statements such as I have made, though the minister may think them nonsensical, than to make promises such as he made, in the most solemn manner, with respect to calling a conference of provincial premiers and then ignoring them entirely without giving any explanation to the House. That is the trouble with a number of our Liberal leaders. They are full of promises particularly before election time, but lack miserably in action When the
time arrives to do something in parliament. Now, Mr. Speaker, I have occupied enough of the time of the House.
to go on. I have enough material to enable me to go on until twelve o'clock, but I do not propose to do so. I hope the members of the government will show a little more of the spirit of the Liberal party I used to read about some years ago, under the leadership of their great chieftain. A situation such as exists to-day would not be countenanced by Sir Wilfrid Laurier and would not have been tolerated by Mr. Fielding. But this government is quite willing to make a deal with the Progressives in order to enable them to remain in power, and to adopt a policy so well exemplified in those classic questions and answers to which I have already referred, the best of which was, "How many miles per member will you give us?"
It has been an honour to me, as well as a pain, perhaps, to sit in this House remaining fairly quiet during the past six weeks. I have listened to a great many speeches, some good, some not so good, and some indifferent. I may say, as a business man that during the first part of the debate the speeches appealed to me very strongly indeed. I thought they were on the whole of a very high order. The subject was certainly a debatable one, and the very fact that the government were prepared to submit it to the House indicated that it migh be considered debatable. The debate at the outset was conducted, in my view, on a very high plane. But within the last three weeks the discussion has not been quite so good. I think the reverse should have been the order; we should have the best wine last instead of first. Of course I am not referring to the speech of the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Ladner), which was interesting and very informative indeed.
I desire to congratulate the House on the good judgment they have shown in re-electing Your Honour to the Speaker's chair. I do not believe that there is a man in this House or m Canada who could so ably fill the position which you occupy to-night, Mr. Speaker. During the very trying weeks through which we have passed, your conduct in the chair has been fair, reasonable and honourable, and my best wish is that you may continue in that position, and that when
The Address-Mr. Darke
the next parliament assembles they will exercise the same good judgment in re-electing you to the speakership. I hope you will continue to fill the chair in this House as long as your health will permit you to do so, which I trust will be a good many years. I wish to ask of you on my own behalf the kindly consideration that you have shown to other new members who have addressed the House for the first time. I must confess that it is somewhat of a fearsome task for an ordinary business man to stand before such an august assembly and address them for the first time. However, I am sure, Sir, that if I should show any western broncho tendencies to strike out both fore and aft, you will apply the curb so firmly and yet so gently that I will not be thrown off my feet.
I observe that our friends on the other side of the House are still afflicted with a considerable amount of gloom. There does not appear to be any ray of light breaking through. In fact, across the way the atmosphere is almost as dense as a London fog.
Mr. SPENC'E (Parkdale): There is a good deal of fog around the hon. gentleman.
enough. The main solution hon. gentlemen have to offer is that in connection with the Canadian National Railways, Now I have no doubt that freight rates have some bearing on the troubles of the Maritime provinces but I think that the whole .problem goes deeper than that. It seems to me that hon. gentlemen will have to look elsewhere for a solution of their difficulties than to the transportation of a few thousand tons of coal.
I am not referring just now to the tariff. What I have in mind at the moment is the possibility of shipping western grain through the Maritime ports. We should like in the west to see our wheat go through those ports; there is not a man in western Canada who would not prefer to see western grain go out of Canadian rather than through American ports. We are Canadians, every one of us in the west, for as a matter of fact a considerable number of us come from the Maritime provinces as well as from Ontario and Quebec. There is no doubt therefore about our being interested in the Maritime provinces. Indeed, we know more about the east than eastern people know about the west. Many of us were born there and we visit eastern Canada pretty often. But what is the situation? The suggestion has been made that either the government or Sir Henry Thornton should dictate to the railways as to where grain or cattle, for instance, should go on its way out of the country. Well, is the railway the servant or the master of the shipper? Suppose I as a shipper went to the Canadian National Railways to have a train load of cattle shipped through Portland or Boston and Sir Henry Thornton or the managers of the railway should tell me that my cattle must go to Halifax or St. John. What would you expect me to say in such a case? I should say, " If you do not want to carry my cattle to Portland I can get another railway to take them ". The important thing is to have shipping facilities provided for transporting our products from our own ports. It is useless asking Sir Henry Thornton to take our wheat to Halifax unless there is adequate shipping to transport it to the markets of the world.
Another point in the matter of Maritime difficulties has reference to coal. The central provinces imported last year of coal and coke -I think it nearly all went to those provinces
$40,000,000. We do not use any anthracite in the west or, if we do, we use very little; we use our own coal. It is not perfectly clean, out we are patriotic enough to put up with some inconvenience and to burn our own Alberta coal. The only suggestion I have
heard from the people of the Maritime provinces in regard to the coal situation is that the railways should haul Maritime coal at a loss, that loss to be borne by the Dominion as a whole. Now, a good many members from the Maritime provinces support a protectionist policy, and if it is good business for the people of Nova Scotia and Alberta to pay 25 or 30 per cent more for goods manufactured in the central provinces than they would have to pay for similar goods imported, would it not be reasonable to ask these central provinces to pay more for their coal so as to even things up? But has there been any suggestion from the people of central Canada that they are prepared to accept a duty of $2 or $3 per ton on foreign coal in order to encourage the consumption of a home product? I have not heard any such suggestion and I venture to say that if my good friends from the Maritime provinces were to make that proposal ,to the people of Montreal or of Toronto they would be turned down absolutely. It is all right for them to take but they are not so ready to give, and until something is done in that direction I do not think that you will get very far on the way to a solution of the trouble. I am not advocating protection, but I suggest that what is sauce for the goose ought to be sauce for the gander, and they might be given a dose of their own medicine. I am in favour of the proposed commission for I am not satisfied that we have all the facts before us. Let us get those facts and if there is anything that the people of the west can do to assist the Maritime provinces in solving their troubles I say that we are with them.
Considerable criticism has been levelled at our Progressive friends because they have seen fit to support the government, and very many unkind and unfair things have been said about them. I like criticism when it is clean and fair, but it certainly is not fair to insinuate that members of the Progressive party have been bought or bribed or that special inducements have been held out to them in order to secure their support. I think that the hon. member for Rosetown (Mr. Evans) put the matter rather aptly when he said that perhaps it was a choice between evils, and like sensible people those hon. gentlemen have chosen the lesser of two evils. They could see nothing to hope for on the other side while they see at least a ray of hope on this side, inasmuch as, at any rate, we are headed in the right direction. But so far as the suggestion of bribery is concerned, I do not believe there is enough money in Toronto or Montreal to bribe or to buy the Progressive Party. They are supporting the government
The Address-Mr. Darke
because they are convinced that the government's policy approximates what they themselves advocate and support.
I am at a loss to understand the point of view of our protectionist friends. In one breath they claim that protection has been the settled policy of Canada for nearly fifty years and in the next breath they virtually complain that the country has been ruined because this government has kept that policy in force. They declare that the Liberal government, just as the Conservatives have done, has carried out a policy of protection. Well, if there has been protection what in the world more do they want? If the Liberals have administered a policy of protection why should hon. gentlemen complain? During the regime of Sir Wilfrid Laurier the country was more prosperous than it has ever been in its history, and this hon. gentlemen must admit. They say of course that Providence was responsible. Well, certainly Providence was partly responsible, because Providence is always on the side of the right. And it is a pretty good thing to belong to a party that has Providence on its side.
My hon. friend from Winnipeg South Centre (Mr. Kennedy) was rather tilting at a straw man this afternoon, it seemed to me, in his denunciation of free trade. I do not believe that you will find very many people in Canada to-day who believe that a policy of absolute free trade is possible in this country. We all realise that with the tremendous burden which the war has entailed, and with a policy of protection already in force in Canada, under which considerable industrial development has taken place, involving a great investment of capital, absolute free trade would be an impossibility and a hardship. At the same time, however, there are industries in Canada the capital invested in which would have served a better purpose had it been used in the development of some of our natural resources, instead of being employed in the production of goods from raw material imported into the country. Western Canada of course is not asking for any policy of protection. We realize in the west that we have to place our goods on the markets of the world in competition with the products of the world. You cannot protect the grain grower, the stock raiser or the dairyman on those western plains. It is impossible.
A great deal has been said about the dairy industry. If any fiscal policy adopted by this government endangers the splendid export trade in butter that, Saskatchewan has built up, I would oppose it; and if the imposition of a duty of three or four cents a ,pound is
going to force the home consumer-the labourer, the mechanic and everyone else- to pay that much a pound more for his butter than our surplus production fetches in the markets of the world, I would oppose it, for I do not think it is fair to charge the home consumer more that is obtained in the markets of the world. There is the falsity of protection right through, there is the weakness of the protective policy, it charges the home Consumer a higher price for his commodities in the home market than can be obtained for them in the markets of the world. You cannot produce goods cheaply finder such a condition as that, and Canada, with her enormous natural resources that must be turned into manufactured articles and sold on the markets of the world, can never meet foreign competition when the labourer and everyone else engaged in their manufacture are handicapped by high cost of living. That is where the shoe pinches the western man.
Not that we are opposed to manufacturing. There is no thought of opposition in the western mind to manufacturing industry. We want to see factories everywhere. But we do not think it is necessary that we should pay from 25 to 35 per cent more for goods manufactured in Canada than our brother farmers across the line pay for similar goods manufactured in the United States. Let me give an illustration of what that means. There is no man in Canada that gets greater service out of a moderate priced truck or automobile than does the western farmer. As a rule he is a considerable distance from the post office, the general store and the repair shop, and this rapid means of transportation saves him a great deal of time when probably despatch is very important to him.
I did not know it, and I am not politician enough to excuse wrong-doing or mistakes, not even on the part of my own government or any member of my party. If the hon. gentleman did that, I think he made a mistake.
-but I know he would like to be correct. To-day I happened to look uip that very matter, and the difference in price does not exceed $150. It may be that the cost of transportation and taxes make up the difference in the list prices.
reduction recently. The $300 difference, of course, would be for the sedan car. At any rate there is a duty of 35 per cent, and the point I make is that the Canadian manufacturer of Ford cars raises his price to the actual amount of the tariff. Now, did it cost that much more to manufacture the car in . Canada than in the United States?