May 13, 1921

UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Why North York is

represented in this House by an hon. member who does credit to it.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OP FINANCE.
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Come again.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OP FINANCE.
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not want so to

disconcert hon. gentlemen that they lose their bearings altogether.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OP FINANCE.
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IND

Robert Henry Halbert

Independent

Mr. HALBERT:

What about putting

Burnaby in the field against the leader of the Opposition?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OP FINANCE.
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

There is plenty of time to fix that up yet. The hon. gentleman knows, of course, that the leader of the Opposition has been struggling hard to get that matter fixed up and I do not doubt myself that he will succeed. Perhaps, of course, the play will be continued for the sake of appearances. But what I say to hon. gentlemen opposite is this: Why not throw the mask away? Why not join right up? Am I to be told that I am anxious to keep these people divided? I was paid that compliment by the leader of the Opposition last session. "Oh," he said, "you would like to divide us. We are the forces of 'progress.' The farmers may be going one way and we moving the other, but we are all 'progressing'; you want to divide us." I do not want to divide them. I think if I did that is just what would unite them. Why do they not unite? I do not care whether they divide or unite if they will really and finally say where they stand and remain there. If they want to unite let them do so. Let them then throw away both platforms and frame one on which they can both stand and then remain on it; but do not let 'them say that one is still back on the 1918 platform and the other on the 1919 platform, when, as a matter of fact, each of them has in this House discarded them both.

Think of the 1919 platform. Do hon. gentlemen opposite remember that convention? Do they remember the solemn words of its tariff platform, a definite real commitment? Let me see-it is not two years old yet, it is a little over a year and a half old. There were eighteen articles that were to be free. It is true eleven of them were free when the resolution was passed.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OP FINANCE.
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Yes, but they did

not know that.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OP FINANCE.
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

They had to have

padding as well as substance so they said all these articles were to be free. Then there was to be a big reduction in the tariff all round. There was to be "reduction of the tariff whereby substantial reductions would be effected in the cost of wearing apparel and other articles of general consumption, other than luxuries, as well as on raw materials entering into the same." Then the British "preference was to be increased to 50 per cent. But here is the solemn affirmation with which the platform ends:

-"and the Liberal party hereby pledges itself to implement by legislation the provisions of this resolution when returned to power."

Pledges itself to implement that resolution when returned to power. Well, why do they not stand by it in between? Where has it gone? Why has it not been moved this session? Why was it not moved last session? Why was it not moved the session before? Why have they each session patched up something new? Now, if I do not get an answer to anything else, may I get an answer to that before this debate is over?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OP FINANCE.
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

You never will.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OP FINANCE.
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That interjection comes from opposite, and the man who says it speaks the truth. I wonder if hon. gentlemen really think that there is any single human being in this country who does not understand the game they are trying to play? Does any hon. gentleman think that any one is so dull that he cannot see the whole process of hocus-pocusing that is going on? Does any one believe that the farmers of Western Canada, who felt that they were deceived in 1896 by promises that never were fulfilled, and who as a ponsequenee commenced the organization which to-day supports hon. gentlemen diagonally across the way,-does any one imagine that they do not understand what is doing at this time? Does any one think for a minute that they are going to be deceived by this amendment put up in

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OP FINANCE.
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REVISED EDITION. COMMONS


this debate, and by the running away from their platform on the part of hon. gentlemen of the Agrarian party in this House? They are not deceived. They who accepted a straight and direct pledge in 1893, and who know that that pledge was not carried out-and I for one say that the country was the gainer because it was not-they who accepted then a pledge that they could all understand, are not very likely to be deceived by this circuitous sinuosity that none of them can understand.


?

An hon. MEMBER:

Order.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Some one says "order." They know that in 1893 and 1896 they were not represented by any special party in this House; they know they are to-day; and I think they know that if that party has not the courage to put its pledge before Parliament while in opposition it is not likely to have the courage to put that pledge into effect if returned to power.

Now, let me speak for a moment-

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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LIB
?

An hon. MEMBER:

You are getting

nailed up to the mast.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

We will have lots of

time, but I am afraid that time will not help my hon. friend. We have had already the assertion from a colleague very close beside the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Rinfret) that we will not have any reasons why they abandoned his platform.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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LIB
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

He differs from his party friend. There seems to be three divisions now. Well, to abandon a platform is bad enqugh, but to fail to furnish a reason for its abandonment is worse, and I will give credit to my hon. friend from St. James that he, at least, having abandoned his platform, is ready to give a reason for the apostasy.

Now, my hon. friend from Red Deer (Mr. Clark) in a speech expounding the cause that he has consistently espoused in this House, but the incarnation of which in a platform even he has never dared to move, was received with cheers on the part of hon. gentlemen opposite me, although they knew that what they were going to vote for had not the remotest family connection with the cause which he was expounding, and that they themselves had no sympathy whatever with the opinions which he was expressing. The hon. member for Red Deer brought into the discussion some

4 p.m. incidents and figures to which I should like very briefly to re-

fer. I think it is a compliment to him that he is able to evoke applause even from those who differ from him. That is because of the peculiar talents for debate that he possesses. He referred to a speech I made on the Budget a year ago, a speech of which he had a very poor opinion at the time -and I had not any very good one myself, any one in office will find that his time cannot be very much devoted to preparation of speeches-but nothwithstanding his very poor opinion of that speech he has done me the compliment of answering it repeatedly for the past twelve months. The organs of my hon. friends have been answering it too. I remember one paper in particular, published in the city of Winnipeg, which did me the very great kindness of having a lengthy reply to that speech by a gentleman called Mr. Hull, and in the same issue a very long reply by a professor from Scotland-I forget his name at the moment-and a two-column editorial as well in rebuke of what I said, ending with the statement, that the speech was not any good anyway. Well, I have nothing to say as to the remarks of the professor. They seemed to me to be charged mainly with a lot of unnecessary and unsupported sarcasm and to be perfumed with an aroma of omniscient complacency that those who profess to be trained economists only too often exhibit. But the case presented by the other gentleman, whom I do not know, did make an attempt to present something that really was material. I believe I can use the argument he put forward in respect of one phase of the subject, which I think was again referred to in this debate by the hon. member for Red Deer. I think I can use Mr. Hull's reply to illustrate just where the inherent weakness of his case comes in. The examination of this will disclose also what folly it would be on the part of a country situated such as we are to follow the trail blazed by the hon. member for Red Deer.

I refer-and I do not need to go any further, because this is really emblematic of the entire reply-I refer to the exception taken to certain remarks of mine as respects the tin plate industry of Wales and its history as compared with the tin plate industry of the United States and its history. I had stated in my address, basing my facts upon the report of a body of business experts appointed by the Government of Mr. Asquith, that the tin plate industry in Wales suffered a very severe reverse in the last decade of the last cen-

tury, and that that reverse was due to the policy adopted in respect of tin plate by the United States in 1891. I showed that in 1891 the tin plate of the United States was supplied from Wales and as a consequence that country was importing some

680,000,000 pounds a year; that after the imposition of the duty the importations went down to 28,000,000 pounds; that at the time of the imposition of the duty the production of tin plate in the United States was only 2,000,000 pounds; and that as a consequence of the duty in the course of a few years not only did imports go down from 680,000,000 pounds to 28,000,000 pounds, but the production in the United States went up from 2,000,000 pounds to 2,000,000,000 pounds. Now, it might have been expected that such a reduction of imports would be reflected in a curtailment of the total trade figures of the United States, but, instead of being a loss to the United States, that reduction of imports was an advantage. The money that would otherwise have gone out was kept within the country. There was at the same time almost a collapse of the tin plate industry of Wales; a collapse that it took it at least twenty years to recover from; a collapse, which, indeed it has not wholly recovered from yet. While that was going on there was extreme suffering among the miners of Wales, and the industries related to the tin plate industry suffered as well. On the one hand, while in England, where there was no tariff and where the home market was invaded by those who kept their own markets to themselves-while in England there was continued suffering, continued depression, continued loss of trade, there was on the part of the United States a multiplied production, a multiplied increase in trade and a multiplied prosperity.

Now, I was answered by Mr. Hull to this effect: Yes, it is true; tin plate production went up from two million to two billion pounds-went up by a thousand fold. But oh, what it cost them, he said. Why, the amount paid the first year, an amount which did not go into the treasury at all, was some $6,000,000, and the price of tin plate increased so enormously that severe injury resulted to the canning industry of the United States. The people had to pay so much for cans that the fruit rotted and vegetables rotted, and consequently it did more harm than good. That was Mr. Hull's argument. Now, let us examine with just the same care what were the facts.

Yes, there was an increase but a trifling increase in the price of tin plate. There was no increase as compared with the year 1891. I have the figures here, taken from the Metal Record official report, which will show very quickly just what were the results. In 1890 the price of tin plate, Bessemer coke per 108 pounds was $4.80; in 1891, $5.34; in 1892, $5.30; in 1893, $5.37; 1894, $4,89; 1895, $3.87; 1896, $3.63; 1897, $3.20; 1898-the last year given here -$2.99. That is to say, tin plate went up from 1891, when the duty was imposed-it went into effect in 1892-from $5.34 to $5.37 in 1893. It went up from $4.80 in 1890'to $5.30 in 1892; that is the most favourable comparison which can be taken from the point of view of Mr. Hull. Now, what does that amount to? It amounts to less than one-half cent a pound; it would add to the price of a can for the purposes of the canning industry one-eighth of one cent. That is the total amount of the increase, and one-eighth of one cent to a cah is said by Mr. Hull to have been so high that it injured the canning industry of the United States. Could anything be more absurd? But what happened? It is a fact that the canning industry of the United States suffered from depression in 1891 and 1892 like almost everything else did, through over production. That is quite true, but it suffered nothing at all from the one-eighth of one cent to a tin. In the course of seven years, instead of an increase in the price of that product that they were making at home, there was a decrease from $5.34 to $2.99, or little more than half of what it was when the duty was put on. Does not that pretty well close the argument? Does it not show that in addition to securing a business which Britain had before and increasing the tin plate production from two million to two billion pounds; in addition to getting all the advantages accruing to a country from maintaining that tremendous industry at home; the advantage accruing from not sending the money outside in the purchase of the goods elsewhere; in addition to the advantage accruing to the cognate industries depending upon and getting benefit from the tin plate industry; in addition to all that they actually secured in time, by manufacturing in their own country on a tremendous scale, a very substantial reduction in the price of tin plate itself. I do not need to pursue this subject further. The same result on a lesser scale has happened in our country in relation to many articles; the same can be shown in

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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UNI L
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Mr. Norman P. Lambert, now secretary of the Canadian Council of Agriculture. I could pass from one of those classes of goods made free to another; but if I do, this speech will be much longer than it ought to be in a Budget debate.

My hon. friend frequently refers to the cream separator business. After the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark) had ceased turning the cream separator, the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) took up the task. On platform after platform he has been turning away at those separators. I cannot understand-in fact I am pretty well convinced that the contrary is the fact-what benefit in the world has accrued from taking the duty off cream separators. One can scarcely produce any better evidence than that furnished in an article that appeared some time ago in the Regina Leader. If the hon. member for Marquette wants to know what the Regina Leader is, I can tell him that too. That journal deputed one of its staff to find out what the differences in price were between implements in the United States and in Canada. He investigated. Every one knows that you can take a place just to suit you, on the one side of the line or on the other, and you can in that way make a difference in price in favour of whichever country you like. The best case that I have seen presented by way of comparison was presented by Mr. Findley, manager of the Massey Harris Company. It seemed to be most complete, and I believe it made an impression throughout the West. His figures showed the points where the freight rates were equal and, consequently, the comparison was the fairest that could be made. Well this servant of that newspaper went over, and he brought back figures to show what difference there was between the price a farmer had to pay in Canada and that paid by his more fortunate neighbour, as they put it, across the border. He gave a list of, I think, six or seven articles and he showed the difference in price between the two countries. Will any hon. gentleman in this House be bold enough to suggest what the article was upon which the percentage of difference was the biggest of the whole seven? Well, it was cream separators. The writer apparently did not know that cream separators had been on the free list for many years, so he included them in the list, and he showed that we were paying in this country

some $80 for a cream separator which the Americans paid $60 for-, or, perhaps, the prices are $90 and $70 respectively. At all events, the biggest margin of difference proportionate to cost, was in the case of cream separators. That would not indicate that we were very much the better off in point of price, to say nothing of the condition which the industry is in, because of what was done as to the duty on separators.

Topic:   REVISED EDITION. COMMONS
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May 13, 1921