May 7, 1924

LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. W. R. MOTHERWELL (Minister of Agriculture):

Mr. Speaker this budget has

now been before the House for almost the last three weeks with no visible effect except to demonstrate more and more its general acceptability by the Canadian people as the days of the weeks go by. By some parties it is referred to as a low tariff budget, by others it is spoken of as the Robb budget, while ethers again speak of it as a Progressive budget. I think myself that !the larger portion of its friends refer to it as a real Liberal budget, with the accent strongly on the word "real"-a real Liberal budget. You will observe, however, that no one thus far has ever thought of designating it a Tory budget. Mark that. Now, I think we can all sense in the not-too-far-distant future a battle on the tariff. We are lining up our forces for it, and it is well that the issue should be plain; for it is better that we should know exactly what we are fighting about and that the battle line should be clearly defined. So that, whatever else the budget has done, it has certainly effected a distinct cleavage between the low tariff and the higher tariff forces in Canada.

Before entering upon the budget proper I beg to refer very briefly to the environment, the setting in which parliament met on February 29. Prior to that and since the last prorogation our Conservative friends were engaged actively in strong propaganda for the purpose of convincing the people of Canada

The Budget-Mr. Motherwell

that this government was not very much good and that it should be replaced by themselves; they said that we were impotent and incapable of doing things. The people were told that on one side of the government was a hostile Senate and on the other a not-too-friendly Civil Service Commission; and that with no majority in the House nothing could be hoped for. That was the impression that was conveyed by hon. gentlemen opposite. Unless some of us have forgotten the kind of propaganda that was engaged in to spread distrust and suspicion among the electors, and in case the House may have forgotten what took place during the recess I will refer to a few passages from speeches made by the right hon. the leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen). I am not going to drive them home too forcibly, nor shall I be very harsh; I shall be merely sufficiently effective to bring out the facts of the case. My right hon. friend toured the West and, in Winnipeg, he is reported under date December 17 to have spoken of the King government in this fashion:

The King government has a record of political perfidy unapproached in the history of responsible government the world over,-

Mark you, there are no limitations, there is no reservation, in that indictment-it embraces the whole world.

-because of its record on the tariff and every other subject of importance in relation to which it bound itself by pledges to the people of Canada.

No limitation at all; we are not only the limit, but we exceed the limit in impotency and general perfidy-"perfidy" and "apostasy" seem to be favourite terms in the vocabulary of my right hon. friend, and hon. members may recall that he used the latter expression in reference to my humble self last year when he described me as an apostate in relation to the tariff. I do not know what he will call us on this occasion, but we shall see about that later. About the same time he also addressed a meeting at Three Rivers. The House will remember that my right hon. friend and some of his lieutenants at that time were flitting about the country with wonderful rapidity, being here to-day and there to-morrow. And just shortly after the time he spoke in Winnipeg as I have quoted him, he addressed a meeting in the interesting city of Three Rivers. Let me read as nicely as I can what he said there:

The name of the government is a stench throughout the West to-day-

He had just returned from the West and so he ought to have known. .

-and the concessions they are fishing for are at the price of the rest of Canada, of Canadian industries and Canadian trade.

As to whether the name of the government was at that time, or is now, "a stench" in the West, that is something we shall hear about later. Now, these are not nice things to say, and I shall refer only to one more, just to show that the intention of the opposition seemed to be to sow so much distrust in the minds of restless people that, as they evidently hoped, the government would be crowded off the map. Well, there was a sort of reunion of the Conservative party in Saskatchewan. As you know, that party had got to be pretty limp up there, and a united effort was made by Hon. Robert Rogers, Premier Ferguson, and my right hon. friend, to breathe life into the dead flesh and bones of western Toryism. And that is a big contract. To show that birds of a feather usually do flock together, let me read the following report of the remarks of Hon. Robert Rogers on that historic occasion:

Mr. Rogers said that the people of Saskatchewan, never having enjoyed the benefits of a Conservative government, were living in darkness. This was the time to correct that situation. "You have as Liberals in Saskatchewan," he wrent on, "as unscrupulous men as there are anywhere in the Dominion of Canada."

There is no equivocation about that; none whatever. Well, having read these things I have come to the conclusion that they were not really intended seriously; I do not think they can be considered as having much more than political significance. These gentlemen were on the stump and were obliged to make a showing, and so this is what they said. I do not think that they believed it themselves. Every time we meet here after a recess we gather together as good friends, and if I thought for a moment of my hon. friends what from their language they would give us the impression that they think of us, why, I would not be so friendly with them. But I rather like them-right where they are. Now, so much for that; let us forget it. Indeed1, I am sure that some of my hon. friends opposite would like to forget it because it is nothing but a blunder; the people did not accept it. The trouble is that my hon. friends overdid it; and speaking for myself, I want no better campaigners in the interests of the Liberal cause in the West than that trio. Those gentlemen did far more good for us than the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) and I did in the effort we put forth. And we had a good time. Let us see what occurred later on. They seemed to be encouraged by the victories they

The Budget-Mr. Motherwell

won. in Halifax and Kent; and so no wonder they were on their toes thereafter. What with themselves and their press they had the whole of Canada in a remarkable state of expectancy as to what was going to happen when the House convened on February 29; everybody was speculating as to what was going to take place. Not only that; various dark rumours were being whispered around that something was going to befall some members of the government. I do not know who it was that had the brand on him, but three or four cabinet ministers seemed to be under suspicion, and there was an undercurrent of feeling that anything was apt to happen. These were the conditions under which parliament met, when our friends of the opposition were almost elevated into the third heaven of hope. What as a matter of fact did happen? Well, the first crack out of the box was the Speech from the Throne, and instead of seeing the whitening gills of the government, as the leader of the opposition has spoken of, we had the pleasure of witnessing the blanched faces of the opposition when the Speech was delivered. And from that affrighted state they have not to this day recovered.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

The Budget-Mr. Motherwell

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Our two friends here know there is nothing else to do but to laugh. The Conservative Organizer (Dr. Tolmie) is not laughing. He knows what it means. That is the fourth blow.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

You are losing

your good joke; he is not here.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

The next one is a

joke.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

It is all a joke.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

But it is a real

joke on my friends opposite-but I will come to that later. Let me refer to the statement of the Massey-Harris Company in yesterday's Citizen. Fhe manufacturers on whose behalf our Conservative friends were willing to bleed and, if necessary, to die-of course politically-tell their sympathizers: Don't worry, friends; keep your

wind to cool your porridge if you like, but we don't want your sympathy; we can get along under this budget. Let anyone examine the concessions that have been given in the way of free raw materials, with the added prospect of the balance of the Crowsnest pass rates coming into force, which is equivalent to a 3 per cent advantage, and he will realize why the manufacturers are not alarmed. Take the tariff rate on binders, reduced from 10 to 6 per cent. That is nearly half, it is true, but by a careful computation the implement manufacturers estimate that if the Crowsnest pass agreement was restored in its entirety it would be equivalent to a 3 per cent advantage to them over the American implement makers. That restores 3 per cent of the reduction of 4 per cent off in duty, and the further advantage of free raw materials will at least make up the difference. The Massey-Harris people are wise. While the public generally are benefited, the Massey-Harris people have not been hurt seriously. We do not intend that they should be. Why should we massacre industry, Mr. Speaker? We never have in the past-why should we do it now? We try to put an even doubletree between the various sections of the community; that is all. That is the series of misfortunes which has overtaken our Conservative friends at every step-a reward for their bad conduct all last summer in going about the country abusing the government! Why, the worst word in their mouth was too good for us over here. But that is the retribution they might expect, and that is what they have got.

Now, -what about the budget itself? Why do not our Conservative friends like it? The simple fact of the matter is that it has got

the Conservative party right on the hip, and that is the reason why they do not like it. Let us examine some of the speeches delivered by my friends opposite. I think the hon. member for Fort William and Rainy River (Mr. Manion) has been credited with the best speech thus far from the opposition side-

I should make an exception in favour of the ex-Minister of Finance of course, but outside of him, and what does the hon. gentleman from Fort William say? I had not the .pleasure of being present to hear him, but I read his speech carefully afterwards, and I have it before me now. If I had not read it I would not have believed that my hon. friend with all his geniality and likeable qualities would get off such "bunk." But still, seeing is believing. He asks:

What is the object of the changes in the tariff? Sir, it is simply a mad desire on the part of this government to keep in power at any price. It is an attempt to purchase the votes of the West at the expense of the industrial East.

Because, after the manufacturers have been privileged for fifty years to levy tolls on the farmers of this country and others, we ask them modestly to loosen up a bit, we are told that we are going to destroy them. They have been riding on our backs for fifty years. At last we simply say to them: Get off and

walk for a little while, try your feet. And the Massey-Harris Company comes back and says: I will try my feet; maybe I will grow

stronger by that method; the goodwill of the farmer is better for me than any protection I am enjoying at the present time; all right,

I will walk. Here is some more of my hon. friend's speech:

T submit Mr. Speaker, that the whole tariff history of this government has been one of deception, trickery and vote chasing.

That is not as bad as "apostasy" and similar expressions that we have heard from the official opposition at one time and another. But where is the deception? The very first session after the government was formed we did what no other government had done since confederation-we lowered the tariff. You may call the reduction small, but we were that much further to the good than any other government that has preceded us, because none of our predecessors ever touched the tariff at all in their first session. Last session we pursued the same course and increased the British preference. That increase may be said to be small, if you like, but nevertheless it has been appreciated. Indeed, it was said to be sufficiently large to close a number of our mills, and our calamity howlers went up and down the land complaining that this would be the result. Surely there was no

The Budget-Mr. Motherwell

deception there on our part. We are beginning to dp slowly what we had endeavoured to do rapidly on three historic occasions and failed, -in 1S78 and in 1891, unrestricted reciprocity, and in 1911 reciprocity in natural products. We endeavoured to go rapidly, but we were told we were going too quickly and we were defeated in each instance. Now we have been reaching out to the same objective by easy stages-so easy the first two years that our action did not meet with very much approval. We have this year balanced our budget, so that we are at liberty to go faster, and we are going faster. We could not go rapidly the first two years, because we would lose too much revenue, but having now balanced our budget, the logical thing to do this year is to speed up. And we have speeded up, there is no trickery about that. It is not a case of selling out to the Progressives, because our platforms are identical. It is obvious that if we take any step to carry out our platform we take a step also toward the carrying out of theirs. Do you suggest that they should run awray in the opposite direction and say "We will not take it from you"? Oh, all this talk about selling out and buying out and messes of pottage-it is all nonsense. Whether or not we should be in two camps is another question, but our platforms are the same and the government cannot carry out its platform without carrying out theirs. The natural thing happened, therefore; they looked upon our budget with favour.

"If you have tears, prepare to shed them now"-because this is the gem of the lot. He says:

Sir, the policy of free trade-

Who is talking about free trade? Look at what the Massey-Harris people said about what is left being the necessary amount of protection. It is down to the minimum of protection; he does not say it is free trade. Our hon. friends coin these phrases for effect. They think that some terrible spectre can be discovered in free trade. What is free trade but natural trade? However we are not discussing free trade; it is not in the budget. But, for the purposes of-shall I charitably say?-argument, the hon. member for Fort William and Rainy River (Mr. Manion) uses the term, and he goes on:

-if the people endorse the present changes in the tariff-would finally lead to the economic domination of Canada by the United States. It would then lead to Canada becoming a commercial appendix-

Oh, how familiar that term is.

-a commercial adjunct-

More familiar terms; more resurrected campaign dope of 1911.

-a commercial adjunct, as someone has said, of the United States.

One would hardly think these expressions would have been resurrected, but what else have my hon. friends left to say or do? Some people say that every ten years you have a new batch of people that you can flim-flam, and no doubt there will be a lot of new electors in the next election and apparently my hon. friends are going to take a chance on working these things on the uninitiated, telling them that they are going to be gobbled up by the United States if we deal with the' people to the south any more freely than we are now doing The tariff wall, we will say, is four rails high; if you pull down one rail, ruination will follow; if you leave it where it is everything will be O.K. Did you ever hear such nonsense? If you pull any of it down, they say, we will be gobbled up by Uncle Sam, I am sure that in his quiet moments- and I know my hon. friend must have them like all the rest of us-he will be heartily ashamed of these remarks; anyway I am going to try to make him ashamed of them.

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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

Will my hon. friend permit a question?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Yes, that kind of

thing works fine; it is very clever. In fact it was the only thing that could have defeated reciprocity, and now they are hoping to turn the trick again with the annexation cry.

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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

Will my hon. friend permit a question?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Yes.

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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

Was there any minimum tariff referred to in the platform of the Liberal party? Was not the 4. p.m. policy advocated of the abolition of the whole tariff on agricultural implements?

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

When was that?

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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

In the 1919 platform of the Liberal party.

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LIB

William Richard Motherwell (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Well, of course, but are we not getting there by stages? If you leave us here fifteen years, as the Liberal government was left on the previous occasion, we shall have obtained our object-yes, and before that. Oh, do not be in a hurry, there are more years to come.

Just to show you that the hon. member for Fort William and Rainy River is not alone

The Budget-Mr. Motherwell

in this campaign, I may point out, Mr. Speaker-and you yourself were in the government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier at the time-that when the campaign of 1911 was launched, the Montreal Star, the originator of the "whisper of death," got out a great big front page article with Sir Wilfrid's photograph in the middle of it, imploring him to save Canada from the Americans. And now no less a paper than Saturday Night, a highly respectable publication printed in Toronto, says:

The truth of the matter is that the King administration is actuated by motives difficult to fathom but clear enough in the application.

Here is what this article says about the Prime Minister:

For two years the Prime Minister has been advertising

his endeavours to shake off the "British yoke" in constitutional relations; and he is now inviting the "United States" yoke in our industrial relations.

Well, now, what do you know about that? So there is method in their madness. We might as well be forewarned, because forewarned is forearmed. I am endeavouring to tell the people of Canada to watch these gentry; they do not want any fight on the tariff. As the hon. member for Battleford (Mr. McConica) said the other day in his western style, "If we go to the country on the tariff we will trim you to a feather edge," or words to that effect.

Now, I will not be cruel to the extent of quoting any more of that speech. It is a very readable document; it was very fluently delivered, but it exceeds the limit in nonsense. On the other hand, if I were in my hon. friends shoes, what else could I do? There is nothing left. The longer you examine this budget the more you will find that it is impregnable. Why? Because it lowers the taxes of the people where they want them lowered, with due regard to the revenues of the country; in other words, it is a revenue budget. The reduction has been constant and consistent; there has been no trickery. We have not made our objective, and I do not know whether the people of Canada will leave us, if you like, in power long enough to make it. We hope they will; it is up to them. If what we are doing is acceptable to them, the logical thing is that we shall go along the lines of a revenue tariff. We cannot get away from the revenue idea. Nobody in this country has been preaching absolute free trade, therefore that question is not in issue to-day.

Now let me come to the general attitude of my hon. friends opposite. What do they want, after all? They belong to a school which have always built strongly on the idea of manufacturing, on the idea of industry,-good in itself, but surely not the primary thing in this country. You will never hear them talk about farming except to suggest to our Progressive friends and all western men that they throw away their can openers and grow something else besides wheat. That is all they do, and the less they know about farming the more they urge us to go on to some other system of farming. They talk everlastingly about industry. [DOT] Well, what must their feelings have been when they got that slam from the Massey-Harris Company the other morning? I noticed nothing about it in the Morning Journal, however, or in any other Conservative paper, though I presume it went over the wires of the Associated Press.

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CON

Edmond Baird Ryckman

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. RYCKMAN:

Yes, it was in the

Ottawa Journal yesterday.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

The hon. gentleman is not sufficiently informed on the subject.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

He does not want to be informed on that. [DOT]

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May 7, 1924