May 8, 1928

?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Question.

And Mr. Speaker proceeding to put the question:

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Mr. Speaker, before you

proceeded to put the question the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Young) was on his feet.

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

But other hon. gentlemen on this side wanted to speak.

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LIB
LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Does the hon. member

for Weyburn desire to speak?

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LIB
LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The point is this: The

hon. member was on his feet and a member on our side was to follow, but Your Honour called the question.

Mr. SPEAKER- The question has not been put, and if any hon. member wishes to speak he may do so now.

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CON

John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. J. W. EDWARDS (Frontenac-Adding-ton):

Mr. Speaker, I shall not take up very

much of the time of the house in discussing this amendment, but I should like to call attention to the fact that this amendment expresses the opinion that the necessary action should be taken by the government forthwith -not after they have received certain notices and spent several days in consideration of the matters presented to them, but forthwith- with a view to protecting the interests of our producers. The amendment suggests that action should be taken forthwith to effectively control the importation into Canada, either on sale or on consignment, of natural products of a class or kind produced in Canada under conditions which prejudicially or injuriously affect-and I wish to emphasize the next words-or threaten to prejudicially or injuriously affect the interests of the Canadian producer. There are a few people in the constituency which I have the honour to represent who will be benefited by a resolution of this kind, and I would like to present to the house one or two reasons why . action should be taken forthwith not only to protect our producers against the importation of goods now but to protect them against improper importations with which they are threatened.

Let us consider for a moment the advantages enjoyed by producers of these articles in the United States. If you go to the southern states you will find that they have the advantage of cheap Mexican and negro labour, and that the wages they pay are very much lower than those paid by Canadian producers. I am sure everyone will admit that the southern producer has a decided advantage in that respect. Then I point to a second advantage: The Canadian producer must be satisfied with the production of one crop during the year, but the southern producer is able to produce two or three crops, due to the more favourable climate. I have indicated two advantages which seem to me apparent as being enjoyed by the southern producer as against the producer in Canada, but there is still another point which must be considered. The American producer has three markets, two high price markets and one low price or medium price market, while the Canadian producer under existing conditions has only one market, which is a low price or medium price market. In the first place, the United States producer has the advantage of the high price which is paid

2816 COMMONS

Dumping Duty-Mr. Edwards (Frontenac)

when he first places his vegetables and fruits on the market. After a time producers in other parts of the United States compete with him and he gets the medium or low price market. The Canadian producer has no opportunity to compete in the high price American market, for the very good reason that Canadian products are not available at that time. When Canadian vegetables and fruits are brought to the Canadian market, and when the Canadian producer should be obtaining the high price which will make his business profitable, his products are thrown into competition with American products which have been on the American market for weeks. So I say the American producer, in addition to the advantages of cheap labour and climate which enable him to produce two or three crops in a season, has the further advantage of a home market in which a high price is paid for fresh products and in which he meets no Canadian competition; he has first entry into our market, securing the highest prices paid here, and therefore has two high price markets and one medium price market while the Canadian producer has to take a lower price for his products.

Let us apply this argument to strawberries. American strawberries appear on the Canadian market before our strawberries are ready, and they command a high price here after having also obtained a high price in their own country. By the time our strawberries are ready for the market the American strawberries have broken the market so that our producers must take a low or medium price for what they have to sell. Again, by the time our Canadian strawberries are ready for the market the American raspberries come in at a high price and compete with the Canadian article, which is absolutely unfair.

One may theorize as much as hr likes with regard to matters of free trade and so on, but there should be something like fair play for our producers. I do not care what party is in power or who makes the tariff; they may theorize as much as they please with regard to the principles of Cobden and Bright, but any government or party framing a tariff for Canada should in all fairness take into consideration the climatic conditions prevailing in this country and in the countries with which Canada must compete. That is a matter of fair play to our Canadian producers, and it does seem to me that eome-* times hon. gentlemen, perhaps with the best intentions in the world, in their theorizing on trade matters, entirely overlook the kind of climate we have in Canada, which places our producers at a disadvantage as com oared

with producers in other countries where the climate is milder.

A number of years ago the Canadian producer had some protection quite apart from the tariff; the difficulty and expense of transportation afforded him some protection, but to-day distance is not measured in miles but in minutes or hours. We do not say it is so many miles to Winnipeg; we say it will take so many hours to go there. Transportation facilities all over the world have so improved and cold storage appliances have been so perfected in recent years that in so tar as trade is concerned the advantage of distance has been practically overcome.

I do submit, on behalf of the people in my own constituency who are engaged in producing these vegetables and fruits, that in all fairness to them I should enter my protest against existing conditions and express my approval of an amendment which has as its object giving our Canadian producers fair play and a decent, reasonable opportunity to compete with their own produce in their own home market.

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LIB

Roch Lanctôt

Liberal

Mr. ROCH LANCTOT (Laprairie-Napier-ville) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I entered the house just as the hon. member for Victoria, B.C. (Mr. Tolmie), the ex-minister of Agriculture, was discussing Canadian vegetables. I strongly favour the policy of giving protection to our farmers, for they are greatly in need of it. However, after discussing the matter over with my hon. colleagues on this side, when the question was brought to their attention by the delegation from Quebec and other parts of the country which came to Ottawa, the right hon. Prime Minister pointed out to us the tariff that was agreed upon in 1926, for a period of twelve months. People living in towns openly advocated that we should not enact too high a tariff, because certain kinds of vegetables are not grown in the province of Quebec or in any other province. I agreed with their views that we should have a seasonal tariff. I agree with all those who advocate a protective tariff for our vegetables seeing that we have the Americans competing against us. We must bear in mind that the United States grow vegetables at all seasons, while we have but one season to produce them. There are in my riding a few thousand farmers who grow vegetables, and I wish to state that our crop of potatoes, tomatoes and a great quantity of garden products were very remunerative last year. I am still in favour of giving this protection to my people who have treated me so kindly ever since I have had the, honour to represent them in this house. Later on when Que-

Dumping Duty-Mr. Lanctot

bee will have its own supply of potatoes and other garden vegetables, I shall be among those who will come to Ottawa to interview the Minister of Customs, the right hon. Prime Minister and his colleagues, and request them to apply the seasonal tariff of which we shall then be in need for a period of three or four months, as the case may be. This will also apply to all the vegetables grown in my county.

I have on many occasions stated in my riding, and I 'have also told a number of my colleagues in this house, that last year we enjoyed a protective tariff and that we made money. We are indeed very grateful. There must not be only one class of society to enjoy protection. We give protection to the manufacturers of this country; therefore, I state that it is high time to also protect the farmers. Since there is a contention put forth at -present, that the salaries of a certain class of people are not sufficiently high, it is also time that we look after the interests of the farmers. The country may 'be prosperous for certain classes of people but it is not so for the farming element. If there is one person who has a knowledge of farming conditions,

I should be the one, for I am a hay and grain dealer in the county of Laprairie-Napier-ville. I endeavour to give the farmers, who work day and night to supply the Montreal market with garden products, all the protection possible.

I did not expect to deal with this question, but since my hon. friend from Victoria (Mr. Tolmie) brought on this debate, I deem it my duty to plead for a few moments the cause of my constituents. I wish to state, sir, that I shall bear in mind the statements which were again made to-night by the right hon. Prime Minister: that we should have a higher protective tariff than we have at present, in order that our country may benefit from the sale of early potatoes. Last year, in my own county, we sold on the Montreal market thousands of bags of potatoes; we were able to compete with the Americans on our own markets. The people of Laprairie-Napierville did not sell their potatoes at the price the hon. Minister of Railways (Mr. Dunning) paid for them last year, that is $12.50 per barrel, they were sold at $5.50 and $6 per barrel, or $3 per bag for the first week, gradually coming down in price to $1.50 per bag, and we were quite satisfied. I state that by an intensive production and a protective tariff we would do away with American competition on our own markets.

There are in my riding four factories, canning tomatoes, peas, beans and com. That goes to show that our tomato production is 56103-179

considerable. Why not encourage our farmers and force the Americans to stay in their own country? Why should the Americans have a market in this country to sell their vegetables, when they have a population of 115,000,000 people? That is why in closing my remarks I state: it is more than time to protect our truck farmers and the farmers as a whole. Had I my notes with me I could discuss this question more at length, but I did not think this subject would come up this evening.

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PRO

John Evans

Progressive

Mr. JOHN EVANS (Rosetown):

Tariff

legislation, Mr. Speaker, seems to be going up and up, step by step, and I am surprised that a Liberal government in power can apply a measure of this kind to the food of the people. This measure was applied last summer and raised the price of certain natural products to a valuation somewhere about two or three hundred per cent above what any of our growers got for them. As the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) said, the government still has the power, and they have applied it this year to the very limit. The hon. gentleman sa-id a word or two about the rights of parliament. I want to say right here that this measure, known as the dumping act-call it what you like- has rendered parliament practically a nonentity. No one knows at present what duty is going to be paid on any of these natural products. No one knows what valuation the appraisers will put on these articles, and the duty is collected accordingly. They say that it is only put on during emergent conditions. Emergent conditions, sir, are a matter of opinion only. It has a very wide meaning, something like what our Conservative friends used to call "adequate protection." No one knows what it means, where it begins, or where it stops. Anyway, parliament has been rendered practically a nonentity during the application of this measure. The government still has the power, and it has used it to the detriment of every consumer in this country. They say it is a producers' measure. It is not a producers' measure, and I do not think it was meant to be a producers' measure. It was meant only to be a distributors' measure, and they are the only class that has so far been profited by it. _

Last year, I say, this measure was applied, and the result was -the raising of the prices to those who had already filled their warehouses. The prices paid to the Canadian producer were similar to what has been paid in years gone by. Take British Columbia apples; there is about 600 per cent difference

Dumping Duty-Mr. Evans

between the valuation on a box of apples and what the consumer pays for it. From 50 to 80 cents was the price paid this last year for British Columbia apples. Boxes valued at that price, have been selling in the retail stores in Saskatoon-I have taken particular notice of it-at something between $3.25 and $3.75 each. If any further dumping is needed on the food of the people, I do not know of it. The first anti-dumping order on vegetables and fruits was put into effect on July 14, 1926, during the short time that the Conservative party was in power, and tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, onions, potatoes, 'beets, spinach, cauliflower and so on were in some cases raised two hundred per cent in valuation over the cost price. Peaches and raspberries actually went up three hundred per cent. This was long before the Canadian growers of these commodities came forward asking for any concession or any seasonal tariff, but it was done, I say, by the Tory party during the short time they were in power in 1926. The first order that was imposed on July 14, 1926, was to all intents and purposes imposed after the importers got stocked up on some of these main lines. A week or two later plums, prunes and so on received attention and as regards most of these articles it seemed that the new duty was to be permanent.

The Liberal government after it took power rescinded this order on most varieties of fruits on October 5, 1926, but it was left on certain of the vegetables until February 8, 1927, so as to prevent importations that would spoil the price, not for the growers, but for the importers, packers and dealers who handle the stuff. Hardly any of this stuff is brought out by the farmer later than the end of November and the fact that freer trade existed after those dates did not help the consumer at all. It is on apples that the greatest incongruity of all these manipulations exists. On September 2 an anti-dumping order was issued which fixed the value for duty purposes at 300 per cent higher than the price the growers received that year, and the special duty was maintained by the Liberal government until February 23. when the big dealers announced that they could not buy enough Canadian apples to supply the demand. Therefore, while the duty was removed the price to the consumer remained the same and no one except the dealer was benefited by the putting on or taking off of the special duty. Surely these figures go to show that the man who needs *the benefit does not get it. The tariff is an incongruity in all its phases. It is an economic fallacy from the beginning. As I say,

TMr. Evans.]

the one who needs the benefit never gets it. If the duty was removed the price to the consumer remained the same so' that no one benefited but the dealer.

Boxes of apples were valued as follows:

Extra fancy, medium and large.. .. $1 80

Smaller sizes of same 1 50

Fancy in small sizes 1 25

Combination fancy and C grade 1 35

Unwrapped jumble pack 1 20

Small, fancy and C grade in baskets.. 1 20

I have under my hand a letter from the Minister of National Revenue under date of November 18, 1927, with a letter attached giving full information as to the price of apples, in regard to which I was at the time seeking information. The attached letter is signed by Mr. A. Fulton, Chief, Markets Extension Service, and is dated October 17, 1927. I find that the figures that I have given are just about the same as his, but I want to say that the price of Macintosh Reds to the consumer in Saskatoon was $3.25, on January 6, 1928. The price to the retailer when they were shipped by freight was 15 cents higher. Mr. Fulton in his letter states:

It is impossible at this date to state what prices the producer will procure for his apples until they are all finally shipped. Last year's average price to the producer averaged between 50 to 80 cents per box according to variety.

This is an authoritative statement showing that the value for customs purposes was fixed at 250 per cent higher than the price the grower received. No one cares for the producer. I have said in the house before and I do not mind repeating it that it looks as if this was done for the benefit of those who can bargain with the government or with politicians. I -have yet to hear a better reason why the interest of the consumer is traded off in this way.

On January 6, 1928, fancy apples were retailing in Saskatoon at $3.25 or 400 per cent above the price that the grower received during the time the anti-dumping act was in full operation under both the Liberal and the Tory regimes. On June 1st last a new set of orders were issued reviving the anti-dumping duty, and on this occasion the length of time that the duties were to be in force was specified. Let me take as examples: asparagus. 10 cents per pound from April 15 to June 30; lettuce, a duty of 3 cents per pound all the year round, and strawberries, 10 cents per pound from June 1 to July 31.

Again on June 14 another order was issued covering other fruits and vegetables. Onions and lettuce are covered for the whole year by the anti-dumping duty. It covers a long list of fruits and vegetables on which the

Dumping Duty-Mr. Anderson (Halton)

duty will now be about 75 per cent to 100 per cent in some cases, higher than before, although most of these were protected by a high duty before the seasonal tariff was imposed, and they were very profitable before to the big dealer and importer. The value for customs purposes of these foodstuffs will henceforth bear no relation to the price the grower in a foreign country may receive from the Canadian importer; it will be guaged entirely by the need of the importer, and l think as well by the campaign election fund of the party. During the session of 1925 the Conservative party declared that what they needed was an elastic tariff. This was also mentioned at the Winnipeg convention, I remember. Well, here we have it. They used to work hard on a "brick for brick'' policy, but I think they found that Uncle Sam could sling brickbats just as well as any Canadian. It seems now that elastic is safer than bricks and it can be stretched and manipulated to meet all kinds of conditions.

I am in favour of keeping the cost of living as low as it is possible to get it, and if Canada is to be an exporting nation, if wo are to prosper, we must keep down the cost of living in this country so that it is in line with other countries. Then, too, I believe that the worker has a perfect right to all these succulent foods which now only the rich can buy. I think it is time the government considered abolishing an act of bondage of this kind. Dumping legislation was first of all enacted by the Canadian government. It seems that we have led in acts of privilege, at least since 1878, and since 1896 still more It was 1904 that saw the introduction of this measure, and it has been nothing but a measure of bondage ever since. It was put on for the benefit only of those who can make a bargain with the party that is in power at the time.

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CON

Robert King Anderson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. K. ANDERSON (Halton):

We

have just listened to the one consistent and whole-time free trader in the house, the hon. member for Rosetown (Mr. Evans). The hon. gentleman is always advocating free trade. If he were anything else but a wheat grower and a producer of free trade arguments he would probably want protection, but as those products do not need anything of that kind, he is consistently a free trader. If he had listened to the arguments presented by the very large and representative delegation which waited upon the government about a week ago, he would-have heard some fairly good reasons why the use of the dumping &6103-1794

clause was in the interests of the consumer. The hon. gentleman says that it is not in the interest of the consumer, but the delegation contended, and they gave their reasons why, that the dumping clause was in the interest of the consumers in the Dominion of Canada. They instanced the fact that if we did not conserve the fruit and vegetable industry and the poultry industry in this country, we would have to look outside of Canada for our fruits and vegetables and poultry products, in which case these gentlemen claim that it will cost the Canadian consumer very much more than he is paying to-day. They instanced the fact that only last year when the production of fruits in the United States was rather small and scarcely sufficient to supply their own needs, the Canadian market was supplied by our home production in Canada, and the prices of fruits here were very much less than they were in other years. The fact that there was no importation from the United States did not increase the price of the product in Canada.

I was very much impressed with that delegation. They were representative men, coming from all parts of Canada, and representing a large and important industry in this country. If you look up the figures you will find that the production of fruits and vegetables in this country is very large indeed. I have here some figures with regard to that industry which I received from the Bureau of Statistics. They show that from 1922 up to the present the industry has been shrinking. The production of fruits and vegetables in 1922 amounted to $55,855,000; 1923,

$58,000,000; 1925, $48,000,000; 1927, $46,000,000, showing a slight reduction each year, because, so the delegation claimed, of the inadequate protection which the industry receives on its products.

The delegation are not asking for very much. They ask that the Canadian market be conserved for their products; that is, that the Americans shall not have the privilege of sending their products in here at any and all times, flooding our market with their surplus products, which are sold at lower prices than prevail here.

The hon. member for Frontenac-Addington (Mr. Edwards) in his remarks this evening gave the reason why the Canadian producer of fruits and vegetables cannot compete with the American producer. It is largely due to climatic conditions. In the United States the weather is very much milder and they can produce their products cheaper. They have a larger market at home, and they can supply lint market in the average year and have a

2820 COMMONS

Banking and Commerce-Mr. Woodsworth

surplus. Some of their products starting from the southern states are sent up to the large cities in the United States, and sometimes they reach the Canadian border without finding a purchaser. They are consequently dumped upon the Canadian market simply for the cost of the freight.

On motion of Mr. Anderson (Halton) the lebate was adjourned.

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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Wednesday, May 9, 1928


May 8, 1928