March 15, 1916

CON

Robert Francis Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

The Canadian Northern Company, or rather Sir William Mackenzie,

floated a company which took >ver the Dunsmuir colliery. That is the only mine in which, I think, they are interested in in British Columbia, and they are not interested' in that to anv great extent. That was a personal speculation of Sir William Mackenzie's, and he has turned it over to British investors, and has practically no interest in it now.

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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

I was not criticising them it all; I was simply pointing out that the two railway companies which have no interest in coal mines use oil. and that if it is found to be beneficial the Board o( Rail-Aray Commissioners may make an order to the Canadian Northern to do the same thing. The two railway companies which are using oil are not acting on an order from the Railway Cbmmission. After all, I am inclined to think that this duty will not help the coal industry so much as it will help to get revenue for the Finance Minister. I sympathize with my hon. friend from Nanaimo, but I do not think it will have the effect of stopping the use of fuel oil, because I think that fuel oil will be cheaper in the years to come than it is now and that there will be better facilities for using it, and better means of getting it. It will be apt to become cheaper instead of dearer. Those who use it tell me that it is superior to coal as a fuel, for the purposes to which it is put. I am rather inclined to think that the Minister of Finance will get considerable revenue out of the transportation companies. It may be regrettable that the one transportation company, out of which he expects to get his war tax, is one which my hon. friend from Nanaimo says will contribute the greatest amount of revenue from this new tax.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. F. B. CARVELL (Carleton, N.B.):

I want to congratulate the hon member from Nanaimo upon his perfect frankness, and upon the manner in which he has presented his case this evening. From the statements made by the hon. member it appears that this tax has been imposed at the request of the hon. member from Nanaimo, and probably of other gentlemen from his province. It also seems perfectly plain that it is proposed with the object of preventing the consumption of fuel oil, and, to that extent, of assisting or encouraging the consumption of coal. If that is the object, it means that the minister will not get revenue out of it so much as that the people who have

to use .power in British Columbia will pay a greater price for their fuel. If the people of British Columbia are satisfied with that arrangement, and if the transportation companies are satisfied with it, possibly no very great harm may accrue, because we can all appreciate the importance of keeping the coal mines in British Columbia going. But the difficulty I see is that people in other parts of the country, who are not so much interested in keeping the coal mines of British Columbia operating, are going to suffer as well. I think the Minister of Finance and the hon. member for Nanaimo ' will see the force of that argument. If you are going to make power expensive, you are going, just to that extent, to increase the expense of production, of business, of manufacture, and of transportation, and to affect practically every phase of industrial life in Canada. That is the principle involved, it seems to me; that is the almost vicious side of it.

My hon. friend from South Renfrew (Mr. Graham) referred to the province of Ontario. That province probably offers a ground of comparison to some extent, but it is not a good comparison, because in Ontario, unfortunately, they have no coal. But go further east, go down to the Maritime Provinces, where we have both coal and water-powers. What would be thought if the people of the Maritime Provinces and Quebec came to Parliament and asked that a heavy embargo be placed upon the production of water-power? Would you not say that either they were crazy or selfish, or that something was wrong with their mental operations? Yet I do not see any difference between that proposition and the proposition put forward by the hon. gentlemen from British Columbia, who frankly say: It is true we want to make power dearer, but we want to do so in order to help the coal mines of British Columbia. Go down, if you will, to the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, or to Eastern Quebec, where Nova Scotia and New Brunswick coal is used practically exclusively; if this Parliament were to say: We are going to put, a tax oil your horsepower or unit; your water-power is too cheap, so cheap that it is taking the place of coal, therefore we ought to do something in order to prevent you from using this cheap power and in order to develop the coal mines-I do not know what the people of British Columbia would say to a proposition of that kind, but I know what would happen down east. Any man who

made such a proposition would meet with a very warm reception.

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CON

Francis Henry Shepherd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHEPHERD:

Water-power is a home product, but fuel oil is not.

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LIB

Frank Broadstreet Carvell

Liberal

Mr. CARVELL:

It is partly, but I do not think that that helps my hon. friend much. The effect would be the same as on the coal industry. I do think that this is class legislation, that it is legislation intended evidently-indeed, the thing is admitted frankly-to help put a certain industry in one portion of Canada to the detriment of dozens and dozens of other industries in other portions of Canada. If my hon. friend feels like pressing it through, I presume it will go through, but I want to register my protest against the principle involved,. I believe the hon. member for Nanaimo knows a little more of what he is talking about than does the minister. I do not say that offensively, but I wish it to be understood as being complimentary' to the hon. member for Nanaimo. I believe the member for Nanaimo is right when he says that the result of this legislation will be an increased consumption of coal and a stoppage of the importation of fuel oil, with the result that we will have protection in its most vicious form, and the revenue will not be bene-fitted to any extent thereby. If this were put forward purely as a revenue producer at a time when the country needs revenue and we must have revenue from some source, we would all have to bury our principles and, our ideas upon many things. The Minister of Finance says this is a revenue measure, but if we are to take the evidence of the gentleman who knows all about it, we must come to the conclusion that this is not a revenue producer, but a protective policy pure and simple in order to boost the production of coal in British Columbia, and to make the cost of land and marine transportation, and the heating of houses, very much higher in Canada in the future than it has been in the past.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I would like to ask the hon. member for Nanaimo if fuel oil is used in the heating of houses in British Columbia to any extent, or is it confined, to the larger office buildings and hotels?

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CON

Francis Henry Shepherd

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHEPHERD:

Just to the larger buildings, sky scrapers, and very few of them.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

The impression is prevalent that the Grand Trunk Pacific and Canadian Pacific are using oil in the moun-

tains as the result of the exercise of authority either by this Government directly, or by the Railway Commission. I would like . to ask the minister if there is any warrant for the assumption that they have not been free agents in the matter of the adoption of oil instead of coal burning locomotives?

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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I made inquiry, and I was informed that there is no warrant for such an assertion. There appears to have been no order made on the subject either by the Government or by the Railway Commission.

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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Did my hon. friend's inquiries go far enough to find out whether such an order had been made by the Government of British Columbia? I understand that oil burning engines were adopted in the interest of forest protection and I find it hard to believe that both of these companies would introduce oil burning engines at great expense unless they were compelled to do so. Would my hon. friend tell the committee if the Government of British Columbia exercised that authority?

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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I am told that no such authority was exercised by the Government of British Columbia, but a request [DOT] might have been made by the Forestry Branch of that province. I understand that no order has been made. It would appear to me, from the consideration I have given the matter, that the railway companies will continue to make use of fuel oil. It is true they will have to pay this additional duty upon it, but it would not appear to me that the amount which they would be called upon to pay is unreasonable, having regard to the fact that we are in need of revenue-

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LIB
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

-and that this fuel oil has been on the free list. It is the point in so far as the question put to me by my hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) is concerned. Let me ask my hon. friend from Nova Scotia (Mr. Maclean) a question. He is aware that there is a duty upon coal. I do not know a more important subject, from the tariff standpoint, than the duty upon coal in so far as Nova Scotia is concerned. I do not believe any gentleman from Nova Scotia would advocate taking that duty off.

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LIB
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

That is this case to a certain extent.

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LIB
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

Why is the duty on coal valued by Nova Scotia? Because it is a protection given to the coal industry of that province.

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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

In the market outside

of the province itself. It is not designed as a protection within the province which is producing the coal.

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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

Does my hon.

friend say that the only purpose served by the duty on coal in so far as Nova Scotia is concerned is in respect to the export business?

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LIB

March 15, 1916