I want to make clear to the minister just what we have in view. He has read to us one clause of the tariff. There are other clauses which enable the United States executive in its discretion to increase their tariff, and my sole suggestion is that if the object is to be attained, which the Minister of Finance has in view, there should be a provision that this 10 per cent of our general tariff which applies to the United States shall be maintained only so long as a corresponding tariff obtains in the United States, so that we may not be put at a disadvantage should the executive of the United States in its discretion withhold the same advantage from us.
My hon. friend and I may not agree on questions of policy but I think we concur in the hope that both of us will be back at another session, and if we find that we are being discriminated against it will be within the power of parliament to make' such changes as the government may recommend. But the fact is that there are practically no imports coming into the country.
The item now before the committee has been approved by the executive of the men who are actually in the business and who are looking for further trade in other countries. The reduction does not apply only to the United States; the item is reduced against the' world. The reduction places us in the position where our goods will not be discriminated against in the United States, as they are at the present time.
I suggest to the minister that by an adroit and slight amendment he could provide that our goods would not hereafter be discriminated against in the United States. That is the only suggestion I make. As to whether we shall both be back in another parliament, that is a matter of conjecture; we can only deal with the question the Minister of Finance submits to us to-day. For my part, I trust the hon. gentleman will long occupy a position in the public life of the country.
I think the minister should accept the suggestion, which has been offered in a reasonable spirit. It is not in any sense a criticism of his action in putting the reduction into effect. I fully appreciate that it will be a good thing for the paper companies. I believe that within the past two years I have mentioned to the minister this very matter, suggesting that if he would reduce his item to a level of 10 per cent with the United States it would be a distinct advantage to the Canadian paper manufacturers and to Canadian workmen. The minister says that in the event of our being discriminated against the government can come' back to parliament to rectify things. I would point out that there is a difficulty in having such remedies provided; if I know anything about it, it is very difficult to convince a government that it has made errors in matters of this sort. Without wishing to take up more time, I would ask the minister to let the matter stand so that we might give it further consideration.
I want to tell hon. gentlemen that they will not railroad any tariff changes without due consideration. I am not going to look for information on this subject from people who never saw a paper mill. I would suggest that a volume of trade might be built up to the exclusion of other volumes of trade and then, at the behest of the United States manufacturers, that government might
act very quickly with the result that this trade would be lost to Canadian manufacturers and serious injury would be done them. Let us try to fortify our position in every reasonable way. I am not asking the minister to do anything unreasonable, but I do think the suggestions which have been made are worthy of more consideration than the' minister has given them to date.
friend, who is possibly as well posted on the paper business as any person in this house, that in 1923 we made a change which will be found under item 768 of the customs tariff. This affected pulpboard and rolls for use in the manufacture of wall board; it has been in existence ever since and was put through for exactly the same purpose. No fault has been found with that change since that time. With regard to the policy of hitting him on the other cheek, as we may call it, if we are going to adopt a policy of that kind it should not be limited to paper products. It is a broad general principle which might be considered by parliament; it is debatable, but it is not now before the house at all. It is a theory proposed by my hon. friends, and our idea is that parliament should determine what should be done.
There is one point in connection with which I cannot grasp the argument of the hon. gentleman opposite. It is maintained that at present there are no importations under this item. What then would be the effect of that particular suggestion, if it were put into force? It could have no effect unless a trade were developed coming this way, but as long as the trade is all the other way, and we hope it will be all the other way, I cannot see how the change proposed by the hon. member for York-Sunbury (Mr. Hanson) can have any effect at all. With reference to his other point, I imagine the United States would have the power to cut off the trade at any time, no matter what we put in our tariff. I cannot quite understand the practical effect of the suggestion made by the hon. member.
As I see it, the purpose of reducing this duty is to secure a reduction in the tariff on this paper going into the United States. If there is practically no loss in revenue, why not make it free all the way through?
My hon. friends in that comer who oppose the budget do not agree with my hon. friends across the way, because hon. gentlemen opposite wish to put in a clause which will enable us to raise the tariff later on if necessary.