April 20, 1925

LIB

Matthew McKay

Liberal

Mr. McKAY:

There is information on all agricultural implements.

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CON

John Lawrence Stansell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANSELL:

That reduction represents just exactly the sales tax and no more, and in the case, just cited, of twelve implements with reduction of $57 the same is true. I am not speaking of the removal of the sales tax. I say that the reduced price of farm implements due to the reduction of the tariff has not materialized, and therefore the farmer has not benefited. But even if it had materialized, there is another article of manufacture which in my family represents a substantial expenditure, that is boots and shoes. Some hon. members desired a reduced tariff on boots and shoes; they did not get it; there was a reduction of the sales tax I believe. There is a very high duty on boots and shoes compared to implements, but what I am concerned about is the actual price paid by the purchaser of these goods when he goes to the retail store. I have found by actual experience that I am buying boots and shoes at a greater proportionate reduction now than I am buying agricultural implements at, and yet the customs tariff has not been reduced. I find by a study of Eaton's spring catalogues for 1924 and 1925- and I think

most hon. members will agree that this is pretty good authority-I find that on about half a dozen lines, such as Shoes for men, boots for lumbermen and labouring men, and ladies' shoes, there is a reduction in the prices I am paying of from 11 to 16 per cent, and the same holds true in the retail stores. So that substantially the consumer has enjoyed a greater advantage in the reduction of the price of boots and shoes, on which there was no reduction of tariff, than he has received in respect of agricultural implements, on which the tariff is nearly all taken away. In addition to that, as I have said, manufacturers of raw material have suffered very seriously.

Another thing we have heard a great deal about is fertilizer, concerning which figures were given the other night. It had been shown that there was a widespread demand that fertilizer be placed on the free list, and when action was taken in response to that demand the result was that most of the factories ceased operation, and if I wished to buy fertilizer this year I would pay more for it than I did a year ago. Again I say, who got any benefit? The country lost $52,000,000 in revenue; the labourer lost his job; the capital invested in industry was either greatly depreciated or lost and no one got any substantial benefit.

Some statements were made to-night by the hon. member for North Huron (Mr. King), to which I wish at this stage to make reference. I give the hon. gentleman credit for presenting figures that were correct; I have no reason to dispute them. I also give him credit for being absolutely sincere in the deductions he drew from those figures. But in my judgment, and I am sure in the judgment of this House, he was entirely wrong in his conclusions. The figures had reference to the comparative protection in Canada and the United States, and he showed that Canada was very much more highly protected than the United States because Canada collected more per capita in customs taxation than the United States did. Well, the facts are so clear that I am surprised that the hon. member did not understand the situation. I will try to point out what the real condition is. In many lines of goods the United States tariff is twice or three times as high as ours, so high that it is almost prohibitive and outside1 goods are largely shut out; therefore the people of the United States buy home manufactured goods. If that is a desirable condition, then I say let us try the same thing in Canada.

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PRO

Archie Latimer Hodgins

Progressive

Mr. HODGINS:

How do they collect such a large amount of duty if the goods are shut out?

The Budget-Mr. Stansell

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CON

John Lawrence Stansell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANSELL:

Goods are not entirely shut out (because they certainly collect quite a lot, but if their tariff was higher they would collect less. The fact remains that they collect less than we do per capita because they have their tariff so high that it shuts out very many lines. I do not say it shuts out everything, but it keeps out so much that they are not paying as much as we are per capita in customs duties. Our tariff is so low that we are being encouraged to 'buy from foreign countries. The result is that in the last ten years we have had an unfavourable trade balance with the United States amounting to about $2,000,000,000. I know it is a favourite argument of hon. gentlemen to my left

and they are perfectly sincere-that if you sell you must buy; that there must be international1 trade. That is true, but it does not mean that you must buy things that you can produce at home. If a farmer operated on such a system as that there would only be one place for him and that is the poor house. Let me point out that you can buy a bank balance; you can buy life insurance; you can buy a competence for old age, just as you can buy potatoes, eggs, butter and other things of that kind. It is the part of wisdom for every farmer to sell those things that he can produce and sell at a profit and to buy only those things that he cannot advantageously produce himself, and, as far as possible, to secure for himself some of the comforts in the way of insurance, a competency for old age or a bank balance.

What have we been doing in respect to our trade with the United States? We have had an adverse balance of $2,000,000,000 in ten years; what have we done to offset that? We have gone over there and borrowed money. Had we not followed that system of borrowing money our dollar would be very much below par to-day. The borrowing carried out by the Minister of Finance on the New York market did much to stabilize the value of the dollar, but it does not justify our purchasing in the United States goods that we could produce at home, nor does it justify an adverse trade balance with the United States from year to year. So long as we do that we are encouraging the United States to take a mortgage on Canada's future to the extent to which we allow that adverse trade balance to accrue.

I know that to some the word " protection " has a disagreeable sound. But protection is a very good thing when it is applied to insurance against fire; it is a very good thing as applied to the home. It costs something, but we think we should have it. National

protection is just as vital to the nation as home protection is to the home, and the quicker we Canadians realize this and institute a proper national policy, the better it will be for us. We do not believe that adequate protection can do everything; there are many other factors that must be taken into consideration. But we must view all these questions in a national way. We must practise some real national unity instead of just talking about it; and one of the first essentials is so to protect ourselves that so far as possible we can supply our own labourers with a job and not force them to go to the United States to get the employment they should get" here.

Somebody will ask me right away, how can protection be of any benefit to the farmer? Well, I am advocating it, and I am a farmer; I think it is of some benefit. I will admit for the sake of argument that it may not appeal quite so much to the western farmers as it does to the farmers of Ontario. But should Canada's immigration increase, her population be augmented and her factories start to operate at full time as the result of the application of sound policies, I will trust the farmers of Ontario and of Canada as a whole to get their share of that prosperity. Anyone who thinks that the general enhanced prosperity will be of no 'benefit to the farmer is sadly mistaken. When the men have employment, when the factories are running full time; when development has taken place in our mines and our other resources, a buying power is created; a market is opened up for milk, cheese, butter, eggs, wheat and everything the farmer produces, and there will be no doubt, about whether such a condition will benefit the farmer.

I am sorry the horn, member for North Huron (Mr. King) was not in his seat when I was answering his argument about customs duties in Canada and the United States. At the risk of repetition I should just like to make the point again. He said that protection was higher in Canada than in the United States because less was collected in the United States by way of customs duties than in Canada.

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PRO

John Warwick King

Progressive

Mr. KING (Huron):

I stated that it cost

more per capita in Canada for protection than it did in the United States.

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CON

John Lawrence Stansell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANSELL:

Yes, there is no misunderstanding. The reason for that is this: We

have not nearly so high a rate of protection or of customs duties as they have, and the result is we are continually buying from foreign countries. But with the Americans

The Budget-Mr. Stansell

the rate in many eases ds so high that with the exception of goods which they simply must have, they produce their requirements within their own country, and do not import. Therefore the rate of customs duties is not so high per capita because in many cases the tariff is almost prohibitive. If ours was equally as high, the result would be the same. If that is a happy result, we can obtain it in the same way that they do.

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UFO

Robert Henry Halbert

United Farmers of Ontario

Mr. HALBERT:

The hon. member said

a few minutes ago that if the farmers bought away from home what they could produce at home for themselves, they would soon land in the poorhouse. Now is it not a fact that over ninety per cent of the farmers to-day are buying their butter instead of making it at home, because they can get it cheaper? It works the same way with implements or anything else.

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CON

John Lawrence Stansell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANSELL:

That does not at all

conflict with the' statement I made. I said that the farmer who deliberately adopts the policy of buying to the amount of what he sells, could buy other things such as life insurance and provide for his old age. I said that it was better to produce a little more at home than to follow the mistaken policy that you must purchase an equal amount with what you sell. As to the question of butter, I am not quite prepared to accept my hon. friend's statement as correct. In fact, a great many of us manufacture our own butter because we like it made at home; we think it just a little better than we can get anywhere else. I do not think it would do any harm if a great many more of the farmers followed that policy.

There is one other remark made by the hon. member for North Huron (Mr. King) to which I wish to call attention, and that is with regard to Some cattle, some five or seven I forget the exact number, which had been marketed, -he said, and brought only $57. The farmer claimed that that showed something was wrong. Something certainly is, and I will tell you what it is. I am going to take an illustration from the Farmers Advocate, which I am sure all my Progressive friends will consider a reliable journal. It refers to conditions in Alberta, which will be much more fair for the purposes of argument than if I cited an Ontario case. It says that a farmer marketed twenty-five steers on t'he St. Boniface or Winnipeg market and received $3,522 for them. Now with conditions as bad as we have been told about, these steers brought about $133 each. They brought $7.35 per hundred pounds on the Winnipeg market. If they had been sold on the Toronto market

they would have brought $475 more, or nearly $4,000, and that in spite of the conditions which we are told are so bad.

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PRO

George Arthur Brethen

Progressive

Mr. BRETHEN:

What would their value be on the Chicago market at the price quoted by the hon. member for North Huron (Mr. King) ? *

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CON

John Lawrence Stansell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANSELL:

I do not know. I am only answering the exact statement that was made. I am not prepared at the moment to look up the Chicago quotations.

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PRO

George Arthur Brethen

Progressive

Mr. BRETHEN:

A few moments ago the hon. member made the statement that the American consumer did not suffer any by the high tariff against Canada. Now the hon. member for North Huron quoted figures showing that on the Toronto market cattle had been sold for $8; on the Winnipeg market for $6, and on the Chicago market for $12 per hundred. Does the hon. member say that the United States consumer did not suffer by the difference?

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CON

John Lawrence Stansell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANSELL:

I would have to know whether they were exactly the same class of cattle sold in each case. I was simply taking the statement made by the hon. member for North Huron as to the unsatisfactory returns cattle raisers were receiving. He said that five or seven cattle, I forget the exact number, had been sold for $57. I am pointing out that at the very same time another farmer sold 25 cattle for $3,500, and that he could have obtained nearly $4,000 for those 25 cattle on t'he Toronto market. The reason is that one man shipped first-class cattle, and the other did not. The man who shipped first-class cattle, in spite of the fact that conditions are not as good as we would like to see them, received a good return. The other man shipped half a dozen cattle and got about $10 apiece for them. I never saw the cattle in question, but they could not have been fit for market or they would 'have brought more money. There ds one lesson to be drawn from this. Just as our manufacturers, if they want to get a good price, must produce good goods, so the farmers, if they want to get a good price for their cattle or their butter or any other of their products, must produce a good article. While prices are not as high as I would like to see them, I believe that the farmer has passed the worst turn, and that things are bound to improve a little bit from the farmer's standpoint. Conditions are not so bad after all when we find prices like this being paid. This is not a specially prepared case, but is just an ordinary statement referring to Alberta cattle shipped and sold on the St. Boniface market.

The. Budget-Mr. Gendron

Therefore the one thing necessary is for us to adopt a policy of Canada first. Surely it is our duty to look after our own nation, rather than look after the American nation or any other nation in the world, and until we do, Canada will not have the prosperity that she is entitled to and that she needs. I do not admit for one moment that an increase of customs tariff must mean an increase in the price. What we do want is a job for our workmen and lower costs, but we shall never get that happy result if we always send to some other country for the things we might very well produce at home. Let us as members of this House and as citizens of this great country, with the resources^ we hear so much about, forget some of the little things and get busy on a national policy, practise national economy, and work for national unity.

I sympathize very much with the aims of hon. members to my left, and I was glad to hear the prophecy of the hon. member to whom I have just referred as to the length of time the Progressive party will live. I hope it will live a great length of time, and that its present leader will lead it providing he adopts a sound fiscal policy, for I believe he is sincere. Undoubtedly the hon. member for Brandon honestly desires the welfare of all Canada but he is on the wrong track, the policies he would like to put in force are mistaken ones; and I would urge him and his followers to consider seriously this question in the light of national necessities, and see if there is not something else that the Dominion of Canada wants at the present time rather than a reduction of the tariff. I have a high opinion of the party to my left and of their leader, but they are mistaken in their policies, I firmly believe. They are riding on a political New York Central and are travelling in a circle. Let them all get on the Canadian National line and get somewhere.

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LIB

Romuald Montézuma Gendron

Liberal

Mr. R. M. GENDRON (Wright) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise to briefly comment upon the budget which is, at present, being discussed in the House. I wish at the outset to congratulate the hon. Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb). Let me assure him that the budget which he brought down has the hearty approval of the people of my county, and it is very favourably looked upon by the farmers and consumers, sis well as by the lumbermen. for it shows hardly no change from the budget of last year.

I do not intend, Sir, to thresh out the whole subject in hand. I shall limit myself

to questions which particularly affect the county I represent; I shall speak of the Gatineau valley, that beautiful part of my district which is almost all comprised in the county of Wright.,

The Gatineau river district is rich in natural resources as yet undeveloped. I think it is proper to point out to the House the number and value of its water powers, which could, if they were developed, produce electric power in abundance and feed a number of mills as well as supply power within quite a large radius, including the city of Ottawa. Its shores are covered with forests, rich in pulpwood and lumber of which it is difficult to give an estimate. Unfortunately capita! is needed to take advantage of this natural wealth and properly open up this beautiful valley. If our water powers were exploited, to establish pulp mills, for instance, we could manufacture on the spot our pulpwood, convert it into pulp or paper, instead of exporting the raw material to the United States as it is done to-day, we could thus create a number of industrial centres, where the farmer could market with profit his farm products, as well as his pulpwood.

Allow me, Sir, to dwell a few moments on our immigration problem. It is a question of the utmost importance to Canada. I wish to draw the attention of the hon. Minister of Immigration (Mr.Robb) to the fact that there exists on the Gatineau river a locality which would lend itself admirably to the establishment of settlers; I mean Maniwaki. There is in that part of the country an Indian reserve of considerable extent, containing excellent lands upon which live about sixty Indian families. This reserve should be thrown open to settlers, not only to Indians, but also to Canadians, both French and English, who would take advantage of such a measure to settle in that locality. I point this out so as to convince the hon. Minister of Immigration that a great number of Canadians returning from the United States could settle in my county and thereby increase the population as well as the revenues-this would be of great import to my region. As my hon. friend, the member for Muskoka (Mr. Hammell) stated last session, also this session, we have in the Gatineau valley, a very attractive resort for tourists who are fond of hunting and fishing, also for those who love the forest, these parts are very healthy; the greatest impediment to the travelling tourist comes from the country roads, or what is known as the Ottawa road, which is entirely unfit for automobiles. I trust that with the Dominion

The Budget-Mr. Thurston

government's help, acting in concert with the local government and the municipalities, we shall soon have good roads-a very urgent need for that part of the country.

Mr. Speaker, it is a pressing matter that the government should build a post office in the village of Maniwaki, where I reside; it is an important question which should be given immediate consideration. This village is now divided into two parts, and to accommodate the public, we must have a post office in the centre of the village. I have already placed this request before the Minister of Public Works (Mr. King), and the matter was laid aside for the present, as a measure of economy. I quite realize that we should practise economy to a certain extent, but we must not neglect legitimate and necessary needs My request is reasonable and justified and I trust that it will be granted as soon as possible.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a few remarks upon a question which I hope will be given some consideration. The northern part of the Gatineau valley comprises a few townships, and an unsurveyed track of land; in the proximity of said townships, there exists an ideal spot for a national park. Game is plentiful; we find the moose, the deer and all fur animals in great numbers. The beautiful lakes which adorn this territory are filled with fish, and as the city of Ottawa will one day become a large centre, I trust that my hopes will materialize and the erection of a national park in this region will bring forth to the Gatineau valley, the cities of Ottawa and Hull and their surroundings, a considerable revenue accruing from the United States tourists.

I wish to express my views on a most important matter which concerns my county, the question of the pulpwood embargo. I see no need, at present, to adopt this measure. The settlers who happen to have a few cords of pulpwood should have the right of selling it wherever they think fit, and at the best price possible. The notion we have about the country being denuded of pulpwood within a few years, is a false one. What constitutes the real problem, are the forest fires which destroy, each year, far more wood than what is sold. I would suggest to the government that they help the provinces to prevent and fight the forest fires, and that they lay aside the question of embargo, or the levy of duties on the exportation of pulpwood. I have a full knowledge of this question as I have been in the business all my life. Let us protect our forests against fire, let us use precautions when chopping 144

down the trees, and we shall have wood for a long time to come; future generations will benefit from it just like the present generation.

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IND

John Jabez Thurston

Independent

Mr. J. J. THURSTON (Victoria, Ont.):

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that I am unable to make any comment on the speech of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Gendron) who has just preceded me. I would be in a better position to do so in two or three days' time when I had the translation before me.

As the House is enjoying what might be termed its semi-annual talk-fest, and feeling that I have in the last three years established the record of one who would rather see a little action and a few results than the placing of a jumble of words on our records, I may be permitted to occupy a few minutes of the time of the House in offering one or two suggestions that, possibly, may be of some worth, although I have my doubts as to whether they will be adopted very readily by the House. I am convinced after spending three sessions in this chamber that if a messenger were sent down from the realms above with a message of advice to this House, if it were found out that he was a Liberal we could be assured the Conservatives would oppose anything he would suggest; if he were a Conservative the Liberals would readily oppose anything he might bring forward; and if he were a Progressive which would be almost sure to be the case, he would be certain to be opposed by both the old parties. In spite of that I am going to take up a few minutes in submitting my views.

Theoretically, we are debating at this time the amendment to the budget proposed by the ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton), although I think it will 'be generally agreed that practically all the discussion so far has been on the budget itself. I propose to vote against the adoption of the present budget, not so much on account of the budget itself as of the proposal to establish a tariff board which has been advanced by the Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb). I do not think it is necessary for me to repeat the reasons that have been given by other hon. members as to why the establishment of such a board should be opposed excepting to say this: Until we first agree in the House and in the country as to what the fiscal policy of Canada should be we are making a move in the dark in establishing that board. The board should first be instructed! as to what action we want it to take, or what goal we wish it to head for.

I also propose to oppose the amendment of the ex-Mimister of Finance. I can hardly give reasons why I should oppose it any

The Budget-Mr. Thurston

more than I coal'd give reasons why I should support it, beyond stating that there as absolutely nothing to it-it is a mere jumble of words. This year's budget to my mind, after learning what I have been able to learn of the history of the Liberal party, is in no sense a credit to a Liberal government. To my mind it is a protectionist budget, and there are very few changes in it. The reason for some of those changes I do not know, unless they were included in order to take up space. One item in the budget imposes a tax of six cents on gas, but on looking up the trade returns I have not been able to find that we import any. I do not know, therefore, what this item was inserted for unless it was to make the budget look a little larger.

Last, year when I made a few remarks on the budget I predicted that Liberals throughout the Dominion-those who had for yeare back been Liberals and knew why they were or thought they knew,-would

be delighted with it; that their hopes which had been deadened-and you could not blame them for feeling that way-would be revived, and that they were justified in thinking, at least, that a true Liberal party had come into being. I submit that I was correct in making that prophecy; and the visits of the Prime Minister to points throughout, the Dominion during the recess must have shown to him that the people appreciated a budget which was Liberal in character However, I predict now that the present budget is going to have a very strong tendency towards killing the revived hopes of the old Liberals, and that there will be a falling off of Liberal stock throughout the Dominion, particularly in the province of Ontario. The falling off in Liberal stock will be something similar to the falling off in Conservative stock owing to the action of the present Prime Minister (Mr. Ferguson), in promising at one time to enact certain legislation and then turning rigid-about-face and enacting legislation altogether contrary to the express wish of the people after spending upwards of a million dollars to find out what that wish was. I think I would be quite justified in predicting to-day that if the Ferguson-Niekle aggregation made an appeal to the province of Ontario for re-election it would be defeated.

This action of the present government in killing by this budget the revived hopes of the Liberal party throughout Canada is going to have a very harmful effect on the country. It is going to increase the lack of confidence which the electors are beginning to feel in general in our governments. This is most regrettable. That lack of confidence, particul-

arly in the two old parties, is very great, and we cannot well afford to do anything that will increase it, because we come to a very dangerous position if we ever reach the stage where the people themselves have no confidence in any government, and that is where we are rapidly travelling by playing fast and [DOT]loose with our promises to the electors.

I propose to make a few remarks in connection with the amendment offered by the ex-Minister of Finance. As I said it is nothing more or less than a jumble of words. It is a joke really, and I do not knoiw why the Conservative parity, which has claimed for years to have bee;n protectionist, and to have believed in protection and higher protection all the time, should neglect to state their belief at the present time, and I take the amendment introduced by the ex-,Minister of Finance as expressing the thought of the Conservative party. They formulate their objections by saying that they do not agree with the financial statement. The hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) when he was speaking gave the House the inference that it was quite customary for governments previous to elections to bring in what might be termed paddled statements to the House, or to give padded financial statements to the country. Then again the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart, Argenteuil) presented a statement as coming from the officials of the department who have prepared every financial statement for years, and said that the statement this year contained conclusions arrived at by the same method as all previous statements. I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that until such time as the official opposition give proof that the Minister of the Interior was wrong in his statement, they have absolutely no justification at all in opposing the present budget.

In spite of the fact that the official opposition neglected stating in the amendment their belief in protection, I think we are justified in coming to the conclusion, from the remarks of the different hon. members of that group who have spoken, that they still believe in protection. I am not going to debate the rights and wrongs of protection and free trade, and so on, but I think the time has arrived when the House and the 'people of the Dominion as a whole might rightly ask themselves the question, what is meant by protection? I am satisfied if the House and the country as a whole once paused to consider just what was meant by protection, and came to the conclusion that they would be forced to come to, they would forever refuse' to have anything to do

The Budget-Mr. Thurston

with it. I should like to ask first why do certain individuals or individual companies appeal to the government from time to time for protection? From what do they wish to be protected? Is it on account of our rather severe winters, or because we have cold winds, that they want us to erect a windbreak to shelter them? Is that the protection they desire, or just what is it? I submit that after studying the tariff policy or the tariff schedule which we have at the present time one is convinced that what is really meant by protection, or an appeal for protection, is nothing else than a request for financial assistance that an individual or a firm makes. If that is the case, if it is financial assistance that some individual or corporation is asking from the government, where does the government get this financial assistance or bonus the companies want? The reply can only be, " from the pockets of the taxpayers of the country." If the people throughout the Dominion would for a few moments consider what is meant by protection and what the result of it is they would forever turn down the protective policy as a fiscal policy for our Dominion. I would also suggest that it would be only fair and honest for those who believe in protection and use it as their platform,, to state clearly to the public that they propose to levy taxes on all the people for the sake of giving assistance to some individuals. If they will do that at the next election-and I hardly think they will -I will be glad to meet them in any constituency-I do not care whether it is in the heart of Montreal or Toronto-and debate the question. I would be particularly pleased to meet them in my own constituency, and I would face the electors at any time to discuss the question as to whether we should increase the taxation on all of them for the benefit of a few, who possibly did not live in the constituency at all.

I dislike prolonging this discussion, which I might say is not a debate, but simply a talk-fest. However, if I were permitted to enter again into the realms of prophecy, I would predict that the adoption of a protectionist policy at this time by the Liberal government, and the failure of the old Conservative party to mention their protectionist principles in the amendment, simply mean that within twenty to twenty-five years from now there will be no such thing as a Conservative party in existence. The Liberals, through the actions of the present government, are rapidly winning the goodwill of the protectionist interests throughout the country. The Progressives, through their determined and continued action are rapidly winning the support of the low 144i

tariff or tariff for revenue people throughout the country, so that twenty years from now the Liberals will be the only protectionist party in the Dominion, and the Progressives the only party in this House or in the country advocating a tariff for revenue only or free trade. My reason for coming to this conclusion is that the protectionist organizations throughout Canada, which are beyond question composed of very shrewd people, are already seeing the folly of having their forces divided, and they are naturally going to abandon the weaker party. That, I think, is conceded by everyone throughout the Dominion to-day to be the Conservative party.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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IND

John Jabez Thurston

Independent

Mr. THURSTON:

It is conceded that the weaker party of the two protectionist parties is the Conservative party on account of the extremely distasteful record of the last administration. That was established by the Canadian people at the last general election. Therefore, the protectionist organizations are going to give their assistance to the Liberal party, and that will cause the dissappearance of the Conservative party altogether.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
IND

John Jabez Thurston

Independent

Mr. THURSTON:

I am glad that my prediction seems to be received in such a favourable frame of mind by so many hon. members. There is in the amendment moved by the exMinister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) nothing in connection with protection and very little else. There was given to the House one thought which I claim is worthy of some consideration. This thought was not stressed very strongly by the ex-Minister of Finance in his remarks, but when I was talking to him afterwards he told me that it was really his main reason for speaking. It was: With our present system and scale of managing our country's finances, where is Canada going? That is a question that every Canadian citizen from the Atlantic to the Pacific to-day is justified in asking himself. I have thought of it at different times in the last few years, and I want to give to the House just a few figures, to let the House consider for a few moments what they mean and then to ask themselves: Where is Canada going? The figures are as follows:

Population

Year of Canada National debt

1870

3,454,000 $115,993,7061880

4,215,000 194,634.4411S90

4,793,000 286,112.2951900

5,322,000 346,206,9801910

6,917,000 470,633,0461915

7,862,078 700,473,8141922

8,966,834 2,902,347,137

The Budget-Mr. Thurston

These figures are taken from the Canada Year Book of 1922-23. They show that from the year 1870 to the year 1915 our population increased by 4,480,078, but our national debt increased by $584,480,108. That is before the debt of the war was added on to our national debt. I would ask hon. members and the country at large: Taking this record from 1870 to 1915, where is Canada going? We must admit that at our present scale of managing our country's finances, we are rapidly, yes too rapidly, heading for national bankruptcy. It has been stated to me by different Canadians, by some members of parliament, particularly of the two old parties, that what we need in this House is a good strong government of either of the two old parties; that we have not a strong enough government at the present time, and so on. I would submit that the record which I have just read is nothing other than the record of the two old parties and admittedly strong parties in the past. Therefore, when either of them, in this House or on public platforms throughout the country, criticize the other on account of our low population and our great national debt, we can fittingly ask them why they did not do something when they were in office to remedy conditions. Both of them, to my mind, have failed.

If we, in considering the statistics that I have just given, are in any way, shape or form Canadians, we must ask ourselves: Why is the present situation in Canada such as it is? In doing so, the first thing we must ask ourselves is: Who are the Canadian people? If we look back as to who our forefathers were, is it right that we should make such a failure in managing our country's business, our public affairs as we have done? If we stop to ask ourselves who we 12 m. Canadian people are, we must admit that in making the failure that we have made, we have proven ourselves false to the trust that our ancestors placed in us in giving us the heritage that they did to manage, also false to our children and children's children that are to follow after us. When we ask ourselves who the Canadian people are, we must admit that if we were true to those old ancestors, we would have made a success of it instead of a failure. Our forefathers came from the British Isles and France, the leading countries of the world at the time. It was well known that none but the strongest need attempt the trip, for it took from ten to twenty weeks to cross the Atlantic in those days. We also know that the physically strong class of citizens are generally the strongest mentally, whatever nationality

they belong bo. Along with this hardy type we have -a climate that has a tendency to develop the very best traits of any race. When we consider these facts we are puzzled to know just why it is that in the past we have made a failure in the handling of our public affairs. I would offer this suggestion for the consideration of our people, that the reason for this failure is that we have never tried to manage our public affairs; on the contrary; we have devoted practically all our energies to advance the interests of either one party or the other to the neglect of the national interests. I am going to give a few illustrations in support of this suggestion which I think will prove to the House and to the country wherein we have made these blunders. It has been customary in our financing to float a loan either in the foreign or domestic money market for, we will say, a hundred million dollars, repayable in ten, twenty or thirty years, as the case may be, but wiith absolutely no provision to meet that repayment when it becomes due; on the contrary, later on we simiply borrow another hundred million dollars to refund the former loan. So long as we continue that practice we are bound to get more and more in debt. I do not know why we follow that improvident practice, for it is absolutely contrary to the practice followed by private individuals in managing their own affairs. For instance, a farmer will borrow $5,000, and there is incorporated in the mortgage the option of paying off a certain amount of the principal periodically so that at the end of the mortgage term he has not only paid his interest but the principal as well. If he did not do this he would in a very short time be at the point of bankruptcy. Therefore I would suggest that if Canada continues floating loans without making provision for their repayment at maturity, we are bound to become more and more involved financially.

Another thought I would express is this. In the past it has been frequently the practice to build public works that were not absolutely necessary but were undertaken in the interests of whichever party happened to be in office. Let me give a few illustrations. About two years ago the present government brought down an estimate for the erection of an elevator at Halifax. I think it was pretty generally felt at the time that the elevator was pot needed, for we were not utilizing all the local elevator space that was then available. But there was to be a by-election down there, and I think everyone was firmly convinced that this vote was for the purpose of helping to elect a supporter of the government. 'I do not think we need concern ourselves very much whether the vote accom-

The Budget-Mr. Thurston

plished the purpose which the government had in view but the very fact that the vote was passed increased our debt by that amount.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

Will my hon. friend permit a question? Does he believe that our national ports should not be equipped with decent facilities?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
IND

John Jabez Thurston

Independent

Mr. THURSTON:

I have no objection at all to their being equipped with, I think the minister said, decent facilities; but I do object to their being cluttered up with too many "decent facilities."

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink

April 20, 1925