May 16, 1923

PRO

Donald Ferdinand Kellner

Progressive

Mr. KELLNER:

Does the minister claim that agricultural prices are lower in the United States than in Canada?

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART ( Argenteuil):

No, not in every case but freight rates are higher. The price of wheat and commodities of that character are somewhat higher. These prices always have been higher although they vary very considerably in a period of years.

There are other conditions, conditions of taxation, that my hon. friends opposite complain very much about. There is, for example, inflated land values that agriculturists in the United States have to contend with but which are not found in Canada, and for that reason the higher prices there are more than offset. Let me say to my hon. friends

for I am getting authentic reports from the United States as to the conditions over there -that I can give statement after statement of individuals who, if they were able to liquidate the properties they hold in the United 17Si

States at a reasonable sum, would be willing to emigrate to Canada at once and who will do so as soon as they conveniently can. So that the prospect for immigration seems to be reasonably reassuring. No matter what may be done in the future in respect to immigration I do not for one moment believe that it is necessary for this country to embark upon a scheme that will involve the borrowing of huge sums of money for the placing of people on the land. I agree very much with my hon. friends opposite that it is better to make the settlers we have happy and contented if that is possible. However, it will not be possible for a few years until they have recovered from the serious depression through which they have passed and the obligations which they undertook during that time.

I have tried to point out in a very brief way some of the difficulties that we must encounter in raising the revenue in an equitable manner. The one complaint made by hon. gentlemen opposite is that the budget is not equitable in its character. It is complained that the duties do not bear heavily enough upon luxuries and that commodities in general use in Canada are too heavily taxed. But the point must be borne in mind that we have in this country no large class of rich people in comparison to the population; that most of the business of the country is carried on very largely by the savings of the people; that most of the deposits in our banks do not represent the money of the wealthy but are rather the accumulation of the saving of the middle-class people. An hon. geptleman who spoke yesterday referred to the taxes as bearing too heavily upon the consumer. Well, I presume we are all consumers in that respect. I made the statement once in the province' of Alberta, in dealing with this question, that if we are to succeed in paying the public debt of Canada every individual in the country will be required to contribute to the public revenue according to his ability. There can be no question about that, and if it is inequitable, then I would like to sit down with hon. members and consider wherein changes can be made, because I think that in a country like Canada you cannot go to the extreme in taxing capital, as has been advocated by some hon. members. I am very much interested in the experiment of public ownership, but our hope for the future depends upon the development of our natural resources, and the individual who has not capital cannot develop these resources. While we are bringing people to Canada for the

2802 COMMONS

The Budget-Mr. Stewart (Argenteuil)

purpose of labour in Canada, and offering them an opportunity in that line, we must bear in mind that it is desirable to attract to Canada capital in a very large way, for the development of these resources. You cannot start a new industry upon labour alone, you must have capital to develop it. If there is need for assistance it is in the earliei stages of development, and if an industry cannot exist after being assisted in the early stages, it should go out of business.

But, hand in hand with the development of Canada we must have the importation into Canada of people and capital as well. The mineral resources of Canada alone will pay the debt of Canada a thousand fold, if properly developed and preserved for the people. Some complaint has been made that we are not conserving as we should the mineral wealth of the country. I have given considerable thought to this matter, and I ask, what have we done in the development of oil alone?-that, perhaps, is a concrete case which might apply to all developments. We have not taken the public funds for the purpose of developing oil, but my hon. friend who preceded me will agree with me that we have made it as easy as possible for capital to come in and start the development work in the search for oil; and if it is discovered, I think the public, after all, are entitled to a fair share of the profit. So far as coal production in Canada is concerned, the provinces that lease their natural resources are taking a toll on coal production-perhaps we should take more. In the case of the timber we are doing the very same thing. The day has long since passed when governments were in the habit of handing out to private individuals the natural resources belonging to the people -where I think they properly belong-and permitting them to be exploited in the interests of private individuals. The hon. member also said that the inheritance tax should be increased.

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

Does the minister think it is a /;ood thing for the people of Canada that we should fail to balance our budget year by year?

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil). I agree with the hon. member that it would be good busi-, ness to balance our budget year by year, but would it be good business to undertake to pay off in one or two or three years the railway debt of Canada? I think the hon. member will agree with me that it would not. I do not think we should transfer to posterity any more than is absolutely necessary, but I think my hon. friend should bear in mind the fact that we have a unique condition in Can-

[Mr. C. A. Stewart.

ada, and that we should make taxation as light as possible, having in mind, of course, the fact that we should not delay 4 p.m. too long the repayment of the public debt. I think it is advisable not to tax too heavily at the moment. If the proposition I submitted a moment ago had been followed in the earlier stages, there would have been no difficulty about being able to tax sufficiently to pay all the running expenses of Canada, but under the railway conditions that exist to-day-because we are collecting more than enough for ordinary expenses-I doubt the advisability of attempting to clear off by taxation the rising deficits that have occurred the past year or two. We hope conditions will improve and that it will be possible in a year or two to make revenue and expenditure balance each year, and that we shall not carry to posterity an increased public debt.

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PRO

Donald Ferdinand Kellner

Progressive

Mr. KELLNER:

Will the minister tell me how he anticipates that the people are going to be benefited by having coal and oil mergers developed in Alberta?

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

The people will undoubtedly profit by the royalties collected. The Alberta government are collecting a tax of ten cents a ton on coal. Perhaps the people are entitled to more from that commodity; however, that is the tax they have decided to impose, that is what they think fair and reasonable when they allow private individuals to do the development work and carry on the industry. I think that is as it should be. I do not believe we should go entirely into the business of public ownership in connection with all our public utilities and public resources, but we should preserve for the people what they are entitled to from the vast wealth in these resources. I think on the whole the provinces are attending to that feature pretty well.

I have tried to show, Mr. Speaker, tha1 under the circumstances we have made an honest effort to cut down wherever possible in the customs' tariff. Looking to the future when business conditions are different, perhaps greater reductions can be made. But, whoever happens to be Minister of Finance, charged with the responsibility of levying taxation, will always have to bear in mind the conditions of the moment, and not the conditions of the future. Because, unless we increase very rapidly in population-and I hope we shall-and unless our railways begin to produce balances on the right side of the ledger, then the present conditions ate

The Budget-Mr. Stewart (Argenteuil)

bound to recur. I think that the spirit of recklessness that was abroad, has passed away, and that the people realize that due caution must be exercised in the preparation of our budget.

My hon. friends opposite have seen fit to move an amendment, and I have no particular quarrel with their doing so. But in that connection I wish to say something which I intended to say a moment ago with respect to the income tax. I am not altogether satisfied with the income tax as it is constituted. The one man who pays to the utmost limit, who has no escape from the income tax, is the salaried man and, perhaps, he contributes more in that regard than any other individual. On the other hand, I think my hon. friends will find, if they examine the matter carefully, that the income tax hits fairly heavily the man who has a respectable income from all sources, no matter how large it may be, and that he contributes, according to the money he has a pretty respectable proportion, as things go, in the way of taxation. I may say that one hope for the future in Canada is that we have not yet adopted a direct land tax. In the provinces this has been done in a very moderate way. But it leaves an opportunity for the lands of Canada to be developed, and for a livelihood to be obtained from them; and for the next decade or two agricultural conditions will be the barometer by which business and other conditions will be judged in Canada; that is bound to be the fact. That being the case, I think we should leave that field of taxation entirely in the hands of the provinces and the municipalities themselves, for they will need all that the land can stand in the way of taxation for the carrying on of their own affairs.

With regard to the inheritance tax I want to say just a word or two. For years I have had not only a desire but a hope that a very great increase in the inheritance tax might be placed upon estates by the provinces themselves. I know that the statement is made that you cannot collect this tax. Let me assure the House that there is no desire on the part of the federal government at this time to invade this field. I do think, however, there should be as little restriction as possible on the opportunity of a man to make wealth But if he has enjoyed prosperity and has accumulated vast wealth, then there is no reason whatever why the province in which he has acquired it should not in a much larger way than has been the case in the past take for its own benefit, particularly for educational purposes, a greater inheritance tax. But that is outside the field of federal taxation, and I make this statement merely irt answer to my hon. friend, with whom I agree entirely.

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PRO

Robert Alexander Hoey

Progressive

Mr. HOEY:

Would it not be far more equitable for the Dominion to impose the tax and split it fifty-fifty with the province? If the province imposed a heavy tax a man might leave shortly before he died, settle in some other province, and so avoid paying his share of taxation to the province in which he had made his wealth.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

I must leave that to the Minister of Finance. I brought up the matter simply because it was mentioned in the discussion yesterday and because I agree most heartily in the principle, no matter how the tax may be imposed. I have heard the statement made that it would be impossible to collect the tax if you went beyond a certain point, and the ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) pointed that out in connection with the cigarette tax the other day. It is possible, in connection with many of the taxes, that if we went too far we might fail of our object; and in this particular case, if we exceeded a certain limit it is not improbable that the distribution of the estate might be made before the tax could be collected. At best, taxes are bound to be heavy on the Canadian people, although I am hopeful for the future, judging by the experience of the past: and looking back over a period of twenty years, I think that Canada, irrespective of what particular government has been in office at any time, can congratulate herself on her progress. In all lines of endeavour huge strides have been made. It has been said that in Ontario particularly, agriculture is lagging and indeed is dying out. The statistics do not show that. They do show, it is true that there are fewer people on the land; but they reveal as well the fact that one individual on the land to-day, with modem and improved machinery and equipment, can produce very nSuch more than five or six persons could twenty-five years ago. And that is being demonstrated. Manufacturing industry and agriculture in Canada are running about equal. I do not think that is necessary. I believe that agriculture should lead in a very large way, and I am prepared as one member of this government, so long as I have responsibility as a minister, to assist in every way possible, and to encourage legislation that will in every respect assist, this industry and promote its interests. After all, agriculture is the basic industry upon which the wealth

The Budget-Mr. Harris

and the prosperity of Canada is built. While I say that, however, let me make it clear that I have no desire to interfere with business or industry, believing that it should be encouraged in every way and that industry should be enabled to establish itself, and believing that in every legitimate way it should be fostered. Our aim should be to have industry and agriculture progress in Canada in order that we may have a well balanced condition of affairs. Now, Mr. Speaker, I have tried to cover as briefly as I could a few of the criticisms that have been offered in this debate, and I commend to the good judgment of the House the budget which has been brought down this year by the Minister of Finance.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. H. HARRIS (East York):

In rising to contribute a few remarks to the debate on this budget, to which we have been giving so much consideration, I want to request the Minister of Finance to listen, if he will, to two or three words. First of all, let me congratulate the hon. gentleman on the vigour and energy he has shown in presenting to parliament his seventeenth budget. At this session, particularly when he has to consider a review of the Bank Act, I am sure that the Minister of Finance will receive the greatest sympathy of hon. members in all corners of the House. But I do not think that his colleagues on this account can be relieved of responsibility for the consequences of the budget which the minister has brought down. It is my earnest wish that the minister may be spared a good many years to serve this fair Dominion, not in his present capacity, but on this side of the House. I say that advisedly, because in looking through the budget debates of previous years I find that that hon. gentleman on former occasions has been a very able critic. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I believe that if we were to take some of the criticisms of the present Minister of Finance, of budgets brought down in years that have passed, and if we were to submit those criticisms in toto from this corner of the House, we might feel that wp had done justice to the present debate. In confirmation of this assertion I am going to ask hon. members to listen while I read a few words that fell from the lips of the minister as member for Shelburne and Queens. In 1920, the minister is reported at page 2,509 of Hansard as follows:

The Minister of Finance to-day gave us some tariff changes which we shall be better able to understand when we read them in detail in Hansard. Let me say, however, that I am sure there must be deer* disappointment on the part of a great many members of the House who were, or are, supporters of the government, to find that the tariff reform which they are

[Mr. C. A. Stewart.

getting-if you call it tariff reform-is of such a moderate character. We must not forget that the government have for the last two years been, shall I say, coquetting with this tariff question, jollying their friends along and promising that something was going to be done. If I might use a quotation:

"They promise, prepare, propose, postpone

And end by letting things alone."

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

Hear, hear.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS:

budget? In other words, what has the budget done to help him out of the predicament in which he now finds himself? Is there anything in the budget that can be held up to prospective settlers? Is there anything in the record of this government during the last fifteen months which will make the people of other countries say: "That will be a good place for me to settle, a good place for me to bring up my boys and girls?" Is there anything in the budget, anything in the record of the present government, to encourage people to come to our shores? It is time we rose to our responsibilities; it is time we had a little bit of statesmanship here. Let us bring governmental institutions to the same businesslike basis as that upon which ordinary business institutions are run, and in the end we will solve many of the problems which at present face the people.

There is one other paragraph in the budget to which I should refer if I am not to be remiss in my duty to the good old Conservative party-tariff stability. I congratulate not only the Minister of Finance but the Liberal party as a whole in coming to an acknowledgement of the absolute necessity of tariff stability. I expected to see with one accord the whole party to my left rise to their feet, but perhaps they will do it with a vengeance when they once get started. It is quite easy to criticize the protective principle; those who have not reviewed the conditions prevailing in Canada from Halifax to Vancouver are wont to agree with many of the policies enunciated by people who are desirous of having in this country a certain amount of free trade. When I think^ of free trade I am reminded of an industry that I have observed for quite a number of years. It happens to be located in the heart of the riding represented by the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). We have there an industry which is indigenous to this country, its raw material being drawn from our own natural resources. It comes under paragraph 9 of the tariS schedule, wood and woodenware products. I am going to give a reason why I feel that it is necessary to have a reasonable tariff as applied to many industries of that nature. These people manufacture such things as clothes-pins, wash-tubs, patent pails and rolling-pins. We have in Canada at present but nine millions of people. The raw material for the things these people manufacture-and I have mentioned only about four of them-is capable of being manufactured into a great number of other lines of goods. If we had a population close to this industry which would absorb the whole output of any one of these articles being the sole

product of industry, the whole attention of that manufacturing plant could be concentrated on that one article, and it would not be necessary, perhaps, to have a tariff against similar goods entering Canada. Take any one article you wish-the rolling-pin, for instance. There are more Mrs. Jiggs' in England and the United States than there are in Canada. But take rolling-pins; if that factory were able to do nothing else but work three eight-hour shifts a day in the manufacture of rolling-pins alone, and if there was a market for the product close to the factory which would absorb all the rolling-pins turned out, then it would not be necessary to have protection against that article. I am not going to dwell on that, because twenty or thirty per cent of the material in the Library of parliament deals pro and con, not with tariff stability, perhaps but with tariffs in general.

I am sorry to note in the budget speech the paragraph that has to do with reciprocity. The people of Canada gave notice to the governments of Canada that they did not want to put themselves in the position-oh, I was going to use the expression, of beggars waiting for crumbs in the way of reciprocity to drop from the industrial table of Uncle Sam. It is well known to the powers that be in the United States that we have a Liberal party here which is pledged to reciprocity. Why make the people of Canada feel badly in the thought that they have on record in black and white, embodied in this budget, a request-to my mind, and I am speaking for myself, a begging request-that Uncle Sam should drop a few crumbs of reciprocity from his industrial table? If he should do so, he would only give us something from which he would receive the majority of the benefit; otherwise he would not give it. I submit in all sincerity that it is bad business. It will not be good for the young people of Canada to feel that we lower ourselves-I hesitate to use that expression; but to feel that we put ourselves in a begging position so far as Uncle Sam is concerned.

I must hurry on, Mr. Speaker, because I do not want to take up too much time. I have some sympathy for the view expressed by the hon. member for Cariboo (Mr. McBride) who has suggested on a number of occasions that twenty minutes is sufficient for the average speech. At that rate I have about one minute to go. [DOT]

A great many committees of the House are sitting at the present and are doing a lot of good work. They are accumulating a great deal of useful information, and I am going to refer to one item of information I gathered from one of these committees on Thursday

The Budget-Mr. Hams

last. It has to do with a subject which I am sure is of vital interest to every citizen of Canada, of particular interest to my hon. friends to my left who come from the prairie provinces, as well as to the hon. members for Quebec city. It has to do with cattle shipped from Winnipeg to the port of Quebec for export to Glasgow and Liverpool. Anyone who has sat in the Railway Committee room and looked at the map hanging there, instead of perhaps listening to the orations that have been delivered from day to day, must have been impressed with the shortness of the route from Winnipeg to the port of Quebec and with the possibility of our taking a great deal of the products of our western provinces over the Canadian National down to Quebec, and from Quebec to the markets of the world. It impressed me that way as I sat in the Railway Committee room some two or three weeks ago. I recognize, and we all know, that the transcontinental railway now known as the Canadian National Railway is a white elephant on the hands of the people of Canada. But we are Canadians, and we can rise to the occasion and take hold of that expensive organization that is on our hands now and use it to the best advantage, and here is one opportunity in my humble opinion for us to make use of it. The rail haul via the Canadian Pacific from Winnipeg to Montreal is 62 miles longer than the Canadian National route from Winnipeg to Quebec city. The grade over the Canadian Pacific to Montreal is much harder-I use that word for want of a better term-than the Canadian National grade from Winnipeg to Quebec. Why not, then, ship the 60,000 cattle, which we expect to ship to the Old Country in the next open season, over the Canadian National to Quebec city, and from there to the markets of the world? I merely bring this point up on the floor of the House, not because I hold any brief for the city of Quebec or for our western friends; and I hold absolutely no brief for the cattle industry of this country. I suppose you would expect me to be a ' little narrow and sectional and think only of Ontario or perhaps one of the Yorks where I come from, but I feel that in short-circuiting Toronto and Montreal in this way we would be doing something of benefit to the country as a whole.

I want to enlarge on that for a moment if I may. There is also some 18 hours shorter travel for cattle going over the Canadian National route to the port of Quebec. There is also that 24 hours' delay avoided going down the river from Montreal to Quebec.

What is needed now is a recommendation perhaps from the Agricultural Conditions committee or from some department of this government that the shipping interests shall give the same privileges to the port of Quebec, so far as shipping space and facilities are concerned, as are given to Montreal, and to see to it that perhaps some of the boats of the Canadian Government Merchant Marine-I know some of them were used in 1921-be diverted to take care of this particular traffic, and more particularly to see that no influence emanating from the city of Montreal shall in any way interfere with this flow of trade on that railway-that great white elephant which we still have on our hands. Any remarks I might make in regard to the cattle industry will in my humble opinion apply in the same degree to other products from the western provinces, such as flour, which may flow to the markets of the world.

In view of the fact that I have said this much for the province of Quebec and for our friends from the West, I want to ask their indulgence for a moment while I say something which more particularly concerns the people of Ontario and our western friends, but which in my humble opinion concerns also the whole Dominion of Canada, and that is the canalization of the St. Lawrence river.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Hear, hear.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS:

Someone says, "hear, hear." I do not bring this matter up with the idea of saying that to-day or to-morrow we should immediately go on with the canalization of the St. Lawrence river; but what I do say is that when the Prime Minister of this country receives a message from the United States of America asking his consideration of this great project, the people of Canada should have the benefit of a good and fair debate on the pros and cons of the issue as it was submitted to the First Minister. They should have that debate, so that public opinion could be roused throughout the whole Dominion of Canada, and when that public opinion was sufficiently roused and sufficiently instructed as to the pros and cons and the wisdom of going on with this great piece of engineering work we would be in a position to act on that public opinion. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that it would be in the interests of Canada if some of the academic questions which have been discussed on the floor of this House, such as the single transferable vote, proportional representation, and things of that kind, which do not matter to the same degree as such projects as the canalization of the St. Lawrence, should be put to one side in favour of bigger issues.

The Budget-Mr. Harris

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Louder.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS:

Somebody says "louder."

Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister of Agriculture in his oration last night, in his monthly instalment of amusement given to this House, mentioned something about the crack of doom. Now I have always been taught to believe that when the crack of doom is heard an angel shall descend from heaven, and placing one foot on the sea and one foot on dry land, shall proclaim to the people of the earth that earth shall be no more. Mr. Speaker, when that day cometh, I imagine that the hon. member who said "louder"-I do not know who it was, but I think it was the hon. member for Colchester (Mr. Putnam)-will probably rise in his place and say, "Louder! louder!" ,

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LIB

Harold Putnam

Liberal

Mr. PUTNAM:

I want to assure the hon. gentleman that I was able to hear him distinctly, and made no such request.

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CON

Joseph Henry Harris

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HARRIS:

I most humbly beg the hon. gentleman's pardon, but I heard the word drift across from some quarter of the House and naturally thought it came from over there. Was it the hon. gentleman who wears the hat (Mr. Leger)? Perhaps he comes from some part of the country where the sea joins the dry land and will therefore be quite close at hand to receive the message of the angel on descending.

When I was interrupted, Mr. Speaker, I was dwelling on a subject which is close to my heart, and that is the canalization of the St. Lawrence river. At the present time we have, as all know, the Welland canal nearing completion, and there is an absolute necessity of reducing the cost of bringing the products of the western farmer to the ocean and to the markets of the world. The cost of getting the grain out of that western country absolutely must be cut down, and if it can be shown to the people of this country that the potential wealth of electrical energy to be developed from the St. Lawrence waterway will be quite sufficient to pay the cost of that whole development and not saddle the people of this country with any extra cost, then I submit that all arguments pro and con should be submitted and public opinion and enthusiasm be roused. It is questions of this sort that should be given consideration by the people of this country. I do not need to dwell further on the subject. All hon. members know the magnitude of that fall and flow of water down the St. Lawrence, and can imagine the millions of horse-power that could be developed and the vast possibilities to follow. I do not want to appear as a dreamer, but I ask the earnest consideration of this House for

projects of this kind rather than academic questions.

Before resuming my seat I would like to say something with regard to two or .three expressions of opinion I heard in this chamber. One of those expressions emanated from the Progressive side of the House. I did not discover who uttered it but hon. gentlemen will remember the remark was something like this: "The breezes are blowing in the mulberry trees". The speaker seemed to have in mind the idea that part of this country should belong to the United States. He said: "The breezes are blowing in the mulberry trees. How long will it be before these breezes shall turn into a hurricane and sweep these western provinces from us"? Mr. Speaker, that is a wrong attitude, in my humble opinion, to take with respect to the issues in this country. The greatest feat of statesmanship to be accomplished, I think, during the next decade, will be to keep Ontario and Quebec united with the western prairies separated as the eastern provinces are from the West by a thousand mile gap. We in Ontario, and I can speak for the hundred thousand people 'hat I represent, are ready to stand to a rntn with the rest of the country in repelling onslaughts upon the Dominion such as were hinted at in the remarks referred to. There was also a sort of doubt cast by an hon. member from Quebec, the other day, in speaking about Great Britain, as to whether or not this country really belongs to the British Empire. I do not want to indu'ge in any flag waving because I did no soldiering myself during the Great War, but let me say to the hon. gentleman in question, one of the gallant men who fought in the period from 1914 to 1918, that the British Empire, in my opinion, has been the greatest agency for good in the whole wide world.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Mr. HARRIS' I do not want any applause for that, it may seem too much like a recognition of flag waving, but I wish to say that it is absolutely imperative that we stand shoulder to shoulder in defending this great country of ours from all assaults, let them be from within or from without, and to preserve it intact in the interests of the civilization of mankind

As far as the budget is concerned I shall say nothing more than to apply to the action of the government the wo*"ds quoted in this House by the Minister of Finance on a previous occasion:

They promise, prepare, propose, postpone

And end by letting things alone.

The Budget-Mr. Kellner

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PRO

Donald Ferdinand Kellner

Progressive

Mr. D. F. KELLNER (East Edmonton):

Not being possessed of a voice like that of the hon. member for East York (Mr. Harris)

I have moved from my customary seat to a position near the centre of the chamber. Like other hon. members who have spoken I would like to commend the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) for the manner in which he presented the budget to the House. I understand that previous budgets have received considerable commendation because of the manner of their presentation and I think it would be entirely unfitting if we did not extend the same courtesy to the Minister of Finance on the present occasion. There is one point about the budget which seems to be causing a little confusion. That is as to what is meant by "stability." I would like to be possessed of the same powers of oratory as the hon. gentleman who has just resumed his seat in order to be able to tell you what, in my opinion, this term means. I think that in the West it means "low tariff"; in the East it stands for "protection"; at any rate that is what this term has usually meant in the past and no doubt the same definition will continue to be applied to it.

I discovered in a western paper a characterization of the budget which perhaps, describes it more correctly than I could do. With the permission of the House I will read that article. It says:

Upon the receipt of Mr. Fielding's budget in lake Winnipeg there was tremendous excitement and enthusiasm among the fish. A flounder dashed in with the great news-"the duty on machines for making fish meal had been abolished." A mud fish refused to belierve it and got entangled in acrimonious debate with a catfish. The whole colony of whitefish stood on their ears and wiggled their fins for joy; the suckers received the news open-mouthed, and then proposed that a message of thanks be sent to Mr. Fielding for taking such a burden off the backs of the poor fish in the West. Carried swimmingly.

The foregoing excerpt is taken from the Manitoba Free Press under date of May 14. Mr. Speaker, I have not had the pleasure of hearing many of the speeches so far delivered in this debate; I have been obliged to spend a great deal of my time attending one of the committees. Consequently I hope that in what I say I shall not be threshing over matters which have already been brought to the attention of the House. I have had the privilege of listening to only one or two speakers so far but I would like to make a few comments on some of the statements made by the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) last evening. I must express a little sorrow that the minister, before

giving his speech to the House, did not run t through a cream separator in order that we might grasp its substance more easily. Personally I have not had time to read it all and I am afraid I shall never get that opportunity. The minister endeavoured to impress upon the House that he knew all the troubles that were afflicting agriculture and the remedies for them. He sought to pose as an authority on what kinds of live stock the farmers should keep and he was in no way backward in advising us respecting the manner in which they should be kept, the kind of crops we should grow, and the sort of immigration policy the country ought to pursue. In a word it would take a goodsized encylopaedia to contain all the information and advice which the minister handed out. The hon. gentleman wound up his long address with the bald statement that bad farming is practically responsible for all the ills of the western country. The minister also endeavoured to discredit the amendment moved by the Progressives to the budget, and stated that the reductions in the British preference for which we are asking were less than the government are proposing. I wish to deny that statement most emphatically. The minister gave a table professing to bear out his statement. I have a table which contradicts in some respects the rates given by the minister. Let me quote from it:

Rate under Rate under Present Government Progressive General rate proposal amendment tariff

Per cent Per cent Per cent Per centGray cotten fabrics and fabrics of flax .. .. 12* 124 25Stair linen sheets, table cloths, etc., of cotton or linen 20 18 15 30Woollen yarns. 20 18 15 30

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Is my hon. friend quoting the relative reductions under the amendment and the budget as respects the British preferential tariff?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PRO

Donald Ferdinand Kellner

Progressive

Mr. KELLNER:

Yes.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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May 16, 1923