do it if they were doing it to a greater advantage than by selling their wheat elsewhere. Consequently, the purchasing power of the producer would be increased, and the imports of the West would be much greater. It would mean a higher grade of railway traffic, and the net

result would be that the Canadian railways would be better off than in hauling low grade traffic such as wheat. But I am taking an impossible and absurd position, one that cannot happen for many years. Whether we have free trade with the United States on wheat and wheat flour or not, will not in the slightest degree affect our present export trade with other countries. In fact, there is no reason why we might not have a trade with the United States in wheat to a greater or less extent, while our export trade with other countries would go on increasing, thus giving more business to the Canadian railways than they have now; and even when the Hudson Bay railway, that doubtful project, is completed, there is no reason why any shipments of wheat which can be shipped through Hudson bay should affect the railways of this country, because in a few years we should have such an export of grain from this country that it would tax every system of transportation we have to handle it.

But I want to urge upon hon. gentlemen opposite that peculiar conditions prevail in the West, and I feel that the Government are not properly seized of the actual facts. I believe that at this moment it will be in the interest of Canada, east and west, of the Canadian producer of wheat, of the Canadian miller, and of the Canadian consumer, to place wheat upon the free list, and consequently we upon this side of the House regret that the Government has seen fit not to place wheat upon the free list.

I would go further, because in the Budget debate it is not necessary that we should tonflne our discussion merely to matters of finance and of tariffs. .We should discuss generally the condition of our country. I would not limit the efforts of Government policy and Government action in dealing with problems of the West to the question of tariff alone. I believe we have reached the time when we should extend more direct and practical aid to agriculture, with special adaptation to the peculiar problems confronting the pioneer farmers of the three prairie provinces. They should be helped in other and more direct and practical ways which would produce immediate, permanent and profitable results. I am sure that hon. gentlemen on this side of the House are in favour of any policy which will extend some aid of a practical nature to the people of the West, who are endeavouring under difficult circumstances to produce from the soil wealth which this

country needs. From the West for many years in the future must come the exports of natural products which alone will pay for the imports of this country.

Hon. gentlemen opposite speak a great deal about the new agricultural policy, which means an expenditure of a million dollars a year. I congratulate the Government upon doing that much, but after all it is not very much. I do not know that it justifies a great volume of boasting, or that it indicates a great deal of careful study or reflection upon the actual agricultural conditions of this country. We have reached a stage in this country when we should do more for agricultural interests, and we would do so if we realized more clearly and accurately the tremendous part agriculture plays in the business and prosperity of this country. Hon. gentlemen opposite speak about the so-called National Policy being beneficial to agriculture. The policy of the present Government in respect to agriculture generally, but in reference particularly to the question which I have just been debating, namely, the wheat tariff, is not designed in the interest of the agricultural producer.

At six o'clock, the House took recess.

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

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PRIVATE BILLS.

April 7, 1914