June 4, 1929

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to

direct the attention of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) to an article appearing in this morning's Citizen, entitled:

Federal Reserve Board Actually upon Defensive American banker trying to shorten sail impossible squall and Canada has interest in it.

The article is written by Mr. Paul Reading and is dated Montreal, June 3. He makes certain statements that reflect upon our general financial position, and I direct the attention of the minister to it, without at the moment going into detail, so he may, if he thinks it desirable, make such answer as he deems the gravity of those statements may warrant.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. ROBB (Minister of Finance):

Who is the writer?

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Paul Reading.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Mr. Speaker, I have not read

the article, but from the statement made by my hon. friend I should say that Paul Reading's presentation of the Canadian financial position is like the report of Mark Twain's death-very much exaggerated.

SOCKEYE SALMON FISHERIES TREATY On the orders of the day:

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, this might

Sockeye Salmon Fisheries

be a convenient moment for me to make a statement regarding the government's intention with respect to the sockeye salmon fisheries convention. I notice that the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) has given notice of motion that the third report of the select standing committee on marine and fisheries be concurred in. That is the report which recommends that this convention should be approved by the house.

I might say that when the resolution respecting the convention was introduced it was the hope of the government that hon. members would feel that the convention was so much in the interests of this country that it would meet with approval on all sides of the house. However, as hon. members are aware, there appears to have been a considerable difference of opinion in the committee to which the convention was referred-a difference of opinion as to the ends which the treaty would attain and the motives of the government in having entered into it. Taking all circumstances into consideration, the government has thought it would be inadvisable to proceed to obtain approval of the treaty by parliament at this session.

I wish, however, to make perfectly clear the position of the government in the matter, so that there will be no possibility of misunderstanding. This treaty has been negotiated primarily in the interests of the province of British Columbia, and were it not that the opposition to the treaty has come almost exclusively from hon. gentlemen opposite who represent constituencies in that province, the government would not have hesitated one minute in proceeding with the treaty. The premier of the province has sent me the following message:

Victoria, B.C., May 30.

Press despatches intimate ratification of salmon treaty by Canada likely to be postponed consequent upon news from Washington that American senate may not consider question at present session. It is the earnest desire of this government and I am assured also that of the general public of this province that Canada should not by postponement jeopardize a work fraught with such vast potential importance to British Columbia and the Dominion. Canada having spent so many years of active endeavour in the first place to stop or restrict the destruction of this essential food asset and later to ensure measures for its restoration and protection. it would be a misfortune now that we are on the threshold of success if Canada hesitated to take the step which would complete the work so far as she is concerned. A postponement at the present time would be ground for belief that Canada is not in earnest on this question. It is urgently pressed that it be shown by prompt ratification that the dominion so far as it can do so has removed any objection in the American senate that Canada has stood aside. The government urgently request ratification at present session.

S. F. Tolmie.

What I wish to make quite clear, Mr. Speaker, is that any hesitation on the part of the government in submitting the treaty for approval at this time is in no way due to any delay in the expected ratification thereof on the part of the American senate. Mr. Tolmie says:

Press despatches intimate ratification of salmon treaty by Canada likely to be postponed consequent upon news from Washington that American senate may not consider question at present session.

Let me repeat, the action or possible action of the American senate has nothing whatever to do with our action in this matter. Indeed, we intend, if hon. gentlemen opposite from British Columbia after visiting their province between now and next session come to view the matter in a different light, as we believe they will, to reintroduce the resolution to approve this treaty early next session. In the meantime the American senate will have had an opportunity to pass upon the treaty.

I wish to make it perfectly clear that we intend to ask parliament to approve the convention next session, if in the interval it is ratified by the American senate, and we hope-that in the interim hon. gentlemen opposite-will find that the government of the province-of British Columbia-which entertains the-same view with respect to this treaty as does>

our government-is right in regard to it.

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?

Hon. I@

Mr. Speaker, I think the conclusion at which the right hon. gentleman has arrived is a sound one in the premises. I do not know that that will strengthen his own opinion, but at least that is my view.

The treaty in question was signed in March last, and knowledge of it came to this house some time in April. It is well that public opinion in regard to the matter should have an opportunity to crystallize. It is a treaty for sixteen years, it involves matters which most of us think of tremendous importance, and therefore the necessity is very pressing that opportunity should be afforded to those who will be affected to decide what the treaty really does mean. I think everybody will be grateful to the Prime Minister for this opportunity for public opinion to crystallize in regard to the treaty.

I may say Mr. Speaker, that so far as we who sit to your left are concerned, with respect to all matters dealing with international relations we approach them in a spirit entirely nonpolitical, or at least we endeavour to do so. It is with us not a question of Liberal or Conservative, not a question of the opposition or the government. I think we are all agreed that a satisfactory treaty is desirable. In view

31SS

Sockeye Salmon Fisheries

of the fact that the propagation of sockeye salmon takes place in the province of British Columbia and that the larger number of the salmon has heretofore been caught in American waters, it becomes of great importance that we should, if possible, arrive at some arrangement with our neighbours. A satisfactory treaty is therefore not only desirable, but is necessary for the preservation of the industry and the making available for food of this very valuable fish. But that a treaty is desirable does not make it imperative for a public man to accept as the last word any treaty that has been submitted; and there are acute divisions of opinion as to the desirability of this particular treaty. Some of the terms of the treaty are found upon analysis to be most undesirable from a national viewpoint.

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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

I rise to a point of order.

If the hon. gentleman is to be allowed to discuss the treaty, shall I also be allowed to discuss it?

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I am only endeavouring

to deal with the question raised by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King); I am not going beyond that.

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IND
LIB

John Frederick Johnston (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

It is well known that no debate may take place on a question arising on the orders of the day. But the right hon. the Prime Minister made a statement, and it has been always customary for the leader of the opposition to reply.

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IND
LIB

John Frederick Johnston (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

The leader of the opposition may briefly reply to the Prime Minister.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I think the rules provide in a case such as this, when the Prime Minister makes a statement, that whoever occupies the position I hold for the moment is entitled to make a statement in reply.

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IND
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The impertinence of the hon. gentleman has become so proverbial that most members in this house are unaffected by it; it is received with that disdain and contempt with which it should be treated.

I was observing that, believing as we do that a treaty is desirable and necessary, we have studied this treaty from the national point of view and find that there are acute differences of opinion with respect to some features of it. I am not aware of the views entertained by the Premier of British

Columbia, but when I read the record it becomes quite apparent that he at least was not conversant with the terms of the treaty as it was negotiated; and the expressions of opinion he has given in the telegram that has been read make it, I think, perfectly clear that that condition has not entirely been changed. For instance, during the last twenty-four hours, I may say to the Prime Minister, one of our members has received a communication from the fishermen themselves who think that under present conditions it is not desirable to proceed with the resolution approving of the treaty. I do not desire in any sense to discuss the merits of the resolution at the moment except to observe that there are clauses in this treaty which many of us consider inimical to the national interest, and some of which at least we are uncertain as to the jurisdiction of parliament to enact or to become a party to, in view of the provisions of section 132 of the British North America Act. We are all agreed that if possible a treaty which will be fair to all parties should be negotiated between the United States and Canada, whereby those who live to the south of us may benefit from the fact that we are entirely responsible for the propagation of the sockeye salmon, while we, by reason of our less favourable geographical situation, may receive a larger proportion of the fish so propagated when they return from the sea at the end of the third or fourth year of their life. Under these circumstances I congratulate the Prime Minister upon taking the course he has, which I think is in the public interest, wholly devoid of any political consideration, and which will enable the public, by careful study and research, to ascertain fully what is involved in this treaty at this time. In that attitude we approach the solution of the problem, and not in any narrow party sense.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

There is one

point in my hon. friend's remarks to which I should like to refer and that is the statement that some hon. gentlemen opposite have received a communication from the fishing industry or from those interested in it, urging that the matter should not be gone on with at this stage. In the circumstances I feel I ought not to allow the attitude of the fishing industry to be in any way misrepresented so far as it is known to the government. I have received a telegram signed by Richard Gosse, representing the British Columbia Packers Limited, which is as follows:

Understand provincial government strongly pressing for ratification of Fraser River treaty this session. This request is strongly supported by entire fishing industry of British Columbia as not only does treaty give far better

C.N.R.-Montreal Terminal

proportion of cateli to Canadian packers and provides for improvement of propagation but does not interfere with Canadian rights as province has jurisdiction over development of watershed and besides commission can only recommend any course they desire to the government.

Richard Gosse,

British Columbia Packers Ltd.

I think I ought to give that communication to the house as well as the one from Premier Tolmie, in order that hon. members may know that the government is fully apprised of the views of the fishing industry of British Columbia and of tlie British Columbia government with reference to this matter. I hope I have made it clear that our only purpose is not to proceed in the teeth of opposition on the part of members for the province which is mostly concerned.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The Prime Minister misunderstood me if in speaking of the fishing industry he thought I was dealing with the packing industry; I was referring to the fishermen who catch the fish. Mr. Gosse, as I know, represents the packing industry; he is,

I believe, president of the British Columbia Packers Limited. The communication received by one of my friends, who is not in the house at the moment, was from the association of fishermen-those who catch the fish. It was they to whom I referred and not the packing industry. The very terms used by Mr. Gosse. as to the government having control over the commission, involve one of the points about which great uncertainty prevails, and with respect to which we are endeavouring to ascertain what is meant. The hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. McQuarrie) has just come in and has handed me the telegram signed by Mr. Maiden. It reads:

At to-day's monthly meeting fishermen opposed ratification Fraser River Sockeye Treaty this year. Am going north to-night. Send further communications regarding matter to K. Marshall.

That was yesterday, and it was followed by a letter in the same sense. The Prime Minister thought I was dealing with the packing industry as distinguished from those who are engaged in catching the fish.

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DURUM WHEAT


On the orders of the day:


CON

Thomas Erlin Kaiser

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. E. KAISER (Ontario):

What does the government understand by "durum" wheat, and how did that variety get its name?

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June 4, 1929