Not while he is living, that is true. Then in 1920 the member for Brome came forward again. I will give him credit, he has been the one consistent man who has discussed the question in this House, and I have no doubt he will carry that consistency into his vote when it is recorded on this motion. In 1920 my hon. friend said:
Protection as a policy for this country is not only dead, but, after the next election, it will, as Disraeli said, be damned.
Well, protection is not dead. I suppose my hon. friend can say of it as Mark Twain once said of his reported death, "That the report was very greatly exaggerated;" and up to this time there has not been sufficient obstruction placed in the way of a protective tariff to constitute even a respectable "tinker's dam".
A statement that has not been put upon the records of this House, and which I think should be placed there, is one made by the Minister of Finance himself who, during the Laurier regime, was the real authority, as he is the real authority to-day. I made this statement several times, as did other candidates, during the election: I said over and over again that I believed that my hon.
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friend was absolutely sincere. I also stated my belief that the leader of the Progressive party was absolutely sincere, and that if the opportunity came they would put into effect the declarations they had made before the electorate. Now on May 10 last year the present Minister of Finance in the course of his speech on the budget, said this:
You may depend upon it that a tariff built up on the protective principle, a tariff designed to protect industries merely because they are industries and without regard to the economic conditions of the country, cannot and should not succeed. If there are people in Canada who are contemplating the establishment of new lines of business in which they feel that tariff protection is necessary I do them a friendly service when I say; "Don't do it," because anybody who counts upon the continuance of a protective policy is bound to find that he is pursuing a delusion. If any outside capitalist purposes coming to Canada to start some industry which he believes can only be kept alive by protection again I advise him not to come.
Further on in the same speech he said:
They think that Canadian industries need to be protected by glass houses. Protection like conscience makes cowards of us all. We lose faith in our country; let us get away from that.
That was the statement of the Minister of Finance last year. Then we had this statement in the manifesto of the leader of the Progressive party:
Our goal is the ultimate elimination of protection in our fiscal system.
The (budget now before you tells whether or not that policy has been adhered to. I have said that I have stated several times that I believed in the sincerity of these hon. gentlemen. People from the district from which I come believed it also; they believed that the policy they advocated would be put into effect. They did not approve of it, they voted against it; and in the rural municipalities in the country which I represent there was a majority against the policy, a majority against the Progressive candidate, a majority against the Liberal candidate, showing the feeling of the farmers of that district in relation to that policy.
Now the tariff changes are not very many, but whatever their number they are not calculated to benefit the public. As to implements we have the assurance that if there is a great deal of importation it lessens work in the Dominion; and experience of the past shows that such changes have not reduced prices. Then as to the fruit industry, it is one in which my district is very much concerned. My hon. friend from Yale (Mr. MacKelvie) has explained
very fully the effect which the changes are likely to produce. According to the beliei of the men who have studied the question most closely the changes will operate injuriously to the people of Canada.
I was surprised to find the readiness with which the budget was at first received, not only by my Liberal friends, but by those to my left on this side of the House. There was a little element of dissatisfaction; but the majority of those who took part expressed a good deal of gratitude. The Minister of Finance was congratulated and commended in certain quarters. We were told that the reduction of 2i per cent was a step in the right direction; that a half loaf was better than no bread, and this 2i per cent reduction was repeated so often and emphasized sd strongly that almost expected that some of our clerical or ex-clerical brethern might be induced to quote the words of the familiar hymn:
I do not ask to see
The distant scene ; one step enough for me.
But latterly they have changed their attitude, and hon. gentlemen have got away from that somewhat. One hon. gentleman told us in a very dramatic way how he and every member of the party with which he was associated were going to vote. He said that he was going to vote as his conscience dictated. That was all very well a few days ago; but latterly I am convinced, in view of the attempt to introduce a second amendment, that it will be caucus, not conscience, that will dictate the vote of hon. gentlemen in this matter.
As regards fruit in Ontario, there are no less than 280,000 acres in orchards, 13,000 acres in small fruits, 85,000 acres in vineyards, and 65,000 acres in vegetables. The value of the apples produced last year was more than $12,500,000, and of the other fruits almost an equal amount. In spite of the tariff which we have at the present time, we imported upwards of $31,000,000 worth of fruits and vegetables. My contention is that, instead of reducing the tariff in order that greater quantities may enter Canada in competition with the fruit grown on our own farms in our own districts, the Government should increase the duties on fruits and vegetables and products of that nature. If any country imposes a duty upon goods that we are sending to that country, we should meet it in the same way and thus protect our interests and our industries.
Before taking my seat I want to say just a word or two in reference to-I was
going to say the wail; somebody used the expression "wail" this afternoon-that has been going on, not only in this House, but out of it, during this debate and in recent years, about the awful conditions under which we are living. I thought, if this went on much longer, the Hansard of 1922 would resemble the modern edition of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. I think it was the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Tur-geon) who talked about reciprocity, about which we hear so much and which everybody knows we cannot secure even if we want to secure it. It must not be forgotten that the only time when the question of reciprocity was submitted to the people of C anada, they voted it down, and the majority in favour of the government was secured as much from the rural constituencies as it was from the cities. The hon. member for Gloucester said-and this was after reciprocity was defeated:
At once we saw the industry and commerce of Canada decline in every direction from its prosperity to a state of dilapidation.
That is a very easy statement to make. It has been made so often that I have no doubt some people believe it. Of course, it is not true. The population of Canada increased more in the last ten years than in any other ten-year period. As regards rural depopulation, there has been a constant repetition of an unfair and untrue statement made by certain journals that were supporting the Opposition during the last few years. What are the facts in Ontario? The rural population in 1919 was greater than that of 1918; in 1920, it was greater than that of 1919, and again in 1921, it was greater than that of 1920. In the latter year the increase in rural population is 31,135, not a very bad increase, while the increase in population in the towns and villages in the same year was only 20,467.
We have heard statements about nobody going to schools, and this is a statement from the Minister of Education of the province of Ontario. The report of the Minister of Education just issued contains the information that the increase in the rural school population of 1921 over 1920 is 5,000. Surely that is sufficient. A gentleman whose name is very well known throughout Canada, Mr. T. Albert Moore, is writing a series of articles to the Globe ' and I think they are appearing in other newspapers-on this very question. He has been deputed by his people to investigate the matter. Let me read one or two
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paragraphs from a letter which appeared under his signature two or three days ago:
In a school section in Waterloo county, in 1884, there were 160 children in the families represented in the public school, and the average attendance was about 60 scholars. In 1922, with six more farm houses occupied, there were only 29 children with an average attendance of 23 at the school.
Mark that, with six more farm houses occupied than in the former year, there was this great reduction in the number of children. Is the tariff responsible for that? This is another paragraph. Listen to this:
In 1884 in two homes there were 13 children; in one, 12 ; in three, 11; in one, 10 ; in two, 9 ; in one, 8 ; in two, 7 ; and in one, 5. To-day in these same houses, two have four children ; one has three; three have one, and the rest are occupied by childless couples or bachelors.
I do not think it is unwise to put that on the records, for the reason, first of all, that the tariff cannot be blamed for that.
In the next place I would like to say this____
and I hope attention will be given to what I am going to say-that if the present generation in the rural districts and every other district would pay greater heed to the Book that tells them "to increase and multiply and replenish the earth," and less to the doctrine that is being preached by destructionists throughout Canada, there would be greater happiness and no talk about rural depopulation.
I should like to place upon Hansard the following statements in regard to the value of occupied farm lands in Canada in the years 1910 and 1920:
Value of occupied farm lands in Canada per acre
British Columbia. . . .
Prince Edward Island. New Brunswick . . . .
Not a very bad showing for a farming country that has been going to the dogs for the last forty years. The output of wheat in 1910 was 132,000,000 bushels; in 1920, 263,000,000 bushels. The total farm production in 1910 was $663,349,190, and in 1920, $1,946,648,000. This year was very significant, notwithstanding the statements that have 'been made in this House and elsewhere that nobody could live on the farms any longer and everybody was in a state of despair, if nothing worse. The statement was that the acreage in crop
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this year is 25 per cent greater than it was last year. I do not know any explanation other than that the people are trying to do their best honestly and fairly.
Let me give one other illustration. In Canada, there are 415,000 automobiles, and that is quite a few. If you average them at $1,000 apiece, which is not too high, that means an investment of $415,000,000. Somebody says, of course, that they are not luxuries. I am not going to argue what they are. There is the investment, and if a man puts $1,000 into one specimen of equipment, he may not be able to put it in another; but if a man buys an automobile In order to help him do his duty on the farm and elsewhere, and he is unable to buy a binder, he must make the choice; but the country must not be condemned because he makes that choice. The following table will show the number of motor cars registered in each province and the number of persons to every one car in the province.
Provinces registered per vehicleAliberta. . . . 38,462 15British Columbia.. . . 28,850 21Manitoba . 37,571 16New Brunswick . . . . 11,216 34Nova Scotia . 12,635 45.5Ontario . 177,561 16Prince Edward Island . 1,419 62Quebec . 47,159 41Saskatchewan . 60.314 12Canada . 415,187 21That, I take it, is an evidence not of
decay but of growth, when people can invest to that extent in equipment, if you like to regard the motor cars in that light, or in pleasure vehicles, if you prefer so to consider them. Canada is the second largest purchaser of automobiles in the world in proportion to population, as will have been noted in the table I have quoted. We have one to every twenty-one of the population; in the United States there is one to every fourteen, in England one to every 268; in France one to every 402; in Germany one to every 684, and in Italy one to every thousand. Saskatchewan, as I have pointed out, has one to every twelve. I do not think that this is any indication that the country is going to the dogs.
I may quote an extract or two, which I think will be accepted very readily by hon. members to my right. A short time ago the Ontario government issued what is known as the "Handbook of Ontario, Canada," intended primarily for distribution in the United States and England, I presume, although no doubt it was sent to other places, the object of the publication being
[Mr. Charters. 1
the encouragement of immigration to the province. The book is issued, with the endorsation and approval of the Hon. Mr. Drury, by the Minister of Agriculture for Ontario, and has been widely circulated. In regard to conditions in Ontario, this handbook quotes certain newspapers. At page 201, the following is taken from the Farmers' Sun:
Experienced farmers with moderate capita! can find here farm homes in which they can enjoy all the comforts of a matured civilisation. Men without capital, but willing to work, can secure employment at wages which give an assurance to the farm labourer of to-day of becoming a farm owner in the not distant future. Inexperienced farm help command $20 to $25 per month with board. 'Single men with farm experience are paid up to $50 per month with board. Married men are paid as high as $700 a year with free house and other perquisites.
The Farmers' Magazine, another paper circulated in the interests of the Opposition parties, has something to say on the subject too. Listen to this, in regard to a country which it was stated in the election was going to the dogs:
The province of Ontario stands at the porchway of a glorious future. Ensconced in the strategic centre of our vast Dominion, with the best wealth of soils, the clearest fresh water lakes and streams, and an understratum of minerals, the importance of which Is yet little guessed, we have here all the requisites for a population of many millions, a land of real homes under skies that mingle sunshine and shadow in the best of proportions. Agricultural life in the past has been filled with a wealth of association in every township, and while the population in the rural districts has been shifting in recent years, the reasons are by no means as derogatory to agriculture as a first glance would indicate.
It goes on to speak of the value of machinery, the adoption of electrical power and so forth, and then proceeds:
Such a movement among the maple lanes of our land bespeaks a busy, prosperous countryside in this province, snuggling as it does so contentedly in the arms of the big, fresh water lakes. A land of peaches, and pulpwood, of red apples and cobbler potatoes, of sleek cattle and Wiltshire bacon, Ontario will double her billion annual agricultural production in the very near future.
Take another one:
To the young man looking out on life, to the parents who would "set up" a boy or boys in farming, to the Old Countryman coming to this new country, we would say, behold what good old Ontario offers:
A home-brick and stone houses with all that makes for a home, ready and sufficient income, pleasant environment, trees, water, varying scenery, neighbours, convenient schools and churches and market centres, travel opportunities, daily mails, culture, accessible entertainment.
Food in abundance, varied to one's taste.
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These statements-and they can be multiplied a hundredfold, have been sent out by the Minister of Agriculture of Ontario with the approval of the Premier of that province, who was elected to remedy all the evils that exist in that province. They have been sent across to England and over into the United States, and if they are true then they disprove many of the contentions that have been raised in this debate. On the other hand, if they are untrue, surely the Prime Minister of Ontario and his Minister of Agriculture would not vouch for something that is unworthy of them or of the province. Now, the attractive conditions which are set out in this book are the result of 40 years of a protective policy, which has been approved by the majority of the people every time there was a straight vote upon the question. And that policy would be approved to-day if there were a vote upon the one question of protection. Under the circumstances those who pretend to oppose the Government at the present time, if they live up to their professions, must vote for the want of confidence motion before the House. I have no fear for the future of Canada. This country has prospered and will continue to prosper notwithstanding the mistake it made in December last. And it will prosper all the more rapidly if its affairs are placed again in the hands of those who believe in the protective policy and have the courage and determination to stand up and say so, not only when an election is in progress but when they come to the House to administer the affairs of government.
Mr. ROCH LANCTOT (Laprairie-Na-pierville) (translation) :
Mr. Speaker, the budget speech of the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) is always listened to with much interest by this House, and it appeals more particularly to the people of this country, for if there are new taxes levied on the great majority of the people, there is also some disappointment expressed by those who expect reductions on many articles mentioned in the budget. The hon. member (Mr. Charters) who preceded me in this debate will, I trust, pardon me if I but answer a few of his remarks. Amongst other observations, he said that a defeated candidate had been appointed judge or senator. He is not teaching the old politicians of this House anything new, because this has always been the practice of both political parties, and those who are so chosen to sit on the bench or enter the Senate, never comjplain.
So far as the budget is concerned, I have very little to add. Nevertheless I would have -been better pleased had not beer been taxed. Beer drinkers are to be found almost everywhere in the province of Quebec. It is the poor man's beverage at the present time, because spirits are so highly taxed that it is almost out of the reach of a workman or of a humbler farmer like myself to purchase a bottle of scotch, gin, brandy or rye, and as I am in favour of temperance and should like to see it spread more and more amongst our Canadian parishes in the old province of Quebec, I wish to plead its cause and I therefore beg of the hon. Minister of Finance to find some possible way of dispensing with this tax of 15 cents per gallon on beer and soft drinks. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, I would in no way object to an increase on Scotch and other liquors so as to compensate for the loss sustained by the removal of the tax on beer, and those who come as our guests from Ontario or elsewhere, even from the United States, will pay for the increase, and we shall be able to drink -beer at reasonable prices.
As I have previously stated, Mr. Speaker, I find very little fault with the budget delivered by my hon. friend the Minister of Finance. I have, in the past, approved the late minister of finance when he proposed to this Parliament new taxes. I even previously upheld, when we took part in the war, in 1914, that the government of the day should have taxed the people so as to pay at least one-quarter of these war expenditures; but I understand that the far-seeing statesmen of the day did not wish to let the people know how much money was necessary to keep up this conflict; they needed men and money for the war. It would have been far preferable to tax the people at that time, because they had the means to pay such taxes; but to-day times are harder. Nevertheless, we must stand the racket. I am glad to see that the people at least realize what war costs, for I myself, I have heard people tell me in my county, "Why, you are against the war and we are making money while it lasts." They even lent money out at 51 per cent with tax exemption. This was to their gain; but now the Government is going to tax them, and these same people who are receiving dividends from the Dominion of Canada, will, on the other hand, have to pay back. This, however, a little against their wishes, so as to liquidate this mania for war. If there is a person in
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that House, who has a right to find fault with these new taxes, it is certainly your humble servant, because I was opposed from the outset of the second year to this senseless and immoderate policy followed by the two parties in this House.
Everybody must now acknowledge that in entering the war we went into it blindly, without knowing where it would lead us to; we foolishly squandered the people's money without helping very much the cause of the Allies, but rather to enrich the Canadian manufacturers and those engaged in making munitions of war. These same people invested the millions made during the war with the fate Minister of Finance and were exempted from the tax on some hundreds of millions of dollars, and we, the poor people, who have a yearly income of three or four thousand dollars, we are forced to pay an income tax, while these gentlemen who have amassed wealth during the war, who have well sheltered their millions under the country's guarantee, who will be reimbursed cent for cent, receive, for two millions lent to the State, about $110,000 of yearly interest, and they are not taxed a cent on the above amount. That is what these people call patriotism.
Mr. ST. PERE (Translation): Commercial patriotism.
As the hon. member for Hoehelaga has just called it, commercial patriotism. For my part, Mr. Speaker, I do not relish this kind of patriotism.
In the course of this session, my right hon. friend, the late prime minister, alluded to the policy which I enunciated in my county in reference to the National Railways. As I have not had an opportunity to protest, I take advantage of the means offered to me this evening to reopen the discussion on this question with the leader of the Opposition. Not only have we foolishly participated in the war, but we have also foolishly purchased railways; that is to say, that those at the helm of the government of that day knew no limits; they threw away hundreds of millions, nay billions of dollars. Money was no object, anything went. It was even then admitted that the end was an unknown factor, that any extravagance was permissible, that we would always have money on hand. Well, is it not the contrary which happens? I discussed this railway question in my county and I wish to broach the subject once more this even-
ing. First let us see how the railways started. I may say that it was a ruinous undertaking, and we are now wrestling with the consequences. In 1911, previous to the general election, the Laurier government was then in power; there existed in this country a company under the management of Mackenzie and Mann. They were the cause of many people doubting the honesty of numerous politicians in and out of this House. One of them was supposed to be a Tory, the other a Liberal. I came across them in this House, in the lobbies, in the railway committee room, and here and there. I was then a young man, having-been in this House but a few years; my experience was limited and I was not aware of all that was going on. I was undergoing a business training. Nevertheless, I thought it proper to advise one of my leaders that the best thing the Liberal Government could do would be to close their accounts with that firm of Mackenzie and Mann, adding that if I had any say in regard to Canada's policy, it is what I would do without the least hesitation; that I would not give this guarantee of $35,000,000, so as to ensure the construction of the Canadian Northern between Port Arthur and Montreal, but that on the contrary, I would discontinue the building of this railway, expropriate its different western branches and hand over the traffic of such branches to Laurier's National Transcontinental. I was told that it could not be done. I did not then understand the ins and outs of politics; however, later, I became familiar with them. The opposition of that day, led by Mr. Borden, put up a weak protest but I suppose Mr. Borden had to reckon with Mr. Mackenzie, who guaranteed the party funds to beat Laurier; and that is what happened: of the $35,000,000 voted by the Laurier Government, a portion found its way into the Tory candidates' pockets all over the country, so as to defeat Laurier, and we certainly well deserved it. I regret nothing, because we acted wrongly on this occasion.
The leader of the Opposition several times, and all through the country, bitterly reproached the Liberal party for our extravagance in having built so many railways. Should I ever meet him on public hustings I would prove to him without the shadow of a doubt that the Conservatives are more to blame than we are, although I admit that we have to bear our share of this responsibility. If our project of constructing the Canadian Northern
The Budget-Mr. Lanctot
between Port Arthur and Montreal1 was considered impracticable, why did the Tory party, five weeks later, when they assumed power, put the project to execution? It was their duty to remedy the blunder. Not only were they satisfied to take up our scheme, which was a poor one, but they also came to an agreement with Mr. McBride, then Prime Minister of British Columbia, and if the country had not come to the rescue of British Columbia by purchasing the Canadian Northern, that province would have been bankrupt owing to this senseless policy of building a third line so as to cater to a population of 376,000 people. I see to-day, on the order paper, that an hon. member is asking the Government if they have the intention of paying to Mackenzie and Mann the amount thus guaranteed. We, belonging to the province of Quebec, have been more fortunate than the other provinces of the Dominion.
More business-like. Yes, we were fortunate enough to have as administrators more practical men whose thoughts went to ensuring the welfare of the province they represented, rather than to preparing and winning elections as Bob Rogers used to boast about when he was a member of this House.
Now, I stated in my own county of La-prairie-Napierville, and I fought the election on that point, that if I were returned to Parliament, as far as I was concerned, I would be willing to sell our National railways if I could find a company to purchase them. However, I put down conditions; I would not sell to a "Toronto ring." I would not even consider the offer of a "Montreal ring," but I would sell to a company called the Canadian Pacific Railway, which is a responsible company and well able to pay us. I would sell them the whole system of railways for one dollar. This is cheap; however, if Rockefeller, who is in a position to purchase our railways, and to pay for them cash down-for he is considered worth two billions and a half, and we have property to the extent of 1,652 million dollars, according to the statements made by Sir Joseph Flavelle, who manages part of our railways-if Rockefeller, I say, owned these railways and obtained the results we are at present getting, do you suppose for a moment that he would like to hold them long? He would simply say: let us get rid of them,
I shall slightly increase the price of my oil and I shall get out of it. We have built our railways in this country 50 years ahead of time. Notwithstanding the ability of a company to pay for the whole system, it would never make a success of it. I shall prove my contention. We have at present a population of 8,700,000, people spread over an area as large as the whole of the United States of America. Now this latter country has not made a success of its railways, although it has a population of 110,000,000 inhabitants. With practically three transcontinentals which spans from ocean to ocean a territory as vast as ours, what can the solution be to the problem? Should the Government wish to carry on this policy which is not to my liking and which costs us enormous sums each year, there is but one thing to do and that is to discontinue operating one of these lines, that one which extends between Ottawa and Port Arthur. If, there are a number of settlers scattered here and there, for 25 or 30 miles along this railway, we can satisfy them by allowing them, the use of a kind of so-called local train. That is due to them because it is the building of this railway that drew them to those parts. Let us come to an agreement with the Canadian Pacific Railway so that they will operate this railway line, and, if necessary, grant them a certain amount of money for a number of years. 'Let us do more, if we find the same state of affairs exists in other parts, let us repeat this arrangement. I am told that in British Columbia, from the prairies to Vancouver, there are but few houses scattered here and there along the line of the Canadian Northern, and that the upkeep of that line is a clear loss to the country of no less than $8,000,000 per year. Why then not put a stop to such loss? Why do I wish to sell our railways for $1.00 to the Canadian Pacific Railway? Because they have an efficient staff, because they have a board of directors who are past masters in railway affairs.
This company would do away with all duplications which at present exist on the lines, and, within five years it is the people of this country who would benefit the most, because if the Canadian Pacific Railway succeed in making the National Railways pay, when we fail to do so, the country will benefit by it, let it be in five or ten years.
What do we hear every day: With the present freight rates life is unbearable. If we cannot exist with the present rates, we
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the farmers, must cut them down. But how can you expect a government to do so when it acknowledges a deficit of $72,000,000 yearly, simply to keep the trains moving, without taking into account what is expended each year for the maintenance of these railways and charged to capital account and therefore bearing no interest. We must not only take into consideration the actual deficit that the Minister of Railways admits each session in his statement, but we must also consider what we spend yearly for maintenance. Our National Railways cost the country last year $165,000,000 which the late Minister of Finance advanced. If we are already losing money with a smaller capitalization, how can we expect profits by doubling this capitalization? We have sunk enough money. Let us put a stop to it.
Mr. Speaker, I contend that should we persist in operating our railways, it will lead this country to positive ruin. I am always astonished to hear partisans of nationalization tell us: "For Heaven's sake keep quiet, let those who are in favour of nationalization have their way, and we shall make a success of it; time means nothing, wait until we have doubled our population." Do you expect to draw many useful immigrants to this country with the policy which has been expounded in this House during the present session by grumbling that one cannot exist in Canada if the tariff is not lowered on all articles?
Have not the Progressives proclaimed high and low in this House that it is impossible, at present, to make a living in the West, and that we must not encourage people to immigrate there.
I cannot understand, Mr. Speaker, that intelligent men, such as I know many in this House, try to compare our vast system of railways with an electric tramway located in a small town of Ontario, Quebec, or any other place. I have the honour of sitting, in this House, not very far away from a highly intelligent gentleman, who gave as an illustration which to my mind is not at all comparable to a situation such as that of 22,000 miles of railways in a country like ours having a population of 8,700,000 inhabitants. He said, in this House, that the small town he comes from possesses and operates with profit an electric tramway. It is quite evident that in such a case the
municipal council establishes the rates so as to meet the expenditures, not for profits but simply to make both ends meet each year. Well, I put it up to those who, in this House, are in favour 6f nationalizing our railways, to follow that example, and I, for one, shall put up my share. If you insist on nationalizing our railways and all public utilities, pay for it gracefully and do not bitterly complain and call upon the Government to lower the taxes. For my part, I contend that it is the only policy to follow for a party in power and for the country at large. Many of my hon. friends in this House protest against the taxes; they even contend that banks should not be taxed. These hon. gentlemen are no doubt forgetful of the fact that we have just emerged from a mighty war; they forget that our politicians, such as the hon. leader of the Opposition for instance, were in favour of sending even our last man and spending our last dollar for the war. He succeeded very well, and he was supported by a large majority of members in this House. That is evidenced by the results of the 1917 election when the Progressive party, who are now opposite to us and the Ontario party who sit on both sides of this House, were in favour of ruining the country to win the war. Has human blunder ever been more evident? Do not try to make believe to an intelligent people such as Canadians are, that 300,000 men were of any account in that war when there were 43,000,000 men already engaged in the European conflict. It is impossible for me to believe such a thing. I say that our boys did their duty during the war; but we must not forget that our politicians of the day-who ruined us-kept within our boundaries during that whole time, 172,520 men so as to give chase to our conscripts of Quebec. They held back about 50,000 men in England. They were calling for conscripts when the United States had just made its entry into the war, backed by all the gold and silver in the world. Yet they had not sufficient vessels to transport the American troops. Why did they want conscription in this country? To hammer on the province of Quebec and say that we had not done our duty. When I speak in this House, I assume all the responsibilities of what I say, and do not drag in others. I have already declared in this House, and I shall do so again, that had I been, at the time, twenty-two or twenty-three years old, never would I have gone to fight in France, but on the contrary, I
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would have remained in this country to fight for my race, because we do not enjoy our full rights, we have never had them. We were asked to go and battle in France for the freedom of nations, to have Belgium's neutrality respected. We have our own little claims which deserve consideration as much as Belgium's neutrality- such as, for instance, those of our compatriots in Ontario or in Manitoba.
I will make a statement here this evening. I am not of the same opinion as the leader of the Opposition who still wishes to prepare soldiers for future wars of the Empire. Well, as regards the Empire, I agree. However the Empire is still standing and we are crushed, we are completely ruined; the Empire is discharging its obligations since the termination of the war, while we, ever since that date, are increasing them. Let the Empire take care of itself and let Canada look after her own interest, such is my motto. No, we have had too many humbugs in this country. Even now, at this very time, there is a small group, in the corner over there, who expound their senseless policy and which is entirely out of proportion to our means. They make comparisons. They contend that we spend 17 cents per head for a navy in Canada, while England spends $10 per head for its navy; but there is a vast difference between John Bull and the colony of John Bull, which by name is called Canada. We all know that England has still money lent all over the world, some say ten billions, others eighteen or twenty billion of dollars; let us put it at fifteen billions. England is in need of a merchant marine to reach the products of the whole world, to carry back to her islands what is needed to feed her population and to gather the interest due to her. Moreover she needs a fleet to protect her trade throughout the world. There lies the reason why Germany declared war on her so as dispute her supremacy. Engand said: Never! She was the top dog; so much the better. We took part in the war and I extend my congratulations to those who volunteered to take part; let those who wish to fight for the Empire do so. But let it be understood, the Empire must pay, it will look after our soldiers as they did for the African war and I shall not hinder any one from taking part. I do not say that I shall myself shoulder the rifle, I am getting old and I do not intend to join.
Now, I support this Government because I am a Liberal. I am a Liberal of the old school, not one of those who have come in at
the last hour, at the last moment, who were simply shoved in, but a descendant of Mederic Lanctot and others like him. I have always been an anti-militarist and I had cause to be so, because if we have made preparations for the war they were never an asset to us. Is there an hon. member, in this House, who can say that our navy-if we ever had one, and we did, it was made up of the Rainbow and the Niobe, the Conservatives had a good laugh over it, nevertheless there was a time when they seemed very proud of it-I ask, is there a member who can say that our navy was of any use ever since we have been a British colony? Our militia did us a good turn in 1812; but what has it done since? When Uncle Sam wanted a portion of our territory, did he not take it? I am speaking about the state of Maine. In regard to Alaska, did our delegates, who went over to defend our case, return satisfied? They were hoodwinked by John Bull, and Uncle Sam returned satisfied.
An hon. MEMBER (Translation): What about the embargo?
The embargo! I have nothing to say in regard to what England is doing; I would be the last to rise and claim that the embargo should be lifted. If England has not the courage to impose a tax on the importation of cattle from foreign countries, and if she wishes to obtain the same result by using other means, it is her undoubted right. But if, as it is said, England had promised during the war to our statesmen that she would lift this embargo once the war was over, I say that she follows in the footsteps of Germany, and she does not honour her promise. That is all I have to say. I do not know if it is true, but if it is, such is my answer.
We have a debt that is enormous for a small population like ours, and a country so little developed. The hon. Minister of Finance informs us that this debt amounts to two and a half billion dollars, but it is nearer three billions, according to the Official Gazette, and I consider that the gross debt of any country is its real liability. I am satisfied that none of those who owe us will ever pay us; governments are not always paid what is due them, especially the government whose seat is at Ottawa. Moreover, there is the railway indebtedness which is already enormous and which ere long will be as high as that of the country. People lose sight of the fact that this is a real indebtedness. If our rail-
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way brought us any revenue, it would be different, we would then have an asset, but there being no revenue, it is a real liability. I would like to know how much the minister pays annually for our guarantee bonds for Mackenzie and Mann, the Grand Trunk and all the companies we recently purchased. We must face all those obligations. According to me, the remedy is simple, I think we should try and sell our railways as soon as possible, either for one dollar, or for more if we can. I am not difficult to please as to the amount, provided we are rid of that white elephant.
I do not know whether the people of the West and of Ontario are actually in favour of public ownership of railways, but their representatives in this House are. I therefore believe that I shall not please these gentlemen in speaking as I do this evening, but I am always ready to express my thoughts openly. During the war, I received letters from a great many people in the province of Ontario, whom I did not know, and who wrote to me saying: Sir, we have not the honour of your acquaintance, but we are happy to congratulate you, because you are not afraid to speak out what others dare only whisper.
I do not wish to detain the House very long, as it is already late, but I have another subject to discuss, it concerns lawyers. Those gentlemen are not always pleased at what I say, but, as my hon. friend from Peel (Mr. Charters) referred a while ago to a lawyer who had either been appointed to the Senate or to the Bench, I also wish to speak of another lawyer. This gentleman was a lawyer formerly, but now he has given up law for something quite different, as I shall tell you, Mr. Speaker. As you know, I am an eonomical man. I preach economy and practice it as well. I proved it at the time when the parliamentary indemnity was increased. And if I opposed it, it was not for the purpose of acquiring political friends in my county, they had all been my supporters before that.
That is it, as my hon. friend from Brome has just stated. There are here, in Ottawa, a parliamentary counsel, two chief-assistants, two special assistants, clerks, stenographers, in fact, quite an organization which costs $24,260. Before 1913, its cost amounted to only $12,000, and now that we are ruined, it costs
double. I do not see the reason of it, because I wonder what they can find to do when the session is over. Yet, everybody to-day is employed by the year. Well, I shall show in a moment what my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) did when he was Prime Minister, with the aid of my hon. friend, Mr. Charles Doherty, of Montreal. The former Minister of Justice, the hon. Mr. Doherty has made several trips to Europe. At the time of the dissolution of the National-Liberal-Conservative government, in October last, Mr. Doherty had not yet returned from the Geneva conference, and during his absence, the hon. Prime Minister had replaced him by a Mr. Bennett from Calgary. After the arrival of my hon. friend, his Montreal friends informed him that he was no longer Minister of Justice. You will admit with me, Mr. Speaker, that he cannot have slept very soundly after that. A few days later, the then Prime Minister left for the Eastern Townships to deliver speeches in support of protection. He had to pass through Montreal on returning to Ottawa. I am informed that the minister who had been dismissed from office met the Prime Minister and that the latter was compelled to appoint him as a lawyer in a certain case to be settled between Canada and Newfoundland concerning Labrador, at a fee of $10,000.
I am told that it is not per annum, but .for the preliminaries of the case. I do not know much about a lawyer's work. However he must do something since his fees amount to $10,000. But Mr. Doherty accepted on certain conditions. He immediately received $5,000. He came back, they say, broke, from the other side. He had to have money by all means. Therefore $5,000 was given to him. I have had a conversation about this affair with a very good friend with whom I have had excellent relations both in and out of the House. He lives in Toronto, and was once Minister of Justice, I may add that he is both a gentleman and an honest man. I am told that this lawyer of Toronto deals with governments as he does with private clients; when he works, for instance when he prepares a brief for a case, he charges the government exactly what he would ask from a private client. You will admit Mr. Speaker, that Mr. Doherty is not ar. ordinary lawyer, and I shall prove it to
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you. He has become a white elephant whose upkeep is most expensive. Sometime ago, I had a question inserted on the order paper concerning this gentleman. This question mentioned the date of May 11th, 1855; I could not go back any further than that date, as my friend was born on May 11th, 1855. Here is the answer which I was given. First of all, as judge he received $78,147.50; as a state pensioner, $70,893.33 -this is sometime ago, it is more to-day, he continues to receive $4,666.66 per year- but this is not all. He has travelled as a judge, but it amounts to very little, $282.90. While a member of the House of Commons he received as parliamentary indemnity, the sum of $40,555. Furthermore as Minister of Justice, he was paid $76,636.20. Now, during his term as Minister of the Crown, he received for travelling expenses, the sum of $3,196.25. Lastly, as counsel for the arbitration between Canada and Newfoundland concerning the boundaries of Labrador, he was paid in advance, the sum of $5,000. The department has no further knowledge of his receiving any thing more. He got nine thousand and a few hundred dollars for trips to Europe during the war, one of which was to represent Canada at the Peace Conference, at Versailles. My hon. friend from Wellington South (Mr. Guthrie) also took a few little trips-I hope he had a good time-for the amount is but a bagatelle, $9,000.
I have my doubts, Mr. Speaker, if according to the act amended in 1920, Mr. Doherty, as attorney of the Justice Department was entitled to draw his full salary. The amendment for which I was sponsor and had adopted in 1920, was to the effect that the pension of a retired judge must be deducted from his indemnity, when he becomes either member of this House or of the Senate or a Minister of the Crown. I should like to know from the present Minister of Justice whether the law has the same effect when applied to the Government's attorney. I do no+ ask for an immediate answer, how'ver, I trust that one will be given me in the course of this session. While I am on the subject, you are aware that we, the farmers, are usually men who practice and preach economy. We should very mr-h like to know if it is not too late to remedy this state of things. What do we see here, at Ottawa, in all the departments. There are it seems, law officers in eleven departments. It is not mentioned whether there are one, two or three in each case, but there are lawyers
in eleven departments. In the Department of Justice there are quite a number. In the House of Commons, we find four, I believe. I ask the Minister of Justice, who is a lawyer and a business man of the very highest standing, if it is not possible to improve on this state of affairs and to establish an office of legal experts which would advise all the different departments. We could provide offices for these legal men in some building in Ottawa, and when a department would wish to proceed with a case, they would submit their case to these officers; because, as I understand it, there are lawyers who specialize in procedure, others in the preparation of statements, still others as barristers,-finally others who are very little use. This office should be under the direction of two lawyers who could be got in Montreal or Toronto, men chosen amongst the best legal luminaries of this country, should it be deemed necessary, they would be placed in charge fit a certain staff. Instead of paying as it happened about $180,000 to Winnipeg lawyers when certain famous cases took place in that city, I contend that we could have saved by these means for the country an amount which I am not in a position to give, but which must be very considerable. Ever since I have been a member in this House, I have seen a great number of lawyers come from all parts to ask favours and cases and all t' is must have been very expensive to the country. Tomorrow, it will be said that Roch Lanctot is an enemy of lawyers. No, I am not against the lawyers, but let us act in a business-like manner, because we are called upon to pay; it is the people of this country that have to foot the bill. When you think that we farmers have not had a crop for two years and had to buy the feed for our cattle, that we are calLJ upon to pay larger taxes every year, when we realize that if we desire to-morrow to draw $500 from the bank, we shall have to put on our cheque ten two cent stamps-and I assure you that you cannot get much from a lawyer for that amount; they require much more than that-I say: For mercy's sake, let us adopt now a policy of economy.
Note the point which I am trying to make. It those who hold the higher posts would show the way to the people, what would it mean? You would not see such things as are happening now at the offices of the ministers and hon. members from the city of Ottawa. Every day hon. gentlemen are visited by people who are asking for an
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increase of salary. They are only following the example set by men of higher rank who are drawing pensions which they never earned. Do you consider, for instance, that Mr. Doherty has earned the pension which he is getting? No. If this policy is to be continued in the future, it must be subject to certain conditions. Do you know, for instance, who was responsible for the Eolsheviki regime in Russia? It was the Czar himself. I say that we must abandon such a policy, which, in my opinion, is a policy of extravagance and one which is detrimental to certain classes of the community. Instead of that, let us adopt a policy for the people as a whole.
Now, take our railways. Why shall they never be a success? Is there a government in the world that can do what a private company can accomplish? Right here, you can not do it with the civil servants. You must give them a bonus, against your will. Can you reduce the wages of the railway employees?
Let us see what took place during the last election. They say that patronage has been abolished and that the Government do not interfere with the management of our roads. Well, it as been shown very clearly that the Minister of Railways and the Minister of Labour intervened to procure work for the unemployed in some constituencies. But there were unemployed men everywhere and the same thing should have been done in every constituency. A government cannot act as firmly and as wisely as a private concern, and that is why I say: Pray, let us rid the people now from all these burdens and that everything be set up again as it was before the war, if possible. Thus you will see that a government such as the one we have now, composed as it is of honest ministers who have already administered the public affairs, will be able to pull the country out of the mire it is in now.
Mr. THOMAS S.4LES (Saltcoats): Mr. Speaker, I am a little differently situated to most of my friends; I have a personal matter with the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) He has enlarged a tax which seems to be rather unpopular, and unfortunately I am the only man in the House who bears the same name as that tax. I find that even hon. members are coupling that tax with my name. So what is going to happen to me from the less intelligent of the community outside I do not know. Probably if I cannot persuade the minister to change the name of this
tax, I shall have, to seriously consider entering an action against the Government for defamation of character.
But to deal with the matter seriously, if I cannot persuade him to change the name of the tax, I certainly would like to appeal to him tc change it so that it will bear more lightly upon the working man. We are rapidly getting the reputation of being the dearest country of the civilized world in which to live. My hon. friend from Maple Creek (Mr. McTaggart) was talking about tobacco this evening, and it brought to my mind a little trip I had to Niagara Falls on the 25th May. While there I found I could buy a package of Tarryton's English tobacco twice as big as the package I can buy on Sparks street at the same price, and I bought a box of matches for six cents very nearly as big as the box that I have to pay fifteen cents for here.
In appealing to the Minister of Finance to reduce the sales tax on the necessaries of life I want to relate a little incident that I witnessed last winter. A poor man was in a store and was trying to buy for his family felt boots, stockings, mitts, caps and other articles that they absolutely must have for the winter He had with him only $50, and when he had expended this sum he had but half the number of purchases that he needed. The big, strong fellow cried because he could not clothe his children to withstand our very severe climate. I am sure that if the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance could only understand how this sales tax bears on the poor man they would certainly remove it, say from boots costing $5 a pair or less, and on mitts and other articles of clothing which are absolutely necessary for winter wear.
With regard to the rest of the sales tax, I have no objection. I fulW agree with my hon. friends who say that the man who can afford to pay $5,000 for a motor car can afford to contribute $1,000 to help run this country. I fully agree with them that the luxury tax was the best tax we ever had. Certainly the man or woman who can afford to pay $300 for a fur coat can afford to help towards the expenses of governing the country.
I am sorry that the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Baxter) is not in his seat. He will ever live in my mind because of two favourite phrases of his. He speaks very glibly of thirty cents, and I wonder whether he knows what thirty cents feels like when he has not got it. I do not believe that this House has had enough mem-
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bers in it who know what thirty cents feels like when they have not got it. His other favourite phrase that I shall never forget is a " morganatic alliance." He appears to know more about morganatic alliances than any other member. I do not know exactly what he means by the term. For my part, I have been satisfied with one wife, regularly married at church. But I think we saw this afternoon a " morganatic alliance " of a slightly different kind, and I suspect that we shall see a few more of them before this session closes.
I noticed that my hon. friend from Swift Current (Mr. Lewis) referred to his domestic affairs. The last time I ventured to refer to mine the House laughed uproariously for some reason or other, which makes me somewhat afraid to return to the subject. But as my hon. friend has spoken of his family, and as I do not intend my French-speaking brothers to have all the honours on this occasion, I may say that I have the hon. member for Swift Current beaten by two. So that when it comes to thirty cents on a pair of shoes, which the hon. member for St. John so glibly speaks of, and I multiply it by eleven, it is not thirty cents any more, it is $3.30.
I should like to remind the hon. member for St. John that while he speaks of the traditional thirty cents, we have it on record by a greater authority than he that the difference between happiness and misery is only twelve cents. Charles Dickens in the person of Mieawber says: Income, one pound, expenditure, one pound and six pence-misery; income one pound, expenditure, nineteen shillings and six pence-happiness. So you see it is only a matter of twelve cents difference between happiness and misery. But the hon. member for St. John says, "It sounds like thirty cents." I shall reserve anything further I have to say on the sales tax until we get into Committee of the Whole.
I have been a little amused at the difference of opinion among our friends on the other side of the House. The hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Raymond) is not quite as lonely over there as I thought probably he would be. And even our good friend the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) this evening found something in common with him; they both used the same happy phrase of a tariff for revenue, providing incidental protection.
The fear has many times been expressed that if we do not pursue this policy of protection our industries will go to the
wall. I had intended to deal at some length with matters affecting the twine business, but I shall not do so tonight. The association with which I am connected out in the West has bought a large quantity of twine from the Brantford factories, and I know they say they do not need protection; they stand on their own feet. It is a strange thing that the large number of persons mentioned by the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Raymond) are unemployed in that city because of the closing of their factories, while factories which are working under free trade are operating full time and over time. I am really afraid that the protectionist doctrine leads to this- and I am going to quote only one thing which a manufacturer of binder twine says:
The success of the Brantford company is found to depend on quality of production and hard work, on good management, courage and efficiency. The company commenced business with the single idea of making the best binder twine on the market. It carried out that idea, and at a cost as low as its competitors, because the company's management was willing to work 24 hours a day if necessary. Flung on its own resources, with no tariff protection to shelter behind, the company substituted for that protection a constant striving for efficiency in buying, in manufacturing, in selling.
A manufacturer said to me in this House this very week that if the protection were taken away from our manufacturing plants they would have to stand on their own feet, and that it would be the best thing that ever happened to them; as long as they have protection they are going to lean on it. We have proved that our manufacturers can stand on their own feet. In fact, the manufacturers of farm implements are invading the very field which they say they are afraid of. I find that since 1914 a considerable number of agricultural implements manufactured in Canada have been sold in the United States. In 1919, $3,131,584 worth of agricultural implements and parts were sold in the United States, and in 1920 that trade was increased to $5,123,889. On looking up the figures I find a number of interesting things. For instance, in 1920, 12,094
ploughs and cultivators, amounting to $1,666,461, were sold in the United States, and 1,026 threshing machines at about $800 each., amounting to $850,375, were sold in that market. I cannot help wondering whether our agricultural machinery made in Canada and exported to the United States is sold cheaper in that country than it is within our own borders, because I
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do not know of any kind of threshing machine that I can buy for anything like that amount. All this talk of protecting these forty-four year old bewhiskered infant industries of ours is rubbish. The Minister of Agriculture is becoming quite an authority on infant industries. As those gentlemen who were with us when we took that very pleasant trip to Quebec will remember, the Minister of Agriculture stated there that there was only one way to make farming pay, and that was to have a large family so that it would not be necessary to pay wages and so that you would be able to keep all your money at home. I said to him on the train on the way back: " Mr. Motherwell, you have started a new infant industry ". The hon. member for Peel (Mr. Charters) read such glowing reports to-night from that Ontario book that I wondered that there was a man left in the towns and cities; judging from the character of those reports, they should all be attracted to the farms. The hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. McMurray)-and I have heard doctors, lawyers and merchants, everybody except the farmer, say the same thing -spoke of the glories of farm life. All those who speak from this point of view agree on two things: first, that what this country needs is more people on the land; and, second, that it is the other fellow who should go. I sometimes think that I should be better off if I gave up living on the land; if I left the farm and lived off the farmer and joined in the universal chorus of " Back to the land " as the finest, freest, and most independent life there is.
There is just one other point I want to deal with-and I shall not detain the House very long-because I think this question is one of the most important we have before us, and it is one which has not been referred to very often during the course of the debate. I refer to the question of the distribution and marketing of our products, which was alluded to briefly by the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Forke).
I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that it is not altogether the price we get for our product that counts; we may get 80 cents a bushel for our wheat, but it is what we can get for that 80 cents or for that bushel of wheat that is important. I am going to give you a few illustrations to indicate why the western farmer, at any rate, is finding it very difficult to make ends meet.
I marketed my wheat in October, the price then was 80 cents a bushel. My good wife !Mr. Sales.]
asked me to bring home some apples, and I went to the store to get a box of apples. Now, I got 80 cents for 60 pounds of wheat, and to my surprise I was asked $4 for 40 pounds of apples. When the storekeeper said: "How many do you want?" I said: "I do not want any at that price." "But", he said, "These are Macintosh Reds." I said: "I don't give a darn if they are Cochin-China Yellows; I don't want any. I will not give 300 pounds of food in the shape of wheat to buy 40 pounds of food in the shape of apples; neither would any other man in his senses." Under our wheat board we had the control of flour- I have stated this in the Committee on Agriculture-and for the price of 3 bushels of wheat I could get a 98 pound sack of flour, but the moment the control was taken off and the millers were left free it cost me the price of 5 bushels of wheat to buy that same 98 pounds of flour.
I was dealing with some of these matters during the recent campaign, and in that connection I had another strange experience. Take soda biscuits, for instance. I do not know what else is in them beyond flour, which is made from the wheat I grow, water, and perhaps a little shortening, yet it costs me sixty pounds of wheat to buy two small packages of soda biscuits, containing a little over two pounds- sixty pounds of wheat to buy two pounds of soda biscuits. To buy twenty pounds of rolled oats, it ccs.ts me over one hundred and forty pounds of oats. I could not carry enough hides on my back to buy a pair of boots. We have heard of the man who took his sheep to market, and when he had paid freight and marketing charges got only thirty cents apiece for them, then he went into the hotel to get a mutton chop for his dinner, and that cost him the price of three sheep. I have friends in Regina and Winnipeg who tell me they cannot afford to buy my beef. -They told me that last fall. I could not give it away, and I was afraid to ship it to Winnipeg for fear it would not pay the freight.
What is wrong with this country when such conditions prevail? If there is one thing to which this House should devote its attention, it is to finding out what it is that stands between the man who grows the stuff and the man who wants to eat it. Whether it is combines, watered stock, the paying of millions cf interest on watered stock, or whether it is that big business is strangling this country, I do not know, but that is the situation, and I believe that this House should take early steps to ascer-
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tain and make the public aware who is the guilty party. We cannot keep men in this country, and we cannot expect wages to come down unless we can find a remedy for the present situation. I do not know exactly what the remedy should be. Everybody seems to be able to prove an alibi pretty well. Ic makes me think sometimes of a patient who is being sucked to death by leeches. I remember as a boy going into a horse pond in the Old Country and having the leeches get on my leg, each one drawing out a litt'e blood. I think the consumer to-day is in pretty much the same position as a patient who is being sucked by leeches. He pushes off one little leech, and it says, "I am only getting a little bit, only thirty cents, perhaps. I have to get my living." He pushes off another, which also says, "I am only getting my little bit," but all these little bits, a little bit by the tariff, a little bit through watered stock, a little bit by this, that, and the other, soon bleed the victim white, and a remedy must be found.
I apologize for detaining the House so long, but if my words have any effect in bringing about appropriate action, I shall be very pleased.
Mr. JULES EDOUARD PREVOST (Terrebonne) (Translation) :
Mr. Speaker, the speech on the budget as given by the Minister of Finance has many remarkable aspects. Looking at it from all possible angles would be a great task beyond my sphere and which, moreover, would tax too highly your patience, however boundless it may be. But allow me to dally, for a few moments, over certain phases of this important speech.
First, have we not all been filled with admiration at the intellectual powers, the profound knowledge of his subject, the clear and lucid mind, the sound and unimpaired judgment of the Minister of Finance, the cleverest Canada has ever produced? His return to the post he occupied during fifteen years, from 1896 to 1911, recalls the unparalleled prosperity which so well marked the administration of Laurier's government. The member for Queens and Shelburne, after a lapse of eleven years, is again chosen to watch over our finances. May it please the Almighty that with his advent the order and prosperity of days gone by may return.
The Minister of Finance has a most important part to fill and, I might say, decisive part to play in times of crisis such as we are passing through. Ever since the
end of the war, it is on this department that the heaviest burdens and the most serious tasks have fallen. Although the Railway Department has a difficult problem to solve, the complexity of which is undeniable, yet the Finance Department is the organism of the Government where is met all that pertains to the economic life of this country. If, according to a celebrated saying, good politics bring financial success, it is no less true that, at present, the financial factor predominates in many ways the political factor, or, at least the latter must give way to the former. Therefore, the Minister of Finance must have the power to impart a character of unity to the financial policy followed.
It is indispensable that he should have a free hand in the preparation and the making up of the budget, that he should display the aggressiveness of the watchdog, a quality which should ever be present in a minister of Finance. Ever on the alert, he makes it a point not to give in when favours usually granted as a matter of course are being sought on every side. His supervision must extend over the receipts, watch that they be not neglected, as it happened under the late government. His labours do not end here. There remain many other jobs to successfully carry out. We must prepare to reimburse little by little the debt incurred by our country.
Then, in the midst of all this, appears the great needs, both foreseen and unforeseen, of the treasury, put to a specially hard test by the commitments and expenditures inherent to the nationalization of railways and the merchant marine that make up the major part of our budget. To meet these difficulties the Minister of Finance must have a definite policy, resting on a comprehensive and clear view of things. Through the critical times we are experiencing we must in the administration of our finances adhere to a consistent policy, raise revenues by the means of taxes justly assessed, practise economy in our budget expenditures, and forward the expansion of our foreign trade.
The present Minister of Finance gives ample proof of his consistency and of the loyalty of the Liberals to their programme, through the changes he brings about in our tariff.
By lowering, as much as circumstances will permit, the duty on numerous articles, the minister returns to the Liberal policy of 1897, when the customs duties were cut
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down on 147 articles. The present policy conforms to the one which was followed up hy the Laurier government in the changes which it made to the tariff not only in 1897, but also in 1904, 1907 and in 1910; it is likewise in harmony with the changes which were proposed in the House of Commons by the Liberals ever since 1911, namely, on January 28 and February 10, 1914; March 16, 1915; February 23, 1916; May 23, 1917, and at the national convention in 1919. It is true, events took place which have changed the financial state of our country, and as the tariff must not be the outcome of an unrelenting doctrine, but, on the contrary, must adapt itself to circumstances, and safeguard above all the general welfare of the country, the present Liberal Government is not adhering strictly to all the reforms asked by the Liberals within the last years. Nevertheless the spirit is unchanged; the tendency remains the same; the Liberal party is still led by the cardinal principle which has been the mainstay of its policy in the past.
Confronted with our public debt seven times larger than it was previous to the war, in the face of the interest which we have to meet yearly, with railway deficits staring us in the face, and called upon to meet the demands of the country's administration, the first duty which devolved upon the Minister of Finance was to meet our current expenditures, our maturing debts, and provide for the pressing needs of Canada. It was impossible for him to discharge such large obligations without levying taxes. This is what he cautiously did, although, I admit, a closer scrutiny might wisely modify a few of these taxes.
All the theories in regard to taxes are embodied in general rules, indicating the aims sought: that is, to raise the most funds in the easiest possible way, from the ratepayers, at the same timie interfering the least with the productive power of the country. It would not be a matter of surprise for any one if the Government found themselves under the necessity of imposing new taxes.
The Conservative and Unionists governments, whidh followed one another within the last ten years, bequeathed to the present Government as a legacy the heaviest task which has ever burdened a parliament. Our predecessors squandered money and, whatever may say their panegyrists, this unconstraint, this squandering have enormously inflated the already large amounts which the war demanded so that
accounts for our public debt reaching, not millions, but billions of dollars. Who will figure what, first the Borden, then the Meighen governments have cost the country? And then these governments after recklessly squandering and deepening the chasm of our deficits, have left to their successors the heavy task of paying the formidable bill of their extravagant expenditures.
The new Government is fully aware of its immense task. Those who are responsible for such a state will not miss the chance to make the best of it. They will denounce before a roused public these new taxes which the Government will have to impose so as to restore order in the finances left by them in a state of confusion.
Mr. Speaker, the people responsible for the taxes are not so much those who establish them, but those who made them necessary. The country was made aware of the administrative squanderings, pillaging of public funds, frauds, enormous benefits of the profiteers, the scandals of war contracts, for which the late government is responsible, and that is why they were judged and condemned.
On the other hand, while imposing new taxes the Minister of Finance, so as to relieve the high cost of living and relieve as much as possible the ratepayer, lowered the customs duties which, after all, are paid by the consumer. Taking an interest in the welfare of the masses as well as that of our national industries, the King government seeks to lower the high cost of living, by cutting down the duties on a great number of articles of daily use and on the necessary implements for the development of our national resources. Let us not lose sight of the fact that the tariff is the greatest source of our revenue. However, the tax and tariff should not and must not overstep a certain limit otherwise they become detrimental to the people who bear them; we must watch so as not to destroy the source of our economic life and paralyze our commercial and industrial development. Therefore, another duty imposes itself on the country, on the Government, and the Minister of Finance reminds us of it. It is not enough to have removed from power those who by their poor administration have so seriously imperilled the finances and credit of Canada. The people demand that those in whom they placed their trust not only redeem the extravagances of the past, but also show an honest desire to maintain the financial equilibrium
by putting into practice a rigid policy of economy.
In fact, the increase in the yield through taxation cannot suffice. The budget cannot find its bearings ; the treasury is empty, the deficit enormous.
Our national debt which amounted to $300,000,000 in 1914, to-day amounts to more than two billion dollars; the interest alone figures up to $140,000,000 per year, compared with $14,000,000 in 1914; we pay out in pensions and assistance to disabled soldiers more than $60,000,000 yearly; our railways leave us with an annual deficit of $70,000,000. Even now, I have not enumerated the whole of our heavy obligations. So as to follow a firm policy of adjustment of our finances, the strictest economy is necessary: it constitutes a whole political program and becomes absolutely indispensable to the proper balancing of our finances and to the economical uplift of our country.
The Government is therefore right in restricting as much as possible our expenditure. Would it not have seemed mor^ than strange, for instance, that three years and a half after the war, when disarmament is preached everywhere and to attain that end conferences are held in all parts of the world, would it not, I say, have seemed more than strange to behold Canada voting large sums of money for its military budget, out of proportion to its needs, to its population and especially to its revenues? I might say that the same argument applies to the naval service or war navy expenditures. Would it not be a disgrace if the public service remained encumbered with this large and unnecessary staff which was brought in under the late administration? The Government must not hesitate in applying the hot iron on all the abuses. It is with that understanding that the Canadian people will accept and joyfully put up with the new burdens. I
I mentioned, at the outset of my remarks, that Canada must expand its external trade.
To insure our economic revival and the restoring of our financial state, no way appears more effective than to increase our exportations. On the increase of our external trade depends indeed the wealth of Canada, the disappearance of the crisis which forces the heads of certain factories
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to close their doors or to lower their production which brings on a sad unemployment for the workmen.
Outside trade which, at all times, played an outstanding part in our country's affairs, is at present becoming of primary importance. On examining the latest statistics relative to our commerce, we become aware that our exportations have considerably decreased. In 1914, our exports amounted to $455,437,224. In 1918; they reached the fanciful figure of $1,586,169,792.
This rapid increase is without doubt due to the war which gave Canada an opportunity to sell to the allied nations of Europe products of all kinds of which they were in need. There is to be found the main reason of the prosperity which favoured the country during the four years . that lasted this war so disastrous for many other countries.
However, the conditions have changed. Canada's whole export in 1921, amounted to $1,210,428,119, which means about $400,000,000 less than in 1918; and in the ' course of the fiscal year ending March 31st 1922, our exports amounted only to $753,927,009.
It is in Canada's interest to find means of preventing this continuous decrease of its exports. With that end in view, it must adopt a firm policy and right methods so as to secure new markets and a steady external trade.
The Minister of Trade and Commerce said, in a speech which he delivered some time ago, at Montreal: We must direct all our efforts to bring back the prevailing conditions to their normal state". That is one of the essential conditions for the future and prosperity of our country. Canada will only develop providing we further extend our export trade. All must cooperate with that end in view, because a country cannot attain a genuine prosperity unless all put their shoulder to the wheel." That is a fact. It is apparent that the rapid increase in our trade during the war was abnormal; the cause was transient and ephemeral. It was a momentary gain but this magnified prosperity caused by extraordinary circumstances which changed almost suddenly, was rather detrimental to our industrial development. How many of our industries dazzled by the sudden foreward leap of our commerce, took too much for granted, plunged too soon and too far into extravagant expenditures and thereby over produced, and, now they see their
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success imperiled by the sudden ups and downs of our commerce. Canada which is and should remain an essentially farming country or, at least, should restrict its efforts to the development of its natural resources, evolves rapidily, too rapidly indeed towards industry. This course will only lead it to true prosperity if its evolution towards industrialism proceeds rationally and by degree.
It was truly remarked lately: First, the industrial evolution of Canada must be the result of the normal expansion of our markets and not promoted by a purely momentary and casual demand or protected by tariff measures or others, of too artificial a character.
An undeniable truth, is that the Canadian market is insufficient for the consumption of our farm products, the absorption of our mining products and a great part of our manufactured goods. Experience teaches us that an industry which limits its scope of action to its home market leaves itself open to dangerous crises and, to escape the , too sudden fluctuations of the home market, it must throw outside strong feelers.
Our duty is therefore to open up new markets. Such was the aim of the Lau-rier government during the fifteen years it presided over the destinies of Canada. The increase of our sales went hand in hand with the development of our output, under the Liberal rule. In 1896, Canadian exports amounted to $110,000,000; in 1911, they reached the figure of $274,316,000. Our manufactured goods exported, which by themselves amounted, in 1896, to $7,000,000, reached the figure of $35,000,000, in 1911; eur agricultural exports which, in 1896, amounted to $40,000,000, climbed to $82,601,000 in 1911.
Modeling our policy on that of the Lau-rier government to insure the progress of Canada towards prosperity, we must seek new openings for our export articles. In an essentially producing country like ours, we must have for our products numerous markets, easy of access.
The countries to which we sell the most are Great Britain and the United States, since 82 per cent of our external trade is carried on with item.
It is of the utmost importance for our commerce to find new openings and to expand our foreign markets. The total exports of Canada to the United States in the month of March last reached the amount of $1,283,942, against $9,488,589 for the same corresponding month of last year. The total exports for the period of
ten months ending on March 31st, 1921 and 1922, respectively reached the amount of $157,141,786 for 1920-21 and of $35,954,735 for 1921-22.
This large increase is due to the effects of the American tariff (Fordney bill) adopted and put into force in May, 1921.
Under such circumstances, it is evident that Canada must seek in other countries markets which the Americans refuse us.
In fact, it is dangerous for Canada to export most of its products to one or two countries. It is impossible to speak on imports without touching the question of our transport system, that is to say, the merchant marine and the railways.
I have not the intention to even touch upon these different subjects, it might lead too far. Let it suffice for me to say that I am convinced that the King government cannot escape-neither does it seek to evade its responsibilities in the administration of the affairs of the country. So far as it concerns the means of transportation: merchant marine and railways, its heritage is of a complex nature, an unhappy situation which is not of its making.
He will do the best he can. However, by all means, he must secure for the producers of this country the necessary means of transport so as to insure the development of our natural resources, to help the expansion of our commerce both internal and external. If Canada wishes to grow, to extend its horizon, to spread its name and its products over the world, it needs a vast interior system of communication by water and by rail, also a merchant fleet; however, this great undertaking can and must be realized without the state spending hundreds of millions each year. Individual and private initiative, guided by its own interest and responsibility, plays a part here which the state must not encroach upon. Whenever it has attempted to do so, in whatever country it may have been, the experiment was disastrous.
Our waterways linked to our great lakes, our railways converging towards our maritime ports, our merchant marine, the whole of our transport system, which improves from day to day, is well adapted to the necessities of exportation. But this is not sufficient and if we do not organize in a scientific way the foreign sale of our products, it would be useless to urge upon the Canadian merchants the duty of economic expansion.
I mentioned just now that we should open up new markets, I may add that we should also establish, with the country re-
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ceiving our goods, direct business intercourse, and with that aim in view make a serious study of the conditions prevailing in those countries where we wish our commerce to penetrate, establish a perfect system of informations for our merchants and manufacturers.
To export is a science. It is not as easy as the man on the street is apt to think to find a market abroad for the surplus of a country's output. There exists differences in languages, currency, custom, taste, transactions, etc., which one must be acquainted with. Moreover let us not forget that competition is very close. We have, it is true, at our disposal a whole commercial organization which is expected to render great services. But it is not yet working perfectly and the Minister of Trade and Commerce whose mind is wide open to progressive ideas and business enterprise, should without any delay work at completing the organization of our commerce abroad. Everywhere, in all the countries of the world, large and small, they are preparing for commercial sway. All have consular agencies entirely composed of men well prepared for the services they are called upon to render, numerous and competent commercial attaches. Almost all possess commercial museums, information bureaux organized by the state. In the United States, England, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, Denmark and Japan, the governments are represented by consuls and trade agents spread over the world, having information bureaux, publishing booklets which give out data for the guidance of exporters, and to expand more and more the commerce abroad of these various countries. In the worldwide competition where Canada wishes and must battle, it must arm itself with the same weapons and use the same tactics to which have recourse the other countries desirous of succeeding and which do succeed in extending their commerce.
Where is, in Canada, our commercial museum, our official information bureau that place at the disposal of our merchants and manufacturers, samples of raw materials and of industries of all the countries in the world, collections showing the modifications which take place in goods in the manufacturing process; maps and photographs showing the localities of production, the transportation methods, packing and other useful details; notices explaining the chances of doing business in foreign countries, the customs, the means of transportation, the different weights and
measures systems, currency, customs duties, banking systems and numerous other precise information, practical advice, well timed warnings, used as a guidance for private initiative and landmarks to the Government in its negotiations with foreign countries? I only know, in this country, the Ecole des Hautes etudes commerciales of Montreal which possesses a commercial museum now in course of organization. I may remark, by the way, that this institution, the foundation of which is due to the far-seeing mind of the Minister of Justice, when he was Prime Minister of Quebec, is becoming one of the best schools of its kind in America.
In this country, as in all others, the Minister of Trade and Commerce should possess a commercial museum and a bureau containing very complete commercial information gathered from the best official sources such as in the year books, reviews, statistical and geographical publications, and others. What valuable services such an organization could render to our traders?
These institutions which exist in almost all other countries are not to be found in Canada.
In the same way, our service of commercial agents is very limited. We possess about twenty trade commissioners recruited in a very wretched way. In reference to this, I notice that in the list of our commercial agents, there is but one French-Canadian, Lt.-Col. Hercule Barre, at Paris. If it was part of the late government's policy to eliminate the French -Canadians, in the choice of our commercial attaches, I know that such a practice will disappear. Now, I would like to know what valuable services can our trade commissioner, in Belgium, possibly, render us if he is not conversant with the French language? Do all our commercial agents, a list of whom is in front of me and who represent Canada in twenty different countries, fulfil their duties efficiently, do they correspond with our business firms, our producers, our traders; do they truly keep the Minister of Trade and Commerce well posted on the possibility of doing business in the parts where they have been sent? We have cause to doubt of the efficiency of the services of these trade agents when we know how they have been recruited in Canada. On the admission of Mr. William Foran, secretary of the Civil Service Commission, we are content with requiring from candidates a common school education instead of a diploma from a tec'n-
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nical institution of a high order, as the thing is done in other countries. By so doing not only would we secure for the State competent commercial representatives in all parts of the world, but we would also be opening up a new and fine career to the young Canadians who graduate in commercial schools.
Mr. J. A. Cooper, who was trade commissioner, at New York, during the war, lately said before the members of the Export Club, at Montreal, that at present it is difficult to gather details regarding the import and export trades. This is due to the shortage of commercial representatives. Great Britain has 115 commercial agents in the United States, Argentina 25, Belgium 60, and the other countries are better represented than Canada. I heartily [DOT]approve the hopes expressed by Mr. Henry Laureys, director of the Ecole des Hautes etudes commerciales, at Montreal, during a lecture given on Canada's external trade, and I trust that the Government will bring on the necessary changes m the mode of recruiting these important officials who are our trade agents, so as to endow the external trade service of Canada, with an efficient staff who will in no way be handicapped as compared with that of other countries.
Fairs and exhibitions are also a powerful weapon to advertise the products that we wish to sell in foreign lands. In this connection, I must congratulate the Minister of Trade and Commerce for having asked a credit of $50,000 to give effect to the project put forth by Senator Beau-bien in order to have circulated in France, and I also hope in Belgium, an exhibition train showing the raw material and the manufactured articles that we have for sale.
Mr. Speaker, we are passing through a critical political period, we have to face serious problems. We are confronted with the question whether in such a juncture the government in charge of the country's affairs, is in a position to make a success of it: this is what the House must decide; that is what the people expects from the government. We certainly have no reason to lose hope and distrust the future. Let us recall the example of the United States. In 1860, our neighbour's debt amounted to $64,000,000. After the war of Secession, in 1866, their debt increased to $2,733,000,-
000. In twenty years the United States wiped out half of their debt. In 1866, the United States only exported $300,000,-
000 worth of goods while Canada, in 1922, exported more than $700,000,000.
What the United States were able to accomplish, Canada is able and must accomplish; and it will do so.
Never, in any case, was it more necessary for a Parliament to avoid these foregone conclusions, these inconsiderate voters, these obstinate attitudes from which the prestige of the House would suffer and the Government would find itself weakened.
All ministers, for a long time .to come, will have to take serious precautions, decisions which will not always be popular or may astonish an unprepared public. These necessities are the results of the intimate nature of things and events. It is in such cases that a government needs the support of Parliament. It is equally in such cases that the House must decide and choose, refuse or give its confidence and by all means support the government which it has resolved to sustain.
Now' comes into play the making of alliances to which in the past we have not been used. New ideas, extraordinary circumstances demand that three parties should have numerous followers in this House. We are witnessing what has never been seen: The House divided into three important groups. The Government must necessarily count upon the support of all those who have confidence in it. Those who wish to contribute to the moral uplift and to the restoration of our finances must perforce become its allies. Such an alliance the Government far from rejecting, loyally welcomes it, as long as it does not obstruct its liberal policy nor its aim which is the country's salvation. In the critical period we are passing through, the question is no more one of conflict between political parties, it is a struggle between the Canadian nation and the Tories. I know that the Government is not ready to sacrifice the general welfare of Canada, the broad views of the national policy, in a word the national strength, to alliances, and it must not do it otherwise it would be a deceitful game.
If it is true that an alliance gives strength to the Government we must also admit that it is the confidence in its programme, as also the ability of its statesmen which draws to it allies.
We must return to our Canadian traditions, to the respect of the constitution, to the pride of our autonomy, and invigorating thought of responsible government, we must forever create, maintain and
develop a Canadian national spirit which will be our safeguard against the allurements and snares of imperialism; we must strive to restore our shattered finances and this through economy and the expansion of our commerce; we must rebuild a healthy, laborious, robust, peaceful Canada and deferential to all the races and creeds, united and trusting in the future. If the Government remains faithful to this great programme and accomplishes this noble task, it will prove itself worthy of the alliance which, more than any other, will strengthen and make it invincible: the
alliance with the whole Canadian nation for which it will have realized her most cherished hopes.
On motion of Mr. Lapointe the debate was adjourned. [DOT]
On motion of Mr. Graham, the House adjourned at 12.20 a.m., Wednesday.