June 2, 1921

UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax) :

I think

that in our case Canadians would pay that fee. There is no way of determining the exact proportions in which the Canadian importer would pay, hut our position is different from the United States in that respect, and practically in all cases ve would pay this fee. But I go further than

that, I say the United States should not have that regulation.

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UNION
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax) :

They do not claim that it is a factor in the promotion of their trade with Canada. It Was adopted many years ago and has been continued. They are not proud of it as a matter of principle.

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UNION
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax) :

Figures

were presented the other night, and the hon. member for Simeoe and other hon. gentlemen were proceeding upon the assumption that the United States trade in Canada was developed by reason of the fact that they exacted this small fee.

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UNION
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax) :

My hon.

friend left that impression upon my mind, and I am very glad indeed to find I was mistaken. I do not know that I can say anything further, Mr. Chairman. I see no merit in this proposal, and I think it'should be abandoned.

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L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW:

Mr. Chairman, I have very great pleasure in endorsing absolutely the position so well taken by the member for Halifax, a position that is indisputable. The member for Haldimand (Mr. Lalor) has stated that he is in doubt as to who would pay this imposition of $2.50 for certifying export invoices. Who pays the salaries of his employees, his light and heat and all the other expenses of conducting his business? Why, of course, to ask the question is to answer it. It is the consumer who in the last analysis pays these expenses. It will he the consumer, and the consumer alone, who will pay that imposition, whether it be the consumer in Canada, the United States or elsewhere. Some hon. members have urged the position that because it is an exaction by the United States and has been in force there for years we should follow suit. Whoever heard of two wrongs making a right? I never have. And if it is a mistake on the part of the United States to exact that fee, why should we follow the same course?

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

Let me ask the hon. gentleman a question. Supposing I ship a carload of wheat to the United States, I have to pay a consular fee of $2.50. The ultimate consumer is in the United States. Can the hon. gentleman tell me some

method by which I can make the ultimate consumer pay that fee?

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L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW:

It is positively absurd in this day and generation to ask a question of that kind. The same rule applies in that case as in the case I have cited already in respect to the member for Hal-dimand-the consumer absolutely pays everything. You charge that much more for your wheat, and that additional cost is included in the cost of producing your wheat.

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UNION

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Unionist

Mr. LALOR:

I was merely asking the judgment of the hon. member for Halifax, as to who would pay it; that is all.

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L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW:

I might perhaps in

reply ask the member for Haldimand what is his opinion on the question?

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UNION

Francis Ramsey Lalor

Unionist

Mr. LALOR:

If I thought the Canadian had to pay it I do not think I would feel like supporting the proposal. I would be in hopes that the American would pay it.

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L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW:

The member for North Simcoe has stated time and again on the floor of this House that he has even slept with Adam Smith. If he will consult him again before he takes another nap he will find that Adam Smith will set him right on the question who pays the cost of production.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

The hon. gentleman has not answered my question. He says that the ultimate consumer pays. Well, the consumer of the car of wheat is in the United States; does he pay that $2.50? Can I add that $2.50 to the cost of delivering over there or must I take the Chicago price and absorb the $2.50 myself? My hon, friend is very well versed in economics; he might explain that to the committee.

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L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW:

I thank the hon. membssr for the compliment that he pays me in assuming that I am well posted in economics. It is a very large subject, and I must say that I understand only the fringe of it. If I live as long as my hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce hopes to live, say another hundred years, I shall still have something to learn on that subject. But to answer the question put by the hon. member for Simcoe, there is no question but that the consumer pays all the costs, plus the profits. The Minister of Trade and Commerce informed us to-night that he hoped to obtain a revenue of about $500,000 through the imposition of this system. Now, who pays that $500,000? The Cana-

dian consumer, plus customs duties and the profit on top of that. All proposals of this kind have only one purpose in view, that of retarding and hampering and interfering with trade and commerce. It is not possible to extend your import trade by certifying invoices of exports. To have American consuls in this country certify to invoices of Canadian merchandise going to the United States does not help the export trade of the United States, and to have Canadian consular agents in the United States certify to invoices of goods shipped from that country to Canada does not help our export trade. Merely to state the proposition is to show its absurdity. I have asked the Minister of Trade and Commerce just what he expects to gain by this imposition; I put the question to him a few nights ago, and I am still without a straight, definite answer. I am sure that the minister does not intend to be evasive, but certainly he has not given a direct answer to that question.

I want to criticise another feature of this clause. It provides that the fee to be charged is to be determined by the Governor in Council. Why not embody it in the Bill so that importers may know what is expected of them? Then, the last part of the clause is, to my mind, the worst feature of the whole situation. It is similar to some other legislation that is at present in force; it provides that officials of the Inland Revenue Department, detectives who go round the country for that department, may obtain part of the fine in cases where conviction is secured. I submit that all laws of that kind have an immoral tendency and a bad effect on the individual and on the department. If the department must have officials of this kind scattered all over the world, by all means pay them salaries; let there be no inducement for the imposition of undue fees of this kind. If the minister insists on this clause being carried I would hope that at least this feature of it would be remedied, but I agree with the member for Halifax that it would be much better if this clause were entirely dropped from the Bill. It can serve no good purpose; it certainly will not help to increase the export trade of Canada.

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UNION

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Unionist

Mr. NESBITT:

I hope that the minister, as has been suggested by the member for Halifax, will give very serious consideration to this provision before he puts it into effect. As a matter of fact, American consuls in this country who sign these certificates are of no benefit to the trade of

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the United States; they do not solicit business. The Americans send their travellers in here just as we send our travellers there. Those travellers know their own goods and can talk their own goods. You could not possibly appoint a consular agent or trade commissioner who was capable of talking all kinds of goods. Everybody who knows anything about manufacturing or about commercial life knows that you have to train men in handling the particular goods they represent so that they will be able to talk the goods. I do not believe, therefore, that we would increase our trade by appointing these so-called trade commissioners. If a man lived in Buffalo, and there was no trade commissioner there and he had to send to Washington to have his invoice certified, that would be worse than a nuisance. The member for Halifax is quite right as to the nuisance brought about by the United States provisions along this line. I agree with the hon. gentleman that the minister might engage his time very profitably by trying to induce the United States to do away with that silly arrangement-because it is silly and it does not help their trade a bit. Now, it has been asked who is going to pay for this. Do you think the United States Steel Corporation, for instance, would not pass on to the customer any charge of that kind? If you do, you have another think coming. The reason is simply that these people sell at rock bottom prices. When you buy at rock bottom prices you have to pay brokerage charges. Take the cotton market; if the manufacturer of cotton buys from the growers or from the Cotton Exchange, he buys through a broker. Do you mean to tell me that that broker pays the $2.50 on these certificates? By no means; he charges it to the customer. In the case of goods bought from England, if there is any wharfage or any other charge of that kind, it is included in the invoice, and so it is with any of these things that we buy. Think of the enormous quantity of coal that we bring into this country, on invoices, maybe, of trainloads, but more frequently of carloads, and those merchants have to send off to some trade commissioner or a British consul to have those invoices certified to. Do hon. members think that the men who are selling the coal are going to pay the cost of having that done? If they do, they have another think and a good long think coming.

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UNION
UNION

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Unionist

Mr. NESBITT:

It does not matter what the amount is; they will pass it on to the consumer, as anybody knows who knows anything about buying coal or other goods at rock-bottom prices. If a manufacturer is making certain goods on which he makes enough profit to pay for this trouble and the fee, he will pay it, and so will we.

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UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Unionist

Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax):

This broker, whom the hon. member instances, might have to despatch a clerk 25 miles away to procure the certificate, and that would add to the cost.

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June 2, 1921