May 7, 1919

L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

The minister was kind enough to direct his observations very largely to myself. He has not in any way cleared his Government from the responsibility of starting this new venture of opening credits in a foreign country with .which we never did any business before. We have done our share in connection with the war nobly and well, particularly as an ally of our Mother Country, and nobody is finding very much fault with any moneys that have been expended in that direction. But I say to the Acting Prime Minister that we are under no obligation to build up Rumania or any other country that might have of its own free will gone into the war and received some damage by reason of that fact. It is going too far to ask the Canadian people, who have not the money ,to spend, who have to borrow money for their own purposes, who cannot, by reason of the high cost of living and other matters, get all the money they require for their own purposes, to furnish this money; and the Acting Prime Minister is going too far in looking for sympathy and applause from his supporters to-night by saying that we are doing this in the generosity of our hearts and extreme loyalty in order to build up the finances df Rumania, because that country got into trouble with its neighbours and not because- of any loyalty to us.

I have no fault to find with advancing credits to Great Britain, France, Italy or Belgium because, if the Acting Prime Minister had the securities of those

12 p.m countries in his vault, he could easily raise money on them from any hank in this countryor in the United States. But the trade that we went after, by and

through our Trade Mission, was the trade of a country whose securities are evidently not very good in this country, upon which securities the Acting Prime Minister cannot raise any money and which, as the hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux) stated, are being peddled about from bucket shop to bucket shop in London at much below par- What we should have done is to deal with Great Britain and France, and if Great Britain and France want to advance goods to those smaller powers who are under their control and who must pay for them or get into trouble, that would be good business. We could very well say to the British Government: We will give you all the credit you want; we will arrange that we send the goods to you, and you can deal with the smaller countries. We never had any dealings with those countries in the most prosperous days of Canada, and why should we now pass over the heads of France, Italy and Great Britain and seek trade with countries with which we have never dealt with before? That is the particular fault I have to find. It is stated that our Trade Mission and our Trade Ministers were so clumsy and slow and incompetent in securing trade that everything that was worth having was gone and they were glad enough at last to fall back on such trade as they could make with Rumania by offering Rumania the money. That is where the difficulty is. If our manufacturers were properly represented on the other side by live business men, they would have secured the orders that the United States manufacturers got, but we did not get them, and our representatives, in order to do something to justify their existence on the other side, had to make this masterful stroke of saying to Rumania: We will give you money if you will be kind enough to buy our goods. That is all they did for which they claim so much credit, and I do not think they have shown any great foresight or capacity because they have done that.

I want to be absolutely fair to the manufacturers. We have manufacturers in the part of the country from which I come, manufacturing rails and all kinds of structural steel. They got no help from the Government.

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UNION

Donald Nicholson

Unionist

Mr. NICHOLSON:

Will.the hon. member say what means were taken to provide the Steel Company at Sydney with orders .so that they could continue manufacturing steel rails?

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

The Minister of Railways found it proper, with a view to building three or four, or ten, thousand miles of railway next summer, to secure contracts for rails at a price below war prices. That is all that was done, and I am quite satisfied that any such a contract should be made with any manufacturer in the *country. The Nova Scotia Steel had to *send out their own agent to London and do the best they could to make contracts for themselves. Colonel Can'tley went to London representing the Nova Scotia Steel. The company got no help from any body. Some of their men had to be laid off for ,a couple of months because there was not enough work to keep things going; but they had good times during the war and they had to put up with the difficulties that came their way, without any help from the Government. If the Nova Scotia Steel and other concerns in the part of Canada from which I come have to forage for themselves and find a market for their product as best they can, I cannot understand why other concerns should not do the same thing.

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UNION

Avard Longley Davidson

Unionist

Mr. DAVIDSON:

Is the hon. gentleman aware that Colonel Cantley was unable to get any contracts in England because of the difficulty of financing over there?

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I am not aware of any such difficulty. I am aware that while the men were idle for a while, they have now gone back to work and everything is going on first-class. The company did not get a cent of assistance from this Government or anybody else.

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UNION
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I am not saying whether he was or not. I know he went over there to try and get contracts. I know that the steel works are now working on their own initiative without a dollar of assistance from this Government, and what they have done other concerns should be able to do. But no one will exert himself if the Minister of Finance is going to take the whole responsibility on himself and relieve him of all his difficulties. I am sure the Nova

Scotia Steel and the Dominion Iron & Coal and other concerns in Nova Scotia would he delighted to jump at such an opportunity as that, but they had to get along by themselves, and they got along fairly well, and I think that is a more healthy way of doing business in any country. I would suggest that at this late hour the Bill should stand.

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UNION

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Unionist

Sir THOMAS WHTTE:

We will take it up to-morrow.

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L LIB

William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

When the resolution on which-this Bill is founded was before the House I asked the Minister of Finance when the Order in Council had been passed with reference to the Rumanian loan, -and he promised to give me the information. I already knew that an Order in Council had been passed, but the Prime Minister promised to get that information. A fortnight or three weeks have passed and the information has not yet been brought down as to when that Order in Council was passed granting a credit to Rumania. I understand it was passed only four or five days before the resolution was discussed in the House, but I should like to know the exact .date.

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UNION

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Unionist

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I paid so much attention to the request of my hon. friend that I laid the Order in Council on the Table the next day. The Order in Council was passed as soon as the agreement signed by the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the Prime Minister of Rumania came to hand. It could not be passed before that agreement had come to hand. I would not like my hon. friend to think I was guilty of any discourtesy.

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L LIB

William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

The minister must have laid it on the Table sotto voce. It is strange that the Government should pass an Order in Council granting a credit to Rumania when the people's representatives were assembled here in Parliament, and I wish to protest against any such action of the Government.

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UNION

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Unionist

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

The assistant clerk calls my attention to the fact that on the 11th of April, as I stated, I laid the Order in Council on the Table.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Hon. gentlemen laugh with great glee because the Order in Council was laid on the Table without the knowledge of a private member. I wish to say with .reference to laying Orders in Council on the Table, that that is no proper means of communicating information to

this House. I have complained about it dozens of times. Whenever an important Order in Council or .any important document is to be laid on the Table, a copy of it should be put in the box of every hon. member. We cannot hear a word in this House; I can hardly hear a word myself, and it is much worse for hon. gentlemen sitting behind. An Order in Council can be laid on the Table without any one being the wiser. We cannot always be standing over the clerk to see what is being laid on the Table. I repeat, when any information is laid on the Table of which hon. members should be made aware, a copy should be placed in every member's box, just as is done with the Estimates.

Progress reported.

On the motion of Sir Thomas White, the House adjourned at 12.15 a.m., Thursday.

Thursday, May 8, 1919.

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May 7, 1919