Hon. iSir HENRY DRAYTON (Minister of Finance) moved:
That the Speaker do now leave the Chair for the House to go into Committee of Ways and Means.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am afraid that on the present occasion I shall have to ask the indulgence of the House as I shall have to address the House at considerable length. The fault is not mine; the financial position of the country at the present requires, I think, to be dealt with in considerable detail.
The conditions not only in Canada to-day, but the world conditions obtaining, are very different from the conditions which did obtain while the war was in progress. During this period the compelling necessity of the moment, the winning of the war, required raising large sums of money in the easiest possible way and with the least infMr. Fielding.]
terference with the public or with business methods. It was absolutely imperative that there should be no check in production, no questions raised which might hinder that production or hinder the war effort. It was no time for the consideration of domestic politics, which in any way might distract the nation from a united effort towards the supreme end.
These conditions to-day are changed; the war is won; expenses are great; the cost of Government operations as well as the carrying on of every business of every character in the country has increased enormously, and over and above this the country, with other countries which took their part in the titanic struggle, is faced with a pyramid of debt. The task to-day is to aid the return to ordinary economic conditions to the extent that such return is at this time possible.
The duty to-day is not only to carry on the Government of the country without any additions to the debt, but on the other hand to promote measures which will reduce the nation's obligations. The task while heavy is nevertheless not as severe and difficult as the obstacles and difficulties wh'ch the country has gloriously overcome in the five years of war and stress. Indeed, were it possible for the country to again become as united and earnest as it was during the war period, if it were possible for each and all of us to sink all differences, class and sectional interests and jealousies into an effort towards re-establishing Canada las united and co-ordinated as that which won the war, the task would indeed be easy and simple.
Canada's soldiers during that period won .for themselves and our country imperishable fame. " Their name liveth for evermore." But the productive efforts of Canada during that period were second only to their glorious record. For the five fiscal years ended on March 31, 1915, the excess of the country's imports over exports amounted to $825,521,490. For the next succeeding five years, ended on .March 31 last, this excess of imports was not only overtaken, but our exports exceeded our imports by a sum of $1,803,442,233. It is plain in view of such a tremendous productive and industrial exploit, that if anything like the same effort is made to overcome debts, and by overcoming debts to bring .about a proper deflation of prices, credits, and circulation, the task will prove well within our powers. Canada's trade while, as in the ease of all countries, subject >to periodical depression has steadily advanced, as the following figures will show:
Fiscal Year. Total Trade.
1879 $ 149,489,188
1889 , . .. 196,309,107
1920 (unrevlsed) . . .. 2,351,174,886
The increase thus recorded is one which is contributed to practically by all of our productive agencies and is spread over a .wide field. An increase in the basic industry of agriculture may be illustrated by the country's wheat production which has been as follows:
As indicating the development which has taken place in the production of our agriculture, forests, mines, and fisheries, and the growth of our manufacturing establishments, I desire to place on record the following statistics:
Year. Field Crops. Farm Produce. Production.1900.. . $ 194,953,420 $169,953,446 $ 364,906,8661910.. , 279,982,334 663,349,1901917.. ,
1,14 i,637,000 476,391,000 1,621,028,0001919.. .
1,452,437,000 523,404,000 1,975,841,000Forest Production-Canada. Year. Log Products 1917 Year. and Wood Pulp. 1918
211,301,8971881 . . . .
$ 39,540,570 1919
1889 $ 14,013,113
Subject to revision.
Fishery Production-Canada. Fiscal Year.
Year. Capital Invested. Employees. Value of Products.
1881 $ 165,302,623 254,935 $ 309,676,0681891
353,214,300 369,595 469,847,8861901
446,916,487 308,482 481,053,3751906
846,585,023 356,034 718,352,6031911
1,247,583,609 515,203 1,165,975,6391915
1,994,103,272 514,883 1,407,137,1401917
2,786,649,727 692,067 3,015,577,940
Co-related with the above are certain financial statistics which are interesting.
Canadian Chartered Banks.
Amount of Fire Insurance
Year. and Reserve.
1888 $ 79,218,565
Total Bank Deposits by Year. the Public in Canada.
1878 $ 71,900,195
Policies in Force.