Mr. MICHAEL CLARK (Red Deer) (resuming) :
Mr. Speaker, the war will pass. It is taking a long time and has brought heavy burdens and large problems, but it will pass. But the problems arising out of it, I venture to predict, will remain as long as the breath lasts in the body of the youngest member of this House. When I arose this afternoon it was with the serious purpose of endeavouring to contribute my humble quota to the financial principles which I believe will need to be followed by this country through its responsible ministers, of whatever political stripe they may be, if we are to deal satisfactorily with those problems within the present generation of men. I believe there will be such a change brought into the life of our country by the experiences of the war, and especially when our soldiers return, our soldiers who have gone in numbers which no one would have predicted was possible for Canada before the War, that our people will not be content with any perfunctory handling of these problems. They will demand that our public men shall go to the roots of them, shall study the needs of the
[DOT]country, and the economic principles which are necessary to solve those needs.
I want to lay down four principles which I believe will guide our statesmen of the next generation in the solution of these problems. These principles will compel themselves to be adopted by our statesmen, whatever they may call themselves, Liberal, Tory or Independent. The first of them has nothing novel about it, but there must be something good about it, for it has always had very strong supporters in this House. I know that in enunciating these principles to my hon. friend the minister of Finance, I not only have one of the aptest minds to impress that Canada has at the present time in her service, or has had at any time so far as my knowledge of those minds goes, but from his utterances today I know that he is partially converted to my views already, and to the extent that he is not converted he has such an agile mind that I know his conversion will be simple if the conditions are at all favourable.
The first principle that I want to emphasize was dealt with at considerable length and in very great detail by my hon. friend the junior member for Halifax (Mr. Maclean) this afternoon. It will be absolutely necessary to economize to the utmost extent in the moneys of the country. Since Confederation, as far as my reading of Hansard has informed me, every party in this country when in opposition has preached ecomomy and I am afraid it is equally true that every party in office has practised extravagance. That is a very lamentable record for the people of this country. There are two reasons why that record will be broken after the war. I believe, Sir, for a time conditions will be so bad that there will not be the money to spend, and that is a sure way of curing a man of extravagance. I indicated the other reason a moment ago, when I said the people of this country will be so chastened, so changed by the war, and will direct such close attention to the proceedings of Parliament that they will no longer be content to watch the struggle between the ins and the outs, but will demand that sound principles be applied to finance and to the public policy of the country generally.
We have ten governments in this country; ten prime ministers for seven millions of people! Heaven save the mark. Ten sets of cabinet ministers, and ten
sets of legislators. That is a pretty formidable thing just as I have stated it, but when you have each of these governments spending far more money than they should, I submit, Sir, that public extravagance has become in some of its aspects, the most serious problem and the most serious evil in the public life of this country. I do not want to say more under that head. I am perfectly certain that what I have said finds a resting place in the mind of every serious hon. gentleman in this House. It must do so, because the moment they get into Opposition they say exactly what I am saying, and have said so ever since Confederation.
The second principle which I want to lay down, and which will be forced upon the attention of our finance ministers, is that wealth must contribute more largely to the expenses of the Federal Government than it has ever done in the past. My hon. friend the minister indicated that this afternoon; he bases his proposed taxation in this Budget, as he did in his last, upon that principle. But I am not quite satisfied with the extent to which he is carrying his principle out. I am sure he means well, and I am sure the country recognizes that he has brought to the greater problems that have arisen during the course of this war a very acute mind and a very great knowledge of financial technique, and I am sure he has done what is perhaps the best thing that any man can do in this world: he has brought to the discharge of his duties an enormous amount of energy, continued application, and hard work. I say that with the very greatest pleasure, and I believe that it is generally recognized throughout the nation. But when I reflect that the business tax imposed last year, with all its retroaction, raised only $12,500,000, I do not think any one will seriously claim that wealth is making anything like its proper contribution in this day. towards the expenses of the Government. It is making no contribution comparable to the services and the sacrifices of the men in the trenches, and the generosity of the whole of our people, from the poorest to the wealthiest, in their private capacity, in support of the Belgian Relief, Red Cross, and Patriotic Funds, and in the hundred other ways that money has had to be raised in the course of the war. Compare that sum of $12,500,000 with the enormous increase in our trade, as revealed in the figures of the Finance Minister, especially the enormous increase in our export
two little islands which could be put twice into my province of Alberta and you would have 30,000 square miles left, and with all kinds of material out of which she had to make the articles of export brought into the country, not even found there as we can find them .in such rich abundance here! Shall we as Canadians, in face of a record like that, made in times of peace, be content to follow false fiscal ideals and keep our progress as s/low as it has been? Why, Sir, I venture to think that if this country had the courage to face the issue and to apply those principles that it ought to apply, there is no reason why in ten years time Canada should not have 15,000,000 people and be the most marvellous country, or one of the most marvelous countries, in the world. That is my belief in Canadians, and it is my belief in Canada if they will not hamper it. You should increase foreign commerce, you should broaden it out, and you cannot do it by building a Chinese wall around your border. You cannot increase foreign commerce in that way. You must release foreign commerce by taking off the obstacles that prevent its expansion. You must down with your tariff wall and *trust to freedom. Why should we not trust to freedom? That is what we are fighting for in Europe. We are fighting for freedom ; our sons are dying for it, and we have shouldered the burden in order that the fight for freedom may be brought to a victorious end.
But you say: Oh, yes, but we are fighting for freedom from oppression by a foreign tyrant, for civil and religious freedom, for the freedom of self-government. But what is any freedom worth if you cannot sell in the best market the produce of physical brawn and sinew and effort? We must increase our foreign commerce. That is my next principle.
The fourth principle I want to lay down, and which I think should be easily understood by hon. gentlemen opposite is that we ought to make Canada fiscally as good a country to live in as is the United States. When I first talked tariff in this House (before my hon. friend the Minister of Finance was in it, although he was a keen observer of 'Canadian affairs at that time) and when I first talked free trade, I was told that toy hon. gentlemen opposite that I did not understand this country, that I was up against a condition. It was said to me: Look at the tariff of the United States. Well, I am looking at it, but my hon. friends opposite have stopped looking at it. It is they who are up against a con-
dition now. My contention on this point is that instead of telling us that there were no tariff changes in the Budget my hon. friend would have shown more fiscal enlightenment if he had put everything on the free list in Canada that is on the free list in the United States. That would be the natural outcome of the . principle which was enforced upon me by my hon. friends opposite. That would be in accordance with looking at conditions like those of the United States and looking at the tariff of the United States. I have not made a list of the articles myself but I could give one that occurs to me. Why should we have a 30 per cent tariff on boots and shoes and have free boots and shoes in the United States? Is it because the boot makers of Canada are duffers? I am sure that my hon. friend from Montreal, St. Antoine (Sir Herbert Ames), would not admit that for a moment. Why should we have to pay 30 per cent on our boots and shoos with free boots and shoes in the United States? Does Canadian stubble not wear out the farmer's boots, and the boots of the farmer's boys, as fast as the stubble in the United States? Do our streets not wear out the boots of our poor people and of our salaried people that my bon. friend has such compassion for in the matter of an income tax? Do our streets not wear out our boots as fast as the streets in the United States? As a matter of mercy and justice to our own inhabitants why should we maintain a tariff like this? But, there is a deeper reason. We should always try to look at these things as patriotic men who want to try to make our country big and great. We are looking for immigration from the United States and the Director General is moving heaven and earth to get people in from the United States.
Talk about tacking and trading with the Yankees! We would not be convicted of trucking and trading with the Yankees on this side of the House. Bringing people from there and sending wheat there! Is reciprocity dead? It is the liveliest corpse that ever came out of a grave on a resurrection morn. We shall need people to develop our resources, to create wealth, which we shall tax in a direct manner, to produce the material which we shall exchange freely, following the example of the Mother country and leaving forever the example of the Huns. We shall need these people after the war. They might have had the encouragement that I am suggesting, and I really hope that my hon. friend will look into this before he brings in another Budget-according
to the expectation of some people, he may not have opportunity to do that for a long while. But that is something that is in the lap of the gods and in the womb of the future. I hope he will study the question, anyhow, and that, if he does not, some successor of his will do so the next time a Budget is produced in this House.
I daresay that some of my hon. friends opposite would like to turn to me and say: Well you are a great bore; after all, your speech is just another exposition of free trade. Well it is, and what can one do but keep expounding what one believes to he true until it reaches the unenlightened, or those who do not want to be enlightened.
I was told the same thing about free wheat.
I got an immense encouragement from the recent history of the hon. gentlemen opposite, and every little encouragement, to a man who lovies freedom as much as I do, will keep him going on preaching it as long as he is above the sod. It is an exposition of free trade, but I am afraid I have to give the House more than an exposition, of free trade in these war times. I think that the war has afforded the greatest vindication of free trade that ever principle received in the history of mankind. I think so. I pointed out this afternoon that I was glad of the opportunity of putting on Hansard what had actually happened in other countries of the world in regard to fiscal policy since the war began. It is a very interesting study, this fiscal question, more interesting than any fiction if a man will only give his mind to it. The tariff conditions in the world at the time the war broke out were very interesting. It would have appeared at the time the war broke out that while Britain was wedded more strongly than before to her free trade policy, the Central Empires-Germany the leader of them- were more firmly wedded than ever to the system of protection. They had built up the system in Germany in a period of forty years. They had buttressed it in every conceivable way, and appeared to be wedded to it. But the moment the war struck them what happened? Well, this is what happened: that Great Britain stayed with her fiscal policy of freedom, fighting for freedom because she knew better what it was than any other country in the world. She appreciated it more-I mean in fiscal matters-and she knew that . fiscal freedom and all-round freedom was worth fighting for. Little Denmark and Holland, each rather largely free trade countries and wonderfully prosperous as a result, did not need to alter their fiscal
policy. They did not put any imposts on. Whereas Germany and Austria-Hungary and the neutral protectionist countries ran away from their fiscal policies the moment the storm of w.ar struck them.
Mr. Speaker, when I go to sea I .should like to go always in a ship that could stand rough weather-and protection is evidently no ship for sailing when the waves roll high She is all right, perhaps, for foolish economic escapades on the part of young and inexperieced peoples when conditions are reasonably favourable, the breezes are favourable and things are good; hut when a storm strikes her every principle she carries is jettisoned. Protection is deserted, their tariff walls are thrown down as I put on record from Board of Trade figures this afternoon. We are at the parting of the ways in Canada. We have these problems to tackle. Our people, I believe, will look more anxiously to us for the tackling of them than they have ever done before, and we shall have to choose whether Canada is going on along the line of freedom fiscally to get nearer to the Mother Country's example, or whether she is going to keep wallowing in the beggarly elements of the Hun's policies or former United States *policies; whether she is going (to keep decking herself in the worn out and cast aside garments of nations which have become more advanced and more enlightened. I put that to oiie House seriously, not in a contentious spirit, but with the love of Canada and hope for its future as strong in my heart as it can be in the case of any man not born in Canada. We shall have to choose.
Have we any other guidance as to the worthiness of the free trade ship? I venture to think that the greatest financial miracle of the war has been the financing of Great Britain. It has been a war of miracles; we live in marvellous times. We have lived to see the people of Russia apparently cast off in a moment, before anybody was looking for such a thing, the swaddling clothes and bands of autocracy and become one of the free democracies of the world. We have seen her reach her hands over the heads of the Allies and grasp the great democracy of the West to the south of us at a time when that great democracy, speaking the English tongue, is throwing in her lot with the British Empire and giving her guarantee not only of the winning of the war but of the results of the war being such as will be thoroughly satisfactory to every free man everywhere. But financially there has been no miracle in the history of the world like
Subtopic: ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.