April 8, 1929

LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. WILLIAM DUFF (Antigonish-Guys-borough):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure after you have listened to the different speeches which have been offered during the last three or four weeks on the important matter of the budget, or what is perhaps more properly known as the annual statement of the government for ths year 1928, that you will feel, as I do, that the quicker this debate is brought to a close the better it will be for all concerned. However, I have not raised my voice very often during the last three or four years, and I may be pardoned if I take up a few minutes in discussing certain questions which have been brought to the attention of the house during the past two or three weeks. I have listened with a great deal of interest to most of the speeches, and while I cannot refer to all of them, I would like to discuss some of the remarks which were made by the hon. member who has just taken his seat (Mr. Quinn).

In concluding his remarks the hon. member referred to speeches delivered by Mr. Fielding and the late Hon. Mr. Roche with regard to the Transcontinental railway. Although the hon. member did not intend to do it, he paid a compliment to the Liberal party when he spoke of the building and the completion of that road. If Mr. Fielding's ideas and the ideas of the Liberal party had been carried out, more grain would be flowing over the Transcontinental to the port of Halifax than is the case at the present time. When the Liberal party was defeated in 1911, and when our Conservative friends came into power, instead of trying to build up the port of Halifax through the construction of that road, they started in to cut the grades down and put in wooden bridges instead of the iron bridges which had been contemplated by the Liberal party and the Transcontinental commissioners. Therefore, the Conservative party and not the Liberal party is to blame for the fact that more traffic is not going through the port of Halifax to-day.

Let us compare the record of the Liberal party with regard to the port of Halifax with the record of the Conservative party. We do not hear anything about what was done for the port of Halifax between the years 1911 and 1921, the ten years during which our Con-

servative friends were in power. But what did they really do for that port? Practically nothing. It is only since the Liberal party came into power in 1922 that the port has been developed, and everyone knows that during the last three years the traffic through the port of Halifax has amounted to three times the traffic which went through it during the years of the Conservative regime, with the possible exception of the war period. Who has spent money on the port of Halifax? The hon. member reminds me of some people with whom I have done business; the more you do for them the less they appreciate it. If you do ninety-nine good turns for them and you can not do the hundredth, they will turn on you and rend you. That seems to be the attitude of the hon. junior member for Halifax. Does my hon. friend condemn the Liberal party because we are going to vote five million dollars in a few days for the Halifax harbour commission? Does my hon. friend condemn us because a contract was given the other day to the gentleman he named for $300,000 to cover certain work for the harbour commission? Does he condemn the expenditure of $2,500,000 for cold storage facilities in the port of Halifax, $700,000 of which is being voted this year? The hon. member said that nothing had been done for this country or for the province of Nova Scotia during the time the Liberal party had a solid sixteen here from the province of Nova Scotia. Let me say to him that since I have been in parliament I have done as much as he has, and a great deal more. I have stood up for the port of Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia, while he has voted against the things which this government tried to do for that province and that port.

The hon. member referred to the fact that the hon. member for Hamts-Kings (Mr. Ilsley) had spoken of the lamentations, the whinings and complainings of Jeremiah which came from the Conservative side. I do not think my hon. friend on this side of the house has used the right terms and the hon. junior member for Halifax, being musically inclined, will be able to appreciate what I am going to say. During the last three years, day in and day out, session in and session out, they have talked about the Duncan report and have endeavoured to take the credit for what the Liberal party has done. We have heard complaints made that the Liberal government has not fulfilled 100 per cent the pledges or the promises contained in the Duncan report, and when they keep talking about this matter they remind me of a night I spent last year in one of the theatres in the city of

The Budget-Mr. Duff

Ottawa. One of the vaudeville stunts that evening was a competition among old fiddlers. There were nine or ten of these fiddlers on the platform, some with whiskers down to their knees, and they had fiddles which were about one hundred years old. One of the contestants started and he ran over his fiddle, and there were wailings, gnashings of teeth, and caterwauling-that is the word I wanted to remind the hon. member of-and then the next one played his little piece. They all played just the same as my hon. friends from Nova Scotia, who have been playing, rasping and wailing on their fiddles, sometimes only on one string, and all being led by the leader of the orchestra, the 'hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Cantley). They complain that the Duncan report has not been carried out in its entirety, but I am going to show that not only have the Liberal party carried out that Duncan report in its entirety, but they have carried it out in one case to the extent of over 150 per cent; they have gone too far with it.

Before I take up that particular phase of the matter, I would like to refer to one or two things which were mentioned by the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Quinn) with regard to certain contracts which have been given in the city of Halifax. In order to make his point against one of the Liberal members of the local legislature, he referred to a contract given to that gentleman two or three years ago by the Department of National Defence. It is quite true that Mr. MacMillan was given a contract, I think in June, 1926, by the Department of National Defence. Tenders were called for and when this government went out of power on the 1st of July, 1926, the contract had not been awarded. The hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) came in as Minister of National Defence and he and my good friend the ex-Minister of Marine and Fisheries, the senior member for Halifax (Mr. Black) met in solemn conclave and gave the contract to Mr. A. S. MacMillian. Does the hon. junior member for Halifax disagree with his colleague the senior member who gave Mr. MacMillian that contract at the price of his tender? What happened? Mr. MacMillan, after receiving the contract, assembled his plant, brought horses, teams and men from the county of Antigonish and started work. He did certain work there and then some of our Tory friends in Halifax-no doubt my hon. friend the junior member for that city knows something about this-thought it would never do to see this Grit contractor do the work and so they got after somebody in Ottawa with the result that he had to cease work. He had to send his horses home and he had to disorganize his whole staff, the result being that

afterwards, when he was asked to complete his contract, he put in a bill for $9,000 for extras, and if anybody is to blame for his putting in that bill, the Conservatives at Halifax should assume the blame and not try to load it off on -to this government or the contractor.

The hon. junior member for Halifax referred to Mr. MacMillan's contract at Hudson bay.

I know, Mr. Speaker, you are most generous; sometimes I think you are perhaps a little deaf, because this afternoon the junior member for Halifax was unquestionably entirely out of order in referring to the contract which Mr. MacMillan had to take supplies to Hudson bay, the reason being that papers have been called for and the matter is now before the public accounts committee. But since you allowed the junior member for Halifax to mention the matter, perhaps I may be permitted to reply to him. Mr. MacMillan has nothing to hide in connection with the matter. The Liberals in Nova Scotia are willing to have the public accounts committee meet and Mr. MacMillan will come to Ottawa and give a good account of himself.

But my hon. friend says that another member in the Nova Scotia legislature, Mr. Kin-ley, sold $3,000 worth of drugs to the Hudson's bay expedition. My good friend, with tears in his eyes, complained because Tory druggists in Halifax did not have a chance to put in a price or to get this contract. Why should they? I want to congratulate the Minister of Marine and Fisheries (Mr. Cardin) because he did not ask Tory druggists or Tory contractors to contract for anything with regard to Hudson's bay. Perhaps I might have had something to do with that myself; I might have given him a hint that that was the proper way to do the thing, because this government is entirely too prone to give Tories contracts and positions when the Liberal party is in power. Let me say to the junior member for Halifax: It is true Mr. Kinley got a contract for $3,000 worth of drugs and he made the huge profit of $90 on that $3,000 contract.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

How does the hon. member know?

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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I happen to know. Perhaps I was the auditor. Mr. Kinley is quite willing to come before the public accounts committee and explain this little transaction of $3,000. He is a man who has given the best years of his life to the public service of the country and one who is now a member of the Nova Scotia legislature.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

If the hon. gentleman will allow me, while I permitted the hon. member for Halifax to refer to this particu-

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lar matter, it was because at the beginning of the session the whole of the Auditor General's report is referred to the public accounts committee and the Chair cannot know in advance what subject matter will be taken up for investigation. Otherwise, we could not discuss anything in the house, because the Auditor General's report covers so many subjects.

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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

Well, Mr. Speaker, you and I need not have any quarrel about the rules of the house because we are both pretty well grounded in them. The junior member for Halifax this afternoon also complained that the government did not continue the aid for technical education and for highways. These are not matters for the federal government at all. If Sir Robert Borden, when he was Prime Minister of Canada, was good enough -or perhaps did not realize exactly what he was doing-to vote federal moneys for these purposes, that is no reason why the present government should do the same. My hon. friend complained that the Conservative government in Halifax, led by a previous Speaker of this house, was not able on account of lack of revenue, to put into effect old age pensions for which this parliament voted 50 per cent. My hon. friend evidently did not read the newspapers lately or the report which was filed in Halifax a few days ago by the provincial treasurer, because that report shows that this year the Tory government in Halifax collected $2,000,000 more than the Liberal party did in 1925. Consequently there is no excuse for not putting into effect the Old Age Pension Act. If the Conservative government do not do it, the Liberal government when they come into power will certainly see that the old people in Nova Scotia are properly cared for.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

" A thoroughly vicious principle."

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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

It is too bad we have any poor at all, but they will always be with us. The junior member for Halifax referred to conditions in Nova Scotia. The other day the hon. member for North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps) spoke about his trip through that province. I never go to Winnipeg or Toronto and come back and wail about conditions in those cities. Why should the hon. member for North Winnipeg, who had a nice trip to Nova Scotia, come back and, because perhaps in the town of Glace Bay the streets were not paved with gold or even with concrete, or there was not proper sewage, or some children perhaps did not have proper clothing, say that Nova Scotia was not in fairly good shape or condition? My hon. friend

should be very very careful about making any of those remarks because that is either a provincial or a civic matter in Glace Bay. He should not forget that the president of the United Mine Workers for Nova Scotia is mayor of the town of Glace Bay. Perhaps Nova Scotia is not as prosperous as it might be or as we would like to see it, but there is no need for anyone in this parliament or anywhere else to try to make other members from different parts of the country believe that Nova Scotia is not in fairly good condition.

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

Does the hon. member mean to say that conditions in the mining areas of Nova Scotia are satisfactory to him?

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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

No, they will never be satisfactory to me. I would like to see every miner get $50 a day if the British Empire Steel Corporation could pay it. Conditions in the mining area, however, were never as good as they are just now since the Liberal government came into power in this country, and I will prove that in just a moment. They are so good in the county of Inverness-I see my hon. friend from Inverness smiles-that this government is appropriating $375,000 to buy out the Inverness railway. My hon. friend said that there was no prosperity in Nova Scotia. He bewailed the fact and he played on his old fiddle with his strings rasping up and down-Duncan report, 100 per cent; Duncan report, not fulfilled. He went on for five or ten minutes and he said that conditions in Nova Scotia were terrible. I do not want the house to take my word for conditions in our province, but the junior member for Halifax-

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CON

Felix Patrick Quinn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. QUINN:

I rise to a point of order.

I did not say that conditions in Nova Scotia were unsatisfactory. I was quoting from representative Liberals in Nova Scotia in connection with the comments of the hon. member for Hants-Kings (Mr. Usley).

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LIB
CON
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

Of course not; I do not have to. But you put words into my mouth. Certainly the hon. member tried to make the house believe this afternoon that conditions in Nova Scotia were not good.

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CON
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I hold in my hand extracts

from a certain newspaper in the province of Nova Scotia, one that is pretty well versed as to conditions in our province, and although it

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sometimes supports the Tory party, yet on the whole it is not a bad newspaper. Here is what it says, under the heading " Facts for Fact-Finders:"

1. Statistics compiled by Sydney B. Smith, Ottawa, for the Fnancial Post, list gains in business, 1928 over 1927, as follows:

Prairies

16.2 per centMaritimes

15.0 "Quebec

13.5 "British Columbia

12.0 "Ontario

10.0 "

The maritimes thus stand first in business gains in all Canada outside the prairies.

That is from the Halifax Herald, the Conservative organ in Nova Scotia. But let us go a little further:

Facts for Fact-Finders

2. Nova Scotia led all Canada in gain in percentage of construction in 1928, according to MacLeans' figures quoted by Cockfield, Brown and Company. The following is a paragraph from the Canadian Business Preview of that advertising organization:

"With the exception of Manitoba and Ontario, there was a decided increase in building in each province. The largest percentage was in Nova Scotia with a gain of 408.6 per cent over 1927 figures.

Of course, the junior member for Halifax forgets that we are spending $3,000,000 to build a new hotel and railway station at Halifax, and that we are spending millions of dollars for other purposes in that province.

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CON
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

Let us look at some other

facts about the province of Nova Scotia, which our friends on the other side try to make out is in such a deplorable condition, and they expect us to whine and caterwaul with them, to bring our fiddles here and all harp on that one string. I continue to quote from the Halifax Herald:

Roger Babson, famous economist and statistician, issues each month a map in colours showing the sales and credit opportunities of the different parts of the country. When a district is printed in gold it means that the sales opportunities in that district are very favourable. . ,,

For the first time in many years Roger Babson has put the maritime provinces in gold. This is what he says about them: _

"Both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have shown so sustained an increase in general business conditions that we have entered them as gold areas on the Babson's sales map for the first time in many years. The maritime provinces may be considered an excellent field for sales campaigns."

And yet the junior member for Halifax tried to leave the impression on the house this afternoon that the maritime provinces are not in a fairly good condition.

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CON
LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I did not interrupt my hon.

friend this afternoon, and I think he might do me the courtesy not to interrupt me. He quoted this afternoon the saying that " some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." May I paraphrase that by saying " some men are born small, they never develop, but shrivel up and die."

Here is fact No. 4 for fact-finders, taken again from the Halifax Herald:

There is nothing wrong with business conditions in Halifax, Nova Scotia or the maritimes. We show an increase of 31 per cent over last year and our plant is working to capacity twenty-four hours a day.

That is from R. C. Moir, Ben's Limited, Halifax. I have another article here from the same newspaper headed "Optimism Generally Recognized." It says:

Business in the maritime provinces, especially in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, was never as good as it is to-day.

With regard to business conditions in the province of Nova Scotia, may I quote from another gentleman for whom I have the highest respect, a gentleman with great business ability, in the province of Nova Scotia. About a fortnight ago-I do not know whether it was during or before the Easter holidays- he went to Halifax to attend a meeting of a certain company in that province, and as president or chairman of the board of directors he sat at the head of the table and kept order during the proceedings. After the meeting was over he gave a statement to the press. It appears in the Halifax Herald, a Conservative organ. The article is 'headed, " Steel Company Directors Optimistic," and says:

There was a larger tonnage of steel put through the works at Trenton with some additional profit. Joint operation of the ore mines at Wabana has been found to be more economical than separate management.

The report shows the total assets of the company to be $31,544,073.29. Respecting the company's operations, the report says, "The prospects for the coming year are more hopeful-"

Listen to this, which is happening under a Grit government in power at Ottawa:

"The prospects for the coming year are more hopeful, as extensive contracts have been secured for the power shops, which will not only keep them fully occupied for some months, but will improve conditions at company's main works."

I congratulate the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Cantley) for having the good sense and the courage to make that report to his fellow-directors. May I add that part of that contract which the Trenton steel works is now getting the benefit of was given to them by

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the Canadian National railways on account of the increased 'business coming from the West Indies treaty, which some of my hon. friends opposite do not seem to think very much of. An order for 500 refrigerator cars for the transportation of fruit was given to this plant, and when the cars are 'built they will be sent to Halifax and St. John to move fruit which the West Indies steamers will bring from Jamaica and other ports in the West Indies.

With regard to the Duncan report, previous to this commission being appointed we were told that there was a certain corporation in the province of Nova Scotia which wa3 strangling the life of that province. We heard the same old wailings, that the province was being strangled by a great octopus, and if the Conservatives were put into power they would see that this octopus was quickly unscrambled. Well, the Conservative government has been in power in Nova Scotia for three years now, and this octopus still remains as it was before 1925; no attempt has been made by the provincial government to unscramble it.

But there are two Duncan reports. One is known as the federal Duncan report, and the other is known as the provincial Duncan report, and I am going to make a comparison to show how the Conservative government in Nova Scotia carried out the provincial Duncan report, and how the Liberal government at Ottawa carried out the federal Duncan report.

The provincial Duncan commission was appointed before the federal commission, and although the former commission long since reported to the premier of Nova Scotia, Mr. Rhodes, not one thing has been done about it. There has been no attempt made by the provincial government to carry out that Duncan report, and let me say in answer to my hon. friend from North Winnipeg (Mr. Heaps) that most of that Duncan report referred to conditions in the mining area in Cape Breton. If any government has the responsibility of looking after the conditions of the workingmen in the province of Nova Scotia, it is the government of that province, and not the federal government.

Now what did the federal government do with regard to the federal Duncan report? We reduced the freight rates in the province of Nova Scotia and the maritime provinces some 20 per cent, giving relief to the people of the maritime provinces to the amount of about $3,000,000 a year. The Canadian National railways gave over a very large amount to the province of Nova Scotia for provincial and municipal taxes, and the Con-

servative government in power at Halifax, instead of passing part of that along to the municipalities, put it all in their own treasury. This parliament also passed legislation with respect to coking plants, to ensure that coal from the mining areas in Cape Breton, and from Stellarton and Springhill, should be used in the manufacture of coke. Then, sir, we gave a special grant of $200,000 to move coal during the winter months from Nova Scotia to Montreal and points further west. We also appointed harbour commissions for the ports of Halifax and St. John; and while I cannot discuss those harbour commissions, there is no doubt that money has been spent freely in the maritime provinces because of those appointments. Then $700,000 was voted for the erection of that great cold storage plant at Halifax.

The Duncan report recommended that certain districts in Nova Scotia should be given railway communication. I want to thank the government and the Minister of Railways (Mr. Dunning), the minister from Nova Scotia (Mr. Ralston) and the Canadian National Railways management for arranging that this session the Guysborough railway bill should again come before parliament. I hope and trust in the interests of that part of Nova Scotia that the House of Commons and the Senate will pass the bill so that the railway may be built in the very near future. In addition to providing money for the Guysborough railway this Liberal government- although the riding is represented by a Conservative-is setting aside $375,000 for the Inverness railway.

There is another important matter, and I referred to it at the outset of my speech. Not only has this government tried to carry out the recommendations of the Duncan report 100 per cent, but in one case they have carried them out 150 per cent. I was rather surprised to read in Hansard a few days ago, in answer to a question asked by the hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Cantley), that in the year of Our Lord 1928 this government had paid to the Conservative government in Halifax the huge sum of about $1,300,000. The Duncan report recommended that till such time as a conference had been held and the matter of subsidies investigated, a lump sum payment should be made to each of the three maritime provinces, and in the case of Nova Scotia they named an annual payment of $875,000. We did not object to tifaalt, sir, we on this side of the house voted that this should be done, and in 1927 $875,000 was paid to the provincial government of Nova Scotia. But the following year, for some reason which I cannot

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fathom, this government were so generous that they carried out the Duncan report in this respect 150 per cent and gave the provincial government $875,000, plus $437,500. I do not agree with this.

But my hon. friends opposite do not appreciate this liberality, and in the house and before the country they charge that the government are not doing what they should do in carrying out the recommendations contained in the Duncan report. They say, Oh, you have done nothing for coal and steel. Well, Mr. Speaker, I have tried to show that we did do something for these great industries of the province. We reduced the freight rates 20 per cent, and certainly the steel and coal companies of Nova Scotia benefited by that reduction more than anyone else. We have also, as I have pointed out, given $200,000 to assist the movement of coal to Montreal and points west. As we all know, the application for further tariff protection on steel is before the tariff advisory board. My only regret in regard to that application is that my good friend from Pictou, who is an able business man and who knows the steel and coal industry perhaps better than any other man in Canada, could not convince his own confreres and the steel companies of Ontario to get together and decide what they want in the way of further protection. The trouble is that the steel companies all over the country are divided on this matter, and that is one reason why the tariff commission finds it so difficult to decide what shall be done by way of relief, if any.

Now, let me make a suggestion or two in regard to improving the conditions in the coal and steel industry of Nova Scotia. One hon. gentleman on the other side of the house spoke of the conflicting interests in the various sections of this great country. That, sir, is why in my opinion we cannot raise the duty on coal, and as far as I am concerned my voice will be heard against any such proposal. I believe in lower tariffs. Two years ago I voted with the government to increase the duty on slack coal to 50 cents. This was all right; but certainly as a Liberal and a low-tariff man I would not agree to a further increase in this duty. If it were raised, say, from 50 cents to a dollar a ton, it would only mean that the consumers in this country would have to pay the extra price.

But 'there is a remedy, sir. I said, in answer to my hon. friend, that conditions in the mining area were better this year than they have been for a long time. The men are getting more days' work now than they have been in past years. But certain tilings

might be done to still further improve the conditions. They are trying to take advantage of the movement of coal west on the three-dollar rate which was arranged by this government with the Canadian National Railways. I am told, sir, that the Canadian National can carry coal from Sydney to Montreal and further west for two dollars a ton; I am told that they can carry it even for $1.70. If so, the lower rate should be put into effect. A rate of two dollars a ton would mean a great deal to the coal industry of Nova Scotia, because millions of tons of coal now imported from the United States for use in Quebec and Ontario could be displaced by our own coal.

Then agiain, sir, the movement might be further encouraged in this way. At present it commences in December. My information is that if in the Sydney and Cape Breton areas the movement was started in November it would mean a great deal to the local mines. With regard to Springhill and Stellarto'n, the rate should apply all the year round instead of only during the four or five months in the winter.

Those are ways in which the coal industry can be helped, and I submit this would be a better course to pursue than to raise the duty on coal or to give bonuses to the steel industry. I think it would be better, in the first place, to allow the steel company to operate for a year or two under the new management to see whether or not they can improve the condition of the industry.

There is something else, sir, that can be done for the miners. My hon. friend from Cumberland (Mr. Smith) in discussing the coal question referred to the fact that New Zealand butter was coming into this country and the rest of Nova Scotia to the detriment of the farmers whom he represents. This question, Mr. Speaker, is like a two-edged sword, it cuts both ways. Does my hon. friend believe in increasing the duty on butter so that the miners of Springhill would have to pay more for this commodity? Does he want to go back to the days of Tory rule when they had to eat oleomargarine in place of butter? Another solution so far as the miners of Cape Breton are concerned is for this government to reduce the cost of living. I agree with the junior member for Halifax that the cost of living is too high; but that is due to the fact that about fifty years ago a Tory government put into practice the principle of protection, which enables our manufacturers to charge from 25 to 30 per cent more for their goods than they could get in the open market. Until such time as the duty is reduced, and

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consequently the cost of living also, the people in the maritime provinces, and particularly the miners in Sydney and Springhill, will not benefit.

I notice that my hon. friend from Queens-Lunenburg (Mr. Ernst) also referred to New Zealand butter in the course of his speech in this debate. I rememlber, sir, pefibaps more vividly and distinctly than he does, that seven or eight years ago we had to buy oleomargarine for our fishing fleet. Is my hon. friend in favour of giving our fishermen oleomargarine to spread on their bread?

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April 8, 1929