June 22, 1925

PRO
LIB
CON
LIB
CON
LIB

Herbert Meredith Marler

Liberal

Mr. MARLER:

My bon. friend surely does not expect me to enter into an argument on the tariff?

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CON
LIB

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

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Order.

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LIB

Herbert Meredith Marler

Liberal

Mr. MARLER:

Let us be fair, let us discuss the proposed Australian treaty. There is no reason, so far as I know, why Australia should not compete with us in certain ol these commodities. But, on the other hand, there are distinct advantages to Canada under this treaty in that a market can be found in Australia for a great deal of our pulp and paper. The duty against us at the present time is $15 a ton. At one time it was considerably less, but when Australia increased it to the present figure, our exports to that country dropped from 29,400 tons to only 2,000 tons. The exportation of pulp and paper to Australia, I am frank to say, mean? a largely extended and growing market and will be distinctly advantageous to our manufacturers of those commodities. But I ask hon. gentlemen across the floor, how in any woy will the extension of that market be disadvantageous

Australian Treaty

to agriculture? There is no possible reason why it should be.

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PRO
LIB

Herbert Meredith Marler

Liberal

Mr. MARLER:

Not in any way. As has been quite properly said to-day, how are we going to utilize our water-powers for the manufacture of our forest products unless we are able to export those products in a reasonable way? Further than that, in extending our exports of pulp and paper there will be this distinct advantage, that the companies engaged in their manufacture will earn more money and consequently will pay more taxes into the treasury, and in addition afford greater freight for our railways and shipping. It does seem to me that in viewing this treaty we have to look at what are its disadvantages and what its advantages to Canada. I have stated one distinct and known advantage which will accrue to the pulp and paper manufacturing industry of the Dominion. I cannot see that any other industry will be injured by the advantage to be gained by the pulp and paper industry.

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CON

Robert King Anderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ANDERSON:

Mr. Chairman, although I am not apposed to the advantage given the pulp and paper industry under this treaty, yet I do not believe it is proper that that advantage should be gained by sacrificing our agricultural interests. I think our agriculturists need just as much protection as any other branch of Canadian industry. Under this treaty they will be up against almost a free trade proposition with respect to the farm products of Australia, the import of which must result to their serious disadvantage. In that regard I do not feel that I can support this treaty, although I agree that we should do everything possible to get a market for our manufactured products. But we should also conserve our own market here in Canada particularly for the agriculturists, and especially those who are engaged in mixed farming. I am satisfied that our friends from the west who support this treaty now will find it detrimental to them when they go into mixed farming a few years hence. I should think that they ought to look a little bit into the future.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

May I point out that the three prairie provinces to-day, taking into consideration the rural population, produce more butter and cheese per head of population than all the other provinces?

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CON

Robert King Anderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ANDERSON:

Then I will guarantee

they will feel the competition coming from Australia more than the rest of Canada will,

and that when the treaty comes into operation they will be sorry they voted for it.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

We have not voted

for it>

yet.

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CON
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No.

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CON

Robert King Anderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ANDERSON:

The government seems to have failed to realize what a menace there is in this treaty to the agriculturist. I support strongly what the hon. member (Mr. Sutherland) said this afternoon so effectively. I am not opposed to the industries of Canada getting a market for their product, but I cannot see my way clear to support such a concession to industry by the betrayal and sacrifice of agriculture.

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CON

David Spence

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPENCE:

At the outset I wish to

assure the Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) and the Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) that I have no financial interest whatever either in packing plants or in cold storage. My interests are with the men who produce the stuff. I have not enough backbone to be interested in a packing plant or cold storage plant. The man who to-day can plunge into the buying of butter and eggs has more backbone than I have, and if he can make a profit he deserves it, because when he makes a loss he takes it with good grace. I do not like to hear the minister say anything about men of that type, because they are just as necessary, and cold storage is just as necessary in this country, as any implement the farmer has on his premises, because without them the farmer could not get anything for his produce. 1 have to congratulate t'he hon. member (Mr. Sutherland) on the splendid address he made this afternoon. He gave the government good advice, and I hope they will pay some attention to it. Apparently it does not seem to have any effect on some of them. I do not care what the tariffs are as between Canada and any other country, or the amounts exported or imported; we are now discussing a specific treaty which to my mind is detrimental to the producers of this country, and I mean those who produce from the soil. Tinkering with tariffs and making treaties has been this government's specialty. We had the French treaty of a year or two ago, and without doubt it has not been beneficial, so I hope the government will endeavour to forget entirely about this one. The French treaty has been detrimental to the fruit interests of this country. For years past there has been a market in Canada

Australian Treaty

for literally millions of bushels of Canadian cherries, but since this treaty came into effect, those who formerly bought the Canadian product are buying French cherries, which they claim to be a better article, and the result has been that during the past two years it has been impossible .to sell our own cherries in the markets of Toronto and Montreal. Anybody who knows anything about fruit growing will bear me out in that. So that the French treaty is one treaty that we should not have had. I should be delighted to see a business built up with Australia, if we got the better of the deal. I am always looking for the best of the deal, and I think everyone here when he makes a deal hopes to get the best of it. Australia being one of the British dominions, we should try to build up trade with her. Now, I am a protectionist, but I am a consistent protectionist and I am not going to sit here and see the interests of the producers from the soil sacrificed in order to help another industry. My policy and the policy of this party is to protect all industries alike; we have no favouritism in that respect. I can say after thirty-five years' experience in connection with fruit-growing, truck farming and dairying that this treaty will ruin the fruit growers, truck farmers and dairymen. The canning factories cannot hope to make the same money they have made in the past. You all know that Australia with her favourable climatic conditions can produce more stuff at half the cost than Ontario can, so that you will eliminate thousands of our people who are now employed in the canning factories all summer. The treaty will therefore be detrimental to the extent that it makes for more unemployment. The government seem determined to do away with whatever employment they possibly can. Australia's climatic conditions, I say, are very favourable to that country and against Canada, so far as the operation of this treaty is concerned. We all know that if those who produce from the soil are not prosperous there is no hope [DOT] of the industrial centres being prosperous. Only if we make the producers from the soil contented and happy can we have a prosperous and contented people. As a rule it does not take much to agitate them or make them mad. So far as I am concerned I am always trying to appease their hunger and keep them out of trouble. I wish that this government or any government would consult in connection with these trade conventions someone who has special knowledge of these various lines of business. I am not saying that the ministers are not con-298

versant with some lines, but this is the day of specialising, and the gentlemen who negotiated this treaty should have had the benefit of the advice of somebody who knew something about the commercial world and fruit conditions. Now, Australia is making very few concessions to this country under the treaty. The first thing I object to is that the treaty gives too much power to the Governor in Council. It says:

' Subject to the provisions of the Customs Tariff Act, 1907, the Governor in Council may, by order in council, extend the said advantages to goods the produce or manufacture of any British country.

At six oclock the committee took recess.

After Recess

The committee resumed at eight o'clock.

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CON

David Spence

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPENCE:

Mr. Chairman, when the

House rose at six o'clock I was discussing the Australian trade treaty. I had made the statement that Australia was not making veiy many concessions to Canada. I feel that we are making very many more concessions to the Australian Commonwealth than they are making to us. I have already referred to clause 4 of the resolution, but I will read it again:

That subject to the provisions of The Customs Tariff, 1907, the Governor in Council may, by order in council, extend the said advantages to goods the produce or manufacture of any British country.

I think that is altogether too much power to give to the Governor in Council. Any action of this kind should be taken by parliament itself. Under this clause these privileges may be extended to New Zealand, and I wonder how my hon. friends to my left, after they have developed their butter and cheese industry in the west, particularly in Alberta, would like to have to compete with Australian butter sent in here under a duty of one cent a pound, and cheese coming in absolutely free?

I will enumerate one or two different items on which we are getting a preference:

Fish, smoked or dried, but not salted. I wonder how it would be possible for anybody to send fish from Canada to Australia if it was not salted. So that is of no interest to Canada.

The next item is gloves, except of rubber. There is no preference given to rubber, and in this country rubber gloves are manufactured in nearly every rubber factory in the land. We get no preference on that whatever. The only advantage we get so far as I can see is in machinery, and pulp and paper. We are getting a slight preference in these articles.

Australian Treaty

On apparel we get a duty of 40 per cent, which I consider a reasonable duty to pay for those goods going into any country.

On iron and steel tubes or pipes we get a duty of 5 per cent; goloshes, rubbers and boots and shoes and plimsolls, Is. 9d., or 30 per cent, which I consider a reasonable percentage.

Now I come to the rates of duty we are going to allow to Australian goods. First of all is meats, fresh, not otherwise provided, half a cent per pound; canned meats, canned poultry and game; extracts of meats and fluid beef, and soups of all kinds, 15 per cent. So you can see the privileges we are giving to Australia are much greater than we get.

Lard, lard compound, cottolene and animal stearine of all kinds we allow to come in free. On tallow we impose a duty of 10 per cent. That is one of the worst things in the treaty, in my opinion. The duty should be at least equal to what we are paying, 30 per cent. Tallow is produced in Australia very abundantly, and anyone who knows the industry in Canada knows that this will probably do more injury than anything else in the treaty. Sheep are raised in Australia by the hundreds of thousands. They are raised very quickly, and Australian mutton is very fat. In the early days some of you remember that when Australia had not developed a market for its sheep and mutton the sheep were shorn, and then driven into the sea. That was the only way they had to dispose of their mutton. But now Australia has developed a big trade in mutton and lamb, and the most of their mutton that is of a lean variety is shipped to this country and England, and their fat sheep are shorn of their wool, and then used for making tallow. There will be an enormous quantity of this stuff come into Canada under this tariff.

Then beeswax and eggs and cheese come in free, and on butter the duty is 1 cent per pound. I wonder how my hon. friends to my left will feel when they have to compete with Australian butter, and possibly New Zealand butter coming in here under a duty of 1 cent a pound?

Tomatoes and other vegetables, including com and baked beans, in cans or other airtight packages come in free. Everybody knows that this country produces more tomatoes and other vegetables than can be consumed in this country. If we had the time, there would be no difficulty in canning all our corn and tomatoes in the summer time. We could can more tomatoes and more com and various vegetables of other kinds than could be consumed both in this country and Australia.

Apples, dried, desiccated or evaporated, and other dried, desiccated or evaporated fruits come in here under a duty of 10 per cent. Anybody who saw the big apple crop this country had last year will know that there is no possible hope of our farmers succeeding in raising fruit under competition with Australia sending her fruit in here under a 10. per cent duty.

Pears, quinces, apricots and nectarines come in under a duty of 25 cents. As far as that is concerned, it will not make much difference to this country.

Fruits in air-tight cans come under a duty of half a cent. That will compete with the fruit canning industry in this country, and will eliminate the employment that is given to thousands of our people in our canning factories in the summer time.

The next two items are honey and sugar; I do not know much about honey. Then we go on to the other articles mentioned by my hon. friend from Yale (Mr. Stirling): fruit pulp, not sweetened, when imported by manufacturers of jams or preserves for use only in their own factories in the manufacture of jams or preserves. That comes in free. I am utterly opposed to that. It may not hurt the manufacturers of this country, but it will do a great injustice to the fruit growers. If the manufacturers of jams and preserves and jellies and things of that kind cannot buy the fruit they want at their own price, they can simply let it go to waste, and import their stuff in barrels, and use it all winter, putting it up in a small way, in one and five-pound tins, and so on. That will be a great disadvantage to the fruit growers in this country. In the last three years the fruit crop in Canada has been so abundant that there has been hardly any possible hope of consuming the stuff, and the canning factories and the jam people have had so much fruit pulp on hand for so many years that they have been unable to buy the surplus stuff that could not be consumed. For the last three years, the fruit growers in this country have been receiving the lowest prices for their fruit in history. That has partly been due to a number of people being out of work and there being a lack of money in the country, but it is also due to the big surplus crops in the last three years, and no one could make any money out of fruit except the people who made the containers, and the transportation people. The growers of fruit and other people in the industry worked for nothing. Last year peaches could not be sold for more than 50 or 60 and sometimes 40 cents a basket. Plums of the very best varieties were sold on the Toronto and Montreal markets for as low as 10 and

Australian Treaty

15 cents for an eleven-quart basket. Now I ask, is it possible for the fruit growers of this country to compete with fruit brought in from Australia when they are not able to get a price for their own stuff in this country at the present time? The growers of peaches and plums and pears will be very much injured by this treaty.

I trust the government will make up its mind not to press this resolution through, because it will do a great injustice to the farmers of this country, and it will certainly put a number of the smaller ones entirely out of business.

Reference was made a few minutes ago to the fact that onions are on the free list. I do not know why a number of hon. gentlemen on this side of the House should mention onions; but I am sure they thought as I did, namely, that the Minister of Railways, representing an onion growing county, took care to see to it that onions were taken out of the free list. Possibly I might have done the same thing if I had been in his position; but he had the advantage and the opportunity to do it.

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June 22, 1925