June 26, 1923

LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

Oh, no.

Topic:   BOUNTIES ON COPPER BARS OR RODS
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

For my part I cannot see that there is any objection to it so far as the rules are concerned. When it comes to the merits of the resolution I will have something else to say.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

I am sorry to say that I cannot agree with my right hon. friend. I say the amendment must be relevant. The House has already decided that it is going to make these grants-as gifts if you like to make use of that term. Whether it is wise or not is another question. The House has decided it will grant these bounties by way of gift and my hon. friend has moved that it be converted into a loan. I submit the amendment is not relevant. I do not think the right exists to make any such amendment to any measure of this kind. The amendment must be subject to the rule of relevancy, and my impression is that it is not relevant to the bill at all.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I think the minister is wrong in his statement as to the amendment not being relevant. I cannot really see a ground for argument even. The minister argues that the House has decided to make this grant. What the House has done has been to resolve that it is expedient to bring in a bill. That is all the House has done and here is the bill. The amendment is as relevant as anything can be.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

The bill is for the purpose of granting bounties. The amendment projmses that the bounties be converted into loans. That is entirely negative of the purpose which the House has already resolved.

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LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

May I submit this,

speaking to the point of order: If instead of moving this amendment I had moved that the bounties be reduced to a point where they would have been merely equivalent to the value of the use of the money for the time this company will have it, would that have been held out of order? I hardly think so.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

I would say that a motion to reduce the bounties would be entirely within the rule of the House as to relevancy, and would be in order.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The argument would

apply just the same.

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LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The House has resolved to introduce a bill to grant bounties of a

Bounties on Copper Bars

certain amount. That is all the House has done. Here is the bill, we can amend it just as we like.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I submit that the amendment introduced by my hon. friend from Brome amounts to a reduction of the bounty. He proposes that there should be no interest paid for five years. Therefore there is a gift of the interest for that period, and the amendment only proposes a reduction of the bounty.

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LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I think the well-known rule is that in committee a very wide discretion in the matter of amendments is allowed, in fact each clause of a bill or resolution may be negatived by a vote. While the amendment varies the nature of the grant and makes it rather a loan than a bounty, I feel that it is in order and may be considered.

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

The hon. member for

Brome alluded to the bounties on iron and steel. He said that the company concerned had seen fit to make certain issues of capital, to declare certain dividends and so forth. All of this is probably correct. Whether or not it is wise to grant bounties is a debatable question; nevertheless in my judgment, but for those bounties there would have been no steel industry in Cape Breton.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

I should like to ask whether the copper rods upon which this bounty is to be given are to be made from copper produced in the nickel mines of Canada, say at Sudbury?

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LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING:

They are to be made

from copper mined in Canada, that is all I can say.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

I should like to

point out that in the current Blackwood's Magazine, a leading Conservative organ in Great Britain, this month there is an ar-12 noon, tide which states that the fact that immense quantities of copper, which were more or less controlled by British firms, got to Germany during the war was a scandal. Among the things which went to Germany throughout the war was the product of the nickel mines of Canada. I happened to draw attention to that fact some years ago, blit nothing was done. Now is the time to correct that mistake in connection with the copper mines of Sudbury. There is something else worth pointing out: The people of Canada

are entitled to know the content of precious metals in these ores such as platinum, palladium, iridium, and so forth. The companies that will get the benefit of this bounty may be producing these ores, but notwithstanding the fact that the Ontario and

Federal governments, and the public, have asked to know the content of precious metals they are still in the dark on the subject. I insist on the government refusing to give a bounty now to any copper mines in this country unless the owners disclose the actual content of precious metals in their ores. This matter has been an outstanding scandal as far as Canada is concerned, and in saying this I am only repeating what I have said heretofore, namely, that people outside of this country or our own companies who refine that copper ore or nickel ore have never yet disclosed the content of precious metals, including platinum, in that ore. Surely we are entitled to have that information.

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LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I would draw the hon. member's attention to the fact that the clause which he is discussing at the present time refers strictly to payment or non-payment of bounties.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

And I say that there should be no payment to any company which refuses to disclose the precious metal content in the ore. That is the scandal of the war that has not been disclosed yet. As a matter of fact, Germany had an unlimited supply of Canadian copper, nickel, platinum and several other metals, and the country never knew that Germany was getting it.

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PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. EVANS:

I oppose the revival of the bounty system. The people of this country are overtaxed already. We have a precedent :n the steel industry to which we granted bounties in former years. The Minister of Finance declares that we would have had no steel industry but for the bounty. I think he is entirely m:staken; I can well remember the lime when we were granting, I think, $7 a ton bounty on steel rails that were used in this country, and the Nova Scotia Steel Company at that time was cutting prices against the whole world on steel rails. While we, with a bounty added, were paying $39 a ton for steel rails which we used on the Transcontinental, similar rails were being delivered in the southern Punjab at $24 a ton. I maintain that the steel industry did not need thac bounty; I maintain that the copper industry will not need this bounty, and until any company can show us the need for a bounty of this kind, I shall strenuously oppose it.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I have a great deal of sympathy with the hon. member (Mr. Evans), and I think the minister should show to the committee, first of all, that unless something is done, there will not be the industry, and that what he proposes has a reasonable

Bounties on Copper Bars

chance of producing the industry and the extent of it, so that hon. members will know whether the country is going to get any benefit therefrom. Of course he will say that if there is no industry, there will be no bounty; out we do not like passing purely futile legislation. If there is a reasonable chance ot the industry going ahead under this bounty and the industry is of such magnitude as to make this worth while, I favour it. I would prefer to see the matter dealt with in another way. But one way is better than no way. I do not want to have my vote or any influence I have stand in the way of the revival of any industry in this country. Next, the minister should show that the plan suggested by the hon. member for Brome (Mr. McMaster) in his amendment, will not produce the industry. The minister at lease owes an explanation to the committee, because if the amendment will produce the industry, the hon. member for Brome is right in his amendment. We should not do anything more than is essential to achieve our ends in the public interest, and if they will be achieved by a loan without interest for seven years, that is a great deal better than making a money grant. The minister should show to the committee that such is futile, it that is his belief.

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June 26, 1923