Mr. FINLAY MacDONALD (Cape Breton South):
I wish to correct a misapprehension which may have arisen from what I said yesterday with regard to the question of free trade. I intimated that I might be a free trader myself along certain lines, but that I wanted protection on coal and iron. The point I was trying to make was this, that if I were a free trader, I would likely be a free trader of the kind that we meet in this house, particularly on this side to my left, free traders who want free trade in the articles they buy, and protection on the produce that they have to sell.
I was trying to point out last night that the fiscal policy of this government is responsible to a certain degree, at least, for the unemployment now existing in this country. I was dealing with the question of coal. Since then I have read in the newspapers a statement made on the floor of the legislature of Nova Scotia to the effect that coal used in the heating of the public buildings at Halifax was imported from points outside of Canada, while miners within two hundred miles of Halifax are walking the streets idle. Surely there is a direct connection between the policy of this government and the unemployment that exists in the town of Glace Bay.
I also pointed out the effect which the introduction of Russian coal is going to have on the market that we want to get for Nova Scotia coal and possibly coal from the western provinces. Last year a large consignment of coal came from Russia into this country. It was refused admittance into the United States, but was admitted into Canada. The newspapers tell us that this year contracts have been let for the purchase of 250,000 tons of Russian coal. There is one thought that I want to leave with my friends from the west, the wheat farmers and free traders. The papers tell us that within the last year or so hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent in the United States for agricultural implements for Russia. Who dare say that within four or five years from now the great agricultural lands of Russia will not be developed to such a degree that, if they can replace our coal now, they will not then be in a position to replace our Canadian wheat? What will be the position then of the wheat farmers in this country? Will they be free traders then?