April 22, 1914

CON
LIB

James McCrie Douglas

Liberal

Mr. DOUGLAS:

Before the hon. member for Haldimand goes out, I want to say a word about the canning industry. He made the statement that there were sixty factories in the Dominion Canners' Association and fifty independent factories. He also said that the Dominion Canners' Association waB not a combine. I will leave the members of the House to judge whether it is or not. He also gives great credit to the Dominion Canners' Association for the very low price oi canned vegetables this year. I admit that vegetables, and tomatoes especially, aTe cheaper this year than they have been for five or perhaps six or seven years. He might also have said that last year in place of canned tomatoes selling .at three tins for twenty-five cents they were selling at twenty cents a tin, or two for thirty-five *cents. I do not think he would consider tomatoes at that price the cheapest food the workingman can put on his table. As

[Mr. Douglas. 3

regards the question of a combine, he very conveniently omitted the contract he had with the wholesaler as to how he should handle the products of the Dominion Canneries. That was the most beautiful contract I ever had the pleasure of looking at. By it, the wholesaler pledged himself to handle nothing but the goods of the Dominion Canners' Association. At the end of the selling season he was allowed a rebate of ten cents a dozen on his vegetables, and 121 cents a dozen on his fruits. If he bought outside of the sixty factories of the Dominion Canners' Association he was liable to lose his whole commission. That strikes me as a combine, and I will leave the members of the House to judge whether it is or not.

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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LALOB:

Might I ask the hon. gentleman if he thinks that was too much profit to give to the wholesaler?

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LIB

James McCrie Douglas

Liberal

Mr. DOUGLAS:

I do not think it was too much profit for the wholesaler. The profit in the canning industry is not made by the wholesaler or by the retailer, but by the manufacturer. The poor farmer gets very little for his tomatoes, about twenty-five to twenty-seven cents a bushel. That does not strike me as being a very high price.

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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LALOB:

I think the hon, member wants to be fair. Let me tell him that ten years ago we paid twenty cents a bushel for tomatoes, and now we are paying thirty cents. Nearly everything we buy is nearly fifty per cent dearer than ton years ago.

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LIB

James McCrie Douglas

Liberal

Mr. DOUGLAS:

I am out three cents.

The point I wish to make is that the price the farmer gets for his raw product has absolutely no influence on the price at which the manufacturer sells to the wholesaler. The hon. member made the statement that the crop last year was a short one, and for that reason tomatoes were worth $1.35 to $1.50 a dozen. On account of a short crop the manufacturers could not fill all their contracts, he said. That is quite true, but although he was unable to fill his contracts, the manufacturer took every possible advantage he could in the way of enhanced prices.

I shall not take up very much more time of the House, but I wish to discuss the effect of the Underwood tariff in connection with the entry of free wheat into the United States. All sorts of opinions have been advanced by different members. The hon. member for South Oxford (Mr. Suther-

land) scoffed at the idea that the western farmer should desire a market for his wheat other than along lines east and west. He seemed to think that we could force grain to be hauled a tremendous distance through barren country, and yet be profitable to the farmer growing the grain. The next moment we heard another hon. gentleman say that the great problem in western Canada was not markets, but transportation. How on earth the transportation problem is going to be solved by forcing producers in western Canada to send their grain two or three thousand miles to the eastern seaboard, is beyond my comprehension.

In the investigation into the rates recently held before the Railway Commission, it was found that wheat was being hauled from the prairies of western Canada to the head of the lakes at a lower price than to any other part of the continent of America. Therefore we cannot hope for redress from the Railway Commission as long as conditions of that kind prevail. If we had the market to the south of us, we would have, in the first place, the advantage of competition, which to my mind is the most important one. We would also have the advantage of the short hauls as between the country points and the market at either Winnipeg or Minneapolis, because I have faith enough in the people of Canada, even in the millers of Canada, that when they see that they are really up against such a proposition, they will not allow their American neighbours to monopolize ' the whole trade of western Canada. That argument was used during the reciprocity campaign regarding our cattle and hogs. After the Underwoo'd tariff came into effect in October of last year, it was an absolute boon to the province of Alberta from which I come, inasmuch as we had begun to produce more hogs than we could consume, the first year in our existence when we were able to do so. I have not the figures here to substantiate that statement, but I have an article copied from a Calgary paper, dated March 8, in which the statement is made that in sixty days we shipped from the city of Calgary hogs to the value of $470,000. That is from one city alone in the province of Alberta and these hogs were sold to the city of Seattle, a market of which we never dredmed. By the removal of that duty, which was done by the good grace of our neighbours to the south of us, the farmers benefited to the extent that those hogs, brought at Seattle from- $7.75 to $8.25 per cwt. and the farmers of

Alberta were able to market that tremendous number of hogs within that very short time. I have a paper here from the city of CalgaTy dated April 18, which says that in one day over $60,000 worth of hogs were shipped out of that city for the Seattle market. Calgary has become to-day one of the greatest shipping points in Canada for live animals, and is rivalling Toronto and Winnipeg in that respect.

We are also going into mixed farming, following the advice of the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce, and last year we produced more poultry than we were able to consume. For the first time in the history of Alberta our poultry and eggs were more than sufficient to meet the requirements of that province. If we do not get free access to the American market for our wheat products, we will go more Extensively into mixed farming. We have no home market in Alberta, and where can we sell this produce? We can grow all the hogs required for the Dominion of Canada, but where are we to sell them? We cannot afford to pay the freight from Calgary to Toronto. We have packing industries, and can pack a certain number of hogs; but, unless we get unrestricted markets not only for our wheat but for all our other products, what is to be the result? Ask the eastern manufacturer what is the result of the defeat of reciprocity. If he is honest, he will tell you that it is more stagnant in eastern Canada than it has been for twenty years. When I was in Montreal the other day I had a conversation with a number of wholesale men there, one of whom said to me, ' We have not had such poor business for twenty years as we have to-day.' He did not know that I was in politics. I said,

' Can it by any possibility be true that this stagnation has resulted from the change of Government?' He said, ' I never thought of it that way, but that seems to be the case; the only place where we can sell goods is in the city of Ottawa.' I said, ' How do you account for that?' He said, ' Because Parliament is in session, and so many delegates come to Ottawa who buy goods. That is the only reason I can give for it.' The hon. member who preceded me (Mr. Lalor) is a manufacturer, and a good one. He has one of the best knitting mills not only in Canada but, of its line, in the world; and for the goods he produces I believe he is capable of producing them against any manufacturer not only in Canada and the United States, but in Germany; yet ask that hon. gentleman how business is just now, and he will tell

you that his travellers are not making expenses, that his resident salesmen on the Pacific coast are just marking time. Nevertheless he is one of the gentlemen who did his best to bring about this state of affairs.

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CON

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURNHAM:

Would you advise

foreign competition as a remedy?

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LIB
CON
LIB

James McCrie Douglas

Liberal

Mr. DOUGLAS:

An allusion was made by the hon. member for Haldimand to an article which appeared in the Montreal Standard in regard to the price of flour at Canadian points and English points. I was one of the gentlemen who received a copy of that paper, and I presume every member received one. I noticed a mistake in the statement, but I thought it was a typographical error. I took the pains to write to the editor of the Standard to find out if his correspondent was correctly informed or not. I received a letter signed by the man who made the statement, and, addressing himself to the editor of the Standard, he says:

Your letter of the 8th instant has been handed to me, with copy of letter addressed to you from Mr. Douglas, M.P., in which that gentleman states the alleged discrimination against Canadian consumer has been very much exaggerated. I beg to state that the undernoted figures prove that 1 underestimated same. Such figures disclose that the difference amounts to $1.70, which proved the figures which I quoted to be a fair average.

I do not know who this gentleman is?

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

What is his name?

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LIB

James McCrie Douglas

Liberal

Mr. DOUGLAS:

His name is W. Lutton. Taking as his authority the North West Miller he figures out the price at Montreal at $5.70 a barrel, the price in Liverpool at $3.99 per barrel, and the price in London at $3.99 per barrel, for September, October and November of last year. We have heard a great deal during this debate as to the relative benefits of protection and free trade. Hon. gentlemen opposite have evidently taken it for granted that because the Liberal party have advocated the abolition of duties on a number of articles that they are absolute free traders. For my own part, personally, I am always inclined to let them have that opinion, but I do not think they are doing justice to the Liberal party when they make such statements. I do not think the lowering or the abolition of a duty on any specific article means that the party which advocates suoh a policy is absolutely

going in for free trade. If that were true, then the Conservative party is just as much a free trade party as is the Liberal party, because I notice that in the recent revision of the tariff they have taken the duty off a good many articles, although the unfortunate part of it is that the articles on which the duty has been removed are all used by manufacturers, and not by the consuming classes. [DOT]

It has been claimed by hon. gentlemen opposite during this debate, that the binder twine industry in Canada was ruined by the Liberal party removing the twine duty in 1897. I have some figures here to show that that statement is absolutely incorrect. The hon. member for the Yukon (Mr. Thompson) quoted from a speech made last year by the hon. member for Wentworth (Mr. G. 0. Wilson), the statement that fourteen out of fifteen Canadian twine factories had gone out of business when the duty on binder twine was removed. A gentleman who is thoroughly acquainted with the binder twine industry in this country, informs me that in the days of high tariff on this commodity more factories' were closed by the twine trust in Canada than since the Liberal Government reduced and finally put twine on the free list. He points out that the factories closed by the trust when there was a duty on binder twine were: Brown, of Quebec; Banner-man, of Lachute; the Port Hope mills, the Dovercourt mills in Toronto, the St. John mill in New Brunswick, and one of the' Brantford mills. These mills, as I say, were all closed under the high protective tariff on binder twine. In fact, the industry had got to such a state that the Ontario Government started manufacturing twine in the 'Central Prison, and the Dominion Government followed suit by manufacturing twine in the Kingston Penitentiary, in an endeavour to break the combine of the Canadian Cordage Company. There was one binder twine factory in Brantford which did not go under, and the owners of this factory continued to prosper under the high protective tariff, and they paid dividends amounting to 60 per cent in one year, 90 per cent in another year, and 110 per cent the next year. The result was that a number of people, induced by the enormous profits made by this factory,' resolved to go into the business. You will always find that where an industry appears to be making undue profits, a great many people will rush into it, and so it happened with regard to the manufacture of binder twine

in this instance. A binder twine factory was established in Brandon, and others were established in different parts of the Dominion. However, they were not managed properly, and they all went to the wall, not because of free twine by any means, but because of bad management. Industries of any description, which are not managed on good business principles, are bound to fail, and the statement that these factories went under because the duty on binder twine was removed, is therefore not borne out by the facts.

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CON

Alfred Thompson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ALFRED THOMPSON:

What is the reply of the hon. gentleman to the claim now made by the grain growers of the West, that the binder twine industry is in the hands of an American trust, and that the price of twine is higher now than it was before the duty was removed?

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LIB

James McCrie Douglas

Liberal

Mr. DOUGLAS:

I think that probably

the statement is absolutely true, that the binder twine industry is in the hands of an American trust to-day, but that is because they corailed the whole raw product. How any tariff can remedy that state of affairs is beyond my comprehension. If it were a manufactured article that was controlled by a trust, I could understand how the removal of the duty would affect it, but when, as in this case, it is a raw product that is controlled, I fail to see how any tariff is going to remedy the evil.

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CON
LIB
LIB
LIB

James McCrie Douglas

Liberal

Mr. DOUGLAS:

There is-no duty on

binder twine and what more can be done. It might be possible to get at the combine in some other way, but I do not see how tariff-tinkering is going to assist it. If we had a tariff on binder twine I believe the conditions would be just that much worse to the extent of the tariff.

Now, Mr. Speaker, referring to the Budget speech delivered by the Minister of Finance, "I have to say that I regret very much that the hon. gentleman has placed a duty on steel rods. To my mind that is going to be a very serious thing, because I very much fear that the result of the duty on steel rods is going to be to increase to the consumer the price of nails, and all products of steel rods. I was speaking a few days ago to the manager of the nail factory in the city of Calgary, and I asked him:

' What is going to be the effect of this duty on steel rods on your industry'; and he said,

* it is going to put us out of business.' I replied that I feared that it would. He then told me: 'We heard a mention of that very _ thing last year, and I took it upon myself to write to the Minister of Finance, to the Prime Minister, and to the member for Calgary, protesting to the utmost of my power against any such duty; the answer I got from all these gentlemen was that they would not consider it for a moment; that they felt that the effect would be to put the small nail makers out of business, and that they would not do that.' He fold me that the hon. member for Calgary was most emphatic in his statement that under no circumstances would he permit of a duty being imposed on steel rods, as he knew the effect it would have on the industry in Calgary. For that reason I am very sorry that the Minister of Finance was overborne by the arguments advanced by the steel manufacturers, but I hope he has it in his power to protect these small manufacturers in some way should the occasion arise. With the high transportation rates which we have to pay on heavy hardware, such as nails and other commodities which are made out of steel rods, it would be a serious handicap to the people of the country who use nails every day, if the price were now increased.

I do not know, -Sir, that I can add anything further to the debate. The question has been discussed in all its phases, and I have only to regret now that the Minister of Finance in presenting his Budget this year has absolutely ignored the wants of the great masses of the people, the consumers, the farmers, the artisans, and that he has pandered to the wants of the manufacturers. Then, as to the question of putting the East and the West against each other, and as to the charge made by some hon. gentlemen from Ontario that the farmer of the West is merely a wheat miner,

I have to say that these statments are not warranted by the facts. I hope they will grant the wishes of the organized farmers for relief from the restrictions placed upon them to-day in their market.

On motion of Mr. Pardee, the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Rogers, the House adjourned at 11.47 p.m.

Thursday, April 23, 1914.

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April 22, 1914