This year another
excuse has been advanced for the failure TMr. Maharg.]
to enter upon tariff revision and that is the Fordney Bill-that was one of the excuses presented by the Minister of Trade and Commerce the other day. He declared that the Fordney Bill is now before Congress, and we should not interfere with the tariff in this country until we know what is to be done with that measure. The statement is made that we must not trade with our neighbours to the south. If we are not to trade with the Americans why worry about the Fordney Bill? If we are not going to import goods from the United States, we certainly cannot expect to send exports to that country, and therefore we need entertain no apprehensions on the score of the Fordney Bill. But, Sir, the Fordney Bill is only an emergency measure; it is not intended to be permanent legislation. It is admittedly legislation intended to meet a condition which- prevails in the United States at the present time.
The Minister of Trade and Commerce referred to our interchange of wheat with the United States, and I believe he made the remark in Montreal that the United States consumer would have to pay the duty and1 not the Canadian people. That is perfectly true, and it is an admission that I scarcely expected to get from him. However, if I remember correctly, he discussed the matter a little further and referred to our wheat being milled in bond over there to escape the tariff, as though that were something new. Now, Mr. Speaker, up to the1 time that we had free interchange of wheat and wheat products with the United States our wheat was being continuously shipped to that country and milled in bond there. To put the matter plainly camouflage has been resorted to in connection with this matter; and the agitation raised in the United States at the present time in connection with this privilege of milling wheat in bond is only for the purpose of beclouding the issue. It is only intended as a palliative to the consumers of that country in the effort of trying to make them believe, by roundabout means, that what is proposed will not increase the price of their bread. Personally, I doubt very much whether the consumers of the United States will permit themselves to be led astray by any such argument. The big financiers and the milling interests over there know very well that they have got to have Canadian wheat. It does not matter what the United States tariff against Canadian wheat is, American millers have got to have Canadian wheat to blend with
their own, otherwise they cannot sell their flour on the world's markets. It is absolutely impossible for them to dispose of their flour unless sufficient Canadian hard wheat has been mixed with it so as to give it that quality that will permit of its finding a market. So that as regards wheat we do not need to worry very much. But wheat is only one of the products of Canada. I often wonder where the livestock man is going to land if the Fordney Bill goes into operation, because that legislation will make it very awkward for him to market his stock, especially when we consider the restrictions on the export of cattle to the Old Country. That legislation will likewise be a handicap to other producers as well as to livestock men. The argument has been advanced that if the Fordney Bill becomes effective we will have to enact retaliatory measures. I doubt very much whether any country benefits by resorting to such measures. The retaliatory principle is one that does not get you very far, and I am doubtful myself whether it will prove of very much benefit in the present instance. Sir, I am wondering what the excuse for not revising the tariff will be next year. We hear considerable these days, not about the Fordney Bill altogether, but respecting a gentleman who is, we are told, perfecting a system of manufacturing milk without the cow. Now I imagine that next year instead of the Fordney Bill being assigned as an excuse for maintaining the tariff at its present level, it will possibly be the prospect of "Fordney milk." Doubtless it would be a very serious thing if we were obliged to discard the meek and gentle old cow, and I have no doubt this Government will give that fact serious consideration in an attempt to use it as an excuse for retaining the present tariff.
The hon. member who preceded me (Mr. Anderson) dealt with the value of the home market to the people of Canada. We have been told in the West that Eastern Canada furnishes a home market for our products. I would like to inquire for what class of products Eastern Canada provides a home market? Let us take the province of Ontario for the purpose of illustration. The two chief products from Western Canada that Ontario uses are wheat and oats. In Ontario they use the wheat for blending purposes to bring up the standard of their flour, and they use the oats for milling operations to prepare the different oatmeals. But, Sir, Ontario is a producer of wheat as well as Western Canada, and she produces annually anywhere from
twelve to fifteen million bushels. Now if you take the per capita consumption of the province of Ontario I venture to say that it will run between four and five bushels. That is considered a high consumption, and I doubt, in view of the fact that very1 many substitutes are produced in that province, whether the consulntpion will run to four bushels per head. However, we Will put it at four bushels per head, and we will take the population of the province as being between two and a half and three million-I believe that 2,600-*000 are about the right figures. But we will take it at two and a half millions of a population. At four bushels per capita that would mean 10,000,000 bushels. Now, you will see that they have a surplus of anywhere from 2,000,000 to
5,000,000 bushels, which will provide liberally for seed and other contingencies. So that in reality while in Ontario purchases a certain quantity of our hard wheat; she also has a surplus of her own wheat which takes the place of her purchases from Western Canada, whatever they may be. Therefore, in that case the market provided in Eastern Canada in so far as our western wheat is concerned is very very small indeed. There is a considerable amount of oats purchased from Western Canada for milling purposes, but on the other hand we are very often importers of oats from Ontario. Hundreds of thousands of bushels were imported a few years ago, and almost every year when there is a short crop of oats in the West we import from Ontario. So far as the home market for the produce of Western Canada is concerned, to all intents and purposes it does not exist.
But what about the market provided in Western Canada for the products of Eastern Canada? That is a very different matter. Western Canada does not produce the variety of articles produced in Eastern Canada, and practically all our requirements are purchased either in Eastern Canada and the country to the south or from overseas. But the fact remains that instead of the East furnishing a market for Western Canada the opposite is the case. As an illustration, take fresh fruits. Millions of dollars worth are imported into Western Canada, in addition to canned fruits and vegetables. Our fresh tomatoes are largely purchased from Eastern Canada. There is no manufacture of cheese worth speaking of anywhere in Western Canada, so that we have to buy practically all our cheese. We also get from the East all our leather goods,
machinery, tools of all kinds, binder twine, rope, furniture, barbed wire, clothing, boots and shoes, and a multitude of other articles, so that instead of Eastern Canada furnishing a market for the West, we are continuously purchasing from Eastern Canada. I have no fault whatever to find with this condition of affairs other than the misrepresentation that we are subjected to, and I think in all fairness both sides of the case should be presnted.
There are one or two matters that affect Western Canada particularly, and, incidentally, all Canada that I should like to refer to, and they have got to be regulated in some way or other, otherwise not only the prosperity of Western Canada but of the whole Dominion will be seriously interfered with. First, I refer to freight rates. Last fall a new schedule of freight rates was put into operation. Values of products in Western Canada were fairly good at that time and the increased rates did not seem so serious, but things have changed, and apart from wheat, which has retained a fair measure of the value that it had, other products of the West have reached a point where it is practically impossible to ship them any distance and receive any return. Now, this is a condition of affairs that cannot be permitted to continue if we are going to prosper not only in the West but in the East, as I do not think there is any doubt but that the prosperity of Eastern Canada depends on the prosperity of the West, and as the prosperity of the West increases so will the prosperity of the East keep pace with it.
Take oats as an illustration. At the present time it does not matter how close a man lives to the market, he may be in the province of Manitoba, but at the present prices paid for oats at the local point, after the shipper has paid his threshing bill and his freight to the head of the lakes in nine cases out of ten he has'a debit balance. But when you get farther west what is the condition? We have cases by the score of actual loss, and I want to give the House one particular case of a carload of oats shipped from Northern Alberta. When the freight and commission charges had been paid-in fact, the commission charges had not been paid-a debit account was received by the shipper of those oats for $38 and some cents. In other words, he had $38 less than nothing for his carload of oats shipped from Northern Alberta. This, of course, is an extreme case, but neverthe-
less it is an indication of what we can exipect in so far as the effect of freight rates upon Western Canada is concerned. Take livestock, at the present time the ranchers are laying their plans on the basis of $4 beef next fall. Now, Sir, if any one thinks that under the present high cost of production in the West the ranchers can hope to break even on a price of $4 per hundred for their beef, well, Sir, he will have to figure it out again, for it will be an absolute impossibility. Then, take hides, I know of a case that happened a few months ago, in fact, I was in the office of a large hide concern in our own city to whom had been shipped a first-class hide from a point only about forty miles from the city of Moosejaw, and the' actual net return that was being sent to the shipper was forty cents.