March 23, 1928

LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Not at all. They were entirely satisfied with the hearing, and that is all I said.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

That is what I have been trying to point out to the minister, not only to-day but the other day as well. The results of this hearing are somewhere, heaven knows where, perhaps in the mind of Mr. Moore-

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

They are before the committee.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

There is not one fact or result before the committee, not a single finding not a single comment-not one. That is what we are complaining of. To my mind this house ought to go on record as censuring the board for dereliction of duty in presenting this report. Here is what the board say and the report speaks for itself:

Moreover, the transcripts contain the arguments of the applicants and their opponents, which, in our opinion, cannot be satisfactorily summarized, and after mature deliberation we have concluded that to attempt a summary would be not only unfair to those who have argued before the board, but as well would render to you and to parliament an incomplete service. The obvious intent of argument-*

I wish the committee particularly to note this:

The obvious intent of argument is to influence those who have authority over the matter under discussion.

Thus it is that we have deemed it our duty to pass on to you the transcripts containing the records of our public proceedings, with only explanatory comment.

I have' been unable to find any explanatory comments. They may be scattered through a mass of evidence unassimilated, undigested and unindexed, without comment, not brought into juxtaposition one with the other, but scattered-part of a hearing to-day and the balance of the hearing two weeks hence-and

Ways and Means-Customs Tariff

then we are asked to go through all that evidence, bring one part and correlate it to another, and make up our minds as to what was presented. The board has been organized for two years, and Mr Moore has been sitting for more than a year, day in and day out, hearing witnesses, able to judge of their veracity and their capacity, and yet he does not vouchsafe one atom of advice or comment to this parliament. That is what I complain of, and I complain of the action of the minister in putting on Hansard, extracts from the press and the comments of certain gentlemen, and now trying to say to this house if we would permit him: This is the evidence that these people have had a fair hearing, and that they are perfectly satisfied with the findings. I say again, Mr. Chairman, that this house ought to censure the board, or as an alternative, censure the government, for they are responsible for the board's action, for presenting to the house a report as barren of information as this report is. I am not going to say any more on that at present.

I conclude with the observation, that as far as the woollen schedules of the present tariff are concerned, they bear every evidence of ruin for a number of factories, if not for the whole industry. Here is a factory which, we will say, has one half of its capital wrapped up in the spinning of yarn and the other half devoted to the purchase of machines for the utilization of these yarns. The effect of this clause to which I have referred will be to put out of business that part of the factory which is spinning yarns and allow the other half to continue operating. Does anyone presume to suggest that this, for a time at least, will not spell ruin to that industry? It means that the industry must convert its capital, its investment and its machinerj' into some other use and sustain the loss of such conversion, whatever it may be. I therefore impress upon the minister the seriousness of his action, and even yet hope that he may see his way clear to remedy this injustice which is being done to this industry. After all, the matter is one involving the welfare not of one or two concerns but of the whole industry of the Dominion.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Each year since 1924 I have been accused by hon. gentlemen of destroying industry, so that my hon. friend's speech is not at all new to me. To-day we are discussing, not automobiles nor agricultural implements but woollens, and as I listened to my hon. friend I tried to make up my mind just what was the object of his remarks. Was his speech intended as an attack on the board

or on the chairman of the board? Was it intended as an attack on the minister or on the policy of the government?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

It was intended as an attack on the government.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

On the government?

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Absolutely, because the

government is responsible for this action.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I was going to give my hon. friend another guess. I was wondering whether his speech was an attempt to prevent the woollen manufacturer, who yesterday announced that he intended establishing in Victoria, from coming over and locating.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

It just happens that I met that gentleman when in the old country recently.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

My hon. friend must have

persuaded him to come.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

No, but I was glad to hear that he was coming. It may be interesting to point out that before coming he received a guarantee from the city of Victoria of the bonds of the company to the extent of $125,000, and in the second place a concession of free water-which is a very important factor in the cost of manufacturing woollen goods- to the extent of 200,000 gallons per month. With these inducements he has come and I am exceedingsly glad that he has done so. In addition to this he will receive twenty-seven acres of land free of taxation.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

That does not enter into it.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I would consider it a fair factor.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Everyone knows that towns

and cities throughout Canada vie with each other in offering inducements to industries to establish in their midst. My hon. friend has at least made it clear that he is advocating some higher tariff for the woollen industry. He does not say how high, but I am not doing him an injustice when I say he is advocating a higher tariff for the industry.

Mr. STEVEN'S: I will never run away from that.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

The inference is made that this government is responsible for having so reduced tariffs as to injure the woollen industry. I have before me the brief which the woollen industry themselves presented to the tariff board. This is their own brief, their own statement. They claim that:

Wool manufacturing has been declining steadily in Canada since 1897, with the exception of two or three war years when importa-

1610 COMMONS

Ways and Means-Customs Tariff

tions of manufactured goods from abroad were largely shut off and when orders for woollen goods were sold to other countries-*

-and when they had the great business they had at home.

I am not going to go through their arguments for higher tariffs; but when they come to the question of what governments have done to injure them, they make this statement which will be found on page 12 of their brief presented to the tariff board on the 1st February, 1927:

In 1919 there was a reduction of five per cent in the duties on goods imported from Great Britain-*

This government was not in office in 1919. We are not responsible for reducing that tariff by five per cent.

-and in May, 1920, a reduction of 71 per cent on goods imported from foreign countries.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

That was the war tax

which was taken off. There was a war tax, a horizontal tax, imposed on everything and at the conclusion of the war it was taken off everything.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

The point I am making is that at that time the people of Canada were united. The government was not a Conservative government. I am not blaming, nor am I giving them credit for this. We had in office at that time a Union government and it was the policy of the countiy that we should reduce duties on woolllens.

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

The only excuse I have for

rising now and detaining the committee for a moment or two is that last night and this afternoon we have heard two new principles enunciated by the Conservative party. Last night we had the idea of the economic independence of Canada and to-day we have had enunciated by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) the principle that protection is for the purpose of conserving the standard of living for the workers in this Dominion.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

As a matter of fact we

have always contended that as one of the main principles and reasons of protection.

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March 23, 1928