April 26, 1923

LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

The value of a pharmacopoeia does not depend upon its pronun-ciability.

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Subtopic:   FRENCH TREATY
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Will the hon. member tell me the value of even one of these one hundred articles. On the authority of the best chemist we can find-

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LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

Dr. Sheard?

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

-we are assured that none of them was ever made in this country. In a letter that was read to the House at the last session the best chemist in the country stated that although these products are made in some other land none of them was ever produced in Canada save one and that the ingredients for this one exception all had to be imported. Yet this is supposed to be a treaty. But the matter is serious. In respect of real exports from Canada it is very serious. We are going to suffer a handicap from the day this treaty goes into effect onward because of the surrender of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Marine and Fisheries; and all we have to weigh is, whether the reasons for the surrender were such that we should now accept this treaty as part of the inevitable. That is all we have to weigh. Nobody disputes that we are injured by this treaty. The Minister of Finance himself in his speech says that the French people were not willing to compete with us as favourably as they were back in 1907 when he made his previous treaty.

There was a temporary extension of the 1907 treaty with some alterations in 1921-a very good extension under all the circumstances. This was in effect when the Minister of Finance went over, and he said France was not ready to treat on so favourable a basis as in that, which is another way of admitting that he has brought back worse conditions than he took over. There is no use labouring the matter further, but I venture to say any hon. member of this House who will examine the schedules and our exports will place a far greater value upon what this country loses by the treaty than did the Minister of Finance.

French Treaty

But he says we have secured on some articles the schedules already accorded the United States. Now I do not dispute-and the hon. member for Lincoln (Mr. Chaplin) did not dispute-that this was worth something, but is it something for which we should make large-very large-concessions to France? Why, let me ask, should we be penalized by France as between ourselves and the United States of America? I should like hon. members to reflect on that and try to answer. Does any hon. member know why the United States should enjoy, for no concession whatever, for no pretence of a concession, in the face of a policy that definitely denies a concession, something that Canada can only secure by granting heavy concessions? Would it be much of a triumph if the Minister of Finance had come back with equal conditions as between this country and the United States in the tariff of France? I do not think it would. But that he has not obtained-not by a very long way. The United States are not letting silks, embroideries, satins, brandies and champagnes, and all these other products into their country, the way we are doing in Canada. They are not imposing taxes on necessaries in order that they may relieve the consumers of luxuries. They are not doing such things in order to get, as they do get, everything we are getting by this treaty.

I wish to refer to another phase. When we grant to France the right to send her silks to Canada at a certain rate of duty, we grant the same thing to eleven favoured nations, with the result that in case after case we are making far more concessions to the other countries than we are making to France herself.

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Subtopic:   FRENCH TREATY
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LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

Does that hurt France?

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Undoubtedly it does- and it hurts us. It merely puts more taxes on the users of necessaries in our country. If it does not hurt Canada, if it helps Canada, why leave any tariff on? That is where the hon. member for Brome (Mr. McMaster) is, but not where the Minister of Finance stands. Who is going t-o argue that it is a benefit to us to maintain our taxes on necessaries and reduce our taxes on luxuries? The supporter of this treaty is bound so to maintain, or to admit, that we make very serious concessions for worse than nothing.

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IND

William Charles Good

Independent Progressive

Mr. GOOD:

Why could we not collect some of our taxes in some other way than by transferring the duties from luxuries to necessaries?

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I think the Minister of

Finance will have to do just that. But the

hon. member for Brant (Mr. Good) must remember that last year the way he increased taxes was chiefly by a 50 per cent increase in the sales tax, which came on everybody. Does the member for Brant hope to reduce the sales tax by relieving the users of luxuries of their taxes? Indeed he does not. He shakes his head honestly in the negative. If we do not get an increased sales tax this year, to make up what we are losing under this, or if we do not get a reduction when we should otherwise get it, it is because of the blunders of the concessions of this treaty, and he who votes for the treaty votes to shut the door on the reduction of our sales tax, and he votes to shut the door against relief on the necessaries of life. Of course the Minister of Finance knows that just to the extent this treaty operates that is what he is doing.

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LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

Not necessarily.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

What is the plan proposed by the hon. member for Brome?

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LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

I think, perhaps, the

leader of the Opposition might realize that even in silks the reduction of duty might mean increased imports, and might mean greater revenue raised.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It might, but the Minister of Finance himself estimates that it will be $S50,000 less. In any event I am not quite able to understand just how this country is going to get richer or pay debts faster by buying more silks and champagnes or buying more of anything that is embraced in the schedules of the treaty where we make concessions to France.

I want to impress upon the House instances that go to show what we are actually doing when we sign this treaty. I call attention to the main exports of our country to France. Take them one by one from the largest until you get through, fifteen to twenty, and on each one you will find higher duties put up against us by France. Then take the imports of this country which compete with our own productions in some instances, and which in almost every instance are luxuries. Where we take the tariff off for the sake of France on goods she sells us of $100 value we sometimes take the tariff off Switzerland on goods she sells us of $300, $400, and even $1,000. That is a splendid way to make a concession to France, is it not? I have before me a list of the goods so affected, and I would like the House to bear with me while I call attention to some of them. I commence with braids and cords. We are lowering the duty to France, though she only sends us $46,000 worth odd, but we

French Treaty

are taking it off similarly to Switzerland, which country sends us $112,407, and Switzerland gives us nothing. It is true she does not pay us by raising the duty against us. I suppose from that point of view really Switzerland is better entitled to it than France. In respect of France, for doing this, we have the duty raised against us on our main imports to that country. In respect to Switzerland we do it for nothing at all. But let us pass on. In the matter of brushes, where France sells us $42,000 worth, Switzerland sells us $114,000 worth or about two and a half or three times as much, and we are making concessions on that article to Switzerland for nothing whatsoever. Going from that to buttons, where -we buy $11,000 worth from France we buy from Japan $107,000 worth, or nearly ten times as much, so that where we are making a concession of $1 to the French exporter to Canada, we are making a concession of $10 to the Japanese exporter to Canada. Will any hon. member tell me why we should do that? If we are bound to be making concessions on these lines of goods, we should have done two things first. We should have had a comparable tariff on them or, at least, a tariff from which we could have come down, and secondly we should have got rid of the necessity of making concessions to countries which give us nothing at all.

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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

The hon. member's premises are wrong.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

How?

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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

What about the barrier we put up against the Mother Country?

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

What has that to do with the case?

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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

It has a good deal to do with it. The hon. member is talking about barriers being put up against us. We are putting up barriers and there is no complaint.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I know we do, and I do not see any of them reduced here. I would like the hon. member to compare the reductions elsewhere.

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PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

We are not lamenting the reductions.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not want to treat the hon. member discourteously but I do not see his point. By making these concessions on luxuries and making ten times the concessions to Japan-

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April 26, 1923