May 25, 1920

UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The valuations increased. Under the Fielding tariff the duty on ploughs was 20 per cent; under reciprocity it would have been 15 per cent; now it is 17* per cent. .

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UNION
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I think it is 17* per cent, although possibly I am wrong in that, but that I think is one of only two exceptions in the whole list where the present level is not as low as under the Reciprocity tariff. Fielding Under Tariff Reciprocity To-day Per cent Per cent Per cent

Binders

17* 15 12*Mowers

17* 15 12*Reapers

17* 15 12*

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L LIB
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No, the Liberals raised the valuations.

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L LIB
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The valuations rise

with the value, and always did. I continue :

Fielding Under Tariff Reciprocity To-day Per cent Per cent per cent Seed drills .... 20 15 15Weeders

20 20 15

The hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's would not reduce this tariff.

Fielding Under

Tariff Reciprocity To-day

Per Manure cent Per cent per centspreaders .... 20 20 15Harrows 20 15 15Traction engines 20 20 Free up to valuation of $1,400 Separators .. .. 20 15 174Farm wagons .. 25 221 20Windmills .. .. 20 20 174Fanning mills.. 25 20 20Cultivators .. .. 20 15 15

I have taken a list of the fourteen principal farm implements, and I find that the duties on eight out of the fourteen are lower to-day than they were under the Fielding tariff and lower to-day than they would have been under reciprocity.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Who lowered them?

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Lowered by the Government of Sir Robert Borden. On eight the duties are lower even than under the reciprocity; on four more the duties are lower than under the Fielding tariff and equal to what they would have been under reciprocity; on two of them, or the balance, the duties are lower than they were under the Fielding tariff.

Mr. CREiRAR: Why does the minister not get to work and reduce the duties on those articles still further?

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I will tell my hon. friend why just in a minute; but I have said enough to show that if in 1907 there was a substantial reduction made which hon. gentlemen supported as such, twice that reduction was made by the Government that is now in office. The duties on farm implements under the Fielding tariff would average 20.18; under reciprocity they would have averaged 17.32, and under the present tariff they average 14.64. What I should like to submit to hon. gentlemen is this. If they believe what they profess to believe on this question, would not the better thing for them to do be to support a government that acts, rather than a government that professes and fails to act?

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PRO
UNION
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I have no objection, Mr. Speaker.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. gentleman (Mr. Clark) has already spoken.

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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. MICHAEL CLARK:

Might I suggest that the minister do not speak by way of asking questions.

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UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

The minister is quite within his right to submit any questions he chooses.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Just before the House took recess at six o'clock, I stated, in answer to an ironical interruption by the hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe), who seemed to take a sort of sarcastic pleasure in the use of the term "adequate protection," that the leader whom he will undoubtedly now support and the exMinister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) whom he supported for many years, proclaimed the Fielding tariff as a tariff of adequate protection. Now I propose to show that that is correct, and I do not think he was very far wrong in his description. In fact, in some cases I thought, and think still, he had too high protection. Speaking on the 7th of June, 1964, in the Budget Speech he said that his tariff had:

included a considerable measure of incidental protection-

That was the favourite word of the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's all the time he was in office in describing his protective tariff. He took care almost universally to call it "incidental" protection, as if it made a bit of difference what adjective he applied to it, whether it was incidental, accidental or transcendental. It was not the adjective, but the amount of the duty that counted, and those who were interested in the tariff of Canada did not care whether he called it incidental protection or anything else. He went on to say:

-and in that respect It will command the admiration perhaps of hon. gentlemen opposite who are more anxious for protection than some of us on this side of the House.

"Same of us." He did not name them. He goes on:

X think as to whether or not it is adequate protection we have some evidence of a gratifying character that the tariff, without being excessive, is high enough to bring some American industries across the line-

Pretty real protection!

and a tariff which is able to bring these industries into Canada, looks very much like a tariff which affords adequate protection.

"Adequate protection."

And in the year 1909, I think it was or 1908, speaking on a motion for the further reduction of the duty on these very implements he made this statement, and I ask hon. gentlemen who feel like supporting the

hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's in this vague, visionary, misty, and cloudy resolution, after he has lopped off the specific and the actual, just to read what he said when in office and in which he still believes to-day, judging from, the whole tenor of his speech. Opposing the motion for reduction he said:

With a moderate duty we have induced American capital to come into Canada and to establish that great industry (The International Harvester Company of Hamilton) and after we have brought it in and established it in Canada, I believe that if we were to pass this resolution-

Reducing the duties, not making them free, but still leaving on 10 per cent. He says:

I believe that, if we were to pass this resolution the company operating that industry would find it profitable to close the Hamilton factory and bring in goods which they make in the United States.

That was his reason for oipposing the motion. He was opposed to reducing the duty by 7J. per cent when in office. But once out of office and when he wanted to perform a marriage ceremony with hon. gentlemen angularly opposite he is ready to take the whole duty off and leave it just as it w'as before 1896. He said:

On behalf of the Government I wish to say, following the statement of my hon. friend the Minister of Customs, that while we are not advocating a high tariff, while we are not advocating a Chinese wall tariff, while we are not seeking to shut everything out, we are willing that a moderate-

Listen to the words:

-that a moderate degree of protection, if you care to use the word, arising out of a tariff designed for revenue, but incidentally-

The same old phrase.

-giving some protection,-in some instances a considerable measure of protection-we are willing that, where there is a great industry in Canada, it shall receive a fair share of consideration which we have given by this tariff on agricultural implements, and so I must ask the House to reject the amendment of the hon. member for Souris.

Now it was argued in that debate, and argued again in the reciprocity debate in 1911, that the tariff that existed at that time, particularly the tariff on implements, was no more than a revenue tariff, and when the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's came back from Washington and announced his programme, he told the House that he could not reduce further the duty on implements, and he said that the reason was that to do so would be getting below the line of a revenue tariff. Now I ask hon. gentlemen

opposite if, at a time when the revenue necessities of this country were $125,000,000, the Fielding reciprocity tariff was no more than a revenue tariff, how does a much lower tariff become too high for a revenue tariff when the revenue necessities of this country are $350,000,000? Besides, through all those years, and many of them were hard years-there has never been a depression in Canada for twenty or thirty years like the depression of 1907 and 1908-he adhered to these means, and these means alone, of raising the revenue and never dared to impose one dollar of direct taxation in this country. I ask again if that Fielding tariff, if that scale of tariff, was no more than a revenue tariff, when we had not the courage to have direct taxation at all, how can hon. gentlemen complain of this scale now' that we have $81,000,000 by direct taxation and propose to have $181,000,000 next year? There could be nothing more inconsistent, nothing more ludicrously grotesque, than the position of hon. gentlemen opposite in respect of the scale of this tariff if they remember for one minute not only their owm innate beliefs on this subject, but the beliefs they put into practice through fifteen years of power.

Now I observe in this Liberal platform of August last, the greater part of which is now left at home, that they have changed the wrords of the farmers' resolution which calls for all foodstuffs to be put on the free list to read "the principal articles of food." The House will appreciate the skill of the generality, but would it not be interesting, and, indeed, is it not absolutely necessary, that the people of this country should know from hon. gentlemen opposite what these principal articles of food are. What are the principal articles of food? May I ask, is tea a principal article of food? I venture to say I shall never get an answrer from the leader of the Opposition, and I venture to say he will not give me an answer when he speaks in this debate. Is sugar a principal article of food? I would think it would be. We use something like $100,000,000 a year of sugar, we import $75,000,000, and we make quite a lot here. Is it the intention of hon. gentlemen opposite to put raw sugar and refined sugar on the free list? If it is, I think the country has a right to know. Whether it is their intention or not, I think the country has a right to know. Here is our tariff. What do you mean by your professions? Are meats a principal article of food? Are biscuits a principal article of food? Biscuits, the hallowred biscuits on which they never thought of revising the duty, even under reciprocity,

below 30 cents a pound. Are they a principal article of food? What are these principal articles of food? No answer, and there will be no answer, Mr. Speaker. It is in the vagueness and the generality of it that they take their refuge. Virtually all is vague and meaningless except the things that are free now, that were put in for mere padding, to make an appearance, and to paint a little ornament to look like the Farmers' platform. I have not succeeded in getting much in the way of answer from the leader of the Opposition.

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L LIB
UNION

Edgar Nelson Rhodes (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Unionist

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. leader of the Opposition will have his opportunity in due course.

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L LIB

May 25, 1920