March 11, 1930

CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I did not catch it. Let me point out that if our action is reprehensible in regard to what we now propose to give the dairymen of Canada in order to afford reasonable protection against this unfair competition, how much more reprehensible was the action of the government itself in imposing that 6 cent dump against Australian butter. Surely this is an inconsistency that cannot be possibly explained or evaded. I am not saying that the 6 cent dump should not have been applied, but what I say, and what we on this side have said since the inception of the discussion on this treaty, is that the original draft of the treaty made by the late Minister of Finance, when he was Minister of Trade and Commerce, was the draft which should have come before this house. It was the draft of the treaty in which the general tariff was increased, and the then existing duties were maintained against Australia and New Zealand in regard to these particular articles. That is our argument, and that has been our argument from start to finish. It is useless for the minister to review all branches of trade between Canada and Australia, drawing attention to advantages here or advantages there, increases here and increases there, we all admit that and welcome it. But what we say is that if one industry of this Dominion has to suffer severely, then this parliament ought to take cognizance of that instance.

The minister read from a farm journal a moment ago, but I did not recognize it as

one of the well known dairy journals. I have in my hand one of the most outstanding dairy journals in eastern Canada, the Farm and Dairy, published in Peterborough, from which I should like to read just one paragraph:

Letters on the New Zealand butter menace still continue to arrive at the office of Farm and Dairy. From Prince Edward Island to British Columbia, producers, manufacturers and dealers are emphatic in declaring that ever-increasing importations are working disaster to the dairy industry of Canada.

I wish the minister had had the courtesy to wait until I finished reading this extract. It continues:

There is no questioning the fact that the New Zealand imports are having a depressing effect on our winter prices. The situation discourages winter production. The remedy, the correspondents point out, is the restoration of the four cent duty on butter in effect before the passing of the Australian treaty and the New Zealand order in council.

That is an extract from the most outstanding authority on farm and dairy activities in Canada. Then ithe minister went on to dilate on the growing internal market, and the fact that there had been an increase in consumption. An hour or tiwo previously, the real Minister of Agriculture appeared before a conference of dairymen that has been heralded from one end of the country to the other. We are sorry the minister has been ill and not able to attend the house but I learn that he has been attending to his duties to-day, hence his attendance at the conference. This meeting of dairymen has been called in the interests of the dairy industry, and we read the following statement from this evening's edition of the Ottawa Citizen:

Canada had witnessed year by year the disappearance of farm products from the export market, said the minister. He cited the fact that eggs had completely vanished as an item of Canadian overseas trade, while butter was going the same way. There were some who felt satisfaction over this condition inasmuch as it indicated greater consumption in the domestic market-

That is the very argument the Minister of Trade and Commerce has been labouring during the last three-quarters of an hour. Hiis colleague the Minister of Agriculture used the language I am now reading, and he is a greater authority on the subject. The quotation continues:

But when one saw Canadian bacon also disappearing from the export market, then a situation was created which could be viewed only with concern. This country, which had been an exporter of bacon for the past 50 years, was now on an import basis; while exports of cheese were going down.

Australian Treaty-Mr. Stevens

Here is the statement of the Minister of Agriculture who belongs to the very same government as the minister who has just spoken. In the minister's statement he deplored the falling off in the dairy industry.

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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

He did not say that at all.

Mr. STEVEN'S: He deplored the falling off of exports and the decline of the dairying industry.

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LIB

Malcolm McLean

Liberal

Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

Not of the dairying industry, but of butter.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

My hon. friend may

quibble over it if he wishes. I will not waste my time quibbling with him; the words speak for themselves. He deplores it and points out that not only have eggs disappeared from the export list, but butter has also disappeared and as a result or corollary to it, bacon also has disappeared.

The deputy minister then qpeaks in the following terms:

Dr. J. H. Grisdale, deputy minister of agriculture, said dairy products had developed, but the export trade in these commodities, said Dr Grisdale, had fallen off. The prospects were that Canada would not export any bacon this year, in spite of the fact that in 1921, this country had exported 104 million pounds.

I cite that, not as my argument, but as the problem with which the Minister of Agriculture and his deputy have been struggling, in conjunction with representatives of the dairy industry who a-re meeting in this very city. What is the sense or use of trying to justify this treaty in the face of these results and these facts? I say to the minister and to the government that as far as I am concerned-and I think I speak for every member on this side of the house-in so far as the trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand is fair and equitable and working in that manner, we are for it. But if, as experience shows, it is working a serious injury to an industry in this country, we say the treaty should be revised 'and should have been revised long ago.

Let us look at the picture in a broad and general way. The Minister has gloried in certain increases since 1921 or 1922. I have noticed, as a matter of practice, that this government seems to think it is doing well if one of its members can stand in his place and point out that there has been no serious decline in any given line of production. That is an entirely wrong view to take. This Dominion of Canada ought to be progressing faster than any other country under the sun.

If the ratio of progress is not the best, it is not good enough. What is the situation? We find that since this treaty came into operation there has been a decrease between 1926 and 1928 of some 500,000,000 pounds in the production of butter-the figures for 1929 are not available-and in that period the decrease in the number of milch cows amounted to between 100,000 and 125,000. That is an alarming situation. With the increased consumption which the minister speaks of and with this imporation of some 35,000,000 pounds of butter from one country alone, there should be a rapid expansion of this splendid industry, an increase in the number of milch cows and an increase in the production of butter and other dairy products such as cheese and so on.

Year after year this house has been voting something like $4,000,000 for dairying and live stock purposes-I have the estimates for this year before me-in addition to what is being spent by the different provincial governments, but we find this decline continuing. Every dairying organization in Canada, as represented by the great gathering in the city of Ottawa to-day, attribute that decline to the working of the treaty. Why does the government resist what is such an obvious fact? Why does not the government face the situation and say, "There has been obviously an injury done by the effects of this treaty and we will take steps to remedy it"? The minister admitted a decline in exports, he admitted an increase in imports, and he quoted figures to show that production was not increasing to any great extent; in fact his figures show that there is a decline in some respects. Those facts are obvious, they are not propaganda and they surely call for the closest study and attention.

The minister put forth the argument that this order in council could not be cancelled, and he rested his argument upon the legal authority of the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill). He said that that hon. member had advised him that inasmuch as this order in council was based upon clause 5 of the Australian treaty it could not be cancelled except upon six months' notice, and he said that because of that we on this side were wrong in our proposals. I cannot say that I have the same profound respect for the opinion of the hon. member for Comox-Alberni.

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LIB

James Malcolm (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

I must interrupt my

hon. friend to say that while I appreciate his humour I cannot agree that I made any such statement.

Australian Treaty-Mr. Stevens

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I will admit that my

language is perhaps a little more definite than that of the minister, but I heard him quote the member for Comox-Albemi. I prefer the authority of the customs act to that of the hon. member for Comox-Albemi, and that act contains the provision that the governor in council may by order in council withdraw the benefits of the British preferential tariff from any British country, other than the United Kingdom, which is receiving the benefit of it. In other words, you put it on by order in council and you can withdraw it by order in council, so that the argument of the minister would not seem to have very much weight.

The hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) has stated that New Zealand of her own volition had extended to Canada the British preferential rate, and while he did not make the specific argument the inference was that we were simply reciprocating by this order in council a courtesy extended to us by New Zealand. But what are the facts? It is quite true that New Zealand admitted Canadian goods under the preferential tariff rate, but I find that since 1907 we have been admitting New Zealand goods under the British preferential rate so that there was no obligation whatsoever upon Canada to extend to New Zealand anything further without receiving from them some quid pro quo. In other words, this order in council extending the provisions of the treaty to New Zealand was an action upon the part of this government which was not asked for and which was not reciprocated by New Zealand; it was a gratuitous thing extended to New Zealand at the expense of the dairymen of Canada.

The resolution of the hon. Minister of Finance is that this order in council should be superseded as soon as possible. What are to be the determining factors in deciding what is "as soon as possible"? We are asking for the cancellation of the order in council forthwith; there is no ambiguity about our request. It is quite clear from the remarks of the Minister of Trade and Commerce that this shall not be done before the economic conference which takes place this coming autumn.

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LIB

James Malcolm (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

My hon. friend is quite right in that; I think it will take the whole of the summer to carry out the negotiations.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

There we have it. As far as the dairy industry is concerned, it can sweat.

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LIB

James Malcolm (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

My hon. friend realizes

the difficulties. He will realize also that the importation of butter is carried on during a six months period.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

As my hon. leader said

this afternoon-by the way some of the hon. members laughed at has suggestion-what about the contractual arrangements which must be made either for the importation of butter from New Zealand on the one hand or for the production in this country on the other. Arrangements must be made for storage space and other matters in order to carry the summer butter through the winter, and those arrangements must be completed during the producing season, which in this country covers the months of April, May, June, July and August. The hon. minister says that this matter will not be dealt with until after the economic conference to be held at the end of September, and any negotiations there must be followed by a long period of consideration, so that it can be said that it will be a year before anything definite is done. That point should be made perfectly clear to the dairying industry-that the position the government takes is that nothing shall be done in this matter for another year. I ask again, what are to be the determining factors? Are they to be governed by political exigencies, by the wishes of New Zealand, or, as stated by the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Young), the will of the consumer? My hon. friend takes his ideas entirely from his particular friend and henchman, Mr. Deach-man, and I-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I want to say this: I can understand-

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Weyburn):

I ask that that statement be withdrawn; I have a few ideas of my own.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

We are glad to know

that,' but I will say to my hon. friend that I can quite understand-

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Weyburn):

I am asking

that that statement be withdrawn. [DOT]

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

There is nothing to be

withdrawn; my hon. friend cannot ask for such frivolous and silly things as that. I can quite understand why the hon. gentleman is so anxious for the welfare of the consumer, because this gentleman, Mr. Deachman, who represents him so ably is a consumer and that is all, a consumer purely and absolutely.

Australian Treaty-Mr. Stevens

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Weybum):

My hon. friend is very brave in attacking a man who is not in the house to defend himself.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

This man is a simon-pure consumer and nothing else. He appears before a body which claims to be representing or is appointed by the government of the country for the purpose of studying these matters-

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March 11, 1930