May 20, 1930

PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

On spinach at 40 cents per bushel, the old duty was 12 cents per bushel, while the new duty is 22 cents per bushel; on celery, valued at $3 per case f.o.b. California, the old duty was 90 cents per case while the neiw duty is $3; on Mexican tomatoes, the old duty was 38 cents while the new duty is 90 cents.

This dealer assures me that just as soon as the home grown vegetables come on the market in sufficient quantities, the American shipments are shut off. I have a circular letter issued by a Montreal wholesale fruit house.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

The dealers again.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

The dealers again. This was sent to the particular dealer to whom I have referred, and reads as follows:

The proposed Canadian tariff on fruit and vegetables (in effect since May 2) is working a decided hardship on the receivers and distributors of fruit and vegetables in Canada.

(1) Because it will increase the duty on imports to the consumer about 150 per cent.

(2) Because the receivers and distributors of fruit and vegetables are obliged to reduce their turnover and increase the cash outlay.

(3) Because the growers only requested a seasonable duty on a few articles but no general increase for the full twelve months.

(4) Because the fruit receivers of Canada, especially of eastern Canada are 100 per cent behind the movement of "trade within the empire," especially with Bermuda and the West

(Mr. Campbell.]

Indies. Unfortunately the receipts from this source are totally insufficient (and for many years to come) to meet the demands of Canada for fruit and vegetables.

(5) The duty on the first twenty carlots of fruit and vegetables we passed since the new tariff was in effect on May 2,

amounted to $7,383 13

under old tariff 3,381 73

an increase of about 118 per cent, ivhich automatically must be passed on to the consumer.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

That is on twenty carloads.

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PRO

Milton Neil Campbell

Progressive

Mr. CAMPBELL:

On the first twenty

carloads. I notice that the Regina Leader, in an editorial, refers to the question of ice, and points out, apparently in a vein of sarcasm, that ice being a native product which ought to be protected, a duty on this commodity is logical. The following editorial from the Regina Leader-Post of May 7, should prove very interesting:

Here are some concrete examples the fruit men have found. A carload of lettuce arrived in Regina Tuesday. The receiving firm was called upon to pay $181.92 in duty alone. Under the old schedule the duty cost would have been $156.34. A car of strawberries also arrived in Regina Tuesday and to-day are being consumed in various homes in the city. The receiving firm paid $529.92 in duty. Under the old rate the same charge would have been $250.24. Practically the same proportion runs through a whole list of articles that Reginans use every day, cabbage, tomatoes, cauliflower and all the popular fruits that have to be imported in the off-Canadian season.

The editorial continues:

Shippers declare they are now paying duty on ice in which head lettuce and similar commodities are packed. One dealer said that he received Tuesday a shipment of green peas. Each crate contained a piece of ice. The peas in a crate weighed forty pounds. The ice and crate weighed thirty pounds. He paid duty on all three.

I have a list prepared by the Winnipeg Evening Tribune, which I do not intend to read but which shows an average increase of 118 per cent in the rates of duty paid on different vegetables. I congratulate the minister on meeting this situation as he has, but I would ask him to consider that the harder it is for people to secure these necessary articles, the less they are going to use during the season in which they are on the market. To that extent the home grower will be injured.

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LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

Mr. Chairman, perhaps I

should deliver my speech in Irish so that I could go down in history as having been in competition with the hon. member for South Huron (Mr. McMillan). However, I will not

Ways and Means-Customs Tariff

inflict an Irish speech upon the house. The hon. member for Huron seemed to be worried about the high protective policy of a low tariff party, as he referred to the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens), stating that he had applied the dumping duty. Let me say to my hon. friend that that was in the month of June or July, when Canadian products were on the market and at that time it had very little effect upon the prices paid. I do not know what proposals the government intend to substitute for the present ones, but I would like to express my views regarding protection for the fruit and vegetable growers.

I do not believe that they have too much protection, but I am opposed to both specific and ad valorem duties. A high tariff is not always the best protection to any industry as there are other means of helping along such an industry as the fruit and vegetable industry. There should be means of assisting this industry other than those which will take money out of the pockets of the people. I am not criticizing the government for their lack of knowledge of how to apply a tariff policy, because they have never applied a policy of any kind.

The hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Glen) made the statement that he hoped the time would soon come when the fruit and vegetable growers would have no protection whatever. Should that day ever come, there will be no fruit or vegetable growers in the country. To-day many of them are out of business because of the insufficient protection they have received since this government came into power, and before that as well.

I intend to speak from the marketing point of view, and may I say that I do not intend to speak in my own interests. I have been associated with the fruit and vegetable growers of this country for the last thirty-seven years. I know many of them throughout the province of Ontario, and I know the difficulties with which they have to contend. Their success or failure may not have depended entirely upon the tariff, as there were other conditions which they had to meet. Before I came to this house in 1922, and since that time I have advocated protection for the fruit and vegetable growers. Climatic conditions in the United States are more favourable to the growers in that country. They are enabled to produce two or three crops per year much more easily and cheaply than one crop can be produced in Canada. How can we meet that competition without protection? I have always advocated specific duties on fruit and vegetables as a means of blocking the unscrupulous dealers. These men have been

defrauding the government and putting out of business those legitimate wholesale men who have paid the full duty. The Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Euler) has stopped that to some extent, but we know that five-ton trucks are leaving Toronto, Hamilton and St. Catharines to go to Buffalo where they load up with grapefruit and pile oranges all around the outside and pay the duty upon faked invoices. Specific duties afford one means of protecting the fruit and vegetable growers of this country.

The next thing I have done is that I have advocated an embargo to prevent a glut when we have in Canada a greater supply than we can consume. That happens nearly every season in connection with the different commodities as they come along. One might, however, as well talk to the town pump as to the present government. In my early days in the house I gave quite a bit of advice along this line, 'but it was of no avail because nobody ever listened to me. No duty of any kind could have prevented a glut on the Toronto market or other Canadian markets during the week between the 3rd and the 10th May.

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CON

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

Nothing but an embargo,

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LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

Nothing 'but an embargo could have prevented a glut in asparagus. On the 3rd May, when I was in Toronto, asparagus was being sold at $3 a basket of two dozen, some a little higher and some a little lower. On that date there was a good deal of United States asparagus in the market and more coming in. I tried to impress upon my colleagues that we should cut out importations of asparagus, but they said to me: "If you do not buy it, they will ship it to you on commission, and you cannot refuse it." I said: "On that account I think it should be cut out." The result was that the following Saturday asparagus 'had dropped to $1.50 and many hundreds of baskets were left over that could not be sold at all.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

The hon. member will not agree then with the statement made by the hon. member for Mackenzie with respect to the price of asparagus being increased to the consumer following the budget?

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LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

It dropped from $3 to $1.50 from the 3rd to the 10th May, but I say that nothing short of an embargo will give the Canadian growers the protection they want.

The same thing is true of strawberries. A duty of three cents a pound on strawberries seems very high protection, but if the United States growers have a surplus, they will dump it on to the Canadian market in Toronto or Montreal at any price. They will send the

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berries in on commission and kill our own markets. Therefore I say: Let them keep their own stuff.

In Canada between Burlington and Hamilton we have developed a great district for growing melons and in that particular district we grow the best melons in the country. They grow a good quality in Leamington, but in Toronto we get more from the district between Burlington and Hamilton. Last year, in the season when our melons were at their prime and everybody wanted Canadian melons, the floors of the Toronto market were glutted with foreign melons, some of which were not fit to eat at all and some of which should not have been allowed into the country. There were such melons as honeydews, honey balls and casabas from California. I have no complaint about the Arizona or Mexican melons, but whenever we have in our markets more Canadian melons than our people can consume, the proper thing to do is to impose an embargo upon the foreign product and shut it out. It is that kind of protection alone that will safeguard our own growers. [DOT]

Two years ago we had an enormous crop of carrots in Canada, but just after we had harvested our own crop in November, from, say the 15th to the 20th of December, along _ came Texas carrots. We had thousands upon thousands of bags of Canadian carrots on our floors and everywhere else, and we were trying to dispose of them, but as is well known, the people buy the new stuff with the result that the foreign carrots were a big detriment to the native grown. In a case of that kind let me advise the government-and if my own party were in power I should say the same thing-that those carrots should be kept out of Canada until the greater part of our own crop is consumed. Then let t'he foreign product in and give a fair deal to the consuming public. The price of carrots at that time was very low. In the spring they were dumped by the hundreds of bags and they could not be sold for a quarter because the market was flooded from the month of December when these Texas carrots should not have 'been permitted to enter at all. They should at least have been kept out until the 15th of February, if the government do not favour a complete embargo, because the people ought to be encouraged to eat our own products instead of the foreign stuff that is very expensive. For instance, the market that year for our carrots was seventy-five cents for a seventy-five pound bag. The Texas stuff was sold at $3.50 a hamper and because they were fresh vegetables with nice tops on them, they were being bought freely by everybody,

probably by many who really couldn't afford to buy them. But it would take three hampers of carrots worth $3.50 apiece to fill a seventy-five pound bag after you had cut the tops off. Is it an economical way for the people of Canada to live to buy carrots at that price? I say it is not, and the government should step in and take care of the situation in some way. The growers of fruits and vegetables have been asking for a seasonal tariff, but that will not be sufficient.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Weyburn):

What season

would the hon. member suggest for carrots?

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LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

I might suggest a season, but it would be impossible for a government to apply a measure of that kind without having somebody who was properly qualified to give them advice along that line. Some years you might apply a tariff from the first of April; other years the season might be later and you might apply the tariff from the first of May.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Weyburn):

The hon. member said a few minutes ago he wanted carrots shut out in January.

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LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

I did not say anything of the kind. I said that if these carrots were kept out until the major part of the large production we have in this country was consumed, that would be better for Canada and I still say so.

I am going to give the committee some figures that I have prepared myself and that I know are correct to a cent. It has been said in the house that the growers resent the idea that they want to increase the price of their products to the consuming public. All they ask for is a fair duty and that I am prepared to give them. The horticultural council made their presentation and everyone knows who compose that body. They seem to have had a great deal of influence with the Liberal party in the last few days in getting the government to change their attitude and perhaps it is a good thing.

My belief is that a countervailing tariff should have been introduced in this country when the Fordney-McCumber tariff was put into effect. At that time many people in Canada were making money out of shipping stuff to the United States, but the Fordney-McCumber tariff cut off 60 to 75 per cent of our exports. That was the time to introduce countervailing tariffs and not to-day. My idea is that an embargo is the only thing that will be of any use.

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LIB-PRO

John Millar

Liberal Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

Does the hon. member approve of countervailing duties to-day?

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LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

I am not giving it much consideration just at present.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Weyburn):

Would the hon. member put an embargo on peaches?

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LIB

James Houston Spence

Liberal

Mr. SPENCE:

I would put an embargo on everything of which we produce in this oountry a sufficient crop to supply the demand.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG (Weyburn):

Would the hon. member put it on peaches?

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LIB

May 20, 1930