Mr. J. L. ILSLEY (Hants-Kings):
Mr. Speaker, I trust that the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat (Mr. Sinclair) will not consider it presumptuous in me, one of the younger members of the house, to congratulate him upon what I believe to be his maiden speech in this house. I enjoyed very much what I could hear of his speech. I cannot say that I agree with all the sentiments he expressed, but I certainly consider his effort to have been very creditable.
From what I could hear of the opening of his remarks he laid emphasis on the thing that has been stressed so much and so often by hon. gentlemen on the other side of the house, and that is the matter of emigration from the Dominion of Canada to the United States. As that is one of the main lines of attack upon the budget which has been pursued by the Conservative party, I hope to refer to it later in my remarks.
First of all I want to congratulate the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) upon the budget and upon the series of budgets for which he has been responsible as Finance minister. The most complimentary thing that I can say is this, that by the series of Robb budgets which have been brought down to this parliament during the last few years the minister has proved himself a worthy successor of that great Nova Scotian who preceded him, the Right Hon. Mr. Fielding; and in saying that I am paying him the highest compliment I can think of.
As I said before, the main line of attack that has been made upon this budget from the other side of the house has been based upon the proposition that it lowers the tariff too much. I have listened with very much Interest to the addresses that have been made in an attempt to support that proposition, and I note that my hon. friends opposite single out this year the spinning branch of the woollen industry as that which will be most injured by the tariff reductions. The best speech, if I may be permitted to say so, that has been made on the other side of the house upon that phase of the subject was that of the hon. member for South Waterloo (Mr.
Edwards). I read his speech, and the letters from the manufacturers which were quoted therein, and I note that they do not make any specific or unqualified prediction of disaster to the industry; they simply state their fears as to what may take place. I think, Mr. Speaker, that the people of this country will not be convinced by that. They will feel that these predictions are to be placed in the same category as the predictions of ruin and disaster that were made by the Conservative party at the time the agricultural implement duties were reduced, and in the same class as those other predictions of disaster which were made when the automobile duties were reduced. We all know that those reductions were not succeeded by worse1 times in those industries, but by better times, and I think the people of this country will come to the conclusion that the same will be the case in regard to the reduction of duties provided for in the present budget.
Regarding the main argument of hon. gentlemen opposite, that the tariff policy of this government has been driving our young men and women to the United States in great numbers, I am prepared to admit that from some parts of Canada there is considerable emigration to the United States. There is in my own constituency; there has been during the last few years. But, Mr. Speaker, I deny that lowering of tariffs has been in any measure responsible for driving these people to the United States, and I also deny that the raising of the general tariff level would in any measure result in their return.
Take the condition in my own constituency. There we have had five bad apple years in succession. If we had five good apple years, or even two good apple years, when conditions were favourable in the apple industry there would be a vast change in the conditions there. As the house knows, the apple growers of the Annapolis valley sell the greater part of their apples abroad in competition with the world, and particularly in competition with the exportable surplus of American and also English fruit. Now in competing with the apple growers of New York state we in the Annapolis valley have certain advantages, especially in the cost of barrels, of labour, and of fertilizers, which, due very largely to the policy of this government in putting fertilizers on the free list is lower in the Annapolis valley than in New York state; but on a considerable list of other articles, on some farm implements, on some tools and other hardware, on some spraying materials and other farm materials, the cost, based as it seems to be in many instances upon the
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American price plus the Canadian duty, is greater in Annapolis valley than in New York state. If any person is interested in pursuing this subject in detail he will find it dealt with at pages 108 to 111 of a recent publication entitled The Maritime Provinces since Confederation, published by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics. The Nova Scotia farmer has to pay substantially more than his American competitor for power sprayers, disc harrows, mowing machines, horse rakes, potato diggers, potato planters, manure spreaders, lime sowers, grain and fertilizer drills, spring tooth harrows, tractors, trucks, some spraying materials, and almost all other farm materials such as middlings, bran, cornmeal, coal oil, gasoline, tires, not to mention motor cars and equipment. It is obvious that if you increase the customs tariff on these articles, which I understand is the proposal of hon. gentlemen opposite, you are going to increase the cost of production to the apple producers in the Annapolis, Cornwallis, Gaspereau and Avon valleys of Nova Scotia. If you go to any farmer in those districts and ask him why he is not doing as well as he did before the war, he will tell you that the cost of production has gone up disproportionately to the price he is receiving for his products. It is obvious that any policy which results in a general increase in that cost of production, any policy which will result in increasing the spread between his costs and the costs of his New York state competitor, is not going to make conditions any better in the Annapolis valley. As a matter of fact it will make conditions very much worse, and you wiii have two persons leaving the locality for the United States where you have one at the present time. I think that constituency is fairly representative of a great many rural constituencies in Canada. Higher tariffs as a cure for conditions in a constituency such as that, so far as emigration is concerned, would be a joke, or perhaps I should say, a tragedy
As a matter of fact we do not have to depend upon our reasoning or upon logic to a proper conclusion as to what effect a higher tariff would have upon emigration. If there was one period in the history of Canada when conditions should have been ideal so far as the emigration problem is concerned, according to the arguments of hon. gentlemen opposite it was the period between 1879, when the national policy came into force, and 1896, when the Conservative party went out of power. There you had a government favourable to the protection of home industry, a government whose avowed policy was to furnish jobs for Canadian workmen. You had no inquisitive consumers' league to cope with,
no fussy tariff board. If the manufacturer wanted protection he simply went to the Finance minister and got what he desired. What was the result? If the reasoning of hon. gentlemen opposite is valid and sound, surely we would expect that there would be practically no emigration from Canada during that period, and yet the records show that there was no period in the history of Canada, before or since, when emigration was as great as during that very period.
My hon. friends opposite are talking against the government because, they contend, its policy is leading to emigration. I tell them their talk is as nothing compared with what was said by Sir Richard Cartwright and his colleagues in the early nineties after the census of 1891. Sir Richard Cartwright placed facts before the House of Commons to show that in the decade between 1881 and 1891 there was an exodus from the Dominion amounting to 1,460,000 persons, or 146,000 a year for ten years on end. That was the condition during that halcyon period. Why, in the province of Nova Scotia the population, which according to the census returns was 440,000 in 1881, had increased to only 450,000 in 1891. But it is a matter of history that the census of 1891 was conducted fraudulently and showed tens of thousands more people in the province than were actually there. If anyone wishes to check this I would refer him to the speech made by Sir Frederick Borden, then the member for King's County, in the House of Commons on June 12, 1894, in which he shows that whole families were transplanted from the Cornwallis and Annapolis valleys to the New England states, and yet they were shown in the census returns as still living in the province. As a matter of fact our population was stationary at that time, notwithstanding a high birth rate and considerable immigration. It was stationary in New Brunswick-even the census did not show an increase. It was stationary in Prince Edward Island-even the census did not show an increase. In the book to which I have referred, issued recently by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, it is said that the total emigration from the maritime provinces between 1881 and 1891 exceeded 103.000 and between 1891 and 1901 it exceeded 111,000. It was not until after 1901, when the results of the Laurier policies began to be felt, that the emigration from the maritime provinces was substantially reduced.
It is for these reasons, reasons that I might call historical as well as mathematical, that I say the cure-all prescribed by hon. gentlemen opposite would in fact be no cure at all. If we had applied what I understand to be the
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remedy suggested by my hon. friends opposite, a scientific tariff, so-called, that is, a tariff which adequately protects the simpler and raw forms of products from foreign competition-the remedy suggested by my hon. friend from Cumberland (Mr. Smith) this afternoon; he said he was advocating a tariff on coal which would absolutely keep out American coal-if we had a tariff like that, increasing as our goods become more highly processed and reaching its maximum when the goods become most highly processed, it would mean a tariff amounting to 60, 70 and 75 per cent in the latter case. Such a tariff would be so crushing to our primary producers that it would depopulate whole countrysides, let alone solve the problem of immigration!
The remedy in the maritime provinces is not to be found along those lines. So far as the rural sections are concerned, I suggested, in a speech that I made in the house a month or so ago two or three things which I thought the government ought to try to do in the direction of developing foreign markets. 1 was paid the compliment of being very severely criticized by the Halifax Herald, a Conservative newspaper in Nova Scotia. This paper said that I was simply repeating old party shibboleths, without any regard to their applicability to the conditions actually in existence in the province. But in answer to that criticism I want to put on record a little evidence. In Nova Scotia it has been admitted for many years, by both Liberals and Conservatives, that one of our greatest needs is wider markets. I refer to the submission of the claims of Nova Scotia made by the Rhodes government to the Duncan commission. At page 167 I find this:
It undoubtedly called for great sacrifice on the part of the farmers of this province to forego the advantage of the American market, as A ova Scotia is especially adapted to the production of vegetables, fruits and like perishable products which find a ready sale in the industrial centres of the New England states.
As a matter of fact, the Rhodes government has aippointed a marketing representative to develop those New England markets in the person of Professor Cumming, the Secretary of Agriculture in Nova Scotia under the old Liberal government. The Liberal leader, Mr. Chisholm, made some criticism of Secretary Cumming being sent there on that mission, but the Halifax Herald, on February 18th, 1928, defending the appointment, had this to say:
Mr. Chisholm explains that his complaint that the former Secretary for Agriculture had been "degraded to the position of a commercial traveller to Boston" was a slip of the tongue, as doubtless it was, though a Bomewhat unfortunate one.
Our own view is that that is not the point at all. A lapsus linguae is no ''hanging matter , even if it is a trifle embarrassing. But just why it should be suggested that Dr. Cumming has in any way been "degraded" is a little more than we can understand. Finding markets for the products of Nova Scotia farms and orchards and dairies is just about the most honourable and most useful work in which any man could engage.
This from the very paper which states that no wider markets are necessary! Now, as a matter of fact, the expansion of markets which I suggested was the Cuban market for potatoes and the German market for apples. Anyone who denies the value of those markets is simply ignorant of conditions existing in the business or is misrepresenting the facts. There is no doubt about the value of those markets among the people who themselves are actually engaged in the production of apples and potatoes.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I wish to deal briefly with a few of the attacks that have been made upon the budget, more particularly by the Conservative members from my own native province. I have always understood that a budget, While being a statement of the estimated revenues and expenditures for the ensuing year, is primarily a program of taxation. I know that the greatest budgets ever brought down in the British House of Commons, the budgets of Mr. Gladstone in the early sixties, were certainly programs of taxation which were designed to interfere as little as possible with the flow of trade in its natural channels. These budgets were succeeded by periods of great prosperity in England, in fact of greater prosperity than England had theretofore enjoyed. But the conception of a budget held by my hon. friends on the other side from the province of Nova Scotia is essentially and fundamentally different. They seem to think that it should contain something for themselves or their constituents. They say: What is there in it for us; what is there in it for this industry; what is there in it for this business? They seem to feel that the budget is a sort of Christmas tree and ought to be hung with prize packages and gifts for their constituencies. They seem to feel that the Minister of Finance is a sort of Santa Claus and if he does not stuff their stockings full of presents he is deserving of the very greatest censure from the Dominion. Now I think I am as sincerely desirous of seeing the province of Nova Scotia advance as anyone else, but I must differ emphatically from that fundamental conception of what a budget is. What do the Nova Scotia Conservatives suggest?
I do submit that for the most part their suggestions are impracticable. We heard this
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afternoon from the hon. member for Cumberland. How does that hon. gentleman propose to solve the coal problem in the province of Nova Scotia? He says he would solve it first by the imposition of a duty high enough to keep out eighteen or twenty million tons of American coal, but on second reflection he admitted that, the Dominion fuel board having stated that it would have to be a duty of about S6 a ton, that amount was not necessary to protect the mines of Nova Scotia. Apparently he wants protection only so far as Nova Scotia is concerned; he is interested in Nova Scotia alone. He also advocated a reduction in freight rates and, as he said, still more reductions. He advocated subventions and increased bonuses to the coking plants. He said that the coking plants should be compelled, probably by making it penal to disobey the statute, to use Nova Scotia coal. These are the remedies he suggests for the difficulties of the coal industry of Nova Scotia. I asked him whether that industry had not increased its output last year by a million tons and he admitted that it had, but he thought the increase should be greater still. Perhaps it should be, but my hon. friend has failed to put his finger upon the true trouble in the coal industry of Nova Scotia. That trouble is lack of winter employment; the trouble is seasonal unemployment in the industry. The thing to which the government should direct its attention is a solution for the problem of seasonal unemployment. The companies themselves asked for the coking plant legislation of last session and stated that it would be sufficient. I am hoping that the coking plant legislation will meet the problem because it is directed to the trouble there, and it seems to me idle for any member to stand up and ask for great subventions and bonuses and reductions in freight rates unless he is prepared to tell the house something about what these proposals would involve in the way of cost. I am sure I should not have the effrontery to demand all these things unless I could give at least an approximate estimate of what they would cost the people of the Dominion.
While on this question I want to correct my hon. friend in regard to two or three misstatements of fact-misstatements which I have no doubt were inadvertent. He wanted to know whether those of us on this side would favour the reciprocity pact in respect of coal and have coal admitted free into Canada as into the United States. The hon. member should know that this was not part of the reciprocity pact of 1911. That pact provided for a 45 cent per ton duty on coal other than slack entering the United States
and Canada, the duty on slack being left exactly where it was at that time. My hon. friend also spent a great deal of time endeavouring to take credit to the Conservatives for the steel bounties. I am not greatly interested in these historic controversies as to which party deserves the credit, but since we are on the subject I may as well give the house two or three facts. The assistance which was given the coal industry prior to 1897 was infinitesimal and insignificant. In 1887 there were only 19,000 tons of steel produced in Nova Scotia; in 1896 only 32,000 tons. But by 1911 there were 390,000 tons produced in the province, showing that the assistance given the industry during that later period really amounted to something and was neither infinitesimal nor insignificant as it had been during the earlier period. My hon. friends are very ready to come to this government and declare that they must have this and that and the other. The hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg (Mr. Ernst) said that the banks of the Lahave river were being denuded of pulpwood and he asked what the government was going to do about it. What was the Minister of Finance going to do about this pulpwood which was being shipped to the United States? I would sug-guest that the responsibility rests primarily not upon the shoulders of the Minister of Finance or of this government but upon the people of the hon. gentleman's constituency. They might do just as the people of my constituency did in a similar situation: they put their money up and built a pulp mill on the shores of the Avon river in the town of Hants-port, and that mill will handle the pulpwood produced there and prevent its going to the United States.
Subtopic: DEBATE ON ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE