Mr. W. D. EULER (North Waterloo) :
Although the Budget affords an opportunity for the discussion of public affairs in general, it is my intention to restrict my remarks to but a few phases, to make some observations with regard to the railway situation, and to discuss briefly the. amendment which has been introduced by the member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding).
The Budget which has been presented by the Minister of Finance is not one that has any very outstanding features. One might have thought, after the delay experienced by this House and the people of this country', that something much more profound would have been submitted; but, as a matter of fact, there are only two outstanding features in the Budget that has been
I am surprised that the Minister of Finance has had so little to say about our national railway enterprise, which is making such great demands upon his revenue. Despite the heavy loss of the past year, which we all regret, and despite the propaganda that has been-[DOT] deliberately' by some and innocently by others-spread throughout the country against public ownership of railways, I may say that I still have some faith in the ultimate success of our public ownership experiment. It is only now that the country is obtaining control of the Grand Trunk Railway system, and for that reason it is only now that we will be able to co-ordinate that system with the national system, both being necessary for the welding together and the formation of a system which will he complete in itself and will offer some possibility of economic operation. But it will take some time to accomplish it. It cannot be done in a year or in two years. In this House the Canadian Pacific railway is repeatedly pointed to as being all that is efficient in the wav of railway operation, and I quite agree with that view; but we should not forget that that railway, too, had its difficulties in its early years. Indeed, it has its difficulties to-day. During the past year even the Canadian Pacific railway would not have been able to pay its dividends from its railway operations alone; it was able to do so because of the inclusion of its earnings from hotels, land sales and shipping.
I am going to refer again to what I have said in previous sessions with regard to the management of our national railways. I held in 1919 that the cause of public ownership would receive a black eye if the management of the national system was not placed in other hands. I do not desire to reflect upon gentlemen who probably are doing the very best they can, but it does seem to me that with so much at stake it was the duty of the Government to place in charge of that system men who had made a success of the railway business, not men who had failed on a smaller scale and expect them to manage successfully a much greater enterprise. It was also necessary in my opinion when we entered upon this great public ownership project, to place in charge men who had not behind them a record of constant and consistent opposition to the principle of public ownership. In that regard, Mr. Speaker, I think the Government has not done its duty, and I trust when the Grand Trunk system is united with the national system that
a board will be placed in control of the reorganized system that will be the best that it is possible to obtain, no matter what the cost.
With regard to the proposal made by Lord Shaughnessy to the Prime Minister, it seemed to me that it was merely the culmination of one stage of the propaganda which had for its ultimate purpose the sole control of Canadian railways by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. The proposal of Lord Shaughnessy suggested that the national railways be combined with the Canadian Pacific railway; that the Grand Trunk railway be cut adrift to work out its own salvation, if it could; that the control of the national railways be taken away entirely from Parliament and become to all intents and purposes the enterprise of the Canadian Pacific; and that the Canadian Pacific stockholders and security holders should be guaranteed for all time to come, by the Canadian Government, a fixed dividend upon their holdings. That looks to me, Mr. Speaker, like a very good proposition for the Canadian Pacific Railway shareholders, but I do not see where the Dominion of Canada can possibly be the gainer. One would have thought that when Lord Shaughnessy made that proposal he would have tried to make it somewhat attractive to the people and the Parliament of Canada; but when we examine it, we find that in the sequel, all he can figure out as a result of the combination of the two systems and their operation by the Canadian Pacific Railway management is a deficit of $80,000,000, as compared with our own little $70,000,000 that we have now. In my opinion, a few years of that sort of thing would so disgust the people with the whole proposition that they would be very glad to hand over the national railways to the Canadian Pacific company and wash their hands of the railway business, and public ownership would be dead for many years to come, probably for all time. In the interim no doubt the Grand Trunk Railway would find itself in the difficulties that it encountered before the Government came to its relief, and the natural result would be that the Canadian Pacific Railway Company would ultimately come into possession of the Grand Trunk system, and we would then have a railway monopoly such as exists in no other part of the world. That may be a far-fetched conclusion, but it seems to me that the probabilities would be entirely in that direction. I have no hesitation in express-
rng the opinion that the people will not for one moment stand for that sort of thing. I am sure they would say: Sooner than have such a railway monopoly we will take our annual losses for a time and try to work out bur own railway salvation. It should be remembered, moreover, that the object of public ownership is not the making of profits but the rendering of efficient service to the public.
In concluding my remarks, I want to deal very briefly with the amendment that has been offered by the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding). I do not propose to debate any fine economic theories; in fact, I am not concerned whether the tariff is called a tariff for revenue or a tariff for protection; but I am interested in the results obtained, no matter under what name. There are few men, in Eastern Canada at least, who do not admit that for a great many years to come this country must have a tariff of some kind. The obligations of the war leave us no option in the matter, for we are under the necessity of raising half a billion dollars or more each year. Even with the heavy taxes that we have now we find ourselves quite unable to reduce our enormous capital indebtedness. As the Minister of Finance told us in his statement, during the past year, in spite of the large revenues received, the national debt was increased by a round $100,000,000. So, as a matter of fact, a tariff we must have. If you have a tariff for revenue-and this is the point I desire to make-you have also in practice, a tariff which protects.
I do not think there is any escape from that. The amendment says the tariff is a tax. Well, to the extent to which you tax imports just to that extent do you place a handicap upon the foreign manufacturer. If your tariff tax handicaps the manufacturer of a foreign country, it must follow necessarily, that it benefits the Canadian manufacturer. If the tariff is extremely low, it may not, as my hon. friends opposite might say, protect adequately. If it is extremely high, it gives a degree of protection that becomes monopolistic and unduly burdensome to the consumer, and I am not in favour of that kind of tariff. But most reasonable men in Eastern Canada-and I hope some in Western Canada-believe that there is a wise middle course; that Canada should have a moderate tariff which will maintain such industries as we have; that will still leave the field open to competition and provide revenue by means of a customs tax
upon imports. So that I am quite content, Mr. Speaker, to have hon. gentlemen on the other side argue with hon. members on this side as to what they are going to call the tariff so long as the desired results are obtained. Morever, I will say quite frankly, that one of those desirable results, in my opinion, is the preservation of Canadian industry and the conservation of the interests of the Canadian workingmen. In the city from which I come, -the city of Kitchener, and in the * town of Waterloo, there are upwards of 150 manufacturing industries; in the whole of the riding there are probably 175 manufacturing establishments giving employment to many thousands of workingmen.
I am not going to say what a tariff should be; I am not in a position to say that. But I do say that I have no intention whatever at any time of supporting any sort of legislation which would imperil the interests of the workingmen of the constituency which, I represent.
I believe, further, Sir, that Canada had a most admirable tariff during the fifteen years of the Laurier Administration and when the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding) was Minister of Finance. Designate that tariff as you like-I am not taking any issue on that point with the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's -it is a fact that during that period Canadian industry flourished as it never did before. And we have the significant fact -at least it is claimed to be a fact by the Prime Minister-that the Borden Administration or the present Government have not revised upward the tariff of the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's, and that it is the same tariff. Indeed, I was rather surprised to hear the Prime Minister make the remarkable claim the other day that his Government, or the Government which preceded his-I do not know just exactly where one government ends and the other begins-he had reduced to 21 per cent the average tariff rate under the Laurier Government, which had been 26 per cent. So I repeat that I am not very much concerned with names and theories. If a liberal Government were in power I would have no fear that it would injure Canadian industry at this time any more than it did in the years between 1896 and 1911, and I do not believe hon. gentlemen opposite believe that such an Administration would injure Canadian industry. I will say further that if I did not feel secure on that point; if I had any doubt that the general tenor of the amendment submitted was in accord with the position
I have taken, I would have no hesitation whatever in voting against it. I want to assure hon. gentlemen right now that I have no such fear.
After all, Mr. Speaker, the interests of all the people of Canada should be regarded as one. No sectional advantage should be sought. In a far-flung country such as ours, with its diversified interests, there must be some compromise. The western farmer in many cases desires free trade or a very low tariff; the eastern manufacturer, perhaps in too many instances, though not in all, would like a prohibitive tariff. Let each yield what he can for the general good. In Ontario at least-I think in all parts of this country-the prosperity of the city means prosperity for the farmer, who recognizes that the city man is his best customer.
The present Government, Mr. Speaker, hopes to be returned upon an issue which, I contend, important as it is, is not the paramount issue in this country-the matter of the tariff. The Government would distract the minds of the people from its misdeeds, its many errors of omission and commission, its autocracy, its extravagance, and its continued usurpation of power. But the Canadian people will not be misled by any tariff herring that the Government is drawing across the trail. They are waiting as patiently as they can; they know their minds with regard to this Government, and they await but the opportunity to remove it. Whatever party or group attains to power, the industries of Canada will be just as secure as they were after 1896.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer to the speech of the Prime Minister last Friday. He did me the honour of addressing some of his remarks to me, as also did some of the hon. members who have preceded me in this debate. The Prime Minister, after describing this amendment as being in effect a protectionist amendment-I do not think I do him any wrong when I interpret his remarks in that way-further described me as a protectionist. If he was quite sincere in what he said-and I do not doubt that he was- I cannot quite understand how he should have any doubt as to how I should vote. If the amendment is a protectionist amendment and I am a protectionist, naturally I would support the amendment. While his whole speech was an effort to prove that the record of the Liberal party in office was protectionist and while he expressed his conviction that it still is so and that
the amendment, in part at least, bears out that contention, he intimates that in some respects there is inconsistency in the motion before us, and he is curious to know which part of it I am going to support. Well, even if what he says with regard to inconsistency were true, a decision under all the circumstances should not be very difficult. The Prime Minister, of course, knows just as well as any one, and better than most persons, that he and I must vote for the amendment as it stands, in whole and not in part. He said on Friday that he was quite in accord with a good many portions of the amendment submitted by the hon. member for Shelburne and Queen's. That being the case, I assume that he would like to vote for those portions. He asked me which part I intended to vote for; I might very well ask him the same question. The amendment calls for the encouragement of industry based upon the natural resources of this country. It asks that readjustment of tariff should have in mind existing conditions of trade; that any changes should cause the least possible disturbance of business, and, further, that such changes should reduce the cost of living. I am quite sure that the Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen) is in accord with these principles; but will he for that reason vote for the amendment? Of course, there is only one reply. While he has laboured to show J;hat both Liberal practice and the present amendment are in accord with his tariff policy, he will regard the vote on the amendment as a vote of want of confidence. I have no particular fault to find with that. Like himself, I believe in the principles which I have just enunciated, but I differ from the Prime Minister on one very vital point. I have no confidence whatever in this Government. It obtained office by unfair means; it obtained office by a Franchise Act which did not give to the people of Canada an opportunity for a complete, unprejudiced and unbiassed expression of opinion. It continues to hold office to-day in defiance of the will of the Canadian people. That is true. If any proof were needed, one need only to look to the left and see the wholesale defections that have been made from the party across the way. If any further proof were needed, one need but observe the results of the byelections since this Government or the government of the former Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) came into power. I believe I am correct in saying that the government since 1917 has not won a single by-election from its opponents, whoever
they may have been, but it has lost many seats held by its supporters. It has lost Glengarry and North Ontario.
Subtopic: REVISED EDITION. COMMONS