June 8, 1922

PRO

Robert Alexander Hoey

Progressive

Mr. HOEY:

Will my hon. friend permit me to make a correction; I feel persuaded he does not want to misquote me. I said "A complete reversal of policy," and I had in mind our methods of farming in the West, our extravagances there and our entire method of doing things. If the hon. member got the impression which he states I certainly did not intend to convey it.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I am very glad to have my hon. friend's statement. I will not quibble over the matter, I will accept his statement absolutely. My hon. friend now says "A complete reversal of policy." That is a statement under which anybody could crawl. I submit to him that it is so broad that no person could pin him down to anything. I do not know what policy he refers to unless he refers to the policy of my right hon. friend the Prime Minister-and that has been scrapped.

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PRO

Robert Alexander Hoey

Progressive

Mr. HOEY:

I tried to make my argument clear. I said that I was in favour of a low tariff; that in my opinion the reductions in the tariff were wholly inadequate. I think I made that statement.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Well, I am very glad my hon. friend has made his explanation, because it certainly clarifies the atmosphere somewhat. As I said a moment ago he made a very eloquent speech. What did he present to the House? He presented to the House a certain picture, which was a list of the grievances of the farmers of the west. Let me run over some of them

and then view them in the light of the general argument of my hon. friends to my left. He pointed out that "the average yield of wheat in Manitoba has dropped from 19 to 15 bushels per acre"; and he added to this, "that there were only three crops out of four, which reduces the average to 11 bushels per acre." He also made a statement respecting the character of the land. He said that the "nitrogen of the soil had been reduced 20 to 30 per cent"; that the phosphorous content had been reduced by a similar amount; that the organic had been reduced by 20 to 50 tons per acre. He further said that stem rust caused a loss of 5,000,000 bushels in 1916; and the wheat stem saw fly a loss of 3,500,000 bushels in 1921; that "every forty million bushels of wheat took plant food costing $12,000,000 to replace", and that in southern Manitoba lands produce only 10 bushels of wheat per acre; in northern Manitoba 35 bushels per acre. I will admit that every one of these complaints is correct, and I think my hon. friend gave a very clear enunciation of them. But I ask him, is there one of all that list that is affected by the fiscal policy of this country? Are they not all technical agricultural problems? Has not every problem presented there been under the consideration of the Minister of Agriculture of the previous government,-under the consideration of his own leader when he was Minister of Agriculture-under the consideration of the present head of that department? Every one of them is a technical problem. But the trouble is this: My hon. friend presented these grievances to the House as if they were related to the fiscal policy of the government or, if you like, the fiscal policy of the country. He says the policy of the country, the general policy, is to blame. But these are technical questions that can only be dealt With by experts; and I know of no group of men who know more about the remedy for these things than my hon. friends who suffer from them. Yet I do not recall, during this whole debate, or during the entire session, one single concrete suggestion for dealing with these problems was advanced by any hon. member sitting to my left-not one.

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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

I am very sorry; I thought I had delivered a very good speech explaining them. However, it does not seem to have done any good.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

My hon. friend, no

doubt, deilivered an eloquent speech, but I

The Budget-Mr. Stevens

do not recall that he ever dealt with these particular questions.

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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

My hon. friend will come to a different conclusion if he refers to Hansard.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Now Mr. Speaker, I must hasten to close. There was one thing I wished to refer to before we get away from the manufacturing question and the subject of the tariff. My hon. friends on my left are very fond of declaring economic principles. My hon. friend from Battle River (Mr. Spencer) yesterday made the statement that we ought to assess capital. He said that when the war was on and the manufacturers were prosperous we should have taxed their profits. Well, we did do that; we taxed them pretty heavily. I would ask the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar), who does not grace the Chamber with his presence just now, this question: Will he move in the House to increase the income tax? Will he move to reinstate the business profits tax? Why has he not done so? If the income tax is too low, why go out through the country and say it is not high enough and then come to the House for one, two, three, four, five years-it is his sixth session now- and never once propose that the income tax should be increased in any particular way and never once move the adoption of the Farmers' platform? But I am speaking of the income tax and the business profits tax and I would like to put a question to my hon. friends to the left collectively. The question is: Is it sound business policy in periods of prosperity for a manufacturing concern to reserve and hold some of its profits against a decline of the market? Is that not sound? Will any hon. member object to that? Let me tell hon. members that the basis of their whole criticism of the business system of to-day is on that point. They infer and insinuate that, if a business concern makes a profit beyond 7 or 8 or 9 per cent, that profit should be sequestered for the good, as one hon. member said yesterday, of the community. I want to tell them that that is a false doctrine and that it never has and never will lend itself to the prosperity of any country. I notice my hon. friends are very careful about not giving expression to their views now. I hold in my hand the last report of the business end of their institution. Here is the political end which you see here before you, and the business end is the United Grain Growers. I have their annual report. 1

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PRO

Oliver Robert Gould

Progressive

Mr. GOULD:

In the figures you quoted, mentioning the 7 per cent, I suppose you include the watered stock of the companies?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

If the time would permit I could give my hon. friend a very interesting talk on that. As. an auditor and accountant, it has been my business, scores of times to liquidate companies and audit their books, but it would take some time to go into that question now. There are comparatively few institutions that have unduly watered stock. That is a stock phrase that my hon. friend and others like him who seek to stir up the passion, and hatred and the envy of persons who are not so well informed as he is. It is about 90 per cent false, and, here and there, about 10 per cent accurate. Here is what the business end of their institution says-

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PRO

Daniel Webster Warner

Progressive

Mr. WARNER:

The hon. member speaks about unduly watered stock. I want to know if he considers that watered stock should be protected, and what he considers "unduly" watered stock?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

If hon members must

have an answer, I will say this: hon. members have no right to stand in this House, as individual members of this House, and recklessly acclaim to the public that there is wholesale watering of stock, undue, due or any other kind. I say to them, if you know of any case where a company has unduly watered stock, state the name of the company, give the facts, let the country judge it, and let the hon. Minister of Labour, (Mr. Murdock) who has made some very strong statements on the subject, take up the case. I pay no attention to the argument that companies should not water their stock. I think, speaking generally, it is not a sound position. But what I object to is. the reckless insinuations, made not in mental ignorance but in ignorance of the facts. When my hon. friends talk about watered stock, they always cite one or two cases from the cost of living committee. They were brought to the attention of the committee by myself, as hon. members will see if they read the evidence. The one main stock cry of the leader of the party throughout Ontario was quoted from the evidence extracted from a witness before the Cost of Living Committee by myself. However, I want to read from the Annual Report of the Grain Growers Limited, of Winnipeg, with which is affiliated seven or eight other companies, including the Grain Growers' Export Company, incorporated,

The Budget-Mr. Stevens

of New York, the Grain Growers' Export Company of Canada, and others. I will quote from this report as the very essence of the wisdom of their own leader. This report reads:

We have here a lesson in what would have been the proper course to have taken during the tremendous and rapid increases in prices during the war. All stocks-

That is, stocks on hand.

-should have been marked up as the prices went up, irrespective of what the goods cost and the profits taken and set aside to care for these losses when the prices came down.

That is the doctrine. Are there not dozens of hon. members in this House who have, time after time, declaimed against the companies and the business corporations. And why? Because when there was a buoyancy in the market they took profit, and then when you point out to them that they must absorb their losses, there is an absolute barrenness of sympathy for them. But here is what is said in the last annual report of this institution, signed by their own leader as president of the institution:

We do not consider it wise to secure machinery from any plants that are not established on what may reasonably be considered a secure and permanent basis, as the difficulty of securing repairs in case they should go out of business has already been experienced.

How could they secure themselves? By adopting the wise economic policy mentioned in the previous clause and reaffirmed in this statement. The report further says:

There has been a good deal of agitation during the past few years for the company to either purchase or secure the controlling interests in a machinery manufacturing plant.

How often we have heard that sort of thing-" Oh look at the profits made by these institutions, profits to which they are not entitled". Is not the obvious answer echoed back? Has not the hon. member from Assiniboia (Mr. Gould) uttered in his stentorian tones all over the country the answer, which is given by the locals, " Why do you not go into the business?" That is what the locals are saying all over the country. This report says:

There has been a good deal of agitation during the past few years for the company to either purchase or secure the controlling interest in a machinery manufacturing plant. After a study of the situation which exists in the manufacturing of machinery in United States and Canada over a period of between two and three years, we are of the opinion that it would be a mistake for the company to consider putting any money into a plant for the manufacture of farm machinery.

If I wanted to sum up in one or two paragraphs a complete answer to the economic arguments and dissertations uttered from one end of the country to the other by my hon. friends to my left, I find it in the annual report of their business institution.

I intended to pay my respects to the hon. members opposite, but I shall have to desist at this time. I shall do that by a very vigorous vote against the budget, unless it is adjusted very materially on some points to which I have referred. In closing I simply say to my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Mr Fielding) that I trust the argument I advanced in connection with the depreciation currency clause will receive very great consideration, because I believe if it is allowed to go as it is at the present time it will wreck many of the manufacturing concerns of Canada and the people of Canada as a whole will receive no benefit, nor will the treasury of Canada receive any benefit.

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?

Hon. S@

May I be permitted Mr. Speaker to add a few remarks to this very interesting debate which has been going on for several days, and which I feel I cannot allow to close without expressing my views on the fiscal policy of our country-views which, during the last electoral campaign I placed before the electors of my constituency and before the electors of the province of Quebec.

Two questions are before us for our consideration. We have first the proposals submitted by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) in presenting his budget. Then we have the amendment moved by the ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton), asking that the Government be censured, because, it is claimed, it did not carry out the promises contained in a resolution of the Liberal Convention of 1919 with regard to the fiscal policy of Canada. Many speeches have been made, many very eloquent, every one very interesting, all, in the main, in continuance of a discussion which has been going on in this country for over forty years, on the merits of the respective policies of protection and free trade. The leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen), in a speech delivered at Sherbrooke, in September, 1920, stated that the opposition to the Government of that day was composed, in the majority, of free traders.

The Budget-Sir Lomer Gouin

And in another speech delivered at London, when he made public that he had decided to ask for dissolution of Parliament, he stated that the main issue, if not the only issue, of the future campaign was to be the tariff. During that very same campaign, indeed, all through that campaign, I constantly maintained that the issue was not between protection and free trade; that the Liberals of this country, as a party, were not free traders; that they had always been in favour of a tariff. And it is to refute contrary and unjust contentions, too often repeated, that I seek permission to say a few words.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Will the hon. gentleman not be fair enough to make clear that, in my references, at Sherbrooke and subsequently, to the fact that the majority of those opposed to the Government claimed allegiance to the gospel of free trade, I included all, including the present Progressive party?

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LIB

Lomer Gouin (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Sir LOMER GOUIN:

When I speak of the Liberal party, I speak of the Liberal party. At that time it is possible that some of the hon. members of the Progressive party were supposed, by the leader of the Opposition, to be members of the Liberal party; but I have always thought that the Liberal party, as we have it to-day, as we have had it since Confederation, is the Liberal party which sits to your right, Mr. Speaker, and it is for that party that I speak.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, we have had a tariff since the very first days of Confederation. When the Liberal party came into power for the first time in 1873, we had, as our leader, a man who believed in Liberal principles. Under his

5 p.m. administration, the Liberal party, of its own volition, decided to increase the customs duty. The Hop. Mr. Mackenzie declared, not once, but time and time again, that there could not be in Canada any issue between protection and free trade. After him, the Hon. Edward Blake, one of the greatest statesmen that Canada has produced, during the whole of his career, while he was Prime Minister of Ontario, while he was Minister in the Cabinet at Ottawa, while he was leader of the Liberal party, always maintained that the contention of the Conservative party that the tariff was the issue between the two parties was unreasonable and unjustified. To dispel any doubt to which my statements might give rise, and, perhaps, for the good of

the electors of this country, I would ask permission to read some extracts from a speech delivered by the Hon. Mr. Blake, at Malvern in 1886. That speech is, I would say, historical, and it sums up the Liberal programme on the fiscal policy at that time. This is what the Hon. Edward Blake said then:

You know well that I do not approve of needless restrictions on our liberty of exchanging what we have for what we want, and do not see that any substantial application of the restrictive principle has been or can be. made in favour of the great interests of the mechanic, the labourer, the farmer, the lumberman, the ship-builder or the fisherman. But you know also that I have fully recognized the fact that we are obliged to raise yearly a great sum made greater by the obligations imposed on us by this Government; and that we must continue to provide this yearly sum mainly by import duties, laid to a great extent on goods similar to those which can be manufactured here; and that it results as a necessary incident of our settled fiscal system that there must be a large, and, as I believe, in the view of moderate protectionists, an ample advantage to the home manufacturer.

Our adversaries wish to present to you an issue as between the present tariff and absolute free trade. That is not the true issue. Free trade is, as I have repeatedly explained, for us impossible; and- the issue is whether the present tariff is perfect, or defective and unjust My reference there to the fiscal

and financial limitations of our condition has increased force to-day, for since that time enormous sums have been added to the public debt; enormous sums have been added to the annual charge ; and notwithstanding the great taxation, a larger deficit than we have ever know since Confederation has signalized the last financial year. Therefore the execution even of those measures of readjustment which I suggested in that address, and which had proposed in Parliament in the preceding session, would be found much more difficult to-day by reason of the changed condition of affairs. We have no longer a large surplus to dispose of-we have a large deficit and a greatly increased scale of expenditure to meet. And it is clearer than ever that a very high scale of taxation must be retained, and that manufacturers have nothing to fear.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York) :

Was not that very speech made the issue between Mr. Blake and the Liberal party at that time, practically ending in his withdrawal from the leadership? And was not the Globe newspaper his adversary in connection with that very question as much as the then Conservative party?

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LIB

Lomer Gouin (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Sir LOMER GOUIN:

In reply to my hon. friend, I may inform him that hon. Mr. Blake continued to be the leader of the Liberal party.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN ("fork):

No, the Liberal party deposed him.

2656 COMMONS

The Budget-Sir Lomer Gouin

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LIB

Lomer Gouin (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Sir LOMER GOUIN:

At that time, Mr. Speaker, as in 3 896, 1911, 1920 and 1921 the Conservatives, to scare the electors in general and the manufacturers in particular, informed the country that if the Liberal party was returned to power it would lower the tariff to a point which would spell ruin to our manufacturing industries; and Mr. Blake, speaking for all the Liberals of Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific, then said, with the full authority of his leadership, what I am now going to read:

There remains the duties of customs on other commodities, and the conditions demonstrate the impossibility of diminishing to any large extent this fund. We have no longer a surplus to dispose of; we have a deficit to overcome; and, that done, we have a tremendous yearly charge to overtake. "Oh, but," say some Tories, "you can yet do this and make a free trade or non-protective tariff." The statement is dishonest and absurd. Even in Mr. Mackenzie's time, with his fiscal views, with his moderate expenditure, it would have been absurd. . . .

I invite the most ardent free trader in public to present a plausible solution of this problem ; and I contend that he is bound to do so before he talks of free trade as practicable in Canada. I have not believed it soluble in my day, and any chance of its solubility, if any chance there were, has been destroyed by the vast increase of our yearly charge, and by the other conditions which have been created. The thing is removed from the domain of practical politics. In their discussions the Tories say that Mr. Mackenzie's was a free trade tariff. I will give you high authorities to the contrary. As a fact, substantial duties were laid on almost everything which we could make at home; and Mr. Mackenzie increased those duties beyond the rate at which they stood when he took office. Sir Richard Cartwright has lately stated that he contemplated a still further increase, and he was right. Subsequent experience has demonstrated the fact that the circumstances required that course.

And in this same speech he emphasized that statement, saying:

I have only to repeat in the most emphatic language my declaration that there is, in my judgment, no possibility of a change in that system of taxation which I have described, the necessary effect of which is to give a large and ample advantage to the home manufacturer over his competitor abroad.

He also stated in the course of that speech:

There is nothing there-I could not honestly say anything-as to the removal of the tariff of duties having a protective operation in order to the substitution of free trade. I have shown you that this was not possible before 1S73; that it was not possible during Mr. Mackenzie's time; that it was still less possible in 1882 ; and that it is far, far less possible now even than it was in 1882. That being so, I could not honestly propose to accomplish the impossible.

In the main, Mr. Speaker, those are the principles which have always inspired the Liberal party and its leaders. Those in the

main are the principles which Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the hon. Minister of Finance embodied in the revisions of the tariff of 1897 and 1907-revisions which brought the most prosperous era in our national history. And we shall see a return of that prosperity under the present administration, ably led by the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), aided by the experience, the wisdom, the ability and the high patriotism of the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding), to whom have been paid such well-deserved compliments by hon. members of all parties, and I beg leave to associate myself most heartily with them..

Mr. Speaker, the policy of the Liberal party on the fiscal question, in the last electoral campaign, is to be found in the speeches of the right hon. Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance delivered in this House during the budget debate last session. I propose to read a few sentences only of a speech by the hon. Minister of Finance to show his attitude on our fiscal policy. Speaking on the budget last year he said:

I would not have any industry which is at present established in Canada unfairly dealt with; I would not try to strike down any industry that exists to-day, even if it were not wisely established.

And he proceeded:

There is no issue of free trade in Canada today. The Liberal party of Canada has not proposed free trade, did not propose free trade when it was in office, does not propose free trade to-day. And just as we said then to the people that they could trust the Liberal party, if they came into power, to be fair and just while following sound principles, so we say to the people of Canada and the manufacturers of Canada to-day: Do not be misled by the statements made by my right hon. friend about free trade, because it is merely, as I said, a repetition of the old game of 189G; and as it failed in 1896, so it will fail in 1921 or 1922, whenever the election arrives.

The right hon. leader of this House at the same time, in a very eloquent speech, said:

Let me repeat, Mr. Speaker, the issue is not between protection and free trade. If anyone has any doubhts on that score, let him read the second clause of the amendment which is before the House, and which will be supported unanimously, I believe, by hon. members on this side of the House. What is the first sentence of that clause? It is to the effect that existing financial requirements of the Dominion demand the maintenance of the customs tariff.

Again, in an article published in Maclean's Magazine, under his own name, the right bon. Prime Minister wrote:

With the Liberal party, the main concern respecting the tariff is not free trade or protec-

The Budget-Sir Lower Gouin

tion, it is revenue, and the simultaneous development of industry in such manner as is likely to serve best the interests of the Canadian people. There Will be required for purposes of revenue large sums of money which, of necessity, will have to be raised by indirect taxation through a customs tariff.

Are these declarations, Mr. Speaker, a contradiction of the resolution submitted by the hon. Minister of Finance? Whatever may he said by hon. members who sit to your left, how could we do better than what is proposed by the 'hon. Minister of Finance? From 1873 to 1877 the Hon. Mr. Mackenzie told the electors of this country, both friends and opponents, that absolute free trade was impossible in Canada; that we required a tariff to meet our expenditures. The Hon. Mr. Blake, while he was leader of the Liberal party, always contended that the Liberals were not free traders; that free trade was impossible in our country; that we required a tariff for revenue, and that that tariff, while bringing us revenue to meet part of our expenditure, would enable at the same time the manufacturers of our country to compete with those of other lands. He gave as an argument to justify his position the fact that we had a very large debt; that ouir expenses had increased in such large measure that it was impossible to secure the necessary revenue for _ the administration of the public affairs without imposing a tariff for revenue.

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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

Did Mr. Blake not change his views when he resigned the leadership of the Liberal party, and did he not, in the letters he wrote to his electors in Durham, give that as t'he reason why he resigned?

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June 8, 1922