Mr. KING (Kootenay):
As I have said,
I am delighted to have my hon. friend deny that statement. No one more readily accepts his denial than myself because I could not believe, in fact, I know that the conditions in British Columbia do not warrant that statement. I hold in my hand a statement that was published in the Vancouver Province, a paper not a supporter of this government, but an excellent paper that tries to present and does give to the people of British Columbia in a general way the news of the day. In its issue of April 11, 1926, it says:
to,000,000 building outlay for first quarter, 1926: $7,250,000 locally subscribed for British Columbia Electric loan. British Columbia Electric Bpending $30,000,000 in development. $160,000,000 British Columbia Electric payroll.
If I may be allowed an interjection here, it is with some satisfaction that I note our
present industrial payroll in British Columbia is $160,000,000, because on looking back to the year 1922, I find that the industrial payroll of British Columbia was then $120,000,000. It goes on:
Vancouver regular port of call for 42 steamship
lines. 916 ships entered Vancouver harbour in 1925.
That is an inspiring statement, one that will do much to inspire the people of British Columbia, and I believe that if the people of eastern Canada would take advantage of conditions as they exist to-day and set fairly before the people of Canada those conditions, there would be more optimism and less pessimism than we have to-day, and it would be to the advantage of Canada as a whole.
When the Minister of Finance brought down his budget the other day the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie), owing to the illness of the hon. member for West York (Sir Henry Drayton), replied on behalf of the opposition. I think we all admired the ease with which the hon. gentleman spoke, and the manner in which he developed his reply. He accepted the good things in the budget, the reductions in taxation, as being all right. Then he placed on Hansard certain figures, but those figures- whether due to lack of time in preparation or lack of opportunity for verification on his part-will stand examination and should be examined and discussed here. The hon. gentleman caused it to be inferred that this government had by means of the reduction in the British preference placed the woollen industry in a precarious condition in Canada. This is what he said:
In the first year two and a half per cent was taken off the duty on woollen goods. The Laurier-Fielding tariff had served the country, so well, that had kept the mills so busy, was tinkered with in the first year and reduced to 27) per cent. In the following year there was another cut of ten per cent in the British preferential bringing the tariff on woollens down from 27) per cent to 24.8 per cent net, and what was the result? All over Canada woollen mills began to close; men lost their jobs, the exodus started to the United States and woollen men would not invest more money. I say to the Minister of Finance: Look at your imports of woollens for those years. See them gradually rising in this country until last year, according to the government's trade returns of which I have a copy in my hand, we brought in $20,000,000 worth of woollen goods from Great Britain, all of wh:eh we could have made in Canadian mills if the Prime Minister had had resolution and courage enough to stand by the tariff which he helped to make in 1007.
Now, let us look at the woollen industry and see what has happened. In 1921 our total importation of dutiable woollen goods from Great Britain amounted to $45,795,573.
In 1922 we imported $22,895,016 worth; in
The Budget-Mr. King (Kootenay)
1923, $31,298,216 worth; in 1924, $30,447,895 worth; and in 1925, $30,283,675 worth. Now it may be that the importation of $20,000,000 to which the hon. gentleman referred had reference only to certain woollens. The figures I have given, however, cover the total importations of woollen goods from Great Britain. It will be noted that in 1921, owing to conditions that existed in Canada after the war-I wish to be fair-and before any tariff changes had taken place we imported $45,795,000 worth of woollen goods. In 1925, the importation had dropped to $30,283,000 worth. However, I wish to go on and follow the matter a little further. We have a great woollen industry in Canada known as Penman's Limited. This firm manufactures woollen garments and is a really great organization. We find that in 1921 they manufactured woollen goods to the extent of $4,789,053. In 1925, the amount had risen to $6,431,153. Apparently the Penman's are enjoying to-day a larger amount of business, at least their sales are greater, than in 1921 by almost $2,000,000. Now, if you go back and take the importation of $45,000,000 odd in 1921 as against $30,000,000 odd in 1925 you must go beyond the tariff changes to find the explanation for the diminution. The explanation must be found in some other cause because we find a decline in the sale of woollens in the United States. In that country, which our Conservative friends would lead the people to believe is not only the most highly protected but the most prosperous country in the world, no industry, they say, goes out of business because the government immediately comes to its rescue. Now, what do we find in the United States? In 1923 the average monthly consumption of woollens amounted to 53,467.000 pounds, whereas in 1925 it had dropped to 43,857,000 pounds. What, is the reason for that? It is not because there was not a tariff. We know, every man knows that in his own home to-day, woollen goods are not being used to the extent that they were used years ago: They are being replaced by goods
that are made from a mixture of wool, cotton, silk, and artificial silk. The result is that to-day the woollen industry, not only in Canada but throughout the world, is obliged to adjust itself to new conditions.
But I should like to deal for a moment with a further statement made by my hon. friend, as follows:
"I am witling to stand by my statement. Cultivators in the days of the Lauriei-Fielding tariff, when the present Prime Minister was a member of the government of that day and supported the tariff in that government, enjoyed a duty of 17i per cent. This government has cut the duty down now to 7J per
cent. No wonder that the trade has been almost abandoned in this country and our farmers are very largely being supplied with goods from the United States."
Now, Mr. Speaker, I contend that that statement does not correctly represent the condition as far as the manufacturer of agricultural implements in this country is concerned. We find that in 1922 the people of Canada imported binders amounting to $319807 in value. In 1925 they imported $216,427 worth. The hon. member for South Wellington did not refer to reapers, but I shall give the figures for that branch of the industry also. In 1922 we imported 6,805 reapers, and in 1925 reapers to the number of 198. In 1922 we bought $36,143 worth of mowers, and in 1925 mowers amounting in value to $27,930. We will now see what the export business by the manufacturers of agricultural implements amounted to in those years. In 1922 we exported $449,013 worth of binders. In 1925 the export amounted to $1,220,000 worth. In 1922, we exported reapers to a total amount of $12,901 worth, and in 1925 the value of the export of reapers was $105,893 worth. Of mowers in 1922 we exported $369,762 worth, and in 1925, a value of $957,695, showing that during that period the agricultural implement men had improved their position in the matter of export and had conserved the home market to a greater extent. Now as to the plow industry which was said to be ruined: In 1922,
we imported $554,846 worth of plows, and in 1925, plows to the amount of $613,998. In 1922, the export, of plows amounted to $1,465,919 worth, and in 1925 we exported $1,630,908 worth, showing a favourable condition as regards exports and also as regards the home market.
Now let us take the total trade in agricultural implements. The total importations in 1921 amounted to $24,317,190 worth, and the exports to $12,527,000. In 1925 we imported only $6,428,000 worth. We sold $11,342,000 worth. There is no question with regard to the manufacture of agricultural implements. We were told in 1924 the reduction the government then made would destroy that industry. We know that to-day the Massey-Harris stock is selling for more than it was previous to that date. We know that many of the factories in this country are enjoying great prosperity, and we know from the trade returns that the change has not seriously affected the agricultural implement industry.
I have stated that this budget is appreciated by the Canadian people. It is a budget that goes into every home in this country. My
The Budget-Mr. King (Kootenay)
hon. friend the former Solicitor General (Mr. Guthrie), complained the other day that the government's budget was two or three years too late. He overlooked the fact that in 1924 this government had a surplus of many millions of dollars, and at that time, brought about by reduction in customs duties and sales taxes, the government contributed some $20,000,000 odd to the relief of the Canadian taxpayer. That should not be overlooked, and when my hon. friend claims that the delay had been too great he did not give consideration to the fact that this government in 1924 did make reductions in taxation amounting to something over $20,000,000 or $25,000,000. A reduction in sales taxes will always be acceptable to the Canadian people, and it is the desire of the government, and I think ot the people of Canada, that we be relieved of that burden as early as possible. It is true that the sales tax is a convenient way of raising revenue. We are. told that this government had increased the sales tax from two and a half to six per cent, but if hon. members will go back to the period of 1923 and 1924, and read Mr. Fielding's statement on the sales tax, they will realize that the sales tax as administered by the late government did not bring revenue, because it was not collectable, and where it was collected it had pyramided itself. It has been found that the amendments made by Mr. Fielding have been effective in securing revenue, and it has been the policy of this government, when conditions permitted in the country, to reduce that tax on these commodities that would first give relief to the people in the homes of this country.
The reduction in postage will certainly not *be criticized. I think the Canadian people are to be congratulated that we are to go back to the day of penny postage, and as the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) said the other day, the Canadian people being the first to introduce penny postage, would come back again to thit period with great gratification and pleasure.
The abolition of the receipt tax will give to the merchant and to the individual who is buying or selling relief from what has been termed a nuisance. It was not a large revenue producer, and the government, as the minister has said, considered it wise to abolish that tax. I am satisfied that the change will be acceptable to the people of Canada. The reduction in income tax has given general satisfaction to those who have been paying the tax.
I have listened for the last week to discussion on the budget as occasion permitted me, and generally speak in =* from the opposite
side of the House the argument has not been greatly against the budget as introduced by the minister. Exception however has been taken to the reduction in the automobile tax and it was on that score that the 4 p.m hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) moved his amendment a few days ago, stating that the government should not have made the reduction in the automobile tax without referring this matter to the tariff board. One would think, after hearing hon. gentlemen opposite, that this was a new thing in the public mind of Canada. I cannot conceive that members who were in the last parliament who heard the debate and witnessed the vote in that parliament could have been deceived as to the minds of the Canadian public representatives in this parliament in the matter of automobile taxation, because last year, when the resolution was introduced by the hon. member for Macleod, (Mr. Coote), we found members from every group in the House supporting the proposed reduction. The government would have been remiss if, after that debate and that vote, they had not given very careful and thorough consideration to the question of reduction of duties on automobiles. It may be convenient for hon. members opposite to say that this question should not have been dealt with by parliament but should have been referred to the tariff commission, but that course would not have satisfied the majority in parliament or the majority of the people of Canada, because conditions had arrived in connection with the manufacture of automobiles that required adjustment. I claim that the government have acted wisely and properly in the matter. It is true that some men will, as the ostrich does, place their heads in the sand so that they will not see what is coming, but any business man engaged in the industry of manufacturing automobiles, after hearing the debate in this House, should have realized that, in the public mind throughout Canada, there was a feeling that the day had arrived when there should be an adjustment in the duties on automobiles. So that we cannot, Mr. Speaker, take too seriously our hon. friends opposite. I have heard only one hon. member-and this my hon. friend from Burrard (Mr. Clark) will not deny-on the Conservative side state in his place that if his party were returned to power he would vote for and see that there was a return to the former duty.
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE