June 1, 1922


On the Orders of the Day:


CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (North Toronto) :

May I he permitted to ask the Prime Minister one or two questions in regard to the St. Lawrence Waterways project? A great many applications are coming in for copies of the report of the International Joint Commission relating to the inquiry which has cost Canada a million and a half. That report has been printed in the United States and I have received telegrams from a number of public bodies in my district asking for copies of it. I think it is in the public interest that this report should be circulated, as the facts speak for themselves. I think the report should also be printed in Canada, and sufficient copies distributed to inform the public who are so interested in this scheme affecting the Great Lakes. I would also like to ask if it is the intention of the Government to have printed the correspondence which has been laid on the table at the request of the hon. member for West York (Sir Henry Drayton). I refer to the correspondence between the government of the United States and the Canadian government on this question; and further, whether opportunity will be

150J

afforded the House, before Parliament prorogues, of discussing the policy involved in the report referred to and the action taken by the government.

Hon. W, L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister): In regard to the report 'itself, copies were laid on the table at an early stage of the session, as my hon. friend knows. It was then intimated that the government had a supply of printed copies, copies printed in the United States and supplied in large numbers to our government. I think it 'is probable that all the requests thus far made for copies have been met from this supply. If the government should find that it is not possible to meet all the requests for copies of the reports from its available supply I think the report should be printed in Canada as well; but it is an expensive report to reprint and if without embarrassment that amount of expense can be saved I believe the government would be justified in saving it. However, let ,me make it clear that if requests are made to the government for copies of the report in printed form beyond the supply available the government will consider the advisability of printing further copies.

As to the second question, concerning the printing of the papers that were laid on the table a day or two ago, it will be a pleasure to have them printed.

As to fixing a time to discuss this matter further, I think the House has already debated it for three or four days of the present session. I would not like to promise my hon. friend an opportunity to speak again on that subject, but we will take the matter into consideration.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   ST. LAWRENCE WATERWAYS
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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

Do I understand rightly, in view of the reply given to the government of the United States, that no further action on the findings of this report is contemplated by the Canadian government?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   ST. LAWRENCE WATERWAYS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I think my hon. friend is as well able to read the reply already given as I am to interpret it. That reply stated that the government did not think it advisable to take up the m'atter at this time; it did not go beyond that.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   ST. LAWRENCE WATERWAYS
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CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT


On the Orders of the Oay:


PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. JOHN EVANS (Saskatoon) :

I would like to call the attention of the Government to the reply received by the Calgary Board of Trade on May 18 from the Minister of

The Budget-Mr. Kyte

Agriculture in regard to the Crowsnest Pass agreement. The minister said:

Tour wire of May 18 duly to hand and note the position taken by your board in connection with the Crowsnest pass agreement. Let me assure you that the intention of the government is to try and get something better to meet present conditions than the Crowsnest pass agreement would do.

If such was the intention of the government at that time, why was the special committee appointed to consider railway transportation costs?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) :

As I understand the passage which my hon. friend has quoted it is equivalent to saying the government was moving in a particular direction with a hope of securing something better than obtains under existing conditions. Tf that is true

and I think it is perfectly true

the action of the government is to be interpreted in that way.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
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PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

Just in respect to that, I would ask if it is the intention of the government to do something better than exists under the Crowsnest pass agreement?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I presume that the committee that is enquiring into the matter at the present time will report to the House what it thinks best to do. If the committee suggests something better than the Crowsnest pass agreement, certainly the House will have an opportunity to consider the better course.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CROWSNEST PASS AGREEMENT
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THE BUDGET


The House resumed from Wednesday, May 31, the debate on the motion of Hon. W. S. Fielding (Minister of Finance) that 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. Sir Henry Drayton.


LIB

George William Kyte (Whip of the Liberal Party; Chief Government Whip)

Liberal

Mr. G. W. KYTE (Cape Breton South and Richmond) :

Mr. Speaker, I desire at the outset to join in the felicitations that have been extended to the Finance Minister upon the presentation of his sixteenth budget to the House of Commons. In a few days he will mark another mile stone in his long and useful political career. On June 13 he will see the fortieth anniversary of his entry into public life. Upon that date in the year 1882 he was first elected to the House of Assembly in the province of Nova Scotia to represent the

metropolitan city of Halifax. After two years he was called to the premiership, the duties of which office, in addition to the office of provincial treasurer, he discharged continuously from that date up to 1896, when he was called to the government of this Dominion as the Finance Minister of that day. His record since that time is well known to every man in public life in Canada, and appreciation of it was abundantly testified to in this debate by hon. members representing all shades of political thought in this country. We down in Nova Scotia have a very great and natural admiration for the Minister of Finance. We regard him as one of the very best of our public men, a man who has rendered services most unselfishly to this country for a long period, and who will forever stand in the very front rank of the large number of public men which the province of Nova Scotia has contributed to this Dominion.

With respect to the particular subject that is now being discussed by the House I have, perhaps, not very much to say, and I want to state frankly at the beginning that I fear I shall not bring very much enlightenment to that question in which we are all so much interested. I think, however, it is proper that every shade of public thought should find voice in this debate. It is the foundation upon which the financial structure of this Government will rest from time to time, at all events during the period the present Government is in office; and as the Liberal party is a liberal party it no doubt contains within its ranks many men of different shades of thought but all prepared and willing to adjust and adapt themselves to the will of the majority. That, Mr. Speaker, I conceive to be real liberalism and from that point of view I desire to occupy the time of the House for a few moments this afternoon. The Finance Minister is extremely happy in the position in which he finds himself to-day. Although during the recent election campaign we were told that it was the avowed purpose and object of the Liberal party if they came into office to destroy the tariff, to bring down our manufacturing industries to a position of bankruptcy, and to further increase the unhappiness and uneasiness existing throughout the industrial world, the Finance Minister has had the satisfaction of having men sitting in the Opposition testify, since this debate opened, to the wisdom of the budget as he has brought it down. Yesterday evening the hon. mem-

The Budget-Mr. Kyte

her from St. John and Albert (Mr. Baxter) spoke in the debate, and I will quote his words:

I believe the hon. gentleman is putting forward proposals which by no means go to the length he would like to have them go; they by no means meet his ideal of economic conditions ; in fact I may also venture the suggestion that the proposals which he does make on this occasion approach much nearer to the economic ideas of the group of which I am a member than they do those of a large number of the group of which he is one of the exponents.

Again he said:

I think it is entirely a matter of congratulation to the country that the tariff has not been seriously disturbed.

What are we to think of the predictions that were made during the election campaign? We, on this side of the House, the great Liberal party of Canada, who support the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) and the party in office of which he was such an outstanding member for eleven years, knew he would be no party to the destruction of any policy that would bring about the conditions which were anticipated by our friends. Then we have the statement of the hon. member for South Vancouver (Mr. Ladner), who said:

There is no substantial reduction at all, and I am glad no important changes have been made.

Therefore, the tariff is no longer an issue, so far as the Conservative Opposition is concerned. A few months ago the right hon. member who leads the Opposi-fifteen years, knew he would be no party who are associated with him, endeavoured to make the tariff an issue in this country^ but when it became known that the hon. Minister of Finance was a candidate of the Liberal party in that election, and when they appreciated the very probable fact that he would again be Finance Minister of this country in the new Liberal government, they were content to accept that as a guarantee that the tariff need not be an issue in this country, because he would see to it that no disaster would come to this Dominion by reason of any improper or drastic changes. Considerable fault has been found, and I am one of those who agree that it is rather disappointing, that the Finance Minister has not been able to go further in the matter of reducing the burden of taxation. So long as I have had any views upon political matters, I have not subscribed to the platform of that political party that thinks we should have a system of free trade in this country. I

have been unable to find any country in the world that has a fiscal policy approaching to free trade. My idea of a policy for this country is one designed to bring a revenue to the government sufficient to carry on the affairs of the country, but that no further tariff ought to be imposed on the people than that which is necessary to encourage our industries. The budget has been criticsed in respect of the increase in the sales tax, but it has not been pointed out, up to the present time, so far as I am aware, that the sales tax does not apply to a large portion of the articles which enter into the daily consumption of the working man. One hon. member after another regretted that the Finance Minister has increased the burden of taxation in respect of the cost of living to those that are less able to bear it, and particular reference was made to the sales tax. I desire to make it perfectly clear that, as regards the sales tax, there is a list of items, numbering almost one hundred, that do not pay the sales tax, so that the burden of taxation on the common people, and those least able to bear it, is not affected by the increase of the sales tax by 50 per cent, as provided for in the budget. The people of this country, Mr. Speaker, are to be congratulated on the fact that, for the immediate future at least the interpretation of our customs law will be in the hands of a Finance Minister who will always give the benefit of the doubt to the consumer and to those least able to bear the burden of taxation, and who will not use his influence to give further protection to the protected interests by giving fanciful interpretations to the customs law. Let me make perfectly plain what I mean. Up to 1911, among the articles upon the free list were certain articles that are used by the fishermen in the maritime provinces. Section 682 of the customs law is as follows :-

That ropes twine, barked marline, net norsels of cotton, hemp, or flax, when used exclusively for the fisheries, shall he admitted free of duty.

These articles were admitted free of duty from 1897 until 1911, and the fishermen of the Maritime provinces had the benefit of being free to import the articles used for their purposes. But not more than two or three weeks has elapsed after the change of government in 1911 before the then Minister of Customs, gave an interpretation to that section of the law which immediately, and without any change in the tariff, removed barked marline from the

The Budget-Mr. Kyte

free list and subjected it to a duty of 25 per cent. The lobster fishermen of the Maritime provinces, who had enjoyed the advantage of importing all their twine necessary for the prosecution of the lobster fishing, found themselves, without a moment's notice, obliged to pay a duty of 25 per cent upon that twine. What was the explanation? The explanation was, as given by the Minister of Customs of 1911, that the customs officers who were performing their duties during the time the Liberals were in office were too generous in the interpretation of the customs law, and that, while unbarked marline, most frequently used by lobster fishermen, was admitted free of duty under the Liberal government, it should not be imported free of duty, but was subject to a customs duty of 25 per cent. But that is not the only instance. I referred to a case that applies to the Maritime provinces, but there is another case equally well known, and that is in respect to the duty upon rough lumber, which previous to 1911 came into western Canada free of duty. Article 504 of the customs tariff provides as follows:

Planks, boards and lumber or wood, sawn, split or cut, and dressed on one side only but not further manufactured, free.

Then article 505:

Sawn boards, planks, deals planed or dressed on one side or both sides when the edges thereof are jointed or tongued and grooved 25 per cent.

Well, Mr. Speaker, from 1907 to 1911 all rough lumber was imported into western Canada free of duty; and immediately after the change of government a ruling was obtained by the lumber combine of western Canada which immediately, and without any change of the customs law at all, imposed a duty of $2 per thousand upon rough lumber. The change was brought about in this way: The regulations provided that, whereas lumber planed only on one side came in free of duty, lumber planed on two sides or edged was liable to duty. They interpreted that to mean that rough lumber, the edges of which were sawed with a fine saw, became finished lumber and automatically lost its place in the free list, becoming subject to a duty of $2 .per thousand feet. That was objected to by the settlers of western Canada, and they went so far as to test the legality of that new ruling by the customs authorities. The matter got into the courts, and I am not quite sure what the decision of the courts was; but suffice it to say that while the Liberal party was in office and while our customs

laws were being interpreted by a Liberal Minister of Finance and a Liberal Minister of Customs, no such question arose, but in every instance of doubt the consumer got the benefit of it and the manufacturers' combine was obliged to submit to that ruling for the benefit of the people generally.

I repeat that, apart altogether from any reduction in the tariff which the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) has brought down to this House, it is a subject for congratulation that, whatever freedom we have at the present time, whatever privilege we enjoy in respect to freedom from customs duties, will be preserved to us while ever a Liberal government is in power and will not be lost upon 'a technical ruling by officials in sympathy, not with the consuming public, but with the manufacturers of this country. I stated a moment ago that personally I stood for a policy of tariff for revenue.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PRO

Arthur John Lewis

Progressive

Mr. LEWIS:

Will the hon. gentleman say that the present tariff is a tariff for revenue only?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

George William Kyte (Whip of the Liberal Party; Chief Government Whip)

Liberal

Mr. KYTE:

Most certainly not. A tariff for revenue is the ideal condition, in my mind, as a free trade tariff appears to be the ideal condition in the minds of some of my hon. friends sitting in the Progressive quarter. But if my hon. friends sitting in the Progressive group were called upon at the present time to formulate a policy having regard to the necessities of this country for revenue and to meet our increasing obligations, I doubt very much if they would give full effect to the doctrine of free trade; I believe they would rather wait until a more favourable time for its full fruition.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. EVANS:

In regard to what the hon. member said a moment ago, I should like to ask if, under the present arrangement, implements of agriculture and other things can be imported on the invoice price of the manufacturer?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

George William Kyte (Whip of the Liberal Party; Chief Government Whip)

Liberal

Mr. KYTE:

I must confess that I am not an expert with respect to the importation of goods. I did not expect that I would be asked that question; but the tariff speaks for itself, and I assume that agricultural implements will be imported subject to the duties specified in the tariff.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. EVANS:

Would that be on the invoice price, or will a dumping duty be added as well? The hon. member said that the consumer was to get the advantage. What is it?

23G1

The Budget-Mr. Kyte

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

George William Kyte (Whip of the Liberal Party; Chief Government Whip)

Liberal

Mr. KYTE:

This is a matter of interpreting the customs laws; and in view of the wide difference of opinion as to interpretation between the two cases I refer to, between a Conservative Minister of Customs and a Liberal Minister of Customs, I decline to give any interpretation at this moment.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. EVANS:

Might I ask another question?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink

June 1, 1922