Mr. A. D. McRAE (Vancouver North):
Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak to the subamendment before the house, I think I might shorten up the time which, owing to the importance of the industries affected on the Pacific coast, I otherwise feel I should take up, by referring to the very able presentation made of the subamendment by my colleague the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens). In endorsing his presentation in the house last evening I believe my remarks can be confined more particularly to those industries which I know best.
The observations which I should like to make to-day will be confined to treaties in general
Australian Treaty-Mr. McRae
and to the Australian treaty in particular. As regards treaties in general, I presume we should consider them from a national viewpoint and in that connection we on the Pacific coast, separated as we are by the Rocky mountains from the other parts of the Dominion. sometimes feel that our interests have not always been well considered.
I have in mind the revision of the French treaty which, I think, was termed the convention of 1922. To the amazement of those interested in the production of salmon on our Pacific coast they found that when the schedules became public knowledge, the preference they received in the new convention was but one-half of that previously enjoyed on their shipments to France. So seriously did this affect their exports that it was with difficulty they were able to compete with United States shippers of canned salmon to France. If one reads the convention, it would appear that some mistake was made in putting canned salmon into the intermediate column instead of into the column providing for the minimum tariff. This apparently did not occur in regard to any other article at least in the fishery line. It was a disappointment to the fishing industry on the Pacific coast that under the new convention they should be deprived of one-half of their preference without having been consulted in the matter. It might well be a principle in the negotiation of our treaties in future that those interests which are going to be vitally affected should be consulted so that a proper presentation might be made with a view of at least maintaining the preference previously enjoyed. We have a large Dominion; there are many diversified interests; changes develop from time to time; important omissions are no doubt made in certain instances, and a revision of our treaties may frequently be in order. In any event we are not experienced in making treaties; we have many interests to harmonize, and certainly revisions need not be unexpected.
Referring to the Australian treaty, I was rather surprised when I came to look the matter up to find that notwithstanding all the discussions there have been with respect to that treaty, at the present time Canadian exports to Australia are but two and one-half per cent of the imports into that dominion. This clearly shows that in a revision there is hope for an extension of the business we are now doing with that sister dominion, and I trust later to be able to point out to the house some outstanding instances which, in the light of results, do not appear to have received sufficient consideration in the making of the previous treaty. I agree entirely with the principle
enunciated by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre that treaties should apply to exchange of indigenous products.