March 23, 1928

LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I beg to move, Mr. Chairman, that the following drawback item, enumerations and rates of drawbacks of duty be inserted in schedule B to the customs tariff:

Customs tariff-1066. Bituminous coal when pulverized by proprietors of rolling mills for heating iron or steel for use only in the production of rolled iron or steel at their rolling mills-payable as drawback 99 per cent.

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Item agreed to.


LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I beg to move to substitute the following for tariff item 219a:

Customs tariff-219a. Non-alcoholic preparations or chemicals for disinfecting, dipping or spraying, n.o.p.; materials, n.o.p., for use only in producing or manufacturing preparations specified in this item, under regulations prescribed by the Minister of National Revenue: British preferential tariff, free; intermediate tariff free; general tariff, free.

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Amendment agreed to. Item as amended agreed to.


LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

With respect to 219b, I beg to move that the following item, enumerations and rates of duty be inserted in schedule A:

Customs tariff-219b. Formaldehyde, containing not more than 15 per centum of alcohol: British preferential tariff, free; intermediate tariff, free; general tariff, free.

It has been represented to me that this is used largely for treating grain to prevent smut and I am now moving that formaldehyde be made free under all tariffs.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

To be consistent, the

government must place this item on the free list, but the effect of it upon one of the industries of this country the only one, as the

Ways and Means-Drawbacks

minister is aware, is going to be disastrous. Assuming two bushels of seed wheat to the acre, the protection afforded by this item is fifty-nine thousandths of a cent per 'bushel. It simply means the existence or the nonexistence of the industry in Canada. Is it desirable that we should have to import this very necessary material for the prevention of smut on wheat, or that we should be willing to pay fifty-nine thousandths of a cent per bushel protection? That is the question.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Weyburn):

Whom does the hon. gentleman mean by "we"?

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I mean parliament.

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Yes. He will pay fifty-nine thousandths of a cent per bushel, and I ask, is it desirable that he should find himself in the position where none of this material will be manufactured in Canada, or that he should possibly have to pay fifty-nine thousandths of a cent per bushel and have his source of supply in Canada? Representations were made to me, and I assume to other hon. members, and the books were open to the minister, and the facts submitted to him. I have no interest in the matter beyond that of a citizen to whom these papers were sent, as they were no doubt to large numbers of the members of this house. I am certain that the minister is satisfied that it involves only fifty-nine thousandths of a cent per bushel.

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LAB

Herbert Bealey Adshead

Labour

Mr. ADSHEAD:

Does not the hon. gentleman admit that putting on that amount of duty would increase the price of the article to the consumer?

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Assuming that it does,

it means only fifty-nine thousandths of a cent per bushel, and I ask, is it desirable that the Canadian farmer dhould be dependent upon an imported supply of this very necessary material, or that he should possibly pay fifty-nine thcfhsandths of a cent per bushel to have this supply in Canada?

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Yes, but it means the

life or death of an industry in Canada.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

A representative of that industry complained to me that it would put him out of business, and eventually the farmers of Canada would pay more for the article. My answer to him was that the farmers wanted this, and I supposed they knew their business. That is why I brought in the resolution.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Is it quite fair?

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

A step in the right

direction.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Is it a step in the right

direction to render it impossible for this industry to function here?-an industry that has reduced its capital stock from 86,000,000 to 82,000,000, whose books have been open to the minister and the officers of the department, whose officials I never saw until the dajr they interviewed the minister, and who left with the member for Rosetown the same document they left with me. I ask hon. members representing rural sections whether or not it is desirable to place the production of this very necessary article wholly in the hands of people outside of Canada who may be able to make the price anything they desire, and who will do so. We have had experience of it. There is no reason why we should not mention the industry. It is the Standard Chemical Company, owned in Great Britain. As I say, they had to reduce their capital from six to two million, because of their unsuccessful endeavour to establish a great industry in Canada. And any hon. gentleman who represents a rural riding knows how very powerful this particular disinfectant is. The hon. member for Saskatoon perhaps will be able to correct my description. It is a most powerful germicide, and, I understand, is used very largely in the fumigation of ships and buildings wherein people have been subject to infectious diseases. A very weak solution is used to prevent, so far as possible, a smut in wheat. Formaldehyde is composed of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon, so combined chemically as to form a very powerful germicide.

Now, if the possible effect of the tariff upon the price to the farmer is the very insignificant sum I have mentioned, are we wise in departing from that very limited protection, and thus placing our market entirely in the hands of mass-producing competitors? The important thing to remember is that this substance is produced in very large quantities in other countries where there is a great demand for it, whereas in Canada, owing to a limited market, it is produced in very small quantities. I can only reiterate that when the other day my attention was directed to this matter for the first time, I checked up the figures with some degree of care, and I said then I believe-and I still believe-that if the representatives of the rural constituencies were satisfied that only the insignificant amount mentioned was involved, they would not desire to destroy the industry in this country and place our farm population at the

St. Lawrence River Bridge Company

mercy of the chemical trust to the south of us. That is the problem for hon. members , to consider, and I am quite content with their judgment upon it.

My business for the moment in the position I occupy is to direct the attention of the committee to the fact and ask the minister if my statement of those facts is not correct, because, I submit, it is not sound for any minister of finance merely to say that it has been represented to him by the farm population that they wanted a certain thing, when, as he must now admit, they were not given the facts on which to base a correct conclusion. In my experience extending over thirty-six years I have observed no unfairness in the attitude of my fellow-Canadians when they have been fully seized of the facts. The minister told the people interested that they had made out a case, that the protection wa3 insignificant and in his judgment very reasonable. Now, because pressure has been brought to bear by others without the facts being placed before them, he says: I will remove the item from the tariff and put it on the same basis as the others, regardless of the effect of my action on the industry. I submit that that is not fair to the representatives of the rural constituencies who have not had an opportunity to be advised of the facts. I think it is the duty of the minister to place the facts before the house, not simply to say: Because somebody said they wanted me to do thus and so, I have done it. That is the position we must take in a matter of this kind.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Carried.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I do not propose that

this item shall pass to-night. We may as well make up our minds to it now.

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March 23, 1928