May 14, 1921

PRIVATE BILLS FROM THE SENATE-FIRST READINGS


Bill No. 160, for the relief of Edward George Taylor.-Mr. Douglas (Strathcona). Bill No. 161, for the relief of Margaret Swanston Neville.-Mr. Copp. Bill No. 162, for the relief of Ernest Lillie Montgomery.-Mr. Fripp. Bill No. 163, for the relief of Ethel Gordon Wright Ball.-Mr. Middlebro. Bill No. 164, for the relief of Ivan Ignatius Brazill.-Mr Mowat.


BOARD OF TRADE REPORTS BLANK FORMS IN FRENCH


On the Orders of the Day:


UNION

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

Unionist

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, on May 2, and again yesterday, the hon. member for Montmagny (Mr. Deohene) asked that certain forms to be used by Boards of Trade in making returns should be printed in French for those who so desired them. I promised that I would make a statement on the matter to-day. I find that immediately after he brought the matter to the attention of the Government on May 2, orders were given for the printing in French of those forms. On inquiry today from the Under-Secretary of State, I find that he has been pressing for the completion of the orders for the finishing of the printing, but they were not [DOT]ready, at least yesterday; he could not get an answer to his telephone message to-day, but these forms are expected at any time.

Topic:   BOARD OF TRADE REPORTS BLANK FORMS IN FRENCH
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THE BUDGET

DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE


The House resumed from Friday, May 13, the debate on the motion of Hon. Sir Henry Drayton (Minister of Finance), that 214J Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair for the House to go into Committee of Ways and Means, and the proposed amendment thereto of Hon. W. S. Fielding.


UNION

Walter Davy Cowan

Unionist

Mr. W. D. COWAN (Regina) :

Mr. Speaker, on Monday last I was exceedingly surprised and very much pleased. I was surprised because when I left Ottawa a year ago, I was in grave doubt whether or not it would be possible for the Dominion of Canada to provide the money necessary to meet the expenditures that we had provided for in the Estimates. On Monday,^ therefore, when the Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) made his statement showing that we had a very substantial surplus over ordinary expenditure, that came to me as a very pleasing surprise. Next to that, what pleased me most as regards his statement and the subsequent statement made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen), was the definiteness with which they laid their policy before the people of Canada. I am always pleased with public men who are clear-cut and definite. That is one reason why I have always admired the manner in which the Prime Minister has submitted his case to the Canadian people. I also notice that those of the official Opposition who have so far spoken in this debate, were definite in that they definitely showed that they had deliberately decided upon continuing their policy of indefiniteness. The manner in which they threw their two wings into the debate proves to me conclusively that they have entered upon this policy which has been all along a policy of duplicity and deception, for the purpose of continuing it as part of the game. First, they threw the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding) , leader of the protectionist wing, into the debate, and he led it exceedingly well. Immediately following him, they threw in the hon member for Brome (Mr. Mc-Master) leader of the free trade platoon. The part, however, about the leader of the protectionist wing that caught my eye the quickest, that appealed to me the most, was the manner in which he began to flirt with the Agrarian party. It was quite evident to me and, I think, to the whole House, that he was laying his plans to form a union as between the Agrarian party and his own, and in doing so he was simply following up the line of policy laid down by the leader of the official Opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) especially on his trip into Western Canada, where, day after day and week after week, he laboured to try to lead the

people to believe that the two parties should be united. . I came to the conclusion, I think very properly, that the leader of the Opposition had commissioned the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's to proceed immediately to Marquette and there negotiate another reciprocity pact. The hon. gentleman is well qualified to fill that role. He, as we all knew, in 1911 was commissioned by the party to which he belongs to proceed to Washington and there to negotiate such a pact, and to conclude the treaty which would make Canada an adjunct of the United States. I fancy that the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's, when hp reaches Marquette, will try also to complete a treaty which will make the Agrarian party an adjunct of the present Liberal Opposition. The question is whether he will succeed or not. I know of no man better qualified to do that work than he. I will say, without any hesitancy, that no man in the Liberal party stands higher in the .estimation of the Western Canadian people than does the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's. He is held in the highest respect, notwithstanding on some things many of them differ from him. A year or so ago, when the Liberal convention was held and it was found that he had not been chosen as leader of the party, I will say that about ninety per cent or more of the Liberals in Western Canada were disappointed, because they believed that he would be a very proper person to undertake such a task.

What are the chances of such a treaty being consummated? We know that our friends of the Agrarian party have always been free traders, and those who to-day are trying to make out that free trade is not a policy of any party in Canada, really do not know what the West thinks. I have lived amongst the grain growers out in the West long before such a thing as the Grain Growers' organization was started, and I know whereof I speak when I say that, after all those years amongst them, I know that they talk free trade, morning, noon and night. It is the only thing they talk about; it is the centre of their whole political platform. The hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Thomson) said, the other night, quite distinctly that while they might for a short time graciously permit protection to continue, yet free trade was their goal and at that goal they were aiming. In 1911, this same party existed and at that time their policy was to permit truck and trade with anybody, free from all hindrances whatsoever. I fancy my hon.

(Mr. Cowan.]

friend would not have any trouble in forming such an alliance with them on that basis at the present time. He must remember that he can not wrap up his negotiations in any way with the Union Jack. He must not permit sentiment in any shape or form to enter into them. He must not permit good Canadianism to be of any consideration at all. It is simply a question with them of truck and trade, with profit as the only principle upon which the arrangement can be consummated. Has he any other ground for thinking that such an arrangement could be made, that such an alliance could be formed? Let us look at what has happened in the last three weeks. My hon. friend who preceded me in this debate last night, the hon. member for Maple Creek (Mr. Maharg), has for many, many years been the president of the grain growers' organization of our province, and during the whole of that time he has talked of independence, and of nothing but independence. That was the only thing he believed in. Everywhere he went, and everywhere that the members of the party he belongs to went, they insisted that both political parties have been a failure. Independence was what he always advocated. He has consistently and persistently denounced everybody who in any way favoured party government. Party government, in his view, was a thing that must be abolished, but strange to say, some two or three weeks ago a peculiar thing happened. As I sat here one day and looked up into the gallery, I saw a very familiar face, that of a gentleman for whom I have the highest respect and admiration, the Minister of Agriculture for the province of Saskatchewan. I chatted with him up there for a while, and was very pleased to have the opportunity of doing so. A few days afterwards the hon. member for Maple Creek took the train for Regina, and strange to say a conversion must have taken place on that train, because when he landed there he evidently had forgotten that all along he had been denouncing party government, for he there and then immediately agreed to become a member of a party government -of the Liberal government of the province of Saskatchewan. These several conversions are indeed strange. The Prime Minister yesterday made reference to a gentleman named Lambert, who had written some very strong articles denunciatory of the policy of the present Agrarian party. He too was converted on call. As soon as another salary was obtainable in a different

sphere, he immediately became converted. My hon. friend from Maple Creek also was evidently converted on the train that took him to Regina. Shortly afterwards, he boarded the train back to Ottawa, and on that train he evidently got converted back to his old condition, for he now appears in this House in the role of a first-class Independent. Last night he got quite indignant over the fact that somebody, to use his own word, had talked about an amalgamation between the Liberal party and the Agrarian party. As I watched him, however, I observed that his words were not half so bitter as the expression on his face; you had to see him to realize how bitter ihe felt over that suggested amalgamation between the Liberal and Agrarian parties. It seemed very strange to me how this gentleman could at one and the same time become a member of a Liberal government in one part of Canada, and then here in this House wax indignant at the very suggestion that he and his party should become allied with the Liberal party in this House of Commons. I fully expect that as soon as this House prorogues and we go back home, the hon. gentleman will - again board the train for Regina, and if he travels on that same car he will get converted again; when he gets to Regina he will be as thorough-paced a Liberal as one could possibly be, he will assist a party government in carrying on the affairs of the province; there is no doubt at all that that is what will happen.

What does all this mean? It means that a basis is there laid for the work which evidently has been assigned to the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding). The hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's will certainly now be able to say: Here is one member of this Agrarian party, a very prominent member of it-and certainly of all its members he has been the most aggressive in the province of Saskatchewan-who is susceptible to those influences which led him into the Liberal fold and into a party government, so why not all the rest of them? That is what I say,-why not all the rest of them. If the hon. member for Maple Creek will go, they will all go; there is no question about that. They will follow him, because since he came back I have not seen any sign of his colleagues in the Agrarian party ignoring him, or slighting or snubbing him, or in any way indicating that they resent the course which he has pursued. Therefore, I think it would be just as well for my hon. friend from Shelburne and Queen's to continue his

adjunctivism-to call it so-and'probably in time he will succeed in forming the alliance he desires.

Yesterday I was rather surprised, in fact, shocked, at statements made in the House by the hon. member for Megantic (Mr. Pacaud). I had never heard him speak in the House before, and I was rather pleased with the style of his address, but a letter which he read to the House came as, a very distinct surprise to me. It was a letter signed by Mr. Poot-mans, who lives in the city of Regina, where I live, and whom I have always regarded and who has always been known there as the Vice-Consul for Belgium. The statements which the hon. member made in that connection last night were quite contrary to the facts, and did not convey to the House a true impression of the actual conditions. Before I read what he said, let me say that I thoroughly approve of that $25,000,000 loan to Belgium. We had been associated with Belgium in the war; we knew what the courage of the Belgian people was; we saw them stand four-square against the German hordes at a time when their stand meant everything to the British Empire and the Canadian people. We saw that, and if for no other reason than that the loan would be of assistance to Belgium in rehabilitating that country to something like the state it was in formerly, I would have been exceedingly pleased to have had that loan made; hut apart from that, of course, there was the consideration of the trade which might come to the Dominion of Canada as a result of the loan. Well, the loan was made, and the hon. member for Megantic, speaking of it last night, used this extraordinary language:

They made an agreement dated March 21, 1919, hy which only one-fourth of this loan to Belgium could be available for the purchase of food stuffs, thus forcing the Belgian Government against their will to purchase manufactured goods and raw materials of manufacture to the extent of four-fifths of the entire loan. What was the result? Just what was to be expected.

Force the Belgian Government against their will to purchase manufactured goods? I would like to know if there is any power in Canada that could force Belgium to enter into an arrangement that it did not want to enter into-Belgium, which opposed her little army against sixty or seventy million men, the finest trained military force in the world. Would Belgium yield to a demand at the hands of the Canadian people? Could Belgium be forced to do something against her will by the Canadian Government? There is absolutely

no truth in the suggestion,-you could not force Belgium; I 'have never yet seen the power in this would that could force Belgium to do anything she did not want to do. She preferred annihiliation to being forced to do something against her Will. ' The Canadian Government had no such intention as forcing the Belgian Government. The Belgian Government is quite capable of taking care of itself. The agreement was, made between the Prime Minister of Belgium, representing that country, and the Minister of Trade and Commerce of Canada (Sir George Foster), on behalf of this country. At that time Belgium was in such a position that she was in dire need of a great many things, one of her greatest needs being foodstuffs. We all know that while the war was on and for a short time afterwards, the people of Canada were constantly told that the people of Belgium had no shoes to wear, that they were going about barefooted, that they lacked proper clothing, and so forth; and I can quite understand that the Belgian representatives, in the face of these conditions, would be anxious to buy food, clothing and other necessaries as rapidly as they could be procured. Consequently they entered into this agreement of their own free will. Let me read further from the hon. member's speech:

What was the result? Just what was to be expected. With the exception of $1,500,000- $277,000 in foodstuffs, $185,000 of which was for bacon, an article of food which made a name for itself during the war, and the balance for manufactured goods and raw materials-the credit was cancelled and the Belgian Government had to go to American bankers to secure our Canadian wheat.

This statement is wrong; it is untrue. The facts are that the Belgian Government entered into the agreement with the . full understanding that it was good for a certain period, and a date was fixed in the agreement by which it. was automatically cancelled. The Dominion Government did not have to cancel the agreement at all. The Government of Canada, had the Belgian Government so requested, could have renewed the agreement and extended it for a further period, but the undoubted fact is that the agreement automatically cancelled itself; and if during the whole time that it was in force the Belgian Government did not see fit to use the credit that was given them, then it was their own affair. As a matter of fact, they did use a certain portion of it, as follows:

Foodstuffs $ 277,744 47

Steel r^ils 561,601 99

General manufactures:

Boots $385,466 50Underwear

184,096 00Sweaters 112,716 00Socks 213,851 50

896,130 00

Total $1,735,476 46

There is not a single article in that list of which the Belgian people were not in absolute need at the close of the war and for a considerable time afterward; but that left a substantial balance to the credit of that country. For foodstuffs there was used only $277,000 odd, and Belgium required for all her purposes, out of this credit of $25,000,000, only $1,735,476. So that the actual facts are a startling contrast to the statements submitted to the House. The fact is that the balance lay unused. It could have been used by the Government of Belgium had they seen fit so to do; but they did not, because- as I am pleased to state, and I know the House is equally pleased to know the fact -that country picked herself up with remarkable rapidity. The conditions that obtained at the close of the war were quickly overcome, and it is pleasing to reflect that the Belgian people and their Government were so active and energetic that they could soon recover from the effects of the war. Of course, we should have been pleased to supply them with goods, extending the credit, but the fact is that they did not need those supplies, and there is no reason whatever why anyone should denounce this Government because the Belgian authorities did not see fit to make use of the credit Canada gave them. The letter to which I have referred is one which, I must confess, I do not like. The concluding paragraph is rather significant, coming as it does from the Belgian Vice-Consul. That gentleman states:

I hold this information from high authorities in Belgium, and would appreciate it if you kept me posted by wire upon any development In this line, to enable me to inform my friends in Belgium.

Now, there may not be any collusion to which my hon. friend from Megantic (Mr. Pacaud), is a party, but there is certainly a suggestion of collusion on the part of men in high authority, and it does not look well for a member of the Canadian Parliament to be asked to keep this gentleman posted by wire-

-upon any development in this line, to enable me to inform my friends in Belgium.

What does it mean? I think the hon. member for Megantic should demand an explanation from the writer in order that he may be freed from the suspicion which the letter naturally casts upon him.

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L LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Is Mr. G. Pootmans the Vice-Consul of Belgium at Regina? I understood he was not.

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UNION

Walter Davy Cowan

Unionist

Mr. COWAN:

I know that Mr. Pootmans has been Vice-Consul as long as I can remember him being in Regina. During the war he acted as Vice-Consul of Belgium, collecting money for the Belgian people from the citizens of Regina, who subscribed generously through him to the assistance of that country. He is known to the people of Regina as the Vice-Consul for Belgium, and unless he has resigned within the last few days, or has been dismissed, I am inclined to think that he still holds the office.

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L LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

A Mr. Pootmans is ViceConsul of Belgium in Regina, but there is another gentleman by the name of Pootmans, and I understood that it was he who wrote the letter.

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UNION

Walter Davy Cowan

Unionist

Mr. COWAN:

I do not know of two men named Pootmans in Regina; this gentleman is the only man of that name of whom I know. Of course, I do not definitely state that it may not he a relative of his who has written this letter.

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L LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

That is my information.

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UNION

Walter Davy Cowan

Unionist

Mr. COWAN:

I know of only one Pootmans who holds the position of ViceConsul in Regina. In any event, this concluding paragraph strikes me as one that ought not to be allowed to pass unchallenged. However, I leave that point.

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L LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

Can my hon. friend state whether the Belgian Government did not make an effort to get the Canadian Government to extend the period of credit?

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UNION

Walter Davy Cowan

Unionist

Mr. COWAN:

and that great increase. Will my hon. friend from Maple Creek now come forward and tell us that as there has been such a great increase in the price of this particular implement in the Commonwealth of Australia-the one he himself selected and as to which the increase has been more than doubled as compared with Canada-that because free trade prevails in that country therefore free trade is responsible for the increase and ought to be wiped out? It is the logical conclusion to come to, it is the only thing to do, if the tariff is responsible for that result. But let hon. gentlemen mark this: The

increase is due to other causes than the tariff; the increases in prices in Canada 'have been just as great on goods imported into this country free of duty as on goods upon which a duty was collected. Let us, therefore, not concentrate our attention upon something that Will not be of any avail. Let us rather direct our efforts to lines along which we can move definitely, and in a way which will toe of some advantage to the people of this country.

The free trade wing of the official Opposition, and all the Agrarians, invariably insist that the duty increases the price of commodities. The hon. member for Brome (Mr. McMaster) said the other night "We cannot raise duty without raising the price to the consumer". The hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Thomson) was even more definite. He took up the assertion which has been made, and is being repeated on practically every platform in Western Canada, that for every dollar that is paid into the treasury of Canada by way of customs, $3 goes into the pocket of the manufacturer. My hon. friends make no attempt to prove that statement and it is absolutely untrue. They simply make the bold assertion and let it go at that, and they have repeated it so often that they have actually come to believe it themselves. That is the position in which they are at the present time. As a matter of fact many instances can toe cited to prove conclusively that the duty has lowered the prices in Canada to the Canadian consumer-there is no question about it at all. Why, my hon. friend from Brome declared the other night that in the United States they only paid three hundred odd millions in duties-a great big nation of 110 millions of people-whereas Canada, with a population of only 9,000,000 of people pays 165 milions. Therefore the conclusion is, according to his reasoning, that the tariff is much higher in Canada than in the United States. That again is

incorrect. It is quite true that is the amounts the Americans paid, but why? Simply and solely because the tariff in the United States was so high that it compelled the establishment of manufactures in that country until to-day it is the greatest industrial nation in the world. They can, and do, produce everything they consume, the result being that the internal competition has so reduced prices that the consumers there have no reason to purchase from foreign countries. That is the exact position in the United States. Their tariff is higher than ours, a good deal higher, but there is the result; and the tariff of Canada, if continued and scientifically arranged, will probably have exactly the same effect in this country.

Now, I wish to give my hon. friends an illustration-I have already given two or three-just to prove what I say. I am glad to see my hon. friend from Qu'Appelle in the chamber and I would like him to take notice of the illustration I am about to give, in view of his statement that for every dollar paid in customs duty, $3 went into the pants pocket of the manufacturer.

I am going now to cite some evidence that was submitted from my own constituency to the Tariff Commission when they went through the West last summer. In the city of Regina we have several manufacturing establishments,-and here, let me say incidentally, that while a lot of you hon. gentlemen believe that we have probably nothing but free traders in Western Canada, there are a great many people out there who entertain a different belief. In the city of Regina fully one-third of the people there are dependent for their living upon industrial establishments which could not exist if it were not for the protective tariff, so that we have a direct personal interest in this matter. I am going to speak now of an establishment Which manufactures doors, sashes, etc., and employs 80 or 100 men-quite a large establishment for a western city. I was there when the managers of this industry submitted their statement to the Tariff Commission. What they did was this,-and they proved their case absolutely and conclusively-they submitted to the commission a printed price list and many of those present were customers of theirs who had purchased goods from them, and the firm knew that these customers would check them up if their price list was not correct. Well, their printed price list was submitted. Their nearest competitors in the United States are in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and they also presented

the printed price of those competitors giving the figures respecting sashes, doors, etc., of the same size and quality that they themselves turned out, the comparison showing that the goods manufactured by the Canadian firm were sold in the city of Regina at a lower price than similar goods in the city of Minneapolis notwithstanding the 25 per cent duty, or protection as it is called. What does it mean? It means that the firm in question, by reason of the protection accorded, were able to build up an industry in the city of Regina which reduced the prices of these goods to the consumer, not only in the city of Regina but in such distant points as Winnipeg, and Lethbridge, right dowji to the international boundary. I know the argument will be advanced: Well, if they can manufacture these goods at a lower price than American firms what need is there for any duty? That is the stock argument of my hon. friends opposite. As to that I will read a few quotations from the evidence because it puts the facts in a clearer and more concise manner than I could do. I will therefore quote from the evidence and let it go on Hansard:

We manufacture doors etc., Generally speaking- our protection is about 25 per cent, nevertheless our prices are usually on a par, and sometimes less than the prices of our United Stated competitors.

Minneapolis may be looked upon as our main point of competition. With the object of giving concrete comparisons between our prices and those of our American competitors 1 may say that a 24 X 24 window, two lights, which is an article on which, a proper comparison can be made, was selling by our American competitors on March 1, 1920, f.o.b. Minneapolis at $5.35 subject to a trade discount of 35 per cent; on the same date we were selling a similar window for $5.15-

Note the figures, $5.35 and $5.15.

-subject to a 35 per cent trade discount -with freight allowed to Swift Current, Saskatoon or Winnipeg, or where shipments were beyond those points with freight allowed to the places mentioned. On the same date the quotation of the same competitors for moulding was 50 per cent higher than ours and on April 9, 1920, mouldings which were sold Iby our American competitors at Sil.50 sold by us at Regina at $1.20. A stock cross panel, or four panel door 2' 8"' x 6' 8" x 13" sold on March 1st by our competitors at $7.85, subject to a 20 per cent trade discount, was sold by us at $7.00 subject to a 25 per cent discount.

You will notice there a very substantial difference in favour of the Canadian manufacturer.

We desire to assure the Commission most sincerely that in fixing our prices we pay no attention whatever to the tariff or to the prices of our competitors, but do so on the basis of cost plus what we consider a fair profit.

And yet it as the regular assertion of hon. gentlemen opposite, reiterated day after day, that the Canadian manufacturers fix their prices by adding thereto the tariff. Here is a concrete case to the contrary, and I defy hon. gentlemen opposite to disprove it. The proof was submitted to the Tariff Commission, and I know it is absolutely correct.

Under the tariff as it at present stands only a very small quantity of American goods enter into competition 'with my output, &nd nevertheless as shown, the Canadian consumer is in no way penalized by the protection which I enjoy^

He is speaking as manager of the company.

Our prices are kept at their present low level-

Mark this, for it is the crux of the whole thing.

-owing to the large proportion of the market which we enjoy in the district served toy us. Were the tariff to be removed Minneapolis firms would enter into competition with us, especially in Southern Saskatchewan and Southern Alberta where their rail haul would be about as short and their freight rates about as low as those with which we have to contend. Owing to the size of our competitors, their large output, and their large home-market, they would at once enter into competition with us at least in the district where the rail haul was favourable to them. If they succeeded, as they almost certainly would, in taking away some of our customers, our output would be Correspondingly lessened and opr overhead expenditure correspondingly increased, which would necessitate an increase in the price of our goods, which increase would make it all the easier for our competitors to cut farther into our field.

Under free trade we feel that we would have great difficulty in surviving. Under the competition which now exists among a large number of Canadian firms making goods of the same class as manufactured by my firm the consumer is amply guarded against unduly high prices, and we feel that to change the fiscal system of the country, thereby endangering the capital invested in businesses such as ours, and likewise endangering the employment of those who work for us, would be a mistake.

Now, I want to say to hon. gentlemen of the Agrarian party that the hundred men employed in the factory with their families are not only a benefit to the other residents of the city but to the farmers of the surrounding country. Many of those farmers to-day are making anywhere from $50 to $150 a month supplying milk and cream to these people who are earning their living manufacturing these goods which are protected, and which certainly would not be manufactured to the same extent if protection was removed.

Upon what grounds do my hon. friends of the Agrarian party insist that this tariff should be removed? They say most un-

hesitatingly that under protection there is no competition, that by removing protection you get competition and in that way you lower prices, that being the reason why they advocate the removal of the tariff. Well, let us take binder twine. I must ask my right hon. friend the Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen) to forgive me for referring to it again after he so completely dealt with it yesterday, but I would like to submit a little statement to supplement what he said, and which I think is rather conclusive proof of what the actual1 condition is. It is also proof that removing the tariff does not lower prices, does not promote competition, does not smash combines or rings, and1 does not prevent gentlemen's agreements. And I am going to take one of their own party to confirm what I say. Most hon. members know the gentleman as well as I do-his name is J. B. Musselman, and his home at present is in Regina. To those who do not know the gentleman, I may say that he is the brains of the Agrarian party in Saskatchewan. On the streets of the cities and towns in that province the general assertion is "that the rest of them talk and he does the thinking," and that is about the truth. The whole organization in the province of Saskatchewan, revolves around J. B. Musselman. His particular duty for some time back has been to handle the binder twine end of their business. I will not say that he has made a financial success of it, I am pretty credibly informed that last year's operations showed a loss of $60,000, and the year before a loss of nearly $50,000, and I think those figures are pretty near the mark. Anyhow, he appeared before the Tariff Commission and this is the press report of what he said. The question was asked him by the chairman:

But why is it, with no tariff on hinder twine, it is more expensive by twenty-five per cent, in Canada than the States He couldn't say, but Musselman supplied the 'information and in an interesting sidelight he said the International Harvester Co., of Chicago, the largest manufacturers of twine in the world, set the price. Twine for this section comes from Brantford, but it was explained that they follow the price set by Chicago and in this case the difference is about the difference in exchange. Drayton wanted to know if the Brantford Twine Co. was a flourishing company, and Musselman said it was. "Well," said the chairman, "they said they couldn't pay the one-cent sales tax on the materials entering into their product so close was their margin of profit."

Now, mark what follows:

Musselman said they paid handsome dividends, anyway.

He must have been mighty close to the inside to find that out. He said:

I speak from personal knowledge.

Yes, he speaks from personal knowledge. And he was the gentleman who after the Hon. George Longley and others appeared before the Tariff Commission cautioned them against making such extravagant statements and advised them to keep to the truth. As he gave them that excellent advice, I fancy he is keeping to the truth himself.

"I speak from personal knowledge when I say that the Brantford company held this year that the price of binder twine was too high." "Then why didn't they reduce it?" queried Sir Henry.

Then I commend the following to those who say that free trade smashes combines and prevents gentlemen's agreements.

Musselman ventured the suggestion that the Ontario company did not want to offend the big International.

What does that mean? It means one of two things: Either there was a "gentleman's agreement" between this Brantford concern and the International Harvester Company, or the Brantford company was subject to intimidation at the hands of its big competitor. You have got to make your choice. Personally, I would rather submit myself to a gentleman's agreement, for in that way you would be robbed with a velvet-gloved hand, but in the other way you wouldl !be robbed with a bludgeon,- although either way they get your money just the same. That is why they have a higher price for binder twine under free trade than they ever had under protection. What does this mean? It means on the evidence of their own party that combines have not been smashed. The only difference is that now the combine is located in the United States. Well, while I do not like combines, no matter where they are located, I would rather see one in Canada where it would be subject to some Canadian control, than one in the United States or in any other foreign country which we cannot reach at all. But the fact is that the combine does exist. The fact is, that there has been no competition in prices and that this industry has been practically ruined. What good has free trade done? What benefit has come to us from it? I cannot see that we have benefited by it; on the other hand we have lost thousands of men who could have been engaged in the manufacturing of binder twiine in Canada for the benefit of the Canadian people,-and certainly the Cana-

dian consumers would have been no worse off than they are at present. So much for the grounds upon which the Agrarian party contend that the removal of the tariff would result in benefit to the Canadian people.

I could cite many similar instances but I have not time.

However, I am going to devote a few moments to the free trade platoon of the official Opposition and see if they can give us any evidence as to the benefit of free trade in the way of smashing combines and so on. I am going to ask this platoon to take a trip across to England for a little while. I fancy that my hon. friend from Red Deer would be quite willing to go along with them, especially when he realizes the company in which he would go -because I am going to take this little platoon for the time being out of the control of the member for Brome (Mr. McMaster) and put it under the command of a man known all over Canada for his extreme Liberalism-his splendid Liberalism, I

should say, his real, pure, genuine, -honest, righteous Liberalism-a gentleman by the name of W. T. R. Preston. I do not know whether hon. gentlemen have ever heard of him before; anyway no one, I am sure, will deny his Liberalism. I am not very well acquainted with the gentleman's history, but as I understand it he was sent over to England in some official capacity, he came back to Canada, and, according to a press report-I am taking this from a farmer's paper under date of March 9, last-at the last session of the legislature of Ontario he appeared before the Farmer Government of that province in connection wtith some inquiry that was being held, and gave evidence. Before I read the evidence which he gave on that occasion I should like to remind the House that the hon. member for Red Deer has day in and day out for years back been insisting that free trade was established in Great Britain to get cheap food for the British people- so that goods could be cheaply manufactured by cheaply paid workmen living on cheap food, and sent out into the markets of the world to compete with the products of other nations. That is his line of reasoning; that is the argument he has been propounding all along. Remembering that, let us see what Mr. W. T. R. Preston has to say in the evidence to which I have referred :

Mr: W. T. R. Preston appeared before a Special Committee of the Ontario House and advocated the establishment of apple warehouses in England for Ontario apples. He said:

"Losses of millions of dollars are sustained annually by Ontario because of the operations of a price-fixing ring in Britain." Mr. Preston charged that British consumers paid $25,000,000 annually for Canadian apples, the cost of which f.o.b. Liverpool was not more than $6,000,000_

"Free trade and no combines!" "Free trade and no rings!" "Free trade and cheap goods!" Yet this free-trade Liberal, a Liberal of the same school as my hon. friend from Red Deer, says that the operations of these people in England have resulted in their obtaining a profit of $19,000,000 out of every $25,000,000 worth of Canadian apples supplied to the British people.

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Subtopic:   DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. CLARK (Red Deer) :

Will my hon. friend oblige me with the date of that report?

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Subtopic:   DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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UNION

Walter Davy Cowan

Unionist

Mr. COWAN:

Yes, March 9 last.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PRO

Michael Clark

Progressive

Mr. CLARK (Red Deer) :

That is, since the war.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE CONTINUED ON THE ANNUAL STATEMENT PRESENTED BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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May 14, 1921