January 26, 1917

LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

You call that " goods."

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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

It is goods of a kind, the goods the hon. gentleman (Mr. Rogers) uses to win elections. Hon. gentlemen opposite have, whenever it suited them to do so, claimed that there was a truce. But, if there was a truce, that is the way they kept it. I do not make this charge against all the members on the other side, because I know there are many men sitting before me who would not be guilty of such an action as that; but naturally they are all willing to take any advantage that may come to them from it.

One member of the Government, the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster), is travelling all over the world to secure trade for Canada; and he and the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Burrell) and the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) are talking increased production. We are glad to see the Minister of Agriculture in his place, and hope that his health is fairly well recovered from the bad experience he went through at the

fMr. Turriff.] .

burning of the Parliament Buildings last year. I would like to say to him, in the most friendly manner possible, that if he and his colleagues want to increase production and to secure more trade, it is not necessary for them to send the Minister of Trade and Commerce travelling all over creation. All that is necessary is to take off some of the trammels that now hinder trade. Let us in the West have the American market,-not that it will make much difference this year with wheat at $1.50 to $2 a bushel-let us have the right to sell our wheat where we please and get the best price for it. Take off the extra duties on everything the farmer uses. Put the farmer in a position ta make the best of his land. Then there will be no need for the Minister of Agriculture to make appeals to the people for increased production; the increased production will come without any effort on his part. But under the system adopted by the Minister of Customs (Mr. Reid) and ihe arbitrary action taken by his department, farmers have had to pay during the past year duties on agricultural implements amounting to from 48 per cent to 76 per cent, and that on goods on which the nominal rate of duty is 27J per cent, with 7J per cent extra, a total of 35 per cent. I say that through the arbitrary measures of the Minister of Customs and his Customs board, prices have been so changed, at the demand and instigation of the Canadian implement manufacturers, that the duty the farmer has to pay amounts to the figures I have given.

Mr- REID: That statement is both absurd and untrue.

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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

Did my hon. friend ever collect that duty and afterwards refund it?

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

No, we have not. The rates of duty collected on agricultural implements are based on the prices at which the manufacturers invoice them to the people in the western provinces.

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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

In spite of what my hon. friend has said-and he has not made a straight answer-I say again that the importers of goods in the West have in many cases paid duty on a valuation which was 20, 25 or 30 per cent more than the price they paid for the goods. For instance, if a man imported a machine for which he paid $100, the Customs Board would say: the valuation fox duty purposes of that machine upon its entry into Canada is $120

or $125- They use the dumping clause to do this.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

Th!e members of the Board

of Customs are the same gentlemen who havie been the members of the board for the last twenty years.

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LIB
CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

The large implement manufacturing companies in the United States have a regular price list upon which they sell in the United States, and on that pricelist are based the values upon which customs duties are collected. There has been no change of policy on the part of the Customs Board since this Government came into power. The policy adopted is that which was in force during the 15 years that hon. gentlemen opposite were in power, when the hon- gentleman was sitting on the Government benches.

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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

My hon. friend says that the Customs Board has not been changed. That is true enough, but unfortunately for Canada the minister was changed. I say again, and the minister knows that I am stating the truth, when I say that the prices at which the goods are sold are in many cases not those of the price-list and that the minister has made importers pay duty on a valuation greater than the price paid for the goods imported. I stand by that statement, and I do not take it back in view of anything that has been said, because I know what I am talking about.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid (Minister of Customs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. REID:

You have been giving us no evidence but your word, and I do not think that is good so far as this case is concerned.

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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

Will my hon. friend give me a committee to prove it? He knows better than to give a committee; he knows that what I say can be proved, because 1, am stating an absolute fact that is known to many people. It is no secret. I have seen price lists from which deductions of 50, 20 and 10 per cent are made; you cannot go by price lists. As I said a moment ago, this has been done at the instigation of the big manufacturers in Canada. I say to the Minister of Agriculture: take these burdens off the farmers and you won't be able to keep the people away from the land. It will not be necessary to put advertisements in the papers calling on the farmers to increase their production, because no man knows better how to use the land than the man who is working it.

We have heard a good deal about these National Service cards. I would like some member of the Government to say what they are going to do when they get these ca:ds all in. Suppose every man in Canada filled in and returned the National Service card, how much further ahead would' you be? I will tell you how much further behind you are going to be. These National Service cards have already driven thousands of people out of Canada, and thousands more are going. I have heard it stated- and there is much to be said for it-that we are as well without the man who would leave Canada for fear he would be sent to the war. But many of these people who have left are not Canadian citizens as yet. They are people who have come into Canada, many of them into the West, and they are going over the border in hundreds and thousands. They say that they are going to visit their people at home and that they will be back. Yes, I believe they will be back, but not until after the war is over. The same applies to eastern Canada; they are going by thousands simply because of the fear that these National Service cards may lead to conscription. For myself I do not think so; I do not believe the Government has any intention of that. But what I say is that these cards are doing no possible good and any amount of harm.

We heard to-day before six o'clock that not later than the day before yesterday a member of this Government told the people in the county of Dorchester that if they feared conscription they could go across the line and there would be no danger. You cannot stop people from going across the line. The hon. Postmaster General, Mr. Blondin, telephoned the Minister of Public Works and asked him to deny that, but unfortunately for the Minister of Public Works, who has just made the denial- probably in good faith-Mr. Blondin had already sent a letter to the press in which he acknowledged both charges. Here is the letter, Mr. Speaker, on page 5 of to-day's Evening Journal.

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LIB
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

It was read before, but I will read it; I am always willing to oblige. It is as follows:

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SAY1S LIBERALS HAVE DISTORTED HIS WORDS.


Hon. P. E. Blondin Says He Never Intended to Convey Meaning They Attach to His Speech. By Canadian Press. Montreal, Jan. 26. - Hon. P. E. Blondin.



through his lieutenant, Felix Durocher, has issued a reply to an affidavit, which purported to give a report of his remarks at Ste. Rose during a Dorchester county by-electioh speech on Wednesday night. The affidavit credited Mr. Blondin with contending that the Allison scandal was of no importance to Ste. Rose be-*cause it is English money that was stolen, while those who desired to escape conscription could do so by crossing the United States border. Mr. Blondin's explanation follows: "The statements which have been sworn to by certain Liberals with regard to my utterances -are a distortion of my words. I never by any means intended to convey the meaning which they have attached to my speech. Mr. Cannon had been stating in his speeches that the Conservative party had been grafting from the Canadian treasury in connection with munition -contracts. "In my speech at Ste. Rose I explained that it was not true that the Allison scandal had to do with Canadian money, pointing out that the money paid for the shells was the money of the British Government. I did not imply that Allison had done a worthy act, but simply corrected Mr. Cannon's mis-statement. In regard to the conscription matter I told the people of Ste. Rose that I did not believe conscription would be necessary because so many Canadians were eager to go and fight for the cause of liberty and humanity. I added that if any of them were afraid of conscription, if conscription should be passed and they did not want to go to the war, they had a remedy left. They could go across the United States line which is near Ste. Rose and escape military service." Mr. Speaker, when you find a Minister of the Crown advising the people of Canada in Quebec to get across the line to escape conscription, do you wonder that recruiting is slow in Quebec?


CON
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

Do you imagine that recruiting would be good in Quebec in view of a statement of that kind by a Minister of the Crown, a Minister who has just been promoted? Why it is absurd to expect anything, and if it had not been that by mistake that letter got into print, my hon. friend the Minister of Public Works would have got away with his bluff.

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CON

Robert Rogers (Minister of Public Works)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

No bluff.

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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

It was not a bluff on the part of my hon. friend, perhaps, but it was a bluff on the part of the Hon. P. E. Blondin, and my hon. friend, in his innocence, was carrying it out.

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January 26, 1917