June 7, 1922

PRO

Daniel Webster Warner

Progressive

Mr. WARNER:

Was not that on the raw material?

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

James Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHAPLIN:

It was not on raw material. It does not make any difference what it was on. I make the broad statement that $30,000,000 was collected for duty that did not apply to manufactures at all. Some of that duty was on hay

for which I have given the figures-some on coal, and so on. But what have we got to do with the duty on those commodities? I could give the hundred or so articles in this list, but I do not want to weary the House. I submit that people are too prone to make statements that they cannot back up. For instance, I heard the hon. member from Kindersley, I think it is (Mr. Carmichael) declare he was a schoolmaster and would like to put figures on a

The Budget

Mr. Chaplin

blackboard, because he was great at figures and could explain everything on a blackboard. What happened? Metaphorically speaking, the first figure he put on the blackboard was that it cost the Dominion 50 per cent to collect its customs tax! Now, if that is an example of our teaching the sooner we mend our ways the better.

The other night an hon. gentleman complained about the relative prices of a kodak at Ottawa and at Niagara Palls, New York. I am not sure of the comparative figures he gave, but my recollection is that they were $14 and $27. Let us assume those figures. The duty is 25 per cent, and at the full retail price it would not be more than $3.50; the expense of bringing the kodak to Ottawa would not be more than 25 cents, bringing the $14 up to about $18. That is $18 as against $27. Where did the $9 go? Surely, you do not put that upon the manufacturer? You cannot blame that on the tariff. I am only mentioning it so you can be reasonable.

Now, I want to get back to the budget itself. Although I have not been in the House for very many sessions, I have had some experience of politics and of political pledges. I want to read and emphasize something that is on Hansard; I want to give it again because I would like the people to know something about broken pledges. It is from a speech delivered by Mr. J. Irael Tarte on April 20, 1903, in which he said:

I say it openly, I say It from the bottom of ny heart, that I fully expected that the Liberal tarty, with which I have been connected during :he last ten years, would carry out the policy it vas understood in 1896 they would carry out. i am weighing my words. I know what arrangement, what understanding took place between some pubMc men. I know what took place. I do not divulge any secrets. I know what we did in the election of 1896 in Montreal. I see within the radius of my eye public men wtho, at our request, came to the city of Montreal, went to the manufacturers, with the knowledge of the leaders of the party, and told them not only would the tariff not be disturbed, but it would be changed in the right direction when the proper time came. There was no secret about that. I shall not give names. There are men who hear me-I am sorry there are not more oh those benches

who know that I am perfectly right. I am out of office because I could not stay in office under the present circumstances. I have had only pleasant relations with most of my colleagues and have for the most of them the greatest respect. But I could not possibly stay In office when I knew that the policy we are following now Is not the right policy-when I knew what understanding took place formerly.

I ask the House cannot history repeat itself? Is it not likely that something of

the kind mentioned here has been done more recently? Did something of the same kind happen in Montreal in the last election? I leave the question with you, Mr. Speaker. I thank hon. members for giving me such a kind hearing.

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

Robert Gardiner

Progressive

Mr. ROBERT GARDINER (Medicine Hat) :

Mr. Speaker, I desire for a short time indeed to discuss the question of the budget and the tariff schedules contained therein. I quite realize that this debate has been proceeding for quite a considerable time. I propose, therefore, to make my remarks very clear and to the point and to be as brief as possible.

The real reason why I desire to speak this evening is to define my position so far as the budget is concerned. I would like the House to understand that I was elected on the Farmers' platform known as the New National Policy. It might be interesting to the House to know just how this platform came into existence. We all realize that the platforms of the two political parties that sit in this House other than the Progressives were brought into existence by a comparatively few men who controlled their particular party. But our platform came into being in a somewhat different manner. Various resolutions had been passed by farmers' organizations all over Canada, and in 1916 the Council of Agriculture, realizing the importance of many of these resolutions, picked out what they considered the most important ones, codified them and placed them in the form of a platform, known as the Farmers' platform. This platform in turn was placed before all the annual conventions of farmers' organizations for their endorsation or rejection; with some slight modifications it was accepted by practically all the farmers' organizations throughout the length and breadth of Canada, and it became then known, as I have said, as the New National Policy.

I want to tell the House fairly and squarely that I believe in that platform; I stand four-square by all that it contains. I believed in it when it was first brought into existence. I believed in it when I was nominated to contest a by-election in the constituency of Medicine Hat last year; I ran on that platform and the electors endorsed it to the extent of giving me a majority of nearly 10,000 votes. My personality had nothing to do with the winning of that election; what the people were standing for was this platform which I am placing before you this evening. On

The Bridget-Mr. Gardiner

it that election was fought and won. In the election of December 6 last I stood upon the same platform and was returned with practically three times the number of votes the Liberals and Conservatives polled.

Now, I want to deal for a few moments this evening with some of the contents of that platform. The member for East Calgary (Mr. Irvine) two evenings ago placed the fiscal plank of this platform on Hansard. If I do not mention every part of it so far as fiscal policy is concerned, the House must not think that I aim trying to get away from it; I want to say as distinctly as I can that I accept the whole of the fiscal policy as contained in it. But in order to save time I propose to deal with just a few of the principles therein set forth.

The first part of the platform to which I would like to call attention and which I hope to see put into effect some day is the first section:

By an Immediate and substantial all-round reduction of the customs tariff.

We have a tariff in this country which, I believe, is far in excess of what it should be. I am not one of those who would like to see industry destroyed; I believe we need industry just as we need agriculture. But I do believe that most of the industries that benefit through the present fiscal policy could stand a substantial all-round reduction in the tariff and not be any the worse for it.

The next part of the platform deals with the British preference, and here again I want to say that I accept that in toto. We ask that the British preference be brought up to 50 per cent of the general tariff and that gradual or equal reductions be made each year until in five years we have free trade with Great Britain. I believe that that would be sound policy for this country to follow, because I think we should carry on as much trade with Great Britain as we possibly can.

There are other portions of this platform that I would like to mention. We believe in placing all foodstuffs on the free list, and I would point out to the House that if there are any foodstuffs that are now taxed when they enter Canada, it was never by the consent of the farming population that I know of, for we stand for free foodstuffs.

We also would favour the admission free of duty of the machinery that is necessary to apply to the natural resources of this country in drder that wealth may be produced; also the raw materials that enter

into the manufacture of any machinery of that description that is made in Canada. I certainly believe the policy of this country should be to develop our natural resources to the greatest possible extent, and to the extent that we do develop them we shall become just that much more prosperous. We therefore submit that it would be good policy for this Government to see that no impediment is put in the way of developing our natural resources such as a tariff on the machinery of production which is essential for the development of those resources.

The hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) made a statement in his address the other day to the effect that it was not desirable to put this policy into effect all at once. That means that he thought it was advisable to give industry a reasonable opportunity to accommodate itself to these proposed new conditions. We have made provision for that in our platform to this extent, that every claim for tariff protection by any industry should be heard publicly before a special committee of Parliament. We have many special committees of Parliament now gathering information on special subjects, and that is a good policy, for I believe the House should at all times have all the information before it that can be made available to guide it in its deliberations. So with the question of the tariff, I believe we should have a special committee responsible to this House to sit and inquire into tariff questions, and if any industry desires to have any protection whatever they should lay their claim before that committee. In that way this House would get real information that would enable us to discuss the budget intelligently.

. I would remind hon. members of the fact that we have had tariff commissions in this country galore. We had one a year ago last fall, and I noticed by a return that was brought down the other day that it cost the country between $17,000 and $18,000. We all remember that this commission sat from coast to coast but so far as I am concerned I have never seen any of the information that it gathered. I do not know whether any other hon. member of the House ever got hold of any of that information, but if they did, it is news to me. I submit that inasmuch as this country has spent that amount of money in collecting that information, it should be made available to hon. members so that we can make use of it when discussing the budget.

The Budget-Mr. Gardiner

I should like to make an observation or two as to the effects of the tariff in some respects. I sincerely believe that the tariff is a medium through which the few exploit the many in this country. It is very unfortunate that it is so, but, nevertheless, all the evidence that I have ever been able to get hold of points to the fact that the tariff does give the few an opportunity to exploit the many.

There is another peculiar thing about the tariff. The tariff increases prices, but it does not increase values. To illustrate that I will take an article of food that is used on practically every table in this country, a loaf of bread. The contents of a loaf of bread come into this country practically free at the present time. If we admit that those ingredients come in free, and that after they have been turned into a loaf of bread, that loaf is worth say ten cents over the store counter, we will admit that that loaf of bread is being sold around its actual value; but assume for a moment that we put a tax on the ingredients that enter into a loaf of bread, and after we have computed the cost of that loaf we find that it sells, say for 12J cents, instead of 10 cents. You can readily understand that in that case the loaf of bread has been increased in price, but it has not been increased in real or actual value, because no matter what its price may be, a loaf of bread can only sustain a person for a certain length of time. That is an illustration of how the price of commodities is increased by the tariff while the value remains the same.

In the early part of my remarks I made the statement that I would like to see the tariff reduced very considerably. I do not like to make any suggestions unless they are more or less of a constructive nature. We understand, of course, that if we had a lower tariff we would lose no doubt a substantial amount of revenue, and in order to provide against that loss we have suggested in our platform certain methods of making up for it. First, we propose a tax on unimproved land values and natural resources. This question was dealt with very fully the other day by the hon. member for Brant (Mr. Good), and therefore I do not intend to take time in going over it again.

Our next suggestion is a sharply graduated inheritance tax, and I submit that that is a very good field of operation for the Minister of Finance if he desires to get extra revenue. We have in this country,

as in all other countries, many large fortunes but if hon. members will just sit down and calmly contemplate for a moment how these fortunes are made, and how reasonable it would be for the Finance Minister to place a substantial tax on large fortunes, I think most of us would agree to the principle. Taking the statistics as a whole, and estimating the productive capacity of the average man for a certain number of years, I think every member of the House will agree that it is practically impossible for any man to produce real wealth to the extent of a million dollars in the average lifetime. When we realize that that is almost an impossibility, and that we have many men in this country who are worth far more than that sum, we must realize that they have been privileged by law to acquire something that they did not produce. Consequently, when we suggest the possibilities of an inheritance tax, we maintain that the state is justified in taking from the estate of a person after he has finished with it a substantial portion of that which, by law, he has been allowed to acquire but which he did not produce.

The hon. member for Regina (Mr. Motherwell) last evening brought before us another suggestion with regard to taxation, and while I must distinctly let the House understand that this particular item is not in our platform, yet, personally, I believe it is a good idea-I refer to the excise tax placed on manufactured goods in this country that enjoy a protective tariff. I believe that perhaps a lot of the hard feeling in so far as the tariff is concerned, would be removed if our people felt that their money was going into the Dominion treasury; and the Finance Minister might at least try, in the near future, and see if he could not do something along those lines.

Now I am going to discuss the budget for a few moments. I shall only occupy a short time because the hour is getting late and I do not want to unduly detain the House. The first item I desire to discuss is the sales tax. I regret very much that the Finance Minister has seen fit to increase the sales tax. As a matter of fact, I do not believe in the sales tax in any form whatever, not even at the rate that was in force last year. The reason I do not believe in it, is because of the fact that the sales tax is a direct tax on consumers, and it violates all the principles of taxation-that is to say that taxation should be levied on those best able to 'bear it. The sales tax is based on the needs of the people and not

The Budget-Mr. Gardiner

upon their ability to pay, and when that is the case such a tax is more or less vicious.

As to the one per cent tax on bank circulation, I wish to direct attention to some very pertinent things and I am sorry the Finance Minister is not in his seat at the present time. The Finance Minister proposes to place a tax of one per cent on bank circulation, and I believe that he is, perhaps, starting in the right way provided he can toe assured that the banks will not pass this one per cent on to their customers. What I mean by that is this: If the banks

are permitted to add that additional one per cent to their interest charges, they will suffer no loss, and they will be contributing nothing to the revenue of the country; the people who do business with the banks will toe the ones who will have to pay the piper. I would like to read for the information of the House section 91 of the Bank Act which deals with the interest that banks are allowed to charge. This is section 91:

The hank may stipulate for, take, reserve or exact any rate of interest or discount not exceeding, seven per centum per annum, and may receive and take in advance, any such rate, but no higher rate of interest shall be recoverable by the bank.

That is distinctly, I believe, an understanding, in so far as this section is concerned, that the banks shall charge no higher rate than 7 per cent. Now, if the Finance Minister desires any evidence I am quite prepared to produce bushels of old notes to show that the banks have been charging interest rates of 9 and 10 per cent, and in some instances a higher figure, in violation of this particular section of the act. Therefore, if no curb is placed upon the banks there is nothing whatever to prevent them from adding this one per cent tax on circulation to the accounts of their customers. The banks have received some very extra privileges in return for which they are supposed to give certain services.

I am going to bring a case before the House to show that the banks are not, so far as I can understand, living up to their contract in the matter of service. I hold in my hand an auditor's financial statement and annual return of municipality No. 302, which is in the province of Alberta, for the year 1921. In this statement there are assets and liabilities columns. The liabilities column shows that the municipality's assets over liabilities amount to $39,327.30-that is to say that they have assets to that amount over

liabilities. On the other hand I notice that their debt to the bank amounts to $2,200 for a school loan for the purpose of keeping the schools in the municipality running. That is all that they owe the bank. This municipality, in order to finance the schools in the nine townships contained in the municipal district, went to the bank and asked for a line of credit of $6,000 for school purposes. The 'bank turned them down, and has not up the present time, so far as I know, given that municipality any line of credit for school purposes, or for any other purpose. In view of the fact that this municipality has assets of close upon $40,000 over liabilities, and that on December 31, 1921, it only owed the hank $2,200, I maintain that the bank, bearing in mind the privileges that this Parliament has conferred upon it, is not doing its duty in refraining from financing that particular school system.

There is just one other matter I wish to deal with for a moment and that is unemployment. This question has received some slight attention here but it is not being given the attention it should receive. We all realize that unemployment is very rife in Canada at the present time; and I merely want to suggest to the Government that in view of the possibility of the situation being somewhat serious, they take steps to see to it that a programme is outlined whereby next winter the services of the men who are unemployed will be utilized in some proper manner in connection with development work required in this country. During the last winter the unemployed were living on doles contributed to by the federal and provincial governments and the municipalities, but I maintain, 'Sir, that the only way to approach this question of unemployment is to look ahead and see if we cannot provide some useful work, or works, that are necessary to the country so that these men may make a living without being pauperized by the acceptance of doles.

In conclusion I wish to say that I cannot see that the budget in any way meets the views that I hold with regard to the tariff question, and because of that fact I am afraid that I will have to vote against it. I happen to belong to a farmers organization in Alberta whose motto is equity, and this budget, in my opinion cannot be held to be equitable at all. Furthermore, our slogan in Alberta is " Equal rights to all and special privileges

The Budget-Mr. Lapierre

to none." Consequently, for the reasons which I have given, I am afraid that I cannot support the budget.

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

Edmond Antoine Lapierre

Liberal

Mr. E. A. LAPIERRE (Nipissing) :

I wish to preface the few remarks I have to make this evening by complimenting the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) upon the admirable budget he has given this country in one of its most trying moments. All the speakers who have preceded me have been of one opinion, that Canada in its present financial condition must get revenue and that the national debt of Canada must he reduced. It has been my privilege to be associated with a class of business that has, in past years, had to bear a large share of taxation, and that class has accepted, with admirable patience, the burden that has been imposed upon it by the conditions created by the war. We have heard a lot about organized labour. We have heard the critical arguments of our Progressive friends on this budget. I wish to speak this evening for a class to whom no one has yet referred, and that class is the large and unorganized body of wage-earners of Canada.

Under our complex social system there has arisen in Canada, during the last ten or fifteen years, a class of people that has contributed more to the financial, social and moral development of our country, and has accepted with more patience and resignation the burden of citizenship, than any other. I am referring to what is ordinarily called the middle class, in a great measure the clerks, the bookkeepers, commercial travellers, and office assistants. That class has supported, to a large extent, the retail business of Canada which, at the present instant, depends upon such a budget as that elaborated by the Minister of Finance to regain that prosperity which Canada once enjoyed. My Progressive friends have told us what a great burden they had to bear under the taxation that is imposed all over Canada. If they look back to 1917 they will remember that we, of the Liberal party, condemned and criticized the government which was responsible for the national debt which bears so heavily on Canada to-day.

In 1917, the great leader of the Liberal party, at an age when men are seeking comfort and rest, undertook, against the advice of his friends, a political tour of the west. It was my good fortune to have travelled with Mm on that occasion from North Bay to Sudbury. With all the enthusiasm of youth, and with the utmost confidence in our great West, he undertook that long

and tiresome journey, confident of its results, feeling and knowing that the people of the West, to the development of whose country he had contributed so much, would grant him an enthusiastic welcome. It was my sad privilege to announce to him in Sudbury, on his return trip, the disappointing news that, from the Great Lakes to the Pacific coast, they had returned but two Liberal candidates. Under these conditions, our farmer friends in large measure upheld the government that burdened us with taxation. In 1917, we experienced Union government rule. The large debt, and extravagant expenditure of that government, should have been a warning to our Progressive friends. Our great leader, on his western tour, uttered the warning, which fell on deaf ears, that under such a government there must be a day of reckoning.

Now, Mr. Speaker, after three years of Union government that day of reckoning has arrived. The country faces one of the most embarrassing qnd critical situations that ever a nation of the size of Canada encountered. We have a national debt of very large proportions, and as we listen to the speakers in this House, we cannot help realizing to what a dangerous extent we may go, if we do not curtail our expenditures. We must in the future balance our budget as between revenue and expenditure. This taxation cannot be borne by any one section of the country. Our relations are so closely interwoven at the present time that this burden must be equally distributed. Too long the class to which I have referred have borne the burden. The time has arrived when this great middle class, the backbone of the nation, the class that supplied cheerfully the men who put Canada on the map, is looking to other classes of society, and asking that they, themselves shall have a higher standard of living. This class has never joined the union, and never gone on strike. They walk to their places of business in the morning and fill our churches on the Sabbath. They have cheerfully accepted the responsibilities of citizenship. Under existing conditions, we cannot return to normality until the wheels of industry are put in motion. Our country is suffering to-day from lack of confidence, and the curtailment of industrial activity. It was, in a large measure, the policy of the Union government that created the feeling of distrust, which brought on the first period of business depression. It was by their extravagance and their lack of vision that this

The Budget-Mr. Lapierre

condition was created. If such is the case, are we not justified in asking, at least, a more loyal support from everybody in this House. The wheels of industry will never move normally until the purchasing power of the people is restored, and that purchasing power will never be restored until the unemployed portion of our population has resumed its labours. The wheels of industry will assist in creating a purchasing power in Canada for the products of the agricultural classes.

The hon. member for Lincoln (Mr. Chaplin) stated that 85 per cent of the agricultural products of Ontario and Quebec were consumed in Canada. If such is the case, how can we hope to have prosperity in agriculture in these two provinces, when the industrial classes cannot go back to work? Under these conditions would it be wise to interfere with the tariff and create distrust in the industrial world? By adjusting the budget to meet the conditions that exist, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) was only carrying out the good Liberal policy of suiting the tariff to the financial exigencies of the country. How else can we have prosperity if we do not maintain the balance between agriculture and industry? The two, co-operative, will in my opinion work out our salvation, and I repeat that the budget submitted by the present Minister of Finance is the only hopeful sign that has appeared on the horizon during the last five years. Speaking for the large middle class of Canada who will bear the extra burden imposed by the sales tax, I think I can safely say that there will be no serious objection on the part of any one, because it is the duty of every citizen in this Dominion to assume his fair share of taxation.

There is another very serious condition in the country. It has often been said in this House that the retail trade of Canada was to a certain extent responsible for the failure to bring down the cost of living. Now, the retail trade in this country is one of the most competitive businesses that we have. As things are to-day, it has to purchase goods long before the season opens, and sometimes to carry them into the following season. So that with the constant changes and vagaries of style and fashion the retail merchants are forced to bear large losses when their stock cannot be disposed of because their goods are out of style. The retail merchant has also to compete with his neighbour who sometimes through lack of sufficient capital to carry on is compelled to dispose of his

167J

goods at a loss. Furthermore, our retailers have had to compete with large departmental stores, and it is safe to say that failures in the retail business in Canada have been more numerous than in any other line of business. Now, I want to say this, that the retail merchants in this country constitute one of the most useful classes of society. If you look at the newer parts of the country, especially New Ontario where I have spent most of my life, you will find that in the early days the retail merchant not only supplied all the necessaries to the newcomer and the settler, but was also his banker. This class of the community, therefore, has contributed a great deal to the development of this Dominion, and that being the case I ask whether it is not just, in the re-arrangement of the tariff, that they should be fully considered. Is it not fair that they should receive consideration the same as the farmer, the manufacturer and organized labour? Society owes to that class, I think, a greater gratitude than to any other section of the community, and it is largely on their behalf that I make this appeal this evening.

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

Henry Elvins Spencer

Progressive

Mr. H. E. SPENCER (Battle River):

I do not wish at this late hour to detain the House, but I do not think I would be doing my duty to my constituency if I did not place before hon. members certain facts and figures as I see them in regal'd to the budget. I wish to ally myself with the numerous speakers who have preceded me in congratulations to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) on his being able at the age of 73 to present his sixteenth budget. In part of that budget I sincerely concur, but with a large part of it I am sorry to say I cannot agree. During the evening we had quite an interesting speech from the Solicitor-General (Mr. McKenzie), who gave the House more or less of a lecture in regard to the position of public men in this country. He deprecated the fact that so many people to-day did not give our public men credit for what they were doing. I would just say in passing that if there is any fault to be found in the fact that our public men are not appreciated as fully as they 'should be, it is largely due to the criticism which the public men themselves indulge in at the expense of one another. After the picture whieh the hon. member drew to-night of the House that Toryism had built, I do not think that any of us who took him at his word, can think a great deal of the public

The Budget-Mr. Spencer

two hides: weight, 62 pounds; tare off, 6 pounds; balance, 56 pounds at 3i cents a pound, $1.95; freight, 90 cents; balance due to the producer, $1.05. There was sufficient leather in those hides to make no less than 72 pairs of boots. I am sorry that the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Baxter) is not in his place, because I know he has shed some political tears in regard to boot manufacturing; he has asked from time to time for tariff protection for the boot and shoe industry.

Last fall when I was going over the constituency I now represent I came across a quantity of sheep pelts on each of which there was enough wool to make a suit of clothes. The only sale for those pelts was at the price of 35 cents; it would cost the farmer that amount to get them to market, so he simply threw them away or gave them to his neighbours to dispose of them as they saw fit. And yet some people wonder why the farmers ask for freer trade and ask that some protection be taken off the manufacturer who i* charging an extra price for his goods, i notice that the boot industry has been enjoying a 30 per cent protection. Some hon. members have suggested that this protection is necessary because of the high rate of wages, but I find that the average wage paid to men working in a boot and shoe factory is only $715. That does not look as if the boot manufacturers needed a protective tariff owing to the high rate of wages. The producer of raw material, the hides, is getting next to nothing for his product, while the consumers have to pay, as I said, in some cases half as much as the total value of the animals for their boots. Yet all the relief afforded by this budget is the small amount of 2i per cent.

I have here a voucher which is also very interesting; it is in regard to wool. The member for Battleford (Mr. McConica) when he was speaking some days ago, made reference to the wool business, and I think some hon. members thought he was drawing a rather long bow. I will show you as a wool grower that he was doing nothing of the sort. This statement which I have before me relates to some wool that was sent from the farm. It averaged 13 cents a pound, but after the overhead costs were paid it brought to the producer of the wool no more than 5 cents a pound. So not counting for shearing, packing, and hauling to market, one can readily understand that at that rate it would be necessary for a farmer to shear about ninety sheep for

nothing, pack the wool for nothing, haul it to market for nothing, and after he had sold it, if he got that price, he would have enough money to buy a suit of clothes! Is it any wonder that the consumer is complaining? Is it any wonder that the producer is complaining? Yet what do we find in regard to the protection that the woollen industry is receiving? What relief has the Finance Minister given the people in that respect? We find that clothing has had a protection of from 271 to 35 per cent. If there is any country in the world where the people should have a plentiful supply of woollen goods it is Canada, but on account of the protective tariff which enables the manufacturer to put up the price of goods to the extent he does, very few people can afford to buy the quantity of clothing they really need.

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

James Malcolm

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

Does the hon. gentleman imply that the clothing manufacturers of Canada are taking advantage of the full amount of duty?

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

Henry Elvins Spencer

Progressive

Mr. SPENCER:

I certainly do. If

lhev are not, I cannot understand how it was shown before the High Cost of Living Committee that the woollen textile industry was making a profit of 310 per cent.

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

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I think my hon. friend

is in error. He means the Dominion Textile Company.

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

James Malcolm

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

I would inform my

hon. friend that the wholesale manufacturers of clothing in Canada to-day, due to very extreme competition, are not taking advantage of the tariff at all. In many cases the wholesale price of clothing in Canada is as low as in the United States. I refer to the better grades of woollen stuff. There are other grades which may not be in that position.

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

Henry Elvins Spencer

Progressive

Mr. SPENCER:

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

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

We did submit an advanced policy in 1911, and our friends voted against it.

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

Henry Elvins Spencer

Progressive

Mr. SPENCER:

My hon. friend in his speech the other day was not referring to 1911, but to the present day. The Liberal convention of 1919 was several years after 1911. My hon. friend the Minister of Trade and Commerce also said that the Government was trying to lessen the burden on those who were least able to bear it and to tax those who were best able to pay, but I cannot say that he proved his statement. Right here I would like to bring to the attention of this House a subject that has hardly been discussed at all, and that is getting right down to what we should first of all consider, and that is the need of humanity, the need of every citizen of this country. I think every hon. member will agree that all our citizens, men and women, who work, have a right to the necessaries of life, that is food, shelter, and clothing. Those are necessaries for all people whether rich or poor, and it should be the effort of every government, no

matter what its politics, to see that those three necessaries are placed at the disposal of the people without any restrictions or handicaps. At the present time we find that food, and particularly clothing, not to mention shelter, have all had handicaps put on them which makes it very difficult for a great portion of our people to live in as high a social state as they would wish.

I notice that the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) argues that the Government should go cautiously in the direction of a lower tariff. I was quite surprised to hear him make that statement, considering the school in which he has been brought up in the West, and I can only hope that he is not going to follow the footsteps of his predecessor, Mr. Calder, in that portfolio, and go about face simply because he has come down from the West and now represents an eastern constituency.

With my hon. friend the member for Kings, P.E.I., (Mr. Hughes) I am usually in general agreement, but I notice that he said we have to be careful in our taxation because we must not drive capital out of business. In mentioning capital I think he was referring to organized capital only; he certainly was not referring to unorgan-' ized capital. As to driving capital out of farming, the past budgets have already done that. Agriculture, which should be looked upon by all people as one of the most important, if not the most important, of our industries, should be given a fair chance. I had a case brought to my attention the other day where some farmers tried to get a mortgage of $8,000 on 1,400 acres of land which were free from encumbrance and well equipped for business. The mortgage company said "We cannot consider this mortgage because it is unsafe." Now, if such security as that is unsafe I wonder what is safe in this country of ours? If conditions are such that it is unsafe to lend that amount of money on such safe and such good security, I consider that, at least, is driving capital out of bu siness.

Some one, I believe, during the present session, mentioned something about the con-' scription of wealth; and some people think the conscription of wealth is a harsh proposal. I would like to point out that taxation in any form-because no one likes to pay taxes-is a method of conscription of wealth. During the war we found it necessary to introduce conscription, and probably we did the right thing, but we only

The Budget-Mr. Spencer

adapted one form of conscription. We conscripted the men, but we did not conscript the surplus wealth, although the suggestion was made at the time to the government of the day. Now, if it was right to con-' script men it was equally right to conscript the surplus wealth of Canada, otherwise you put the value of wealth above the value of human lives. If we had conscripted wealth in that day we would not be confronted with the stupendous debt that is facing Canada to-day.

My hon. friend the member for Kings, (Mr. Hughes) said that Canada must develop or die. In that I quite agree with him, although I observe that the Minister of Marine (Mr. Lapointe) made the statement this afternoon that agriculture is not dying. All I can say is that if agriculture is not dying it is certainly like a cat and must have nine lives; but in my opinion agriculture is on its last legs unless something is done to remedy the present conditions.

I notice that no radical change is proposed in the budget in regard to raising taxation; and there is no mention at all of any change in our credit system. I regret to see this, because these are strenuous times and we must find some other means, if the present means are not sufficient, to bring this country back to prosperity. In this connection I would like to quote a few words that were written by one who is admired all over the American continent, one who is not an agriculturist but a manufacturer, I refer to Henry Ford. He says:

Affairs are coming to a jam and if those who possess technical facilities do not engage to remedy the case, those who lack that facility may attempt it. Nothing is more foolish than for any class to assume that progress is an attack upon it. Progress is only a call made upon it to lend its experience for the general advancement. It is only those who are unwise who will attempt to obstruct progress and thereby become its victims.

If you want any further proof of the condition of agriculture, particularly in western Canada from which I come, I may say that in a return that was given to me I find it stated that the amount of money that is owed on principal and interest to the federal government in back payments on school lands alone in the western provinces amounts to no less than $3,000,000.

There is one other subject I wish to touch on before I sit down. We have heard a great deal about the necessity of building up our manufacturing industries, of building up great cities; and figures are produced to show the amount of our exports,

the amount of our industrial production, and the number of men that are employed in our industries. But there is one thing, it seems to me, that is overlooked. I have before me some astounding figures in regard to infant mortality, and if we have, through our manufacturing towns, produced a great deal of manufactured goods the prevailing system is certainly not lending itself to manufacturing human goods. Looking over our statistics showing the death rate per thousand of children under one year these are some of the figures that are submitted. I find that in St. Hyacinthe the death rate is no less than 252; in Joli-ette, 245; in Hull, 240; in Levis, 231; in Westmount, 215; in Quebec, 213; and in Montreal, 178. When I point out that the death rate in the whole of Great Britain is only 78 per thousand, it will be seen that the death rate for the city of Montreal exceeds by over 100 per thousand that of the United Kingdom, including London. A few days ago the Minister of Immigration (Mr. Stewart) informed the House that the department were bringing to Canada some 15,000 children from Great Britain. I would like to ask where those children are being brought from? They are not coming from the best of homes, they are not coming from the average homes, they are not coming from homes that can possibly keep them, because their parents would object. Therefore I take it they must come from the poorer homes, or from the slums, of Great Britain, and I would like to ask this question which I think is pertinent: Would it not be more beneficial to Canada if we looked after our own children and stopped this tremendous death rate? Would it not be better if we made it possible for our own children to become our future settlers, before bringing to Canada children from the poorer homes in the cities of another country? I think we are making a mistake to-day in this country-probably in other countries it is the same-because we are possibly laying too much stress on the value and the sacredness of the almighty dollar, and not enough on the sacredness of human life. I have here a Montreal paper with the heading, "Where Disease is Spread in Montreal". The article proceeds to expound on the slums that exist there. Montreal has its slums, as well as its millionaires. I notice that when the last issue of Victory bonds was made a certain number of people in Montreal were able to make a safe investment in those Victory bonds of no less than nine times the amount than

The Budget-Mr. McBride

the whole of the people of Alberta were able to invest. Yet, with that amount of riches in that city, we find that they have slums there, and that it has been thought necessary by one of their leading papers to make a crusade on the slums to get them abolished. I find in looking up the record of Australia, that they seem to place a greater value on their children than we do. They have brought in an endowment bill, the intention of which is to allow each mother the sum of six shillings a week for each child over three until she with her husband is getting the minimum wage. They think this is necessary in order to look after the welfare of the children.

If I can leave any thought with the House, after my few remarks, it is that we will in the future pay first attention to the needs of our own people, starting at the base, and then as a secondary matter, look to the interests of land and capital.

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

Thomas George McBride

Progressive

Mr. T. J. McBRIDE (Cariboo):

There are two things, Mr. Speaker, that have struck me very forcibly since this debate started. One was the number of boquets thrown at the Finance Minister (Mr. Fielding). After throwing these boquets, hon. members start to criticise and tear his budget to pieces. The next thing that struck me was the time that some speakers have taken up in this House. I am not referring to the leaders of the parties, or to the ministers. I think they should have all the time they require, but when any hon. member occupies the time of this House for three hours, well, I do not think he should inflict such punishment on his fellow members. I understand it costs $2,000 an hour to hold sittings in this House. Now, does any hon. member think that what he would say in a three hour speech is worth to the taxpayers $6,000? If so, he must have a higher estimate of his value than I have. I think the limit to any member in this House should be half an hour, with the exception of the leaders and ministers. I do not think that any man who cannot say what he has to say in half an hour should be given the floor.

It would seem to me, Mr. Speaker, that I am the only black sheep in the so-called dilapidated annex. Much as I would like to support the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) and the Progressive party, when it comes to a question of free trade, somehow their glasses do not seem to have the right focus for my eye sight. During

the campaign I spoke at nearly a hundred meetings in different parts of my constituency, and I do not think there was one meeting where I did not make the statement that I was not a free trader, never had been a free trader, and that I never would be a free trader.

There are many points in connection with the budget, on which I do not quite agree with the Finance Minister. There is the paragraph in relation to farm implements, clothing and mining machinery. I think they should come in under much smaller tariff. At the same time, I have no doubt the minister and his associates have given the question a great deal more consideration than I have. Therefore, I do not pro pose to criticise the budget along those lines. The item I take exception to most is the fruit dumping clause; it strikes at the very root of protection. It is practically a life and death struggle for a great many men who went overseas and fought for this country and are now trying to make a living out of a fruit farm. We have a great number of them in British Columbia, and if that clause is struck out, as suggested, the Government will have a great many more idle men, with their families, on their hands than they have at the present time. What are they going to do with them? I do not know. These men fought our battles in France- and their one thought during the long weary nights they spent in the trenches was to win the war-come home, settle down with their families and live comfortably. If this dumping clause is struck out, it will deprive them of the opportunity to do that. I say that without hesitation. Some fifteen years ago, I was engaged in the building supply business in Vancouver, and contracting generally. At that time we could buy brick on the Canadian side of the line for $8.50 a thousand on the cars or scows as the case might be. This price scarcely paid the expense of making, and owing to that condition, the market was never supplied as it should have been. I went over on one occasion to Seattle to size up the situation and see how the market was there. I found that the general price was $10.50 per thousand, a little more or less, according to the quality of the brick, but to my surprise, when they heard I was from British Columbia and was prepared to buy a quantity of brick to take over to British Columbia, they were willing to sell me the quantity I required at $6.00 per thousand, loaded on the car or scow

The Budget-Mr. McBride

as I might require. I entered into a contract with a manufacturer, had it signed and then I asked him what profit he was making out of the brick. He did inot seem to want to tell me. Later on however in the evening he seemed more talkative. Again I asked him the question. Well, he said, to be honest about it, I am losing about 50 cents to a dollar on every thousand bricks that I have sold you. I asked him why he did it and he said he did it because he considered that it was good business. In the first place, he said, after having sold that amount of brick I shall be able to run my yard steadily and thereby cut down the expense of production, as the men will work for a lower wage if they get steady work. In the second place, so long as I can ship brick to British Columbia and supply the market there, the manufacturers in British Columbia will not feel like making brick, and in that case we shall always have a market to dump our surplus on. How can we expect manufacturers of brick to compete under these conditions?

Let me give another instance. In 1897, there was quite a lot of maple sugar and syrup shipped to British Columbia. The syrup sold at $2.75 to $3 per gallon, according to the package it was put up in. A Seattle firm was at that time shipping what they called pure Canadian Bock Maple Syrup to British Columbia. What did it consist of? It was 80 per cent granulated sugar 20 per cent maple sugar with a little burnt sugar to give it the proper colour. You would be surprised to know that that firm controlled the maple syrup business of Vancouver for five years. Canadians simply cannot compete under such circumstances, and they should not be expected to do so. I have no hesitation in saying that if this dumping clause is not properly enforced it will not only strike the fruit growers and the small farmers in general but it will strike at the very root of protection.

The fruit growers on our side should have a reasonable profit, so that they can make a living. Surely those men who thought Canada good enough to fight for overseas are entitled to a living when they come back. And that is all they are asking for now. Why should they not be given the protection they are entitled to? I am told that there are indications to-day of a very large fruit crcrp in Oregon and Washington. In fact, they expect the largest crop they have had in years. Now, if they are allowed to ship their surplus to this side, they will dump their No. 3 grades into Can-

Mr. McBride.]

ada in competition with the Canadian No. 1 grade. All they have to do is to put a fancy name on their packages and place them on our market. I contend that each box of apples coming from the United States should be marked with the name of its place of origin whether it is Washington, Oregon or elsewhere, and the grade sold be printed on the package, as is required in this country. Are we asking too much in that respect? I do not think so. The American fruit growers can always get the very best prices for their No. 1 grade in Chicago, New York, Boston and the other large cities, and they never have a surplus of this grade. They can also usually dispose of their No. 2 grade in the United States. It is the No. 3 grade that they will try to dump into Canada. I do not think the Minister of Finance has had time to go fully into this question. I have no doubt his time has been taken up with other matters, and I would suggest that he let this question stand as it was until he has had an opportunity of visiting British Columbia and witnessing for himself the conditions there. If he leaves this matter as it is and comes out to British Columbia after the session I shall be willing to take him through some of these districts, and I am sure he will then be convinced of the truth of what I have said. If I cannot convince him I am prepared at the next session of Parliament to support him in his proposals. I do not think that is an unfair proposition.

I want now to refer to the Transcontinental highway. A good deal has been said about this in the past; not so much in other parts of Canada as perhaps in British Columbia, but very little has been done. Suppose the different provinces began building railways, each on its own hook; what would it lead to? And yet that is what is being done in connection with the Transcontinental highway. This Government is supplying money to each province to go ahead and build a road here and there, wherever it likes, always directed to some extent by politics. We have engineers and surveyors who could locate a highway in a very short time. It is the duty of this Government to undertake this work themselves. It would serve two purposes. It would give employment to those who are now out of work. Those men who went overseas antd made good there could surely make good again in Canada. If the Government would start this work they would find a portion of the road in British Columbia already surveyed, there

Questions

is no reason why they could not go ahead with it. I do not suggest that they build a transcontinental highway and leave the taxpayers to foot the bill. No, what I do say, is that they could build the road and then charge a toll on automobile traffic that would not only pay the interest but also the sinking fund. The statement has been made that there are 800,000 automobiles in Canada; and I understand that there are over a million people who do nothing else but tour the United States during the summer. Suppose we had a transcontinental highway second to none in the world, is it not conceivable that a very large percentage of these people would use that highway? The toll that we could charge the automobilists would pay for the construction of that road in a very short time, while the people living along the highway would have the free use of the road. I say it is the duty ofthe Government therefore to construct this highway and let the tourists pay the expence of construction. Soon after I put that motion on the Order Paper I received about sixty letters from automobile companies, clubs, and private individuals urging me to go ahead with it as the Government ought to undertake the work and the writers would be behind me. Why should we not go ahead with such an undertaking? The country wants it and should have had it years ago. I think it is time the work was started. There are many points in connection with the proposal that I should like to explain, but as the hour is late I will not take up the time of the House any longer.

On motion of Mr. Stevens the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Graham the House adjourned at 12.25 a.m., Thursday.

Thursday, June 8, 1922

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

June 7, 1922