June 22, 1925

LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

No, it will remain where it

is.

, Mr. SUTHERLAND: Do I understand then that onions will be placed on the free list as in the first treaty?

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Onions in their natural state

are now free under the British preferential.

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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

Will the minister include

lumber when he is making the changes?

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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

rapidly. But to-day they are faced with an entirely different condition. Taxes in this country have reached such a pitch that there is likely to be little or no increase in the values of land,. How are they going to manage? How long can they continue to grow grain for export and to mine the fertility of the soil? Mixed farming and live stock is the only alternative. This is a tariff proposition; you may call it a trade arrangement, but it is an onslaught on the small protective tariff which we have in this country on agricultural products to-day. The minister says this is a cold country and we must have free wool, yet he allows a tariff of thirty-five per cent on woollen blankets. There is the kind of treatment our farmers have been subjected to in the years that are gone; now their difficulties are to be increased.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Will my hon. friend support

me if I bring in a resolution some time to reduce that tariff?

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CON

Donald Sutherland

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SUTHERLAND:

I will do just as

I did when the resolution to reduce the tariff on automobiles was before the House, on the ground that we had a tariff that gave preferential treatment to certain people; I voted in favour of a reduction of the thirty-five per cent duty on automobiles, and I will do the same with regard to the thirty-five per cent duty on blankets, if the minister wall give a reasonable duty, with regard to the things farmers produce. Let us have some degree of equality in tariff in Canada. I have taken the ground repeatedly in this House and elsewhere that the farmers of this country are just as much entitled to and as much in need of protection as any other class. A small specific duty of one per cent a pound is being left on butter coming from Australia, and cheese is free. Why not remove the whole thing and be done with it and end the farce? I suppose it will be claimed by the government to be another "step in the right direction "*-or towards free trade. The government's policy seems to be that of concealing their designs whenever they can, but always aiming at this objective. The assassin under cover of darkness sneaks out with a stiletto awaiting his opportunity to give his victim the cowardly blow. This government have dealt such a blow to agriculture and have absolutely broken faith with the people; they are now endeavouring tc smuggle through a measure that will do this country incalculable harm. It is a measure which will empower the government to negotiate similar treaties with the other British dominions and to give a preference

that will make it absolutely impossible for the farmers of western Canada to continue the policy which many of them have recently adopted, that of going into the dairy industry and stock raising. The prediction of the Minister of Trade and Commerce of the Australian government will be fulfilled to the letter-you cannot foresee, he said, the tremendous advantages which will accrue to Australia as a result of the agreement which has been entered into.

Eggs also are affected under this agreement. We find that during the last five years we imported into Canada 35,788,903 dozen eggs and we exported 23,483,955 dozen; in other words, we imported nearly 12,000,000 dozen more than we exported. Will anyone contend that this great agricultural country, with its vast resources, is not capable of producing a sufficient quantity of eggs to satisfy the demands of its eight or nine million people? The same applies to butter. It is true we exported 71,426,000 pounds, but at the same time we imported 15,544,140 pounds. These imports would seem to come within the category of what our Labour friends call strike breakers; they are frequently brought in to deprive the Canadian producer of a home market when the prices are profitable. Of pork products we imported 293,292.716 pounds and we exported 666,769,000 pounds. Of wool, an article to which the minister referred, during that period of five years we imported 71,212.947 pounds and we had to ship out and find a market abroad for 32,809,012 pounds. The minister also referred to cattle hides; we must not have a dutv on cattle skins, he says, because if that is done the price of harness and leather will go up. Hides come in duty free. We imported 138,818,837 pounds of hides and we exported 183,974,500 pounds; that is, there were nearly 50.000,000 pounds more for export than we imported. Will any one contend, then, that there is any need to allow surplus hides to come in from Australia, New Zealand and the Argentine duty free? If so, why should there be a tariff of thirty-five per cent on harness and leather? If we are going to have a protective tariff we must be consistent; we must see that all classes in this country have the same degree of protection or equal rights in order that they may carry on whatever their business. If you are going to place agriculture under such serious handicaps as these, you cannot wonder at the boys leaving the farms as they grow to man's estate, and engaging in some other occupation. What farmer with any common sense or self-respect would advise his boys to stay on the farm

Australian Treaty

under conditions such as we have in this country?-conditions which it is proposed to perpetuate and accentuate by a treaty such as this. There was a resolution moved by the right hon. leader of the opposition during this session which set forth the policy that this country needs at the present time, namely, a policy which will give protection to the agricultural interests as well as other industries. They are more in need of it to-day than any other class in Canada. Continual reference is made to the number of people who are leaving the country and going to the urban centres, but if we legislate along the lines proposed by the minister in this treaty, that condition will continue and increase ; the people will leave the farms for the towns and cities, or go to foreign countries. We must adopt sane, common sense business-like methods. Let us take note of what the great country to the south has done and what the results of their policies have accomplished. Their policy was not to leave it to the government to gratify their own particular whim, to take an axe and slash a limb off the tariff here and add something there to suit their political inclination or the source from which pressure might arise. We have a tariff that is absolutely a freak; there is no reason, no merit, no justice in it. It needs revision from top to bottom to put it on a stable basis and to give a reasonable degree of protection to everj7 class in the community. That is the feature that has been absolutely lost sight of by this government. The government of the United States have adopted such a policy. They have a tariff board with full power to inquire into and report on all these matters. The government have brought in here what is practically a new treaty. It has little or nothing in common with the treaty that was made by the government in September of 1924, the treaty which was ratified by the government of Australia, and an announcement with respect to which was to be made in Australia and in ithe Dominion of Canada at a given hour on the twenty-third day of September, 1924. It is now the twenty-second day of June, near the end of a session which has run nearly five months, the government knows that everybody is anxious to close and go home, and at this stage we are asked to give this new treaty consideration. I say, Mr. Chairman, it is impossible at this stage to give it the consideration which it ought to receive, and I am absolutely opposed to it and the principle embodied in it.

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CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

The hon. member for

South Oxford (Mr. Sutherland) has dealt with

this matter from the point.of view of the mixed farmer. I also propose to address a few remarks to the committee from that point of view, for I can see in these proposals nothing more nor less than a deadly blow at the mixed farmer. Although they are not all articulate, I think almost every sane man in Canada believes a certain measure of protection is absolutely necessary.

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CON
CON
CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

A very large number

consider that the irreducible minimum has been reached. It is therefore necessary, it appears to me, in arranging a trade treaty with another country that the general tariff should be raised to such an extent that the preference may be taken care of. With the very limited amount of information about this secret treaty which was allowed to escape, we did understand that these general increases would be made. The Prime Minister drew my leader's attention to the fact that if he took the trouble to look at the Australian Hansard he would see the terms, which had been tabled in Australia, and had he done so he would have found the reference to the increases which Canada proposed to make in the treaty. Unfortunately for the farmer, when the treaty is brought before us, we find that those increases have not been made. This change of front will be extremely bad for the fruit farmer, the vegetable grower, the poultry man and the dairyman. We presume that the government's object in negotiating this treaty is to increase the export trade of Canada, but they have neglected an opportunity for doing so in that they have not succeeded in bringing about the removal of the Australian embargo against our apples, to which the minister referred a little while ago.

In 1922, before the minister made his trip to Australia, the facts and the views of the fruit growers were laid before him. In February, 1921, the Commonwealth government of Australia had imposed an embargo against our apples. I hold a copy of it in my hand, and the essential part of it reads as follows:

I do hereby prohibit the importation into Australia of apple trees, hawthorn trees or any part thereof, including the fruit, which were grown in any country in which pear blight or fire blight exists.

This was issued on the 16th of February, 1921, and signed by W. Massey Greene, the Minister of Trade and Commerce.

On the minister's arrival in Australia he allowed himself to be misled by misstatements of fact in Australia with regard to the Cana-

Australian Treaty

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LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

Is it not true that generally speaking the price of dairy products in Canada is fixed, not in Canada at all, but in an export market, namely in Great Britain?

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CON
LIB
CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

I differ with my hon.

friend. There is a sting in the tail of the agreement in that a new item is put in of which we knew nothing, namely, fruit pulp. Fruit pulp can be preserved by the use of a preservative other than sugar and can be kept a considerable time. The jam manufacturer will be able to buy the Australian fruit pulp which comes in, and they will not be so ready to take the small fruit in pulp from our fruit growers. I wonder how the hon. member who supports the government, and who represents* Fraser Valley (Mr. Mjunro) will meet the fruit growers in his district on his return. It seems to me he will be in a somewhat embarrassing position. He will have to pass on some of the minister's remarks in regard to it being unlikely that the farmers will be hurt by this, and he will certainly be able to tell them that no revenue will be lost thereby, if he is as great an optimist as the minister. Then my hon. friend, the government's sturdy henchman from Cariboo (Mr. McBride)-

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PRO

Thomas George McBride

Progressive

Mr. McBRIDE:

If the hon. member will

take care of himself he will find that the member for Cariboo is quite able to look after the interests of the people he represents.

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CON

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

-who so often enlightens a dull debate by physical facts from his varied experience, I think, will have some difficulty when he meets the fruit grower and butter producer of his riding and explains to him that in the minister's view his feeling at the breakfast table will be improved, even though the butter is no cheaper, and that the

Australian Treaty

revenue will not drop. I wonder whether the Minister of Public Works (Mr. King, Kootenay)-

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PRO

Thomas George McBride

Progressive

Mr. McBRIDE:

Does the hon. member for Yale know that when the government which he supported was in power they put oleomargarine on the free list thus striking at the very root of our dairy industry?

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CON
PRO

June 22, 1925