May 18, 1926


The House resumed from Monday, May 17, the debate on the motion of Hon. J. A.



The Budget-Mr. Macdougall Robb (Minister of Finance), that the Speaker do now leave the chair for the House to go into committee of Ways and Means and the proposed amendment thereto of Hon. R. J. Manion.


CON

Isaac Duncan MacDougall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. I. D. MACDOUGALL (Inverness):

Mr. Speaker, there was a time in Canadian politics when the attitude of government and opposition was so partisan, so uncompromising, that neither could predicate any virtue of the other. Both were agreed that so far as the other was concerned "no good could ever come out of Nazareth." In those days it was considered an unpardonable political crime for a member sitting in opposition to think that the government could ever be right, and it were veritable treason for a supporter of the government to imagine that the government could ever be wrong. For my part, Mr. Speaker, I subscribe to no such view. In this House I give my allegiance to the Conservative party, because I have faith in that party; in its policies and its principles, and because I have faith in its leader, who, for constancy of purpose, and rare gifts of intellect, has certainly no equal in this parliament, and perhaps has had no peer in any parliament that Canada has had since confederation. But these considerations shall deter me never from discussing questions of great national importance in a manner devoid of prejudice and with an eye single to my country's good, as it is given me to discern that good. For this reason, Mr. Speaker, I feel that I am guilty of no serious political heresy when my first words on the budget are words of sincere congratulation to the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) upon the masterly manner in which he presented his budget to parliament. I am happy to be able to add that my congratulations may properly extend beyond the mere external form in which that budget was presented, for there are many things in the budget itself with which I am heartily in accord.

We are told, for example, that the financial condition of this country has improved. I do not question that statement; I do not desire to dispute it. As long as it is my privilege to occupy a seat in this House, any information to the effect that our country's finances are in an improved state wil be received by me with genuine pleasure and acclaim, no matter of what political stripe the Finance minister may be who makes that announcement.

The present budget also gives promise of a somewhat substantial reduction in taxation. This laudable and desirable end is to be ob-

tained, in the main, by the reduction in the sales tax and the abolition of certain other nuisance taxes, for the most part imposed by the present administration upon the Canadian people. In taking this step the government but does belated justice to the Canadian taxpayer. It but removes from his path a few of the 'snags and thorns with which this administration has bestrewn his path since assuming office in 1921. When the administration led by my right hon. friend (Mr. Meighen) who, unfortunately, due to illness, is unable to take his place in this House at the present time, went out of office in 1921, the sales tax in this country stood at li per cent to the manufacturer and 1\ per cent to the jobber. In the first year of the King administration that tax was increased to four and a half per cent. In the second year of their administration the King government, not content with that increase, further increased the sales tax to six per cent. This unwarranted and unjustifiable increase served to seriously hamper and impede Canadian business in this country. So numerous were the protests against this excessive increase that in 1924 the King administration reduced the tax from six to five per cent where it remained until the present reduction was announced. There can be no doubt that the serious, the heavy, increase in direct taxation imposed by this administration upon the Canadian people since 1921 constituted one of the major grievances of the people against the King government during the last federal election and, perhaps, Sir, in the salutary and chastening effect of the last election we may seek and find the real explanation of those reductions in taxation now so tardily announced, for verily, in the case of all governments, the fear of the people is the beginning of wisdom.

The budget proposes that after the first of January, 1927, the benefits of the British preferential tariff shall apply only to goods conveyed direct without trans-shipment into a sea or river port of Canada. I am in hearty accord with this proposal. It is a step in the right direction, and I commend the government for taking it. I point out, however, that trade statistics for 1924 show that in that year we imported British goods to the amount of $153,586,000. Of that amount $152,586,000 worth came directly through Canadian ports. If these figures are correct this proposal will apply to substantially less than one per cent of the goods coming from Great Britain to Canada, consequently it will not mean a great revival in

The Budget-Mr. Macdougall

trade or commercial activity through Canadian ports. However, it is a step in the right direction, and since it is not often that this government takes a step in the right direction, I heartily commend it.

We had a protracted and somewhat heated discussion over the proposal to reduce the duty on automobiles. Let me say, Sir, that I hold no special brief for the automobile industry in Canada. My attitude towards that industry is essentially the same attitude that I take towards every other great and useful industry. My desire is that it may prosper and develop, returning fair dividends to those who have invested their money in it, providing a continuity of employment and living wages for Canadian workmen, and giving fair prices to the Canadian public. What measure of protection will enable that industry to perform these functions I am unable to say, and no other member in this House, whether he be opponent or supporter of the government, can so determine without first having a full knowledge of all the facts relating to that industry. The only way these facts can be ascertained and a just and intelligent decision arrived at is by referring the question of the protection to be accorded that industry to a competent and impartial fact finding commission endowed by the government with all the necessary powers to investigate, and to furnish parliament with a report based on such investigation. Even in ordinary circumstances this would have been the proper course for this government to pursue, but, Sir, I submit that in the present instance the government can adopt no other course without forfeiting its dignity, its honour and its self respect. For in the Speech from the Throne the government adopted the policy of investigation by a tariff commission. I quote from the publicly declared policy of the government, incorporated in that speech -and perhaps the right hon. leader of the government will recognize this quotation:

__that in the interest of industrial development every

effort should be made to eliminate the element of uncertainty with respect to tariff changes; that changes in the tariff should 'be made only after the fullest examination of their bearing upon both primary and manufacturing industries and that representations requesting increase or decrease of duties should be made the subject of the most careful investigation and report by a body possessing the necessary qualifications to advise the ministry with respect thereto.

This language, Mr. Speaker, is not ambiguous; there is seemingly here no equivocation; there is certainly no qualification and no limitation. The policy of the government, namely, investigation by a tariff board, was to apply to all the industries in Canada enjoying any benefits under our protective

system. By taking the course outlined in the budget with respect to the automobile industry the government completely stultifies itself, ignores its publicly promulgated policy on the fiscal question, and shamelessly breaks faith with the Canadian people. By proposing this reduction without investigation this government singles out one industry from the hundreds in this country enjoying benefits under our protective system, sits in judgment on that industry, and renders an adverse verdict without giving those affected an opportunity to be heard or to call witnesses in their own behalf. How can we square that action with our much belauded sense of British justice and of British fair play?

Now, Sir, I wish to make my stand on this question absolutely clear. Let me candidly assert that had the case of the automobile industry been referred to a tariff commission, and had a full and impartial investigation revealed that the duties should be reduced by ten or fifteen per cent-aye or. by twenty per cent-I would, certainly under those circumstances have supported such a recommendation in this House. But, Sir, I shall not sanction, and I never shall support, a blind step that may seriously dislocate and perhaps ruin an important and useful Canadian industry, especially when such a blind step is taken in direct contravention of the government's publicly declared policy on the fiscal question. I may point out that those who aid and abet this administration in violating its plighted word to the Canadian people do no very great credit to themselves; and no real service to this government. Nothing will more effectively destroy respect for all constituted authority in this or in any other country than for a government, the very embodiment of that authority, to treat with wanton disregard its plighted word and deliberately break faith with the country. These, I might say, are testing days for constituted authority, not only in our country, but the world over. Men are to be found even in Canada who would desire to bring all constituted authority into popular contempt. Whoever else may assist these misguided souls in their nefarious work, they certainly should not have their cause advanced by the actions of the government of Canada. Whatever else a government may or may not do, it certainly should not violate its plighted word, or disregard its publicly declared policy. Faith must be kept with the people if constituted authority is to be respected by the people. I commend that proposition to the present government.

There is yet another aspect of this question, and one that I approach with very

The Budget-Mr. Macdougall

great diffidence and reluctance. I apprehend that the attack on the protective system made in contravention of the government's fiscal policy, on an industry located in Ontario, a province having no effective voice in the government, may cause a repetition of those lamentable provincial and racial prejudices from which Canada has suffered in the past, and which all true Canadians must deplore. I might say, without wishing to re-open old sores, that there was a time, when the great English-speaking province of Ontario, and the equally great French-speaking province of Quebec were separated by a gulf created by misunderstanding and prejudice. We all know something of the difficulties which statesmen from both of these great provinces experienced in their efforts to reconcile differences in the legislative union of upper and lower Canada. It was to overcome an impasse created by prejudice that the statesmen from both provinces conceived the idea of effecting the larger union of 1867. Even after confederation was achieved the greatest difficulty which confronted Canadian statesmen was to reconcile the rival claims of the different provinces, different races and different creeds. To accomplish this great ideal Sir John A. Macdonald laboured long, faithfully and successfully. Shortly after he passed from the political stage in this country his work was taken up by a no less distinguished Canadian, a French Canadian, the great and gifted Sir Wilfrid Laurier. W'e know well with what reluctance Sir Wilfrid Laurier accepted the leadership of his own party. He feared that his race and creed might interfere with his party's chances for success at the polls, but Sir Wilfrid Laurier triumphed over prejudice. He had not advanced far on his brilliant career before his name became respected in all, and revered in thousands of, English speaking homes in every province of this Dominion. Sir Wilfried Laurier won and retained the confidence of English speaking Canadians, because he was ever willing to concede to other provinces, to other races and to other creeds that same 4 p.m. measure of justice that he desired for his own. If he were alive to-day and leading this government- and I imagine in their hearts hon. gentlemen must feel that they are experiencing a great loss because he is not here, and sometimes when they contrast Sir Wilfrid with their present leader, they must "sigh for the touch of that vanished hand and the sound of that voice that is still"-if he were alive today and leading this government, would he advance or sanction a measure, the effect of

which is to deny to one of Ontario's important industries the same treatment which this government concedes to all other protected industries in all other provinces of Canada? He certainly would not countenance such a thing, and I appeal to the representatives of Quebec, you who followed and revered him, not to sanction by your support an injustice which Sir Wilfrid Laurier would certainly have scorned to perpetrate. I do not say, Sir, nor do I believe that it was the voice of Quebec which compelled the government to mete out unequal treatment to an Ontario industry. We may shrewdly guess from whence the pressure came. It probably came from a small coterie of wellmeaning theorists in the Liberal and Progressive ranks who preach free trade in respect to all commodities, but show their good sense by limiting its practical application to a single ingredient of a rich man's cocktail. Now, Mr. Speaker, it is alleged by those who support the government in reducing the duty on automobiles that public sentiment favoured such a reduction. If public sentiment is to determine the fiscal policy of this country, then it follows, as necessary corollary to that argument, that in cases where public sentiment favours an upward revision of the tariff, such increases should also be made without reference to the tariff board.

This brings me directly to the case of the two great 'basic industries of my native province, steel and coal. There is a strong public sentiment in Nova Scotia, I might almost say that there is complete unanimity among the Liberals and Conservatives in that province, in reference to the need of increased protection for both of these industries. In respect of the steel industry, the steel workers of Sydney, who number among them Liberals, Conservatives and Labour men, recently passed a resolution calling upon this government to grant increased protection to the steel industry; nor has the Liberal press in the province been silent on the subject. The Sydney Record, a very estimable paper, which is looked upon as the accredited organ of the Liberal party in the island of Cape Breton, has been printing for the last three months editorials pointing out the urgency and the desirability of increasing the duties on steel and iron products. In doing this that Liberal paper is but adopting the same editorial policy which the Conservative journals in the province of Nova Scotia have steadfastly maintained for a long time. Next to coal the steel industry is one of the most important industries in that province. Around it the city of Sydney has sprung up. That city, with a population of 25,000 souls, depends entirely

fT" 3469

The Budget-Mr. Macdougall

upon the steel industry. If this industry should cease to operate, in a few months time grass would 'be growing on the streets of Sydney, and the same is virtually true of New Glasgow and Trenton in the county of Pictou. So anxious were the people of Nova Scotia to establish this steel industry that they personally subscribed about one and a half million dollars to the capital stock of the steel companies operating in that province. For the most part this stock was subscribed by men and women of limited means. It represents the accumulated earnings of years of hard work. If the government does not come to the assistance of the Nova Scotia steel industry at the present juncture to protect it from the unfair competition of foreign countries, where the currency is depreciated and labour is cheap, then that industry will in all probability go into bankruptcy. At this moment it stands trembling upon the very brink of financial collapse. Now if public sentiment permitted the government to make a departure from its fiscal policy in respect of the automobile industry, public1 (sentiment should also allow it to make an upward revision in the tariff in the interests of iron and steel products.

I was amazed a few months ago to hear the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Macdonald, Antigonish) telling the House and the country from his place in parliament that he was opposed to any further increases in the duties on iron and steel products. I know, of course, that the hon. gentleman is not now representing the industrial county cjf Pictou; I am fully aware of the fact that he is a political exile from the county of his birth. But surely he still cherishes that fond regard for his native county which we all cherish for the place of our birth. I appeal to him, therefore, to join with the Nova Scotians who aje making an, effort to save the industry, even if he has to repudiate the stand which he took in this House on a certain occasion when he was making a plea for Progressive support to keep the government in power.

I do not intend to discuss at any length the coal industry of Nova Scotia and of the Dominion generally, having dealt with it_ex-tensively on previous occasions. I have discussed the subject dispassionately and have adduced irrefutable facts to show that the industry is suffering from unfair competition from the American bituminous mines. I may point out that, because of geographical advantages which they enjoy, the coal miners of the United States can turn out an average of 5.7 tons of coal per man per day while in Nova Scotia our miners can produce only 1.7.

In a great many instances the United States miners can put coal on board the cars at the pit mouth in the bituminous fields at less than $1 per ton, and in almost every case they are putting coal on the cars at a lower cost than the industry in Nova Scotia pays for labour alone. When we entered confederation we were promised a market for our coal in central Canada, and that market is there. Central Canada imports easily over 15,000,000 tons of coal per annum, sending out 120,000,000 Canadian dollars to pay for its supplies obtained from the American fields, thus providing work for American miners. That market in central Canada rightly belongs to the provinces of Alberta and Nova Scotia. I say, therefore, that we need a fuel policy inaugurated and kept in force by the Dominion government to enable us to have ready access to the market that should undoubtedly be supplied by our mines.

I was interested in the speech of the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Hatfield) last night. It was one of those beautiful canned speeches which the Minister of National Defence probably sent to every Liberal candidate in Nova Scotia at the last general election. I recognized in it the fine ' Italian hand of the minister. I could almost visualize our opponents in the last federal election standing up in the little country schoolhouses and delivering an address substantially of the same character. Perhaps that accounts for the fact that in counties traditionally Liberal, Conservatives were elected by substantial majorities. The hon. member said that we could not look to central Canada for a market for our products. I should like the leader of the government (Mr. Mackenzie King), who made the same statement in the Maritimes, to tell this House to-day where we could sell our coal and steel products if not in the markets of central Canada. I have gone thoroughly into the question and I may assure the government that if we are precluded from the markets of central Canada we shall be able to work our coal mines only two days a week while our steel industry will operate for just a day and three-quarters in the week. Central Canada is our natural and rightful market for the steel and coal products of the province of Nova Scotia, and it is upon these two industries that the prosperity of agriculture in that province depends. If we are given an opportunity to develop these industries we can provide an ample home market for the farm products of Nova Scotia.

I shall refer now for a moment to a matter that interests my own constituency peculiarly,

The Budget-Mr. Macdougall

and having discussed it I shall have done. Some hon. gentlemen think that all the coal areas in Nova Scotia are owned and controlled by the British Empire Steel Corporation. For their information let me say that in the county which I have the privilege and the honour to represent in this House, however feebly, we have extensive virgin coal fields. We have, it is estimated, over 2,000,000,000 tons of coal available in the county. At present capitalists cannot be induced to undertake the development of the industry for the simple reason that we have not enough protection to induce them to invest. The result is that in my county we have only one small mine working, employing about 450 men and producing about 600 tons of coal a day, whereas if we had an adequate measure of protection and cheaper transportation which would enable us to take advantage of the markets of central Canada we could produce in that county, not 600 but 20,000 tons daily. One reason why we have so far been unable to develop these coal areas is the fact that we have been denied, both by Liberal and by Conservative governments, adequate transportation facilities in the county. We have had in this parliament during the present session a discussion on the Hudson Bay railway. Prom my place in this House I told the representatives of western Canada that if I were convinced that the railway would assist in developing that great western country it would certainly have my support. I still maintain that attitude, and I intend to support the measure on the terms which I suggested. But I think I am within my rights in asking these same people, in view of my sympathy with their transportation requirements, that they take the same attitude towards the transportation needs of the county I represent. We require the construction of a railroad of some sixty miles from the town of Inverness to Cheticamp to open up one of the most highly mineralized sections of Nova Scotia and, indeed, of the Dominion. I know it would be useless to ask the government to provide a million dollars in the estimates to construct this road inasmuch as I have no Progressive support to offer them; but I am going to appeal to the leader of the government, who, however much we may disagree wTith him and his government on his policies, is after all a Canadian and wants to see every section of the country prosperous. He has appointed a commission to investigate Maritime rights. That commission will be going to the province of Nova Scotia and I would ask that it be instructed to visit the county of Inverness to look into the trans-

portation needs of that district. It is only a small thing I ask of him, and I think that in justice to the people whom I represent he will certainly not deny it.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have given expression to my objections to the budget. I agree with some of its features, but I cannot bring myself to support the budget because it gives no material assistance to the basic industries of the province of Nova Scotia-the industries of steel and coal.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, may I say at once how much I regret that the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen) is prevented through illness from being in his seat to-day. My right hon. friend is not one who lightly abandons any duty which pertains to his office, and I am sure it is very much against his will that he is not now in the House. I sincerely hope that his indisposition may be of brief duration, and I know I speak for all on this side of the House when I say that we shall be glad indeed to join with his friends opposite in extending to him a very hearty welcome back at the earliest possible moment.

Perhaps my hon. friend who has just taken his seat (Mr. Macdougall) will not deem me guilty of discourtesy if I do not attempt to comment seriatim upon the various points he made in the course of his address, but rather deal with them incidentally as I develop what I have to say this afternoon. May I say to him, however, in passing, that notwithstanding some personalities, which I do not think added at all to his speech, his presentation this afternoon was very worthy of one who comes into this House as a new member and addresses it for the first time.

I am not sure, Mr. Speaker, that the absence of say right hon. friend is as significant at this moment as it might have been had this debate not now been in progress for over a month. I believe that everything which could be said by my right hon. friend has already been expressed by those who sit around him. 1 admit that he w'ould probably have added some pointed and pungent remarks which would have lent zest to the course of the debate, but so far as the argument itself is concerned I think everything that could be said against the administration has been said by one or other of hon. gentlemen opposite, and I doubt if anything could be added from their point of view with reference to the merits of their side of the case as they may see it.

In the absence of my right hon. friend I shall attempt this afternoon to address my

The Budget-Mr. Mackenzie King

remarks especially to those criticisms which have been made against the government in a general way, and against myself in particular.

I might as well begin at once by referring to the speech which I made in North York in September last, and which has been referred to so frequently in the course of this debate. Listening to the remarks of my hon. friends opposite, I take it they feel that because, in appealing to the country on September 5 last I ventured to express the hope that the government would be returned with a larger majority than it then had, and because my hopes and expectations in that particular were not realized as fully as I had wished they might be, they should now be sitting on this side while I and my party should be occupying their seats. That seems to be the essence of the criticism with reference to the remarks I made at that time. I do not think my hon. friends opposite have fully appreciated the real point of my speech in the particular to which they have so frequently referred. I was explaining to the electors of North York the reason why it seemed advisable to the government not to proceed to hold a fifth session of the then parliament, but rather to seek the return of a new parliament at an early date. I pointed out that there were strong reasons why in the national interest the government with the small majority we then had should not attempt a last session of an expiring parliament; that anything of the kind would certainly prove to be an expensive business; that the government would find it very difficult to bring forward any measure which would not be controverted by hon. gentlemen opposite and its purpose misconstrued. I also pointed out that another very serious consequence of attempting to carry on for a fifth session would be the continuance of the detraction to which, despite the improved and improving conditions in the country, we had been obliged continuously to listen during the last two sessions of that parliament. The result of further misrepresentation of conditions would, I contended, inevitably have been that the prosperity to which we were all looking forward so earnestly in the interests of our country would be impeded and delayed.

That was the theme I sought to develop, I was dwelling entirely upon the difficulty which anv administration must encounter by holding on with a small majority through a last session of parliament. Indeed, as I recall the facts, at the moment, I stressed the point that in that particular Liberal administrations had taken a different attitude to that followed in previous years by Conservative administrations. I cited the fact that when the

old Conservative administration of which Sir John A. Macdonald was leader had been in office for a period of eighteen years, notwithstanding the death of their great leader, hon. gentlemen of the Conservative party of the day contrived to hold on to office until the very last hour of the last day of his last parliament-that the Right Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald was succeeded by the Hon. Sir John Abbott, that Sir John Abbott was succeeded by Sir John Thompson, who in turn was succeeded by Sir Mackenzie Bowell, and that Sir Mackenzie Bowell was succeeded by Sir Charles Tupper, who continued to hold office until the clock struck the last minute of the last day of the last session of that parliament. I drew attention to the fact that the Liberal party did not think the best interests of the country could be served by continuing to hold office in that way. I further drew attention to the fact that when Sir Robert Borden succeeded to the leadership of the Conservative party he held office for the complete five years, and that when the term was extended by mutual agreement for a year beyond that permitted by the constitution as originally drafted, he continued in office until the very end of the period alloted. That was the point which I was seeking to bring to the attention of the electors. I stated it to be my view that the country was entitled to have an opportunity to pass upon the questions of the day and return a new parliament, which coming fresh from the electorate would be able to deal with important questions in accordance with the national will as then expressed.

During the course of the general election there was another point on which I laid a great deal of stress, and I should like to remind some hon. members of it this afternoon. I took occasion, wherever I spoke, to point out what seemed to me a very great mistake that was being made by some of those who were opposed to the policies of hon. gentlemen opposite. It seemed to me that forces which should have been united were divided, and as a consequence of their division that there was a weakening of their position in the face of a common political foe. Since I have had the honour of leading this party I have stressed the importance of all groups having great interests in common joining closely together on the principles they hold in common rather than emphasizing minor differences which in turn lead to divisions that not only serve to weaken their own ranks but correspondingly to increase the strength of those whom they commonly oppose. That was my position, and I think the result of the election has shown very clearly that the position then taken, in the interests of those who have at heart some

The Budget-Mr. Mackenzie King

of the great, fundamental principles of Liberalism as it is known in a broad way, was amply justified1. Happily, since the election I think the principle I was then emphasizing has come to be appreciated more widely throughout the country and in this House. Those who are opposed to hon. gentlemen opposite on a great question such as that which we have been discussing during the past month have seen very clearly that the interests which they have in common are much greater than the minor differences which divide them, and I must thank hon. gentlemen opposite for having helped in a most effective way to make clear the line of cleavage.

Now, Mr. Speaker, may I come at once to the amendment which is before the House. In doing so I must say that I think the House was entitled to have bad from hon. gentlemen opposite, in the form of an amendment to the budget, something which would be at least expressive of their own fiscal policy, that is to say, if they are really serious about it. We heard a great deal during the last election of hon. gentlemen opposite fighting for increased tariff, for higher protection, for the maintenance of an all round protective tariff and the like. The right hon. leader of the party took the position that that was the only outstanding question, and a large number of his candidates in different parts of the country stressed that point very strongly. All through this debate most of the hon. gentlemen opposite who have spoken have laid particular emphasis on the need of a consistently maintained protective tariff, to put it in its mildest form, while some have spoken of the need for higher protection. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that in a budget debate where a great issue of this kind is being discussed, hon. gentlemen opposite might have been expected to frame some statement in the form of an amendment which would have expressed an attitude they have in common. The fact that they have not done so, it seems to me, makes it perfectly clear that despite. all their professions and protestations on the subject, hon. gentlemen opposite are not united on the question of all round protection.

My hon. friends opposite have been fond of pointing over to this side of the House and saying that there were members seated here who favoured protection, and they sought to have it appear that this side of the House is not of one mind on these questions of the tariff.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My hon.

friends say "hear, hear.' At all events I

would say that we had the courage to state our position regarding higher protection in no uncertain terms in the Speech from the Throne, and we are stating it in no uncertain terms in the resolutions which the Minister of Finance will bring in when this debate is concluded. We have unhesitatingly stated our position in a very clear and emphatic way.

But I can imagine what has happened, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Finance introduced his budget on a Thursday afternoon. On the following Tuesday afternoon the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) brought in the amendment now before the House. May I describe it at once as a milk and water amendment, one portending neither good nor ill, to any of the hon. gentlemen opposite, in so far as the different constituencies they represent are concerned. The amendment does not touch the vital question of tariff at all; it relates solely to a matter of procedure, nothing more or less. It leaves absolutely alone the great question in virtue of which hon. gentlemen say they should be in office.

In the days intervening between the Thursday and the following Tuesday of which I spoke, hon. gentlemen opposite had their caucus, as everyone knows. It is not for me to say what went on in that caucus; I do not pretend to know and I do not wish to know, but I can imagine very well that the right hon. leader of the party-and in this I will say that I think he is consistent and fearless in his stand-would have liked to have a resolution brought in as an amendment to the budget declaring for a consistently maintained protective tariff. No doubt he and some of his friends so expressed themselves, but when they began to look over the field and take a census of their members, they found that many gentlemen from the Maritime provinces, though they were prepared to talk about Maritime rights and to take their seats in this House on the cry of Maritime rights, were not prepared to include all round protection in the list of Maritime rights. And I think they also found that my hon. friend from South Winnipeg (Mr. Rogers) and some of his friends from Manitoba and others from Alberta, when they were confronted with the thought of introducing an amendment on what has been claimed to be the main issue, namely, the question of a protective tariff consistently maintained, shied away from anything of the kind, and that after a while, the more the matter was discussed the fewer they found in their ranks who were prepared to stand

The Budget-Mr. Mackenzie King

up and support an amendment to the budget declaring for a consistently maintained protective policy.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Robert Rogers

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROGERS:

My right hon. friend is

entirely mistaken.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I would go

further, and say that I believe what I have said in regard to the Maritime provinces and in regard to Manitoba and Alberta is true also of a number of constituencies in Ontario represented by hon. gentlemen opposite.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Is Kitchener one?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I will have a

word to say about Kitchener a little later on.

Now may I say, Mr. Speaker, that the attitude of hon. gentlemen opposite in presenting this milk and water amendment is all the more remarkable in view of the emphatic declarations made by the leader of the Conservative party during the last campaign. I will not attempt to quote these at any length, but I would like to read from the speeches delivered a few positive statements made during the recent campaign by the right hon. leader of the opposition as to the position of his party. Speaking at Wing-ham on September 9 my right hon. friend is reported in the Toronto Globe as having declared that-

The (basic, underlying policy whioh must be adopted if Canada was to recover and grow was an immediate revision of the tariff on a definitely and consistently protective basis.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The applause to which you have just listened, Mr. Speaker, emphasizes the truth of what I have said. These gentlemen are prepared loudly to applaud a sentiment of the kind, but they are not prepared to bring! in an amendment which gives expression to that view.

Let me quote another statement. On September 11, speaking at Leamington, the leader of the opposition is reported, through the Canadian Press, in the Ottawa Citizen, as follows:

The first tariff he would raise if he got into power would be the (tariff on agricultural products. It was absurd that early fruits et cetera should come into Canada without contributing to the revenue.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Hon. gentlemen opposite say, "hear, hear." Then why is there no amendment to that effect? Why this milk-and-water resolution on a matter of procedure and the vital principle of the tariff left untouched?

At Halifax, as reported in the Halifax Herald, of September 15, Mr. Meighen said:

I say now that the tariff on coal should only be increased as a part of a general policy, a real definite protective policy such as the United States have adopted, and I would stand in the way of any increase in the coal duties as a single step by itself.

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An hon. MEMBER:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The "hear,

hears" are getting fewer, I notice. Then coming to Amherst, on September 19, as reported in the Montreal Star:

Mr. Meighen told his audience that he would put the tariff on products up to that of the United States In the first three months after he was returned to power, if successful at the polls. A protective tariff was the "dominant essential in the conduct of Canadian affairs."

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Hon. gentlemen say, "hear, hear." We have been in this House four or five months, and as yet they have not brought forward an expression of view along the lines their leader said he would adopt in the first three months after he was returned to power.

On September 1, speaking at Moncton, the right hon. leader of the opposition said:

This Dominion has no chance for its industrial life save under a protective tariff.

On October 5, speaking at Edmonton, as reported in the Edmonton Journal, he said:

The only way to secure to Alberta coal the great market of Ontario and the east generally is by the placing of a tariff against foreign coal, which with the additional aid of federal absorption of part of the freight rate on the long haul, will definitely put Alberta coal into the Ontario market. If elected to power I pledge myself to see that this is done.

May I draw the attention of hon. members to that statement? The right hon. leader of the opposition, speaking in Alberta, said: If elected to power I pledge myself to see that that is done, namely, that a duty is imposed which will permit Alberta coal to get into the market in this part of the Dominion. He did not say-and I have read the report with as much care as possible-he does not appear to have said in Alberta what he said in the Maritime provinces, that he would stand in the way of any duty being put on coal unless it was part of an all-round protective system. It was in that respect a very different statement he made to the people of the western province. To quote further:

The first thing to be done is to place a duty on foreign coal which would effectually prevent it from competing with Canadian coal in its own home market.

After the United States raised their tariff, I would have raised the Canadian tariff to the same height.

The Budget-Mr. Mackenzie King

Then on October 7, at Vancouver, as reported in the Vancouver Province, he said: We will first address ourselves to framing a tariff policy. We will put our tariff wall right up to the level of the American tariff wall.

At Calgary, on October 10, as reported in

the Calgary Albertan, he said:

My pledge to the farmers is that the tariff on farm products coming into Canada will be just as high as the protective tariff on farm products going into the United States.

At Moose Jaw, on October 12, he is reported in the Regina Leader, as follows:

It had been said that Mr. Meighen would put the tariff on implements back where it was. "I will do that," declared Mr. Meighen. .

Where are the "hear, hears" now? Not one that time. On October 20, at Woodstock, as reported in the Woodstock Sentinel Review, the right hon. leader of the opposition said: Canada must have a protective tariff, not only for the farmers and the manufacturers, but for every class of production in this nation.

On October 21, at

He announced his intention of imposing a tariff which would bring the Canadian duty on agricultural implements at least nearly as high as in the United States.

Then at Dunnville, on October 22, as reported in the London Free Press:

Mr. Meighen gave assurance that "the first thing the government will do after the 29th of October, just as soon as it can do it under the rules of parliament, will be to raise the farm products tariff right up to the American level."

Then at Toronto, on October 26, as reported in the Mail and Empire:

He (Mr. Meighen) agreed that a tariff could not be placed on coal except as part of a general policy. Second, regarding the output of the farm, he advocated a tariff right up to the height of the American level.

Again in Toronto, on October 26, as reported in the Star, he said:

It was only reasonable that a protective tariff system must be consistent, and the coai mines of Nova Scotia and Alberta would be given an opportunity to cultivate the home market.

Now we come to Kitchener, to which my hon. friend has referred. I notice that at Kitchener, speaking of the tariff, the right hon. leader of the opposition is reported to have said-I quote from the London Free Press, October 27:

We will take the tariff of farm products in this Dominion and the first thing we will do we will raise the tariff right up to the American level.

He touched not only on the duties at Kitchener, but also touched on the question of the British preference, and what did my right hon. friend say'at Kitchener, speaking

on the British preference? The Toronto Globe of the same date reports him as having said:

I believe the British preference is wrong in principle and unjust to the workers of Canada.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Hon. gentlemen opposite say, "hear, hear." I wonder what they would have said if I had made an utterance of that kind in Kitchener? I wonder what they would have said if I had selected the one community in this country that has the largest number of German citizens in it, to go there and say: "I believe the British preference is wrong in principle, and unjust to the workers of Canada."

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May 18, 1926