February 8, 1923

LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

Can my hon. friend give the House any idea of the distance involved?

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CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

It does not matter as to the distances. I am sorry I cannot give my hon. friend the exact figures, but I could make a rough calculation.

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LAB

Joseph Tweed Shaw

Labour

Mr. SHAW:

I should like to have it just roughly for comparative purposes.

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CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

The Address-Mr. Baxter

to divert traffic from Portland to St. John and Halifax. Mr. Merrill also says that Boston is after some of Portland's traffic. Mr. Merrill states that the Maine Central-this is a very important thing if true; I am not able to guarantee the truth of it, but I want to know, and I want to know as early as possible, and as nearly as possible, whether the statement by Mr. Merrill, which I am going to read, is true or is not true-his statement is that the Maine Central, the Boston and Maine, and the Grand Trunk railroads have come together and given a preferential rate over their lines for freight going to the state pier at Portland, Maine. Already, he declares, this has meant a saving to the people of Maine of $75,000. He says further that the railroads have promised that as business develops they will make a further differential. This pier cost the state of Maine $1,150,000, and the cities of Portland and South Portland gave the site, which is valued at $350,000. I am not in a position to say that the statement in question is true, but hon. members will understand that I am vitally interested, as is every other resident in the port of St. John or in the port of Halifax, in knowing whether there is any, or the slightest, foundation for such a statement as has been made by Mr. Merrill. Last winter I ventured the suggestion that the differentials should be imposed the other way, and that there should be practically a prohibitive differential imposed by this country upon the haulage of goods from Montreal to Portland, Maine. In other words, just say to the people who want their goods carried out by a foreign port: "We will take them if you route them that way, we have got to do it for you, but it is going to cost you more, and definitely more, than it will to take them through the port of Halifax, or the port of St. John, over our own railways, all the way in our own territory." That is what I say would be one of the fair things to do in order to help to build up the ports of the Maritime provinces.

Another suggestion I ventured to make was that we should limit the British preference- not in amount, let us have the best arrangement with the Mother Country we possibly can, but limit the customs preference we give to the Mother Country to importations in British-and in that I naturally include Canadian-bottoms, sailing directly from the United Kingdom ports to Vancouver, Quebec, Montreal, Halifax, Sydney, St. John, or any other port in our own territory. This puts no burden on any one. It does not lessen the quantity of goods that will come into Canada or it does not enhance their price, but it does say to the steamship owners: "There will be more

cargo for you. If you are taking a cargo of grain and mixed supplies out of St. John you will get more package freight put into your holds when you come back because the importer will get the benefit of the lowest scale of duty by doing that, and we are not going to let him send it in by New York, Boston, or Portland and let these ports derive the same advantage as the ports of this country." That is what I- suggested last year. I see that it is the very principle that the government, and I give them credit for it, introduced into the commercial treaty with France. I think they have taken a long step in advance in doing that. I think they are entitled to credit for it. I think that whatever we may condemn them for, whatever fault we may find with them in other matters, we will say they are right in that. But let them make it general, and thus help to build up all our ports and use our railways to the very fullest extent of their capacity.

A little more reference to the Speech or the omissions from the Speech and I shall have done. We are being told-not in the Speech itself, you would not expect to find it there-that we have a wonderful government. I have heard some hon. members opposite tell us that, and I am sure they were convinced of the truth of the assertion. There were not so many members in the House then on the government side as there are to-day; but we are all aware that a little fire broke -out in a place not very many hundreds of miles from the city of Ottawa, and some of the fire department-I think even a gentleman of very eminent judicial talents, and perhaps gentlemen associated with the custom house and the naval service-went down to squirt water on that political fire in Montreal; and they did not put it out. We have a wonderful government here, but some of the gentlemen who engage in this laudation may perhaps see, by the flickering of the light of that fire some traces of the handwriting on the wall.

I am very glad of the results that we witnessed in the provincial field the other day, because they demonstrate that the assertions that have been made are not well founded and that the old Conservative party of Canada is still potent, active, and influential in all parts of Canada in the same sense that it always has been. It is broad enough, strong enough, and representative enough for all. The old party is absolutely alive in the province of Quebec and I am proud of it. I am glad to see that the verdict given the other day, though it did not turn a government out of power, yet demonstrated to the

The Address-Mr. Baxter

rest of Canada that there was unity in the Conservative party, and that we are only traduced when our opponents say that in that province we have no sympathy and no following. There have been hundreds of thousands of splendid Conservatives who have gone, election after election, to the polls in that province, and those who have gone down have taken their defeat like men, but to-day they begin to see the dawning of a better time, and clearly within their vision is the day when the Conservative party, by the aid of that grand old province, will once more take its rightful place as the exponent of all the people in the country.

This wonderful government that has been acclaimed, has been acclaimed for what? Not for last year's Speech, because that had gone into discard; not for this year's Speech, because it has twelve headings and no substance, and has been destroyed by a malediction from the hon. member for Springfield (Mr. Hoey). But the great thing in the Speech was the thing that was not in it-the splendid government that had not got us into war. I did not want to go into war. I do not know who was consulted about going into war or staying out of it, and I do not know what were the reasons that were determinative in the government staying out or going into war, or any other way they may phrase it, because it is all contained in confidential documents that have not been exhibited to us, cannot be exhibited to us and would not have been exhibited to us if parliament had been called together. If parliament had been assembled, all we would have had would have been a despatch-case set up on a desk in the House, and we would have been told "The reason for doing w'hat we are doing or not doing or not attempting to do is contained in that case. If we could show you what is in that case, we could show you the reasons for what we are doing, but we cannot unlock that case and cannot show you what is in it." We would have had to trust the government.

How far does the government trust us? I notice that the right hon. leader of the government took into his counsels my hon. friend who was formerly the leader of the Progressive party (Mr. Crerar). I did not notice that he called upon my right hon. fi lend the leader of the party to which I belong (Mr. Meighen). Was it only a portion of Canada that would be interested in going into war or staying out of war? or is the thing really that which its appearance would indicate, namely that the most solemn, the

most tragic, the most terrible thing that could come before this country, the danger of another awful conflict, was to be made a matter of party negotiation and party politics? Was it in this way that they were to decide whether there should be war? Would a telegram have gone forth that we would go int war if the Progressive leader had said he wanted it? It is too solemn, I think, to be dealt with in that way. We do not know yet what the government's policy was. It looks to us as if Lloyd George, seeing he was not getting any definite answer, recalled his pioposal, and I am very glad that he did, because as I see it, if the Empire is really in peril once more, if it is not the political swash-buckling of Downing street, if it is real peril, there will be no question about the answer of real Canada. But I would like to suggest to the hon. leader of the government to get away from, any party politics in connection with this. Do not merely talk about calling parliament together, when practically all the issues are determined, and there will be only one thing for us to do if parliament is called together, but let us as a nation try to strike at the very root of this accursed European diplomacy and insist upon sitting in and taking part in the very inmost councils of the Empire and having our share in the determination, not at the moment when war is about to burst upon us, but long, long before, and let us have our say about the path that the Empire shall tread, and the direction in which it shall lead the feet of the people. Did the hon. member for Brandon wish to ask me a question?

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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

No, I was listening for

some applause after -that statement.

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CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

I was not expecting any, and I do not desire any. I was not making my address for the sake of applause, nor did I think that I was at the moment travelling on a plane that would invite any bucolic sarcasm. I wanted to go a step further- and there may be some in this audience who will be willing to listen to me-and say that after one hundred years of showing the people of the world how peace can be kept over a great water area and over a great land area, I think there are men in Canada of sufficient brain power and sufficient vision to teach something, even to the best of the statesmen of Great Britain, and I think that the homely common sense that has characterized our men on the frontier, and the rugged common sense that has characterized our men in the cabinet, might be of some utility, if brought into some of the European chancellories and might have its effect upon the

The Address-Mr. Baxter

course to be pursued by some of the nations. I would think that the Mother Country herself might be none the worse of a bit of good, sturdy Canadian and colonial advice, but you have got to give that advice soon enough,, it must be early enough, so that the successive steps taken shall be along the line of common sense, of arbitrament, of good feeling, and away from war, for this part of the world wants no more war. My proposition is simply that the government should endeavour to have direct representation, not merely of a high trade commissioner, but direct representation by someone of cabinet rank and authority, who would sit in the inner counsels of the Empire, would give his views, and report to Canada what was being done, so that long before war would even be in prospect, we would know whether or not all had been done to avoid a possible conflagration. It may be my hon. friend who interrupted me derides that point of view. It may be that he prefers to see Canada sailing on, fatuously content with her lot, until the moment when the red fire spreads above the horizon, and then he will call parliament together to sit down and talk about putting out the conflagration.

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PRO

Robert Alexander Hoey

Progressive

Mr. HOEY:

I would like to ask the hon. gentleman a question and I do so in all seriousness. Does he not think that the League of Nations, properly functioning, will accomplish all that he has in mind, without the idea of Imperial centralization in the sense in which he has expounded it? I am putting the question candidly for information.

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CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

I am not able to answer my hon. friend as to that. To my mind, the League of Nations will have no power unless it is backed by the fighting power of a number of states, matchless in their strength. But before you get the League of Nations doing what it ought to be able to do, you will have to have the bigger nations inspired with a proper view towards the rest of the world. The League of Nations, to my mind, will be a valuable power for keping in awe and restraining the minor nations. I fail to see how the League of Nations can ever restrain a major nation. At the same time, like my hon. friend, I have given such little adhesion to it in Canada as I have been able to give. I wish its purposes God-speed, and I will do anything I can to further its aims.

We shall have to consider the amendment and the subamendment because we shall have to vote upon them. This may not interest any one else, but it did interest me a little;

I have before me a comparison of the amendment moved by the hon. member for Spring-

field (Mr. Hoey), who certainly does not expect me to vote for it:

That in view of the increased burden of taxation and of the hardship which many of the people suffer from this burden, and the unrest and dissatisfaction arising therefrom, and in view of the desirability of adopting measures to reduce the cost of production, and effect such relief to consumers and producers as may be within the power of Parliament, the House is of the opinion that substantial reductions of the burdens of customs taxation should be made with a view to the accomplishing of two purposes of the highest importance :

(1) Diminishing the very high cost of production, which presses so severely on the primary producers of the country at this time;

(2) Reducing the cost of living to the great masses of the common people, many of whom are being forced out of the country by the prevailing economic conditions.

Then I turn to the Debates of 1920, where, at page 2510, I see the present Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) moved, amongst other things, seconded by the present Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King):

That in view of the continued increase in the high cost of living, of the greatly increased burden of taxation, of the hardship which many of the people suffer from these causes, and the unrest naturally arising therefrom; and in view of the desirability of adopting measures to increase production and effect such relief to consumers and producers as may be within the power of Parliament, The House is of opinion that, pending a wider revision of the tariff,-

That has been left out of this amendment. Apparently my hon. friend for Springfield has no hope for any wider revision of the tariff.

-substantial reductions of the burdens of customs taxation should be made with a view to the accomplishing of two purposes of the highest importance; first, diminishing the veiy high cost of living which presses so severely on the masses of the people; second, reducing the cost of the instruments of production in the industries based on the natural resources of the Dominion, the vigorous development of which is essential to the progress and prosperity of our country.

I never thought my hon.-friend for Springfield was such a plagiarist, for this is really the grossest instance of plagiarism that I have yet seen in this House.

Mr. HOEk : All the great poets have been plagiarists.

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CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXIER:

As I said, I hope the hon. gentleman will not expect this group to vote for his amendment, because we stand where he does not like to have anybody stand. We stand where we have always stood, whether we are right or wrong-and we believe we are right-oh the ground that a fair, reasonable, proper measure of protection should be given to the industries of the country in order to build up an urban population which will draw its sustenance from the rural population, both being interdependent. We do not

The Address-Mr. Baxter

believe in building up one side of the country at the expense of or ignoring the other side. We have to have a symmetrical country, just as we have a lake region, a river region, a coastal region and a mountain region. So I believe we have to have industrial occupations as well as agricultural occupations, and our vision-and we think it is a grand vision-is that of a country made great by the development of all its parts geographically, and of all the opportunities industrially which it possesses. We do not believe we can attain that result by adopting this amendment, however excellent a copy it may be of that which the Minister of Finance produced a few years ago. We have, perhaps, the misfortune, judged by the standard of politics of the present day, to have been sincere and to remain sincere still. My hon. friends to my left have never had any difficulty in knowing where we stand on this subject, and that is why, though personally friendly enough with us, politically they have been at more than arm's length. The fact was not that they did not trust us; they trusted us. They more than trusted us; they knew exactly where we stood and where we were going to stand; they did not like our stand, and they were not going to stand alongside of us. But they knew we had convictions and the coinage of them and that that courage was not abated, even though we came back to this House the smallest group after the last election. But what have they found on the other side? Gentlemen with convictions? They were expressed in 1920.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

All varieties.

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CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

They had an opportunity last session to put those convictions into realization, and now they need the spur and the goad of my hon. friend for Springfield, cursing the barren fig tree to try to make it bring forth some fruit.

We have the amendment to the amendment, moved by the hon. member for Calgary West (Mr. Shaw), who wishes to add to the amendment:

That this House views with alarm the substantial increase in the national debt and urges Your Excellency's advisers to exert every possible effort to economize in the expenditure and administration of government and to lessen the burden of federal taxation which bears so heavily on the people of Canada.

To my mind,-and I think I speak for the group with which I am associated-that amendment expresses, not merely our view of what the government of the day should do, but very much more. It expresses something that should be heard and heeded by every administration within

Canada, federal, provincial, civic and municipal. Before the war, in the luxurious ease which Canada enjoyed, she was becoming prodigal; and you can travel through the West from which my hon. friend comes, and you will find marble palaces, which,-though I have no business to criticize, may I express the opinion?-were scarcely needed. All over the country there was a riot of display and of expenditure. But it was easy. We could stand it in those days. We had not the railway problem, we had not the war loan; and either of these, perhaps, we could have stood without the other. But during war time, when everything was moving under pressure, it was a question for this country and for every other country engaged in the struggle, not of what things cost but to get things done. If a shipload of supplies went to the bottom the obvious and the instant thing was to start another ship off. Men could not wait; money did not count. And part of a generation of Canadian people has grown up under that urge and that impetus. Necessarily money was distributed in order to look after the families of men who were suffering for Canada, and the standard of living was perhaps somewhat augmented. So that the country to-day is still expecting to live in the riot, the waste and the luxury, or at least the extreme comfort that we enjoyed when the world was in course of a tremendous upheaval.

Sir, we cannot do it; and if the supreme government in Canada does not set the example of absolute retrenchment in the cutting off of all except the things that are vitally necessary for the development of the country, how shall we expect the ordinary man in the street, the man working for his day's wage, to be content when someone says to him that he must take less? He will say, your government is spending money all the time. He will ask, and I will stand with the rest of hon. members in this House in this regard, because there is no distinction between us: how much work have you people done in the last five days? Some of you make a great fuss about limiting the hours of labour to eight per day. But what is that when you spend only three hours a day or less at work?" Let us stop a bit of the waste here. We can sit at night and on Saturdays, and we can put the business of the House through, instead of in four or five months, within the space of two. I say this in the light of experience. I have had some experience in other places, and I know that I have helped, in a leading position in opposition, by collaboration with the leader of the government, to reduce an eight-week session to one of four weeks, with some spare

The Address-Mr. Evans

time out of that. And no one was hurt, either, while a better example was set for the transaction of public business. The same can be done here. There is a man in Italy, Mussolini is his name, who is tackling the problems of his country man-fashion. He says that, beginning with himself and his government, all those working for the government shall have to work some more hours. Now, I do not want to turn anyone into a galley slave, but at the same time I think that the plain people of this country who are bearing the burdens-for after all it comes down to them, no matter through how many degrees you finally reach them-expect something else at the capital than an exhibition of a waste of time and of funds.

I am in hearty sympathy with every word of the resolution of the hon. member for Calgary West (Mr. Shaw), not because it is an attack on the government, but because I believe it contains a great deal of common sense that needs to be taught and emphasized in this country at the present time. I am sorry it is mixed up as an addition to the amendment of the member for Springfield (Mr. Hoey). Personally, I am in favour of and shall vote for the amendment of the hon. member for Calgary, with the distinct understanding that 1 do not thereby commit myself, if it should carry, to vote for the amendment of the member for Springfield, with the amendment of the hon. member for Calgary incorporated in it. This part of the House does not stultify itself: we do not vote for free trade when we are standing under the flag of protection. But we will vote to emphasize the necessity for economy in the public administration, and we believe that the hon. member for Calgary is -doing the country a good service, apart from all politics, when he brings his amendment to the attention of this House. It seems strange, however, that it should be necessary to have either the amendment or the sub-amendment. It seems strange in view of the declaration of policy of the Liberal party. It seems strange in view of the fact that men in public life are supposed to have some regard for the spoken as well as for the written word, and that a pledge is supposed to be binding. Honour is not supposed to depart from a man merely because of his entering into the political arena; and if faith had been kept, if honour, instead of the love and the lust for power, had been the dominating factor in the mind of the government, there should have been no need, there should have been no opportunity, for my hon. friend for Springfield to have cursed the barren fig tree, nor for my hon. friend from Calgary to have pleaded for a govern-

ment which, without being parsimonious, would be decently economical.

At six o'clock the House took recess.

After Recess

The House resumed at eight o'clock.

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PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. JOHN EVANS (Saskatoon):

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to several very interesting speeches during the course of this debate, none more so perhaps than the carefully prepared address of the hon. member for King's, P.E.I. (Mr. Hughes) delivered this afternoon, with the main parts of which I agree, especially those passages relating to agriculture.

The Speech from the Throne strikes an optimistic note, but the improvement in our economic condition there noted is due entirely to the increased production and export of agricultural products, and if this year does not bless us with good crops-for which the Speech from the Throne has a prayer

we may find ourselves in a worse position than last year. It is surely plain to all concerned that agriculture is the basis of our national prosperity, and were it not for the many handicaps and unjust burdens placed upon that one basic industry, it would not be long before all classes would again experience increased prosperity. But despite the fact, acknowledged in the Speech from the Throne, that agriculture is in a depressed condition, no government has tightened the screw's to such an extent as has the present-administration during the past year. Nothing has been done to dispel the doubt and uncertainty in the minds of our agriculturists except in one single instance, the lowering of the freight rates in the West, which has been more than offset by the machinations of a combine among the lake shipping companies. In fact, Sir, I think nothing has been left undone in the way of unjust laws to more completely than ever before deliver our workers over to those who enjoy the privilege of filching the earnings from their pockets.

As to the tariff system, I say it is a system of legalized robbery, more true to-day perhaps than ever before, and is responsible for the stagnation of agriculture and the driving out of the country of thousands of our best farmers. And the shortsighted policy of those privileged people for whose benefit the tariff was instituted has finally shut off their own home market. In last year's Speech from the Throne a promise was made to

The Address-Mr. Evans

deal with this system of trade restriction, and the hopes of every Progressive member were raised in the belief that the Liberal party intended to be true to its own platform and principles, which every one of my colleagues was prepared to help the government put into effect. But the subject is not mentioned in the present Speech, which I take to mean that in the opinion of the government and their supporters the tariff, as it now stands, is as perfect as it can be made.

We are promised this session a bill to safeguard the interests of consumers and producers from the undue enhancement of prices or unfair restriction of trade by combines, mergers, trusts and monopolies. I confess, Mr. Speaker, that somehow I have failed to become enthusiastic over the foreshadowing of such legislation, seeing that the government by one amendment to the tariff act last session completely delivered every consumer and producer over to the tender mercies of a skilfully organized minority, composed of these very combines, trusts, mergers and monopolies which are now threatened to be controlled. In fact, I do not think there is a member in this House so gullible- not even a Progressive-as to believe that the present government can by any further legislation control the machinations of these trusts, mergers, combines and monopolies. Since the session of 1909-10, when the right hon. Prime Minister, then Minister of Labour in Sir Wilfrid Laurier's cabinet, introduced a bill for this purpose, which was duly enacted, we have seen that legislation fail in its object; indeed, that very same year the Grocers' Guild and other combines openly laughed at and defied the law, and from that time forward such organizations have, according to their interpretation' of the statute, evaded its provisions in a perfectly legal way. What this country suffers from at the present time is the iniquitous system of the distribution of goods which is a product of protection which makes the cost of everything we need out of line with the prices of what we produce.

In defiance of any anti-combine bill there was then forged the last link in a perfect chain of combines which, so far as the consumers of this country are concerned, encircles the whole Dominion, and still remains unbroken. It is not new legislation that we need to control combinations that are restricting trade and preventing competition and legitimate enterprise, but the elimination of the legislation now on our statute books that is responsible for these very combines and mergers formed to restrain trade and unduly

enhance the price of everything that we need to eat or wear. It is not possible to enact any new legislation to achieve that end that would not be simply a joke on our statute books. It would be a travesty on the intelligence of the electors of this country to tell them that we were, by a new act of legislation, going to control the profiteers and at the same time leave untouched the very legislation which has given them that power, and under which they are so completely organized for their vicious work of exploitation. They have been aided rather than repressed, in this, I know, by a succession of governments for many years.

I think the intentions of the present Liberal government in this respect are plainly seen in an amendment to the Customs Act artfully put through parliament in the closing days of last session-an amendment of which even the Minister of Customs himself declared he did not know how far-reaching the effects would be. It was an amendment that entirely destroyed the right of the purchaser to have the goods valued at the actual cost plus a reasonable profit, and substituted a valuation dictated by the minister or by the producer of such goods in Canada-goods which are already enhanced in price by a protective tariff, and which pass through the hands of several combines, mergers, and trusts, operating defiantly in restraint of trade. Surely that is a fine basis for valuation, from the profiteer's point of view. It is an amendment that destroys entirely the whole tariff schedule as it stands as to rates of duties to be levied, and places the power of valuation entirely in the hands of the Minister of Customs or others who may be interested in the very line of goods he is called upon to value. In my opinion it is an amendment that is aimed directly at the trade activities of the co-operative companies, of agricultural and city workers, in their endeavours to keep down the cost of production on the farms and the cost of living in the cities, to a figure commensurate with world prices and the lower trend of wages. It is an amendement that at one stroke forms into one great combine every manufacturing and distributing concern in the country. The anti-dumping clause as it stands, puts the trade of the whole Dominion on the basis of the company-store system, and divorces the worker entirely from any interest he should have in the country. I think it certainly establishes a man's right to rebel. And all this by the Liberal party with a free trade plank in their platform!

Only a short time ago I heard one of the most prominent Liberals in our province de-

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REVISED EDITION ' COMMONS


The Address-Mr. Evans clare that Liberalism stood for liberty, and even the Premier himself declared that the platform of the Liberal party was exactly the same as the platform of the Progressive party, that Liberalism, in fact, stood for progress. Yet this party of liberty and progress has closed up the last gap of liberty that the consumers of this country had left open to them. What pressure was brought to bear between the date of the budget speech, May 23, when the Finance Minister declared that this clause was to be left out as it was an unnecessary interference with trade, and June 22nd, when it was revived by the Minister of Customs? I do not know; but it must have been something worth while that could turn practically the whole Liberal party at one stroke into a body more Tory in its actions than even the Conservative party itself, and quite as amenable to the same influences that dictated that measure in tho first place. Outside of the explanation given by the Minister of Customs at that time, no argument was made in behalf of that clause, except a statement by the hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff), who reminded the right hon. leader of the Opposition that they had slaughtered him anyway. The Tariff Act as it stands is perhaps the most vicious piece of legislation that has ever stood on the statute books of any country in modem times. I question if there is anything quite so complete of its kind anywhere else in the world. As it stands it has closed up the trade activities of one of our largest co-operative companies, and an attempt was made this year to bring the United Farmers of Ontario under its deadly ban. Is this the kind of Liberalism that the Progressive party is invited to join? It is true that two who were with us last year are with us no more, but are now sitting on the other side. I have no word of reproach for these men, but rather pity, and it is indeed pitiful to think that they have failed to grasp the ideal underlying the formation of the Progressive movement. It is pitiful that after being elected to support Progressive principles, and after sitting for one whole session with us here and in our caucus, they should have failed to realize their obligations to their constituents. They must present a pitiful spectacle to those who elected them.


CON
PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. EVANS:

Since they have failed to realize their obligations to their electors, and failed to realize the principles on which they were elected, it is well that they have changed sides. They will be more at home over there. I cannot understand, Mr.

Speaker, a political party apart from a group of men who have gathered themselves around a set of principles so that, acting together, they might propagate and put those principles into practice. Whatever party is in power there are certain attributes of government that ought not to be overlooked. These are four in number-justice, legality, publicity, liberty. Justice denotes that no citizen or class shall usurp power prejudicial to the interests of any other citizen or class. Legality implies that every enactment shall have the sanction of law. It is hard to think that in these enlightened times in this country, any measure should be made legal without any regard for justice or liberty. Liberty implies that every citizen should have the privilege of asserting his individuality, for his own or his fellows' welfare, in any way which is not prejudicial to the rights of others. Yet the Tariff Act, with the amendment before mentioned, actually deprives one class of its right as citizens, and gives another class the right by law to exploit them. Under legislation of this kind we cannot wonder that the cost of living does not fall with the cost of farm produce or natural products. Today there is actually no relation between the price of raw material and that of the finished article in the case of anything produced in Canada. Take for instance hides with harness, wool with clothing and blankets, wheat with flour and bread. They have actually no relation in price one to the other. I was in England last summer and stayed a few days at Ealing, one of the suburbs of London. I saw there a four pound loaf actually distributed at the homes of the people for eight pence half penny. That is sixty-four ounces of bread for seventeen cents. To-day in cities in western Canada we are paying seventeen cents for forty ounces of bread, or twenty-four ounces less for the same price. And speaking of flour, Sir, a gentleman who Was asked last year to head the wheat board refused to do so for the reason that the control of flour was not given in the legislation creating the board.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Will the hon. gentleman say who that was? I do not wish to press him for the information if he would rather not give it.

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PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. EVANS:

I would rather not say.

However, he gave the reason I have mentioned, I can vouch for that. Now, we grant our millers an advantage of 60 cents per barrel protection on flour. Under this protection they enjoy a monopoly of the home market, while their large export trade is carried on in com-

The Address-Mr. Evans

petition with millers in all other countries in Europe; and they can cut prices whenever they choose in foreign countries, depending on the profits they filch from the home consumer to recoup them. Not only this, but we producers in Canada who find our market in foreign countries, where our prices are made, have to meet this competition at the other end as well. Any time they choose our millers can lower the price of flour in competition with our wheat on the British market, and so set the basis for procuring their supplies of wheat at home. It is not fair, it is unjust. But the whole tariff system is a one-sided, vicious piece of legislation, with everything free for one class, while the other class is by law exploited. Even were it the ideal state of affairs to make Canada a manufacturing country, one would think that this could best be attained by reducing the cost of living and thereby lessening the cost of production. It is this class privilege, which stands on our statute books to-day, which is fast depopulating the farms of Canada. And in saying that I am not speaking for the West in particular. Colonel Dennis, of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, is responsible for the statement that last spring 5,000 farms in old Ontario which ought to be producing were vacant. Another fact. Nearly half a million dollars worth of mortgages were thrown back on the hands of one company operating from Saskatoon last fall, and the superintendent told me himself that over 90 per cent of these farms are abandoned.

Perhaps that is not the worst feature of it after all. There is a bitterness caused by these conditions. The bitterness which exists amongst the agriculturists of Canada to-day is not born of hard times caused by world conditions and bad crops, but to the fact that anything the farmer has to sell is out of line with world prices, and that owing to artificially made conditions at home due to class privilege the price of everything he has to buy is enhanced. Now the farmer is willing to take his hard luck as well as any man, but he will not forever make'fortunes for others, for skilfully organized minorities who are able to get legislation through this House to suit themselves and are placed in a position to exploit the masses to pay for it. Our cabinet ministers can traverse the whole world making treaties of trade with foreign countries, and by one amendment take away the inalienable rights of the people to buy and sell where they can to the best advantage.

The dissatisfaction with our economic system is not peculiar to the West. I will now come to that wonderful province by the

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sea of which the member for Hants (Mr. Martell) spoke the other day as being so prosperous. The Solicitor General for Nova Scotia on the 18th January last year, when speaking before the Halifax Board of Trade, declared that the relations between the Maritime provinces and the rest of Canada would become so weakened that dissatisfaction with confederation would become general, and would lead to serious results. I think it will be admitted that the Solicitor General for Nova Scotia knows as much about that province as the hon. member for Hants.

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LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

If the hon. gentleman is referring to me I would say that I would have liked to have had the honour of addressing the Halifax Board of Trade but I never did.

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LIB

February 8, 1923