May 20, 1930

?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT
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CON

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

This is the first time I have

occupied the time of the house this session.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Mr. Chairman, I wonder

if we could agree on our procedure here. The hon. member for South Huron wandered pretty far afield and made a sort of budget speech, and I gather that my hon. friend from South Essex is travelling in the same direction. I wonder if we could not agree, as a sporting proposition, that the hon. member for South Essex be allowed to do so, and that following his remarks the members of the committee endeavour to get down to the item under discussion. I make this suggestion merely as a matter of fairness in view of what has happened. I was interested in the remarks of the hon. member for South Huron; he made a very interesting speech, but from the point of view of procedure in committee I just suggest that following the hon. member who now has the floor we might try to do as we did yesterday and deal with the item under discussion.

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CON

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

All I desire to do is to make

a protest on behalf of the people whom I have the honour to represent here. I protest against onions from Bermuda and the West Indies coming into Canada free. They have three crops a year in the West Indies, all grown under cheap labour, which is going to place the onion growers of Essex county under the most severe competition which they have ever known. We have striven for a number of years against strong competition from different quarters; we are up against competition from Mississippi on tomatoes; we have competition with Virginia on cabbages; we are up against competition from Louisiana on cucumbers and competition from Michigan on potatoes. Now we are going-

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Weyburn):

Can you not

stand any competition at all?

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CON

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

Perhaps the hon. member might keep quiet. I do not think he is coming back to the next parliament. I think there is a wave of indignation sweeping across this country to-day against the present government, cutting such a wide swath and gaining such a momentum as it goes on that fifty budget speeches such as the Minister of Finance brought down will not save the government, and a million speeches such as the hon. member for South Huron just delivered will not save him or any of the Liberal members in western Ontario.

I want to protest against these onions from the West Indies being allowed into Canada

Ways and Means-Customs Tariff

free. They come here under a cheap ocean rate, at any time of the year with their three crops, and the onion growers in Essex county will be up against the most serious competition they have ever experienced. I could not let this item pass without putting in my protest on behalf of the people whom I have the honour to represent.

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

Last night I raised a question as to whether the packages should be made to pay duty on entering Canada. I think last night the minister said it would be very difficult for the Department of National Revenue to differentiate between the contents of the package and the package itself. I think until the present budget was put into effect there was no duty collected on the cases in which vegetables and fruits were packed when they entered Canada, and as a result of this new method of calculating duty we have had a tremendous increase in the cost of these vegetables and fruits. I understand that in the case of lettuce the increase is from 45 cents to $1.28 per case.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No.

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LAB

Abraham Albert Heaps

Labour

Mr. HEAPS:

Here are the figures as we

have them from people who have actually paid the duties, and I think those are the people who really should know. I am very anxious indeed that the minister should do away with the collection of duty on cases or ice in which these vegetables may be packed. I do not see any difficulty about it; I think the duty could be collected on the invoice value of the vegetables, and then there would be no need to pay a duty on that extra weight represented by the package in which the vegetables come. This is not a concession in the true sense of the word; we are simply asking for a little common sense in the administration of the new duties. You can take a case of lettuce as a very striking example. I believe the contents of that case would not weight much more than about half the total weight of the container, the ice, and the lettuce itself, yet we are asked to pay duty on the ice and on the crating which contains the lettuce. For the last time I ask the Minister of Finance to see if he cannot bring in some amendment whereby duty will not be collected on the packages in which the vegetables and fruits come to Canada, as is the case at the present time.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

Mr. Chairman, for some years past doctors, dieticians, nurses and medical magazines have been telling the people that they should eat more raw vegetables and fruits, until the vegetables which are covered 2419-144.1

by these items which we are discussing to-day have become of the utmost importance. The doctors all point out to-day how important it is to eat lettuce, tomatoes, celery and other vegetables of that kind, and people have taken them at their word, and you find that even in the little country villages, during the winter time these fruits and vegetables are available to the people who desire them. Now, just when the people have acquired this taste and are taking the advice of the doctors, we come along with these almost prohibitive duties and penalize those people for doing what is most necessary in the interests of their health and the health of their children.

May I point out that I can hardly believe that this is in the best interests of the growers themselves. Supposing we allow these prohibitive duties to continue on these vegetables throughout the season; it would simply mean that up to the time they were produced in abundance in Canada people would hardly use them at all. If people get out of the habit of using them during about eight months of the year, they will not use them in any great quantities during the other four months. It would seem to me that at least outside of the period during which they are produced in abundance in Canada, we ought to give the people every chance in the world to use these vegetables, and it seems to me that by educating the people and keeping that taste alive during the winter and the off season, people will be much more liable to use the native products during the time when they are on the market. As a matter of fact, I find that the growers themselves have not asked for this duty.

Now I should like to quote some figures I received from a fruit and vegetable dealer in the city of Ottawa.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

My hon. friend said the growers had not asked for these rates?

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

They have not asked

for the duty throughout the whole season.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

My hon. friend probably was not in the house last night when I indicated that I proposed to move amendments which would have the effect of restricting the application of the specific duty to seasons which the growers state are satisfactory, which would not affect the winter consumption.

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CON

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

That would be what the

growers have asked for.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

I congratulate the minister on correcting the mistake he made at the start, at least to that extent. Now I

2276 COMMONS

Ways and Means-Customs Tariff

should like to place these figures on Hansard, which have been given me by a fruit and vegetable dealer in the city of Ottawa. On lettuce, which had a value of $1.50 f.o.b. point of shipment, the old duty was 45 cents while the new is $1.28; on strawberries the old duty was 2+ cents per quart, while the new duty is 5 cents per quart; on cabbage, the old duty was 60 cents per case of 112 pounds, while the new duty is $1.12.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Those figures cannot be correct.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

They were given to me by a reputable dealer whose name I cannot announce publicly. On carrots, worth $2 per case, f.Ojb. California, the old duty was 50 cents while the new is 85 cents; on cauliflower, valued at $1 per case, f.o.b. California, the old duty was 30 cents while the new duty is 90 cents; on onions, valued at $1 per case f.o.b. Texas, the old duty was 30 cents while the new duty is 40 cents.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Name your authority.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

I am under an obligation not to give this name publicly.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Why read it?

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Subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT
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May 20, 1930