February 21, 1927

?

An hon. MEMBER:

Yes.

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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

Thank you. Here we have an item under "vehicles," and in 1924 our imports amounted to $10,486,668; in the first four months of 1926 they amounted to $24,641,565, or an increase of 135 per cent. That is what tinkering with the tariff did to the automobile industry, and that is what it is doing at present.

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LIB

Edmond George Odette

Liberal

Mr. ODETTE:

Does the hon. gentleman

know that the motor car industry in Canada is busier and in a more prosperous condition to-day than at any time since its inception in this country?

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

I hear a great thumping of desks, so I suppose that must be true; I dc not know. Iam giving you the position, however, and would not the industry be in a much better position if the automobiles represented by that figure of $24,000,000 were manufactured in Canada?

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LIB

Edmond George Odette

Liberal

Mr. ODETTE:

I would refer my friend

to the secretary of the Canadian Manufacturers' Association for an answer to that question.

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CON
LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

Has the hon. gentleman the amount of duty paid on the imports of automobiles, as compared with the other 3mars?

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CON
LIB-PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Liberal Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

I think it would be very

useful to have those figures; it might perhaps set the hon. member right on the question of rates of duty versus total revenue.

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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

The hon. gentleman has not spoken in this debate; he can bring down that information.

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LIB
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order, order.

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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

I am very glad to see that I have touched up a few of the high spots on the other side of the House. I have not very much more to add because I do not want to waste all the night.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

Thank you. I wish to

point out just a few items in this little blue book issued by the Minister of Trade and Commerce and entitled, "Monthly Report of the Trade of Canada; imports for consumption and exports, July 1926." There are some very interesting items here; on page 199 I find the following:

Articles not otherwise provided which enter into the cost of the manufacture of goods, chiefly agricultural implements, enumerated in tariff items 445, 446, 446b, 447b, 448 and 591, when imported by manufacturers of such goods for use in such manufacture, from April 11, 1924.

I think it well that the working men who have had to leave this country and go to the United States should understand why they have had to take that little trip in order to get a job. In the first four months of 1924 the importations under that item amounted to

The Budget-Mr. Fraser

$353,340, while the amount this year was $1,053,729, or an increase of 198 per cent. Here is another item:

Cream separator materials, which enter into the construction and form part of cream separators when imported by manufacturers of cream separators to be used in the manufacture thereof, and articles of metal for use in the manufacture of cream separator parts.

That item increased from $63,090 to $218,225, or an increase of 252 per cent. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that with that result before us it is not strange that a halt was called in the tinkering with this tariff, until it was seen how the last reductions would affect the body politic of this country.

We also have the other two divisions of mining one of which is non-ferrous metals and their products. These increased from $13,560,915 to $15,352,227, or an increase of 13 per cent, while the non-metallic minerals increased from $46,155,591 to $50,188,217, or an increase of 9 per cent. Notwithstanding the remarks of the Minister of Finance the other night in regard to how busy Canada was, requiring more raw products to keep her factories going, I find that both coal and petroleum remained about the same for the first four months of this year, which does not indicate that they are making any difference in the imports and exports of this country. And then a very strange thing. I do not understand the significance of it, I must admit, but I find that during the four months that I am speaking of, the importation of stone and its products advanced fifty per cent. Now I want to know why we have to import stone? Coming from a province like British Columbia, and having in mind the Rocky mountains andjthe rest of the available areas in this country, I am amazed to think we have to import stone at all; yet I find we are increasing our imports of that material by fifty per cent. And here is another marvelous thing: an increase in the import of sulphur and brimstone of sixty per cent. Sulphur and brimstone! What for? I am inclined to think these products were imported to raise a fog in order to enable the government to deceive the people in the last election and help them out of their difficulties.

Now I want to point out to these gentlemen the significance not only of the import and export of these minerals but of their destination, and the bearing that it has upon our international trade. In the four months ending July, 1925, we imported minerals to the extent of $119,338,844, and in 1926 we increased that importation to $148,725,002, an increase of $29,386,158 or, putting it on a per-

[Mr. Fraser. 1

centage basis, an increase of 24.8 per cent. That is what the imports of mineral products into Canada during the current fiscal year show, an increase of 24 per cent. Now let us see what the destinations of these minerals were, and how they are affected by this interchange. We find in the first place that from the United Kingdom we imported $13,524,976 in 1925, which was decreased to $11,545,493 in 1926, a total reduction in value of $1,979,483, or a decrease on a percentage basis of 14.56 per cent. Remember the total importations increased by 24.8 per cent, and the importations from the United Kingdom decreased 14.5 per cent. From the United States we imported $99,428,122 worth in 1925, and in 1926 we imported $128,283,965 worth, a total increase in value of $28,855,843 from the United States, or a total increase of 28.92 per cent from that country. Hon. gentlemen will note a 24 per cent increase* in total importations, a decrease of 14 per cent in the importations from the United Kingdom, and an increase in the importations from the United States of 28.92 per cent. I think I heard someone opposite this afternoon mention how they on that side stood for preferential trade. Did 1 not hear some statement of that character? 1 believe I did. In the four months in question of 1925 we imported from other countries $6,385,746, and this year our importations amounted to $8,895,544, an increase in value of $2,499,807 or 39.11 per cent. Those are tihe importations from all other countries. That is the kind of preferential tariff we are getting in our mineral industry from the present government-an increase of importations from all other countries except the United Kingdom.

Now I suppose a person making statements of that kind during this session, when we were supposed to have so much cooperation, should give some direction to the government, should indulge in some constructive criticism that would help them along in their endeavours to build up trade. Well, in looking around I saw where I could make some suggestions that might be of benefit, that might indicate in what direction the government could travel in order to build up the industries of this country. As to the production of copper, in order to get my information I had to go to the United States; I could not find any statistics, although I suppose they are extant, so far as Canada is concerned. You sometimes hear rather gloomy statements in regard to the production of copper -that the production will be greater than the demand; that the next thing you know the mines and smelters will be closed, and

The Budget-Mr. Fraser

the men employed there will be out of work. All this, it is predicted, would take place if the price gets down to a certain point. I want to indicate to the government what my opinion is in regard to the use of copper and its alloys, bronze, brass, and other materials. I am not going to distinguish between them, I am going to indicate some new uses which are already in effect and which are being more largely employed, in order to try to show the government that they need not be afraid of expanding the mineral industry, and especially the mineral manufacturing industry.

In 1921 the electrical industry in the United States consumed 450,000,000 pounds of copper and 765,000,000 pounds in 1925. The automobile industry consumed 70,000,000 pounds of copper in 1921 and 245,000,000 pounds in 1925. The radio industry consumed 3,000,000 pounds of copper in 1924 and

10,000,000 pounds in 1926. Iceless refrigeration was not heard of at all in 1924, but in 1926 it consumed 45,000,000 pounds ot copper. Now let us take building construction. In 1922, with a building program in the United States of five thousand million dollars, they consumed 64,000,000 pounds of copper. And note these figures: In 1926, with a building program of only five thousand five hundred million dollars, or an increase of five hundred millions which is only about five per cent, they increased the use of copper to 111,000,000 pounds, or an increase of 68 per cent in the four years.

Now let us take washing machines. In 1921 not fifty per cent of the washing machines manufactured in the country were constructed of copper. Last year 95 per cent of the washing machines manufactured in the United States were constructed of copper, and the industry consumed 15,000,000 pounds of that material. Then you have the expansion in the use of copper shingles, which are becoming very common in the construction of large buildings. Also you have lighting fixtures, the demand for which is going to grow from time to time, especially in a country like Canada where you are proposing to harness your water powers and produce electrical power in increased quantities. Then you have also the copper that is going into the construction of large public buildings, such as halls, parliament buildings, libraries and various other edifices. These items from 1921 to 1925 increased the consumption of copper by 600,000,000 pounds, or at the rate of 150,000,000 pounds peT annum, so that there is not much danger of a decline in the copper industry for the next few years. It is about time-and it would be a first class thing for

the government to do-to proceed to give to that part of the mineral industry such assistance as they possibly can. In submitting these statistics I want to impress upon the government the necessity of doing more for the mining industry in the future than they have done in the past.

There are two ways in which they can very easily do that. In the first place by tariff legislation they can very largely assist Canadian manufacturers to turn these goods from the raw state into the finished article, without the necessity of sending our raw material to foreign countries to have it fabricated into articles of commerce and then returned to this country at 5, 10, 15 or maybe 100 per cent increased cost to the individual. I say to the Minister of Immigration (Mr. Forke) that so far as I can see there is no better colonizing agent than the mining industry. An increase in the manufacture of our mineral products is the best basis on which to build up an immigration policy. Indeed I do not know that I would not favour a policy under which the minister would dismiss his immigration officials altogether and use the $3,000,000, which is the appropriation for his department, in helping the prospector and the mining industry in this country. If you were fortunate enough to make one good mining strike in any part of the Dominion it would attract more people to this country in the course of three or four months than all your immigration agents would do in the next ten years.

The second method is by a little more liberal appropriation. The government should be inclined to give a little better consideration to the Geological survey, especially with reference to British Columbia. The industry of agriculture absorbs 1.64 per cent of the national expenditure. These are figures submitted the other day by the Minister of Finance; I am not manufacturing any of my own. Dominion lands absorb 1.20 per cent; fisheries, .41 per cent; public works, .28 per cent and mines, .17 per cent of the national expenditure. That means that seventeen one-hundredths of one per cent of our national expenditure is devoted to the development of our mines. In other words, you are spending on immigration just four times as much as you are spending on your mines, and the amount spent is out of all proportion to the returns you are getting from your immigration policy.

I am not familiar with the activities of the Geological survey in the eastern provinces, but I know (that in British Columbia it is doing valuable work. I do not want anyone to get the idea that I am trying to knock the Geological survey branch, because I know

The Budget-Mr. Fraser

it too well; I know it has splendid officials and it is doing valuable work for the Dominion. But from my point of view, coming as I do from a mining province, the amount provided for the work to be done by the Geological survey is out of proportion to the needs of the country; it should be multiplied, at the very least, by five or even by ten. The hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Manion) was depicting to us to-night one part of the country which is a mineralized area, and he did not say a single word about the other great range which is equally as big as the pre-Cambrian range. I refer to the Cordilleras, a range which extends from Mexico to the Yukon and beyond, and which has been touched only in spots. There is plenty of opportunity for work to be done throughout all these sections. We have in British Columbia to-day in the city of Trail the largest smelter in the world, employing more than 3,000 men, with an immense pay-roll, making huge sums of money. That is only one instance. In all parts of British Columbia there are possibilities for repetitions of that sort of thing, but in order to find those prospects we must have a systematic and intelligent survey of geological conditions throughout the province.

I think British Columbia has a little stronger claim for consideration in regard to the expenditure of these funds than any other province, because when it came into confederation one of the conditions of union was that the Dominion of Canada should carry on our geological survey. I recommend to the careful consideration of the Minister of Mines and the cabinet the advisability of appropriating a little more money to the Geological survey. I know the minister will get results, because I know the men in the department. They are capable men and they could easily make profitable use of an additional appropriation in that service.

If I were Minister of Mines I would be ashamed of the conditions under which men are expected to work in this city of Ottawa. The first thing the minister should do is to provide a substantial appropriation for a suitable building for the important work which these men are carrying on. The present buildings in the southeastern part of the city are the most ramshackle, untidy looking structures that I have ever seen in my life. I have been looking a little into the conditions of the mining department here, and I find that the different branches are scattered all over the city. There is no appearance of consolidation at all. It seems to me that about one-quarter of the efforts of the minister's department are dissipated in going from

one part of the department to another. He Should be able to secure useful information and recommendations from his officials as to a proper building with suitable headquarters in this city. If he cannot spend any money in British Columbia, perhaps he could spend some here.

I want to bring to the attention of the different ministers some of the very modest requirements of my constituency. Let me tell the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Elliott) that British Columbia has an area of something like 400,000 square miles, and that the district of Cariboo comprises about one-half or very nearly one-half of that area. Hon. members can imagine what kind of territory it is. There are people scattered all over that vast district. In the first place I am requested to ask for an extension of the telephone system, and I do not think that is an unreasonable request. How are you going to get pioneers into those places if you do not give them some of the comforts of modern civilization? They will not do it without them. I want to tell the present Minister of Public Works that I shall not be satisfied with what I got from the last Minister of Public Works. I put in a request last year for an expenditure of $26,000 for telephone service, and that included the Peace river country. I think it was a very modest sum to ask for, but I am not half as modest as the minister. How much do you suppose I got?

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John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

Three hundred dollars. Do you think that a square deal? I appeal to the Minister of Finance, who squeezes the last dollar as long as he can squeeze it. I got only 1.15 per cent of what I asked for, and the amount I requested had all been passed upon by the officials of the department as a reasonable one. On account of the treatment I got last year from this Liberal government I thought I had better make it plain on the floor of the House that I was really after something.

There is another matter. Accommodation has to be provided for the public in the shape of post offices. I have been looking over the reports of the Postmaster General for the past couple of years to see what has been expended on post office buildings in the different parts of the province, and I want to tell him that I have received requests from two different parts of my district for new post offices, one from Prince George, and the other from Salmon Arm. I am sure that if the minister were living in either place he would be in

Peace River Railway

full agreement with the people who are asking for these new post offices, because he looks rather reasonable, and I want him to grant this request.

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LIB

Peter John Veniot (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Mr. VENIOT:

Might I interrupt my hon.

friend to say that that comes under the Minister of Public Works? I might help you out by recommending it.

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CON

John Anderson Fraser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FRASER:

I am aware of the fact that the recommendation must come from the Postmaster General and his officials, and I appeal to him to make a recommendation in these two cases.

There is another expenditure that is badly needed in my district, and that is for the construction of roads. In that immense district the only means of communication for a lot of the settlers is the roads. In 191S the Conservative government initiated a policy of assisting the provinces in the building of good roads. British Columbia has exhausted her portion of that grant, but there are thousands of miles of roads yet to be built in British Columbia, particularly in the district of Cariboo. That policy of the Conservative government was a very popular one in British Columbia, because it takes a lot of money to build the kind of road that is required, and we need assistance. I can assure the different ministers that if they provide a certain sum for this purpose I am sure they will be amply repaid for any expenditure they may make if they will only take a trip out to British Columbia and see the magnificent scenery we have out there. I have received all kinds of requests from my district, but I am a very modest man and I do not ask for anything that a reasonable man would not readily grant. I submit with all respect that the requests which I have put forward to-cight are very reasonable and proper ones for me to make, and particularly with respect to the expenditure on telephones. Let the Minister of Public Works not forget that he granted only 1.15 per cent of what I asked for last year. I want him to do much better this year.

On motion of Mr. Young (Weyburn) the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Lapointe the House adjourned at 10.48 p.m.

Tuesday, February 22, 1927

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February 21, 1927