April 24, 1917

LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

The minister does not say, by Act of Parliament?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

If the hon. gentleman wants a legal opinion, and if he will permit me, 1 will read the opinion of the Deputy Minister of Justice on this matter. It is as follows:

I have considered upon your Suggestion the effect of the Order in Council of 16th instant, whereby His Excellency the Governor General in Council directed under the authority of the War Measures Act, 1914, that wheat, wheat flour and semolina should be transferred to the list of goods which may be imported into Canada free of duty of customs.

Section 6 of the War Measures Act 1914 confers upon the Governor in Council very comprehensive powers to make such orders and regulations as he may by reason of the war deem advisable for the peace, order and welfare of Canada, and for greater certainty, but not so as to restrict, it is declared, that these powers extend to all matters coming within certain classes of subjects specially mentioned, among others, "trade, exportation, importation, production, and manufacture." It is provided, moreover, that all such orders anl regulations shall have the force of law.

This section has always been interpreted and acted upon as intended to confer legislative powers, and I am of opinion that that intention is expressed with sufficient aptitude, and that therefore the legislative powers of Parliament, within the purview of the section, have been delegated to the Governor in Council. Moreover, having regard to the narrative of the Order in Council, the power executed in the sanctioning of the Order in Council, appears to fall very clearly, not only within the general description of powers, but also within the special enumeration to which I have referred. Therefore I am of opinion that the Order in Council became effective as from its date permanently to remove the duty imposed by the customs tariff from wheat, wheat flour, and semolina, and that these products accordingly become free of customs duty, and will remain free unless fresh duties he imposed by or under the authority of Parliament.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

What is the date of that memorandum?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

It is dated 17th April.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

I have great confidence in the legal acumen of the Deputy Minister of Justice, and ordinarily I should defer to his opinion; but in this matter, I submit with confidence, the opinion which he ha3 given the minister is an erroneous one, if it is c.mtihded that the opinion is to the effect that the Order in Council txtends beyond the end of the war. I bel1 eve that the Order in Council passed under the War Measures Act ends with the war. And if that be true the houses of Hohenzollern

and Hapsburg have as much to do with the termination of this Order in Council as have the Government and the people of Canada. The letter which has just been read is to the effect that under section 6 of the War Measures Act ample authority and power is vested in the Governor in Council to pass the Order in Council in question. That is a debatable question I submit, though I do not deny that there is room for the position taken by the Deputy Minister of Justice. But I wish to call the attention of the Minister of Finance to section 3 of the Act, which is as follows:

3. The provisions of sections 6, 10, 11 and 13 of this Act shall only be in force during war/ invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended.

That is, when the war ends, Section 6 is no longer in force.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MBIGHEN:

But what is done under it is still in force.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

Not at all. That is an absurd position, I submit, for my learned friend the Solicitor General (Mr. Meighen) to take. Perhaps I should not say "absurd"-

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Let me ask the hon. gentleman a question. Under the War Measures Act we are expropriating the Ross rifle factory. Will he say that when the war is over that factory reverts to its former owners?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

No, because nothing is left to revert.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The factory would still be there.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

The powers of the Government were exhausted to the absolute extinction of the title of the Ross rifle property in its former owners.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

But not of the factory.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

Under this Act it is explicitly stated that the provisions of section 6 on the cessation of the war shall no longer be in force. An Order in Council cannot remain alive unless it is based upon some living statutory authority. That is the rational, the reasonable construction of the Act. It was never intended that the War Measures Act should permit an amendment of the Customs Act that should continue in operation after the cessation of the war. At the most it was intended that this power should be extended to the Government temporarily and during the continuance of the war, and during that time the

Act and possibly the Order in Council is in force. Therefore, I say, this Order in Council with respect to flour and wheat is in operation only during the war and terminates with the ending of the war. If the Minister of Finance intended that these products should be placed upon the free list, there was a positive and direct way to accomplish that end. He should have proceeded under the Customs Act. He could have announced an amendment to the Tariff Act to-day in this House, and in that very instant of time the amendment would have become operative throughout the whole country. I always anticipated that it was the intention of the Government that this Order in Council should be operative only during the war. The Parliamentary Secretary for External Affairs (Mr. Hugh Clark), speaking recently at Montreal, stated that it was proper to do this for the United States, because now she was our ally. Now, it seems the logical inference that when the war is over and the United States is no longer our ally in war, the reason for the Order in Council having ceased to exist, the Order in Council itself yvill automatically pass away. The Parliamentary Secretary for External Affairs evidently entertains the same view I do about the scope of the Order in Council.

It was for these reasons that a few moments ago I ventured the statement that the passage of this Order in Council was not a declaration of settled policy, but was a matter of party and political manoeuvring forced upon the Government by their friends from the western provinces. The hon. the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Cochrane) is not as astute as the Minister of Finance. The Minister of Railways is a plain, blunt man who goes directly to his objective point, but the Minister of Finance has more experience and skill in finesse, and he will endeavour to achieve his point, not always by direct, but if needs be by indirect and circuitous routes, if to him it seems politically more advantageous. Had the Minister of Railways been as astute as the Minister of Finance, he would have introduced his Highways Bill under the War Measures Act. The Highways Bill will be designated by the people of Canada of both parties as a piece of political manoeuvring, and the Minister of Railways will likely go down in history as a pure politician. The Minister of Finance attempted to amend the Tariff Act by means of the War Measures Act, and his friends will claim that he is a patriot. That is the dis-

tinetion. It shows that they were brought up in different schools. The one is the product of the methods adopted on King street, Toronto; the other is the plain, old-fashioned, product of the school of North Bay, Ontario. .

If this new reciprocity treaty is to be stable, and if it represents a declaration of public policy on the part of the Government, then it will have the hearty approval of hon. gentlemen on this side of the House. If it is to be in force during the continuance of the war only, and is terminable at the will of our enemies, or at the moment we accomplish their defeat, or if it was enacted, as.it would appear to have been, as a purely party and political expedient, it is to be condemned by every right-thinking man in this country. This is not a time to play fast and loose with such a matter as our tariff. These matters should be dealt with by open, frank and proper methods. It appears to me that it was never intended that this Order in Council was to represent the real economic policy of the Government upon a vexed issue; I believe it to be a pure party and political measure. If the Solicitor General (Mr. Meighen) desired for the people of the western provinces, whom he represents in the Government, that they have permanently the advantage of the American market for their wheat and flour, he would have suggested and insisted that the Order in Council be based upon, not the War Measures Act, but the Customs Tariff law, or better still, that the amendment to the tariff be made on the floor of Parliament by the Minister of Finance when he was delivering his annual budget.

I am not saying that if this Order in Council is to be effective only during the period of the war it will not be of some benefit to the western producers of wheat, but I do say that it will be more beneficial to them if they know that it is to be permanent. You could not encourage the western wheat producer to grow wheat under this Order in Council if he knew that it ended on the 30th day of June, 1917, if the war should then end. You must have the element of permanency in anything to ensure the full measure of benefit, and particularly in an Order in Council of this character.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LABOR:

Is the hon. gentleman aware that wheat is 27 cents a bushel to-day higher in Winnipeg than in Chicago?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

If the hon. gentleman says that is a fact I accept his word. I am not endeavouring to argue that phase of

the question at all. If the price of wheat is 27 cents a bushel higher in Chicago than in Winnipeg then I say, let the western farmer feel that he is likely to reap that advantage permanently.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LALOR:

I think the hon. gentleman misunderstood me; what I said was just the opposite. I said that in Winnipeg it was 27 cents higher than in Chicago.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

Well, I suppose my hon. friend will then say to his friends and the Government that the passage of the Order in Council was a foolish thing. Now, -they give a further reason for the passage of this Order in Council and I want to read it to the House. This is a most astonishing thing as it appears to me:

And whereas it is desirable at a time when a special appeal is being made for increased agricultural production to supply grain and food stuffs to Great Britain and her Allies which now include the United States of America,-

It would appear that the Order in Council was passed to encourage the production of wheat and flour in this country so that we might help our ally the United States. That is what that portion of the Order in Council which I have read seems to suggest. I suppose it was inserted for that purpose. If so, it is deceptive, because it does not truly set forth the facts. The United States is a great producer of wheat, as we are, and our Allies, Britain, France and Belgium look to the United States as they look to us, to exert our utmost efforts to see that sufficient food products are grown this year, next year and the following year after that, whether the war so long continues or not, in order that the needs of the Allies, present and future, may be met. The Order in Council is based in part on the theory that the rich and powerful republic to the south of us might need our wheat and our flour, and as our ally and for her possible succor we should encourage the production of wheat in this country. That is a proposition I cannot subscribe to. The United States has just entered the war. She has dedicated her life and her fortunes, everything they have, andeverything they are, with the pride of those who knew that the time had come when they were privileged to spend their blood andtheir might for the principles which gave them birth and happiness,,

using the exact words of President Wilson

And they came in at a very opportune moment for the Allies. They came in with 17,000,000,000 to start with, an amount almost equal to the total gold- supply of the whole world. I do not think it is fair to say in that Order in Council that we should necessarily encourage the production of wheat in the Canadian provinces for our new and mighty Ally, the United States. Our wheat is' not vital to her life, I trust. If they want wheat they are willing to buy it and pay for it as a commercial transaction.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. MACLEAN:

While the Government were considering the matter of amending the tariff under the War Measures Act, which was an objectionable method, I say they should have considered further amendments to the tariff. The Minister of Finance was sweating great drops of blood and undergoing terrible agony when he consented to the new reciprocity treaty to satisfy his friends of the western provinces, and he might as well have considered the abandonment of further items of tariff taxation, limited though it might be, to encourage agricultural production, which is needed now and in the next few years to come. Should the war fortunately end during the current year, as I trust it will, there would .still exist a great necessity for increased productions in all the food-producing countries of the world for 1918, and the same .will be true of 1919 and 1920. The world will be fortunate indeed if it escapes a famine, not only during the days of actual .war, but after the days of peace come and the annies have been restored to their several countries. Any Government policy should be predicated not upon the demands of to-day or to-morrow, or of this year, Ibut upon tho.se of several years to come. Talking production is waste of time unless we encourage and assist as far as we can those who are engaged in agricultural pursuits. The removal of duties upon fertilizers, farm machinery and all the instruments of production would be of considerable advantage in these years to the men who are exhorted by Governments and by business men and by everybody to increase their productions. Even if you did it under the War Measures Act, it would be evidence of good intention at least. But we observe that there is nothing in the speech which has been delivered by the Minister of Finance to indicate that he has given any consideration whatever to aid in this manner increased production.

In many other respects much might foe done to encourage production. There might be a reduction in freight rates upon all the commodities which are instruments in production, such as farm machinery and fertilizers. It would not be a difficult'matter for this country to arrange in one way oT .another, even if it were paid for out of the treasury, to have the freight rates reduced upon these commodities which are so essential in production. It would assist in the accomplishment of the end which we all desire. Then I think the Government might very well insist upon a preference in transportation for such things as seed, fertilizers, farm machinery, etc., in view of the existing congestion of traffic. "If we desire to actually increase production iit is only a fair suggestion that there should be some preference in transportation in view of the congestion and the many restrictions to-day placed upon transportation, in order that we might thus encourage the men whom we .are continuously and persistently exhorting to increase production for the good of this country, for the welfare of humanity, and for the great cause which we have at heart. Further, would not a reduction, or an elimination entirely in many cases, of the duty on 'high-priced articles of necessity be of advantage to the Canadian consumer today? Would it not widen the field of competition and assist in the restoration of more healthy trade conditions and thus restrict the possibility of manipulation of prices and the withholding of products from the market? Every other protectionist country in the world 'has since the beginning of the war reduced or removed entirely the duties upon food products. This is the only country in the world, I think, which deliberately undertook to increase taxation upon the actual necessities of life, even food products, when .the 7i per cent was added to the general tariff in 1915. I think I may fairly foe justified in expressing my surprise that nothing has 'been done by the Government in this direction. Apparently they have not taken into consideration at all the doing of anything to relieve the distress and anxiety of so many of our .people in respect to the high cost of diving. Nothing has been done. A commission was appointed some years ago to inquire into this matter, 'but, instead of being called a commission to inquire into the high cost of living, it might more properly be described .as a commission to inquire as to what was the cost of the living of the dead. They have been engaged

upon this investigation for a long time now, and it looks as if most- persons in this country who might he interested in that report will probably be numbered among the dead before any report is made. An Order in Council was passed not so very long ago delegating to the provinces and the municipalities the poweT of investigating, and, in certain circumstances, taking action where it was found that the prevailing prices were unfair and unjust. That was not a serious attempt to meet the situation, I submit. It is purely a jest. It was never intended as a serious act in respect to a very serious and vital question to the people of this country. I am perfectly justified in designating that Order in Council as .an intended jest.

I said at the beginning of my remarks that there were many things not contained in the financial statement of the Minister of Finance which the people of this country might naturally expect to find in it. But I do not propose prolonging further my remarks at the present time. My colleagues upon this side will amplify and add to all that I have ventured to address to the Pouse this 'afternoon in my imperfect way, and I shall no longer continue my remarks upon the motion of the Minister of Finance.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

Michael Clark

Liberal

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK (Red Deer):

I rise, Sir, because, in the first place, I think it would be unfortunate for this debate to collapse at this moment without some attempt to bring home to'the Parliament and to the people of Canada the exact financial position of the country as a result of the war; some conception of the magnitude of the problems which have arisen during the war and which are, no doubc, present to the mind of the hon. Minister of Finance, as, indeed, he indicated in very, very brief references in a very brief speech.

I cannot, Sir, quite join in the congratulations of my hon. friend from Halifax (Mr. A. K. Maclean) to the minister on the brevity of his speech. I myself believe in a brief speech; it is, as a rule, more effective than a long drawn-out harangue. But a Budget speech may be so brief as to be almost perfunctory. We have been accustomed for years in this House, in dealing with trade questions in the Budget, to hear our Finance Minister of either complexion of politics, in stating the figures of the trade, go into a little detail as to what part of it constitutes exports and what part of it constitutes imports; as to what part of the trade takes place with the United Kingdom and what part of it takes place with

the United States, the two countries with which, of course, we do the vast proportion of our trade. That is one of the items in which, I venture to say, the speech of my hon. friend was brief almost to the point of being perfunctory. I can join, however, my hon. friend, the junior member for Halifax, in his congratulations to the minister on the favourable statement he has to make to the House as to the mere fig ires of the trade of the country and as to the prosperity we are enjoying at the present time. I join equally my hon. friend in the warnings he gave the House-warnings which were not needed by the minister-as to the transient nature of that prosperity and as to the peculiar way in which our trade has been increased.

Let me repeat, that it would be a misfortune if this debase had been allowed to collapse at the present moment. I do not think that the minister's speech, apart from dealing with the mere figures of our trade at the moment, can be considered a satisfactory statement of the financial conditions of the country; nor yet did it afford evidence of any idea in the mind of the minister or in the policy of the Government, as to the ineces&ary (steps which must be taken to deal with the terrible problems which axe before this country and which have been referred to in a measure by my hon. friend the junior member for Halifax. Take the one figure that was given to us by my hon. friend from Halifax, that of a yearly interest charge of $65,000,000 which has already accrued as debt interest alone in this country since the beginning of war. When I reflect, Sir, that, the total income and expenditure of Canada for all purposes was much below that figure twenty years ago, I cannot but think that as we are approaching the end of the war-we all hope so, anyhow-the minister might have given some evidence of the steps and the policies which will be necessary to deal with such interest charge and with the other innumerable problems which have already arisen out of the war and which will Increase as the months go on.

The Minister of Finance closed his statement by saying that there were no tariff changes in the Budget. Well, as my hon. friend from Halifax has pointed out, that is not the way we get our tariff Changes nowadays. In other words, if we are to apply the arguments which we heard in the country six years ago from my friend the Minister of Finance and from every gentleman on the other side of the House whose speeches I have perused-and which

we have heard from the minister in very recent timesi-we have been annexed to the United States by an Order in Council. Our railroads and our railroad services have been automatically twisted north and south by those who swore upon a hundred platforms that ,so far as they could they should never run any way except east and west. Well, if my hon. friend the Solicitor General and the Deputy Minister of Justice are Tight in their law-or, rather, I ought to say, if my hon. friend from Halifax is right in his law and the Order in Council lapses at the end of the war, I can only trust that the annexation will lapse then also.

I would not like to be in the position of the Minister of Finance on this question. He and I have had many good-natured bouts across this floor, and I do not think any one in the House has a greater admiration for many of his qualities than I have. But I must say that there is one of his qualities which I would not want to emulate, however much I might admire if. I have had far too little experience myself as a quick-change artist to envy his position at the present time. I cannot help recalling that oply in the last session of Parliament my hon. friend delivered a speech one hour and three-quarters in duration-and that was quite a long speech, much longer than the Budget speech; one of his speeches upon which the member for Halifax could not have congratulated him on the quality of brevity-in which he gave the reasons why we should not have free wheat. What changes this war has brought about! I recall a special sentence in the first speech which my- hon. friend delivered in this House. After having told us how 'his party had been put in power by the assembled and serried hordes of men behind him from the province of Ontario and how he had got the support of all classes in that province, he turned to us and said: "Would it not be the part of wisdom, the great province of Ontario having spoken in this way, for hon. gentlemen opposite to accept the verdict?" And now he himself, by an Order in Council, has torn the verdict to shreds and tatters. What changes, Mr. Speaker, this war has brought about! But I should be the last man to quarrel with the change, and here I offer my hearty congratulations to the minister. I hail with pleasure anything in the way of freer trade, come from where it may, and I offer the minister my hearty congratulations, as I do also upon

his increase of direct taxation announced in his Budget statement.

I know, in answer to the comments that I have been making, that it will be said by some hon. gentlemen opposite-they have already been saying it in the country- that this free wheat is a mere war measure, and they leave the people of Ontario to infer that it will disappear at the end of the war. The Minister of Finance and the Solicitor General do not feel disposed to take that course; and if they do not, I shall give them credit for courage and honesty; but the fact remains that hon. gentlemen opposite are saying on the public platforms now that this is a war measure, and the inference is that it will disappear after the war is over. Something of that meaning must have been in the mind of the Minister of Trade and Commerce at an interview he gave on the status of the change. He made one of those curious statements that only he is capable of producing, when he said: "This is removed from the realm of trade." When I read that statement, two thoughts occurred to me: the first was, if it was removed from the realm of trade, into what realm was it removed? I wondered whether it had gone into the realm of science or astronomy or some realm of that kind. The second was, that we are dealing in wheat with the United States, disloyal though that may be, especially in this time of war. The keystone of the arch, as my hon. friend from St. Antoine (Mr. Ames) said in the debate six years ago-I remember what he said because I followed his speech-is gone. We are dealing with the United States, but the Minister of Trade and Commerce says that this thing is removed from the realm of trade. Had he been here, I would have asked him what realm it has gone into. Then I would have gone on to ask him why a Minister of Trade and Commerce should rejoice in any act of the Government being removed from the ' realm of trade. To an ordinary man like myself, a Minister of Trade and Commerce ought to be a man whose endeavour is to promote trade, but the gentleman who holds the portfolio of Trade and Commerce at the present time might be better described as a minister to prevent trade. He went to the Antipodes and came back without paying expenses as the greatest commercial traveller in the world. On his way back he stopped off at Japan, but I do not know that our trade with Japan has increased by reason of his visit, and I do not

know of anything he has done to increase the trade of the country; and now when the Minister tof Finance, aided by the advice and assistance of the Solicitor General, brings in a measure for the establishment of free trade in wheat with the United States of America, the Minister of Trade and Commerce rejoices in the fact that it is removed from the realm of trade. It will be said that this is a war measure and the inference will be drawn. I suppose every one says it is a war measure; that this is being done under the War Measures Act. If it be that, then I think even as fair an opponent of the Administration as I am myself, or as fair a critic of the Administration as I claim to have been, is entitled to point out that a little tardiness has been shown in producing this measure. The war has been in existence for two and three-quarters years. Surely, if it be only a war measure it should have occurred to the Administration sooner. The war was in a very active state a year ago when the Minister of Finance delivered a speech lasting an hour and three-quarters, telling us why we could not do this very thing. If it be a war measure-and we are all interested in war measures and in their success, I call you to witness, Sir, that no man can charge me with having taken much interest dn anything else than the war for the last three years-why was it not put into force at the beginning of the war? My hon. friend from Halifax (Mr. Maclean) has pointed to the fact that nearly every country at war made tremendous tariff changes almost immediately the war began. Take Germany, our great opponent in arms, but the exemplar of hon. gentlemen opposite in tariff matters-at least until lately. I really hope they will not go to Germany. The Minister of Trade and Commerce will not even call them Germans; he always refers to them as " Huns." What an illogical thing it would be for a civilized gentleman in the twentieth century to do-to go. to the " Huns " for a fiscal policy. I should be sorry to do it myself; I would rather go to free England. That, however, is by the way. What did Germany do in regard to these matters? I read:-

On September 17, 1914, His Majesty's Minister at Copenhagen forwarded a list of the articles in respect of which customs duties had been suspended by the German Government up to that date.

From some points of view these Huns are a pretty wide-awake people, for this was done within six weeks of the commencement of the war.

This list, which is a lengthy one, includes inter alia: Bread, beans, butter, eggs, poultry,

edible fats, fish, meat, prepared alimentary products, cereals and flour, potatoes, cheese, cattle, pigs and sheep, and margarine.

The Board of Trade have also a copy of a German proclamation dated March 8, 1915, which temporarily suspended the customs duties on a large number of other articles, including certain fruit, game, arrowroot, sago and tapioca, sugar and yeast.

Let me say that similar changes were made-and almost as early-in Austria-Hungary, France, Italy, and in non-belligerent 'countries, such a3 Portugal and Spain. In Sweden customs duties on wheat and Wheat flour-the very change to which my hon. friends opposite have become wideawake after the war has been in existence for nearly three years-were suspended in December, 1914, when the war had not been in existence six months. I think it is fair to give the history of what these countries have done and to indulge in the reasonable criticism that, if this is to be defended as a war measure, then tue Government must, with that defence, receive the condemnation of having been at least two years and a hailf too long in introducing it.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess.

The House resumed at Eight o'clock.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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April 24, 1917