for South Renfrew will take the trouble to look at the figures for the last two years he will find that, immediately after the duty was taken off cattle, there was a rush of cattle from Canada to the United States, but he will also find that that rush did not continue and that there was a considerable falling off.
illogical to say that a country such as the United States, which is unquestionably one of the greatest, if not the greatest agricultural country in the world, a country which has an exportable surplus of farm products, is the natural market for our farm products. Instead of being the natural market for Canada, it is our chief competitor in the markets of the world.
As my hon. friend says it is not only not the natural market for Canada, it is an unnatural market. The natural markets for the products of this
country are, I repeat, those countries which do not produce the same kind of articles, and the best kind of trade that we can develop is with the countries which will take articles from us which they do not produce, and which will sell to us articles which we do not naturally produce. That is the proper basis of trade.
But hon. gentlemen opposite, with their famous reciprocity agreement which they wished to place upon this country, proposed to throw Canada open to the surplus production of all the agricultural countries of the world. That is what they proposed to do, and had the people of Canada not voted them out of power, had the people of Canada endorsed that policy, what would it have meant. It would have meant that the farmer of Canada would have been certain of one thing: that he would always receive for his product the lowest price paid in any country in the world, because, if the price of any farm product in Canada became high enough to be an inducement to the farmers of the Argentine or of the United States, or of any other country to send their products here, their products would be sent here. The price of our farm products would have been reduced to the .lowest possible level and kept there if the reciprocity pact had been carried into effect. In 1911, after giving the matter very careful consideration, the people of the Dominion said that they did not want anything of the kind; and while hon. gentlemen opposite, like the hon. member for Assiniboia, may try to make himself, and others, believe that the people of Canada want reciprocity, I venture to say that neither he, brave as he is in regard to trade matters, nor any other member who sits beside him, will venture to test the opinion of this House by a resolution on that matter, much lees to test
11 p.m. the opinion of the country, and make it an issue. They know that the people have decided on that, and the hon. member for Assiniboia knows, as other hon. gentlemen opposite know in their hearts, in 1911 the people of Canada decided wisely.
decided in their best interests. There is no doubt about that; the hon. member knows it perfectly well.
The hon. member for Assiniboia referred very briefly to the question of this great war. He quoted the optimism of my hon.
friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce and he characterized my hon. friend the Minister of Militia and Defence as being somewhat pessimistic. He added to-day his own opinion to the effect that the Germans were getting the better of this war. I do not agree with him for one moment. I do not believe he could find, if he were in a position to canvass the opinion of the people of Germany, that even they would agree with him. They do not think they are getting the better of the war. In a great war there are three factors which must be taken into consideration-men, money and munitions. If the war is short you may exclude the question of money and assume that both parties to the war will have 'enough, but if the war continues for any length of time, money will be a factor and money is one of the most important things in this war. At the beginning Germany had it over France, Russia and England in so far as men and munitions were concerned. That is the reason why she was able to make the wonderful advance she did make on the eastern front as well as on the western front, but during the last six cr eight months the situation has entirely changed. While it is true that the line is practically where it was some months ago-
But the hon. gentleman left an impression that I want to dissipate if I can. While it is true that the line is practically where it was a few months ago, it is also true that the Germans have not been able to carry on their offensive and advance on the western front, because in the meantime, or within the last few months, England and France have been enabled, not only to bring up men, but to bring up munitions, and in men and munitions, they are on an equality with Germany and are holding her there. The same thing is true of the eastern front as regards the contest between Russia and Germany. If you look at the whole situation, notwithstanding that Germany holds most of the Belgian territory which she has taken, notwithstanding that she temporarily holds her position in France and has overrun Serbia, the position of Germany and Austria in this war has become gloomier. While that is the condition on land, that is not the only phase of the question. The greatest blow which ha3 been struck at Germany in this war has been struck by the British Navy in tying up the German Navy 'behind the
forts of Kiel, in scattering German commerce and in driving it from the seas.
The hon. gentleman spoke of the British vessels which had been sunk by German torpedoes, and he intimates that possibly- if this continues, we may not have enough vessels to take our wheat-where, did he say?-not to the United States, but to take our wheat across to England. No matter what the price might be, we must have enough vessels, he says, to take our wheat across to England. If that is true ''or us, it will be true for the United States too. They would not have any chance to lake their wheat across. Will the hon. member for Assiniboia get up and say that in a case like that, if we had not access to the British market, our natural market for wheat would be in the United States, where they would have millions and millions of bushels tied up that they could not get out to the markets of the world? Will he argue that? If he will not argue that, how can he logically maintain his position? But, while my hon. friend speaks about the possibility of boats being sunk, why is it that our Canadian wheat and the wheat of the western farmers is getting across the ocean to the markets of the world? It is because Britain has freedom upon the sea; it is because the British Navy rules the sea, and I cannot sit down without reminding the hon. member for Assiniboia that he was one of the men who stood up in this House and did his part to prevent the Dominion of Canada from making that navy stronger than it is to-day, and assisting it to protect our products on the way from Canada to the markets of the world.
Mr. Speaker, this debate seems to have got away from everybody, or everybody seems to have got away from it. My hon. friend who has just sat down (Mr. Edwards) has discussed the Navy. I do not think he has missed any question that has been up in the House during the last year. I intend to make a few remarks on the proposal of my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster) in reference to the development of the trade of Canada and the machinery he proposes to use. I was once asked, while discussing the departments of the Canadian Government with the then Prime Minister, what department I considered the most important. I did not mention the Finance Department, I did not mention the Department of Agriculture, although these are very important, but I said to him that I thought the
department that gave the greatest scope to a man with a heap of eDercry was the Trade and Commerce Department in a young country which is really just beginning its development. However, I will refrain from making any comments until the Supplementary Estimates come down, as I understand my hon. friend has almost induced his colleagues to let him have a vote in the Supplementaries for this purpose. I must say that notwithstanding all the theories that have been spun to-night, and I do not say it disrespectfully in connection with what has been said or thought by any of you as to trade within the scope and the lines of a preferential tariff, when the department or the members of any convention, get down to the real question, they will discover that the representatives of Canada, and rightly so, will insist upon the position that they will not give up any of their rights to manage their own affairs as they see fit even though that view may not harmonize with somebody else's idea. Generally speaking, the theory is good, that when you come to take up some measure which is new, you will not allow the people of any other country, even a country in the British Empire, to control the conditions under which you manage your affairs, but these conditions will be controlled by Canada as they have been in the past. However, this is a large subject, and I am afraid I might make a speech if I continued along that line. I will keep my remarks until the supplementary estimates are up.
Mr. Speaker, there is a matter that I think my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir Gfeorge Foster) might deal with, and perhaps he could do so much more easily than he could deal with the question of navies and shipbuilding tonight. Canada produces a small quantity of hemlock tan bark, but, she produces more than can be used here. There has been an embargo placed upon the export of that commodity under an Order in Council which was passed about a year ago but which was only put into effect about a month ago. Whilst there is not a very great quantity produced, there is more than there is sale for in Canada.
In the part of the country I
come from, there has been business for more than fifty years in the shipping of bark to the United States. But this embargo was put into force about a month ago and the export of the stuff is held up.
And there is no sale for it in Canada. I think that the Order in Council must have been put in force without consideration, because I cannot see any good purpose that is going to be served by prohibiting the export of tan bark. It cannot be shipped to Europe in the form of baTk. At one time, in the province of Quebec, there were quite a few extracting works which reduced the bark to a liquid form so that it could be shipped anywhere without great expense for freight. But these works have disappeared, as also have many of the tanneries that formerly used bark. Consequently there is only a small quantity used in Canada. Unless the embargo is removed the stuff will waste, foT it is not an article that will keep for any great length of time. I think that probably this matter is under the charge of the Minister of Customs, but I should fancy that the Minister of Trade and Commerce, who is interested in doing everything necessary and possible for facilitating the handling of the Canadian products, would also be interested. I trust the hon. minister (Sir George Foster) will give it his attention and will try, if possible to remove this embargo. Of course, if there is any good reason why it should not be removed, we will have to put up with it. If the Government can have it removed, it will be of benefit to us, and will hurt nobody.