March 2, 1915

LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Yes, that will be a first-rate opportunity.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

Will my hon. Mend permit me to ask a question?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Wait a moment. I wish to make a remark to my hon. friend the Solicitor General. I am glad to know that my hon. friend is not always unreasonable. Now what does my hon. friend wish to say?

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN:

As my hon. friend is so conversant with the coal question, will he tell us in what part of the province of Ontario the poor man uses bituminous coal?

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CON

William John Macdonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONALD:

What about Quebec and the maritime provinces?

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

In the form of gas. The poor man uses very little electricity as compared with gas. He is taxed by reason of this tax upon bituminous coal. Every company manufacturing gas in all the little towns throughout the province of Ontario is taxed a certain amount under this new tariff. The poor man also uses bituminous coal in his grate. Bituminous coal is used in that way by the poor man in my province, and 1 dare say also in the province of Ontario. Anthracite coal is largely used for furnaces, to heat the great office buildings in the various cities of Canada. It is used to heat the scores of buildings which the Government have been renting in vastly increased numbers from its wealthy friends in the city of Ottawa. It would be ia shame to impose burdens upon these gentlemen and to make them pay a little more for their coal. But that is one o'f the inequalities of this tariff.

On behalf of the farmers of this country, I ask the Minister oif Finance why he allows anthracite coal to the value of $22,000,000 to come in from the United States, and why he puts this tax upon practically everything the farmers of this country use? Why does he tax the farmers' ploughs, harrows, pitchforks, shovels, spades, hoes, potato-diggers and wagons ? It has been pointed out in the very able speech delivered by my bon. friend the member for Assiniboia (Mr. Turriff) that amongst the many other things in regard to which there is imposed by this new tariff an increase of duty to the extent of 100 peT cent, are fertilizers, the plant food, the life of the farmers' products. Why is that done? Can the Minister of Finance explain it? Can it be explained upon any other ground than to avoid the necessity for care, the necessity of going over the old tariff, taking up the different articles in regard to which in some cases the tariff was low and in some cases high and in some cases at a medium rate and adjusting the rates? Is it because it was easy simply to make an absolutely arbitrary horizontal rise of 5 per cent against Great Britain, 74 per cent against countries enjoying the intermediate tariff and 74 per cent against countries enjoying the general tariff? Under this new tariff the fertilizer of the farmer has been taxed by an increase in duty to the extent of 100 per cent against Great Britain, 75 per cent against countries enjoying the intermediate tariff, -and 75 per

cent against countries enjoying the general tariff.

This was bad enough. But in case of another most important fertilizer, nitrate of soda, which is absolutely essential to the people of eastern Canada, particularly at this time when, by reason of the war, the importation of potash from Germany is shut off-whereas nitrates formerly came into Canada free of duty, this Government has imposed upon that very important fertilizer the high tariff of 7J per cent against the only country in which nitrates can be obtained. I speak now of a country in regard to which the members of the Government seem ignorant, and more especially my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Hazen)-I refer to the Republic of Chile. Chile has the only natural nitrate beds in the world. Last year there was brought into Canada from Chile some 45,000,000 pounds of nitrates. This was not all used for agricultural purposes; but a good deal, I presume, was used for making powder. Chile is a country with which Canada might have a good deal of trade; it is a country of enormous wealth and of vast possibilities. I hope the Minister of Marine and Fisheries will give attention to that country, because it especially interests his own province, which needs this fertilizer. Last year the export duties upon nitrates collected by the Chilean Government amounted to about $84,000,000 in Chilean money, or $42,000,000 in Canadian money. Under the former tariff nitrates came in absolutely free of duty, but now the Minister of Finance has put upon it a duty of 7J per cent.

In view of what I have said, what irony it seems for the Minister of Finance to declare that by this tariff a stimulus will be given to agricultural productions and to manufactures. As to manufactures, I do not think there is any doubt, because the very object of the tariff was to give increased protection to the manufacturers. But why the Minister of Finance should venture to say that the new tariff would encourage the farmers of this country I cannot understand, unless the Minister of Finance is becoming impressed with the view which was once put forward by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster), that increased taxation is the gateway to prosperity. Certainly, the farmers are getting the increased taxation, and on the reasoning of the Minister of Trade and Commerce, they ought to find themselves at the gateway of prosperity. But I very much doubt it.

There was no excuse for this increased duty. For a considerable time the watchword of this Government has been increased production. The Minister of Finance has said to the farmers: My word to you is Production, Production, Production. Therefore, when he was considering this question of taxation, he ought to have considered how he could make the farmer's burden less onerous rather than more onerous. Where was the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Burrell)? Has he been spending his whole time circulating about San Francisco while the tariff was being prepared? Why is he not on hand to look after the interests of the farmers? Or, if he is not here, where, when this tariff was framed, was my hon. friend the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Hazen), who knows how anxious the farmers of his own province, New Brunswick, are to obtain these fertilizers at as low a rate as possible? Surely, he cannot be oblivious to the fact that at the annual convention of the Farmers' and Dairymen's Association of New Brunswick, held in Fredericton in February, 1913, the following resolution was unanimously passed:

Whereas our farmers, in order to extend their operations, believe that it is necessary to use a considerable amount of commercial fertilizer ; and,

Whereas the cost of such fertilizers is so high that it is about impossible to use them with profit:

Therefore, resolved, that in the opinion of this convention of agriculturists from every county of New Brunswick, it is desirable that our Government take such steps as are necfes-sary to furnish the farmers with the chemicals for that purpose at first cost.

Sir, that was an important meeting, held in the capital of the province which my hon. friend represents in the Government. It was reported m all the newspapers. Its adoption of this resolution is only an evidence of the fact of which all of us in New Brunswick are aware, that for a number of years past the farmers have been of the opinion that,in order to carry on agriculture

successfully they must have resort to chemical fertilizers. Now, when the farmers require these fertilizers, when they are being urged from all quarters to engage in greater production, surely this is not the time to impose these burdens upon them, to put a tax upon every kind of fertilizer, both upon the manufactured chemical fertilizer which comes largely from the United States, and from the natural fertilizer which comes from the great republic of Chile.

intermediate tariff on certain products of France and a specific tariff on. other products of France; but why goods from other countries in no way affected by the French Convention should come from those countries, even although those goods are named in the French Convention, at a low rate of tariff, I cannot see. Why does the minister, so far as other countries are concerned, more especially the great country to the south of us, place a higher duty upon cottons and woollens and impose no extra duty upon silks and velvets and embroideries ? Why does he do that ? Is it because my young and handsome friend the Minister of Finance, the gallant and debonair Minister of Finance, thinks that no lady is well dressed unless she is dressed in silk and * velvet ? Why then does he tax the girl or the woman who wears cotton, or woollen, or muslin, or linen, and so far as this increase of the tariff is concerned, allow the girl or the woman who wears velvet or silk or embroideries, to go free? How can he justify that?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

He cannot.

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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

There is no reason for it, there is no manner in which it can be justified. I can understand that, so far as goods from France are concerned, particularly those named in schedule C, you cannot make a change because it would 'be in violation of the French Convention. And while I am upon the French Convention, let me ask my hon. friend if he thinks that he is entirely within his powers in imposing an additional stamp tax upon wine which comes from France and upon which, under the French Convention, a specific duty has been imposed. Take wine of the fresh grape, not a strong wine; a specific duty is payable upon that under the French Convention, under schedule C. It does not come under schedule B but under C, and a specific duty is'imposed upon it. He has raised the duty upon that by reason of this stamp tax 100 per cent. Has he the right to do it? He will say he has, because he will say that this is an Inland Revenue tax that he is putting on. Well, now, is it within the spirit of the French Convention? Parliament will be asked to say by the statute that these wines, these goods of France, cannot be taken out of the customs warehouse until this extra money is paid and this stamp is placed on them. What difference would it make if you had said that, before an importer could take

these goods out of the customs warehouse, in addition to the duty imposed under the French Convention, the importer must give the collector of customs a cheque for 25 cents or 50 cents as the case might be, upon every bottle of wine which he would take out of the customs warehouse? Is it not adding to the duty when this tax is placed upon the wine as a pre-requisite to its passing through the hands of the collector of customs? As to wines from France, containing under 20 per cent proof spirits, provided for in schedule C, the minister has raised the duty by 1,000 per cent Under the French Convention it is only 15 per cent, and he has raised it to $1.50, increasing the duty which has to be paid upon it before it can be taken out of the customs warehouse to the extent of 1,000 per cent. By stretching the terms of the convention, and by calling it a stamp duty instead of money which is to be paid by cheque to the collector of customs, you may get around the provisions of the French Convention.

The Minister of Finance may, by a lawyer's technicality, perhaps, under the advice of the Solicitor General, who looks so serious that I imagine he feels it is necessary to follow me in order to get the Government out of the difficulties they are in by reason of this iniquitous tax, be able to wriggle out of the spirit of this convention; but let me ask my hon. friend, in dealing with this great country, which is our ally as it is the ally of the Empire, not to give cause to the French Government to feel that Canada is treating this convention as a mere scrap of paper; let them feel that we treat it as a real agreement, a real convention between the Empire and our ally, made through the Canadian Government and the French Government, and one which Canada will live up to in truth and spirit, not live up to according to its mere words. It does seem to me that if the Government had provided that, as to these goods which come in under the French Convention, named by schedule C, in addition to the rates of duty therein provided for, before taking those goods out of the customs warehouse they must pay to the collector of customs an additional amount of duty, it would not have been any more a violation of the provisions of the French Convention than is the tariff which has been imposed and which is exacted by means of these stamps. In both cases they have to go through the customs warehouse before they can actually be considered entered in Ca,nada for the purpose of consumption. A duty imposed in that way does not cor-

respond to an Inland Revenue tax, it does not correspond to the octroi imposed in certain localities in France after goods get into the country, and which are peculiar to certain specified places within the country; but this is an extra duty which you exact as a condition to the goods being passed through the customs house.

I intended before leaving the subject of agriculture and the burdens which are being placed upon the farmers, to refer to one respect in which I think a real benefit might have been conferred upon farmers. They are asked to engage in greater production. You might have encouraged them to go in for greater production with a whole heart if you had shown to the farmers,particularly the farmers of the West, that there would be a market for them after this war is over, when the demand for wheat in Canada and England will decline, as it necessarily will when there will be an opportunity to get wheat through the Baltic from Russia, and from other European countries. But in this tariff the Minister of Finance has gone through the farce of leaving wheat and wheat flour just afs it was before, and how grateful the farmer ought to be to this Government because the duties on wheat and flour have not been actually increased. What a boon to such a great wheat-growing country as Canada is, a country which could easily become the granary of the world! Why does the Government not go further? Why do they not place wheat and flour upon the free list? If they had done so, what would have been the result? The farmers of the West would have felt that, while during this war there would be a good market for their wheat but still not good enough probably to pay for the investment of capital which would be necessary to prepare the land for greater production and to get additional horses and implements to cultivate the land, after the war there would have been a great market to the south, that they would then have had a steady and ever-growing market at good prices for their products in the great consuming cities of St. Paul, Minneapolis, Chicago, Spokane, Milwaukee and all the other great cities in the United States with their millions and millions of a consuming population. By refusing to put wheat and flour upon the free list the Government have struck a deadly blow at the development of our great western country. They have discouraged thousands of farmers. Their refusal to take a fair and broad view of the necessities and demands of our western

people has been the means, I believe, of sending many American citizens back to the United States, and depriving Canada of the great benefits which they were conferring upon our western country, and indeed upon the whole of Canada.

I read with much interest the other day a statement by the Master of the Dominion Grange. I have not the pleasure of knowing the gentleman who occupies that position, but his statement is certainly one which must commend itself to the judgment of any fair-minded man; and it shows that even in the short time the farmers have had to consider these matters, there is a growing protest against the impositions which are being made against them. Dealing with these tariff increases he says:

" There is not even the reasonable expectation of materially adding to our revenue," the Master continued, " since many of the recent changes in the customs schedule are practically prohibitive, their net result being to enable domestic producers to tax domestic consumers.

" I will venture the opinion that for every dollar which the recent change in the tariff will put into the Federal treasury, ten dollars of taxation will be levied upon Canadian industry.

" The Government might at least have considered the suggestion of the western farmers to adopt a direct tax upon land values in order to meet our requirements. This would have provided with no uncertainty for all our needs, and at the same time have cheapened land and thus have given the much needed stimulus to agriculture and to all production.

"But, instead of this we find industry subjected to still further exactions; and, most astounding of all, our motherland placed under an additional disability of five per cent, in her trade with us. To Knife Great Britain in this way when she is fighting for her existence and our liberties is a sight to make the gods weep."

He goes on:

"Wild and stupid are mild terms to apply to the recent tariff policy of our Federal Government, doubly wild and stupid at present, when the need for stimulating agriculture is paramount. It is the answer of Rehoboam, and will have its reward."

Every hon. gentleman in this House knows to what distinguished Biblical character the Master of the Grange refers, but as there are a good many Rehoboams in this Government I might offer

5 p.m. just a few remarks with respect to this gentleman who has long since passed away. You, Sir, with your Biblical knowledge, unsurpassed I take it by any gentleman in this House, know that Rehoboam succeeded Solomon as the King of Israel. Solomon had imposed many exactions upon his subjects, and when Rehoboam came to the throne the congregation of Israel requested an interview with him. Deputations waited upon him, as deputa-

tions have waited upon this Government- the farmers' delegation, for instance, which asked for freedom from taxation and for a wider market for their products. Rehoboam promised the delegation an answer in a few days. But instead of consulting with the older men-like my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce for instance, or the hon. member for Halton-he consulted with the younger men, just as this Government consults with pro-Protectionists like my hon. fri md from South Toronto (Mr. Mac-donell). Rehoboam was advised by these younger men to tell the deputation that he would not let up upon the exactions imposed by his father, that whereas the yoke imposed by Solomon had been heavy, he would make it heavier still. And so when the delegation came back in a few days Rehoboam acted upon the advice of the younger men and said that he would not yield to their requests, that whereas the yoke upon them had been heavy he would make it heavier. He said: " My little finger shall be heavier than my father's loins. . . . My father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." And so it is with this Government. Angered, I suppose, because the farmers of our great western country had the temerity to come before them and demand that wheat and flour should be made free, and that' the British preference should be increased so that our trade with the Motherland might grow greater year by year, the Government in effect says to these people: Whereas you have been chastised with whips before, we are now going to chastise you with scorpions.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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CON

George Eulas Foster (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE FOSTER:

Don't forget the squid.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Never mind about the squid. The Government says to the farmers of the West: Whereas you have complained that upon your implements, you have been obliged to pay too much into the Government treasury, we are going to put a further duty of seven and a half per cent against you; you folk have had the temerity to come to us and ask us to put wheat and flour on the free list, so that you could sell your wheat to the people of foreign countries so that you could take your wheat away from the millers of this country and send it to the United States; we will show you what we think of your conduct, we not only have refused to do that for you, but we will impose a further tax upon the implements with the excep-

tion of comparatively few, which you use in the production of wheat and other farm products.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, you will agree with me, and a good many members besides you in this House will agree with me, that we have a good many Rehoboams in this Government, who are acting towards the farmers of this country in the same spirit which Rehoboam displayed towards the Israelites when they went to him to obtain redress of their grievances.

In conclusion, let me say a word or two with regard to the British preference. To me it has been a matter of the greatest possible surprise that gentlemen on the other side of the House should, at this late date, get up in their places and say, in effect, that they did not value the British preference and that it was of no benefit to Canada. After the experience that Canada has had of the British preference since 1897, it is astonishing that any man should make such a statement on the floor of this Parliament. It iseems to me it is un-English, it is un-British, if is un-Imperial. As a result of the British preference, the trade of Canada has progressed until it has reached enormous proportions. We all know that you cannot have in connection with these great transportation systems one-way traffic only; you want traffic both ways to cheapen the cost of transportation to the lowest possible figure. The ships which bring from Great Britain her manufactured goods to be delivered to the people of Canada take back the products of the Canadian people, and they take back these products at a cheaper rate than they could possibly afford to if they did not have traffic from England to Canada. Instead of doing anything to interfere with the British preference, the Government should have increased the preference and given greater encouragement to the trade between Canada and the Mother Country. If there is one thing in this tariff more than another for which this Government ought to be condemned, it is because of the blow they have struck at our trade with the Mother Country. At a time when the Empire has not only given of her money and the lifeblood of her children for the defence of the Empire and of Canada as one of her most important parts, Great Britain is also lending to Canada, at a low rate of interest, the money which Canada needs to enable her to take part in the war, and surely that is not a time for Canada to strike this blow against the Motherland and to raise this barrier against her trade with us. I am satisfied that the Government might

save the people of this country from these stamp duties and this high tariff. I think that with prudence, there would be no necessity for increased taxes. The Government have got the Dominion into this deplorable state by reason of their want of foresight and prudence. They have told us, that for at least three years they knew there has been danger that war might come on between Great Britain and Germany. If they believed that, then surely three years ago they should have begun husbanding the resources of this country, they should have been saving money and keeping it in the. public treasury, to meet the day of trial when it came. The Government told us in August that so long ago as last January they had reason to believe that war was imminent,,' and that they began to organize the different departments under Sir Joseph Pope, Under Secretary of State, in order to be ready for the war. Notwithstanding that, they acteu as if they thought the war would make no difference to the revenues of the country; they acted as if they thought it would not bring hard times; they went on expending money just as before, and as a result of their mismanagement they have got the country into a position of very great dirticulty, but out of which, even at this late date, it can be rescued by prudent management of its affairs. Evidently, while the Government have sown the wind the people of this country are reaping the whirlwind, and it is the people of Canada, not the Government, who will suffer for the wild and reckless administration of the affairs of this country by the present Administration.

Mr. .T. E. ARMSTRONG (East Lambton): I have listened with a great deal of interest to the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Pugs-ley) and I was surprised to hear him use such language. In his opening remarks the other evening, he dealt largely in personalities. He referred to the hon. member for Frontenac as a man with a lopsided brain. I was sorry to hear an exMinister of the Crown resort to such tactics against the member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards), who delivered one of the most able speeches in this whole debate.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Will my hon. friend

pardon me? I spoke of a man who could criticise an expenditure of $5,000 when I was Minister of Public Works, and sustain the action of the present Government in giving away for ten dollars some land which was worth $200,000, and I said a man who would 37

do that must be a man with a lop-sided brain.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

I wish to correct my hon. friend, because when he makes the statement that this Government gave away land for ten dollars which was worth $100,000, he makes a statement that he must himself know to be untrue.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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LIB
CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG:

I believe I have the floor.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I have a right to answer the Minister of Public Works.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG:

Not at this time.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member for East Lambton has the floor.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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LIB
CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARMSTRONG:

Not only did the exminister (Mr. Pugsley) refer to the hon. member for Frontenac in this way, but he seemed for some reason or other to have a particular spite against the present Minister of Public Works. I merely wish to say that neither in the speech which he has just delivered, nor in any other of his speeches, has he been able to point to one dollar misspent by the Public Works Department under this Government.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I rise to a point of order. The hon. gentleman does me a great injustice when he says that I have shown a particular spite against the Minister of Public Works. I have not done so. I have made no personal reference to the Minister of Public Works; and, moreover, I have a kindly feeling towards him. My hon. friend is entirely mistaken. That is my point of order.

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Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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March 2, 1915