May 14, 1931

LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

A few minutes ago the minister, speaking of the personnel of trade commissioners in different parts of the world, referred to the fact that the Civil Service Commission in the examinations made a point of the educational qualifications that were necessary. I notice he said nothing as to whether these men should have business training or qualifications. It is very import-

ant that men who go out into the world to negotiate with other countries for the sale of our goods, should have certain business training and know how to talk with business men in other countries.

I also notice that one of the trade commissioners has been appointed to Cuba and lives in Havana. As the hon. member for Hants-Kings said, it is most important especially at the present time that some trade arrangements be made with Cuba not only with regard to potatoes but also with regard to fish. Perhaps the minister can give the committee the figures, but I think I am correct in saying that more Canadian goods, especially fish and potatoes, are sold in Cuba than in any other island in the West Indies. If the minister looks up the returns for the last few months I think he will find that this trade in both potatoes and fish has dropped off considerably, due particularly to the fact that a short time ago the Cuban government, adopting no doubt a policy similar to that of the present government of this country, increased very largely the duties on fish and potatoes. This has crippled business, especially in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, with regard to both the potato trade and the fish trade. It is most important that something be done by the government to better these conditions. It is true, of course, that one of the ministers, the hon. member for Kings, was sent to Cuba a short time ago. Although he made a statement to the house a day or two ago, it was not a very definite statement and perhaps it was not the time that such a statement should be made with regard to what he was able to accomplish on his mission. I notice he said nothing with regard to the trade in Cuba for fish. That is a very important trade in the maritime provinces, and especially in the city of Halifax, the county which I represent and the county in which I live. Would the minister tell the committee if he receives reports from the different trade commissioners every month? I should like especially to know whether he has reports from the trade commissioner in Cuba for the last six months, whether they are monthly, fortnightly or weekly, and whether we can find from those reports what the commissioner says with regard to the falling off in trade in fish and potatoes in Cuba.

Topic:   S3.000,000.
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

We have very full reports weekly from all our trade agents and these are published in the Commercial Intel-

Copyright Act

ligence Journal. I think every member receives a copy regularly. They are widely distributed throughout Canada in business circles. I have not under my hand a special report from Cuba regarding the last few months to which my hon. friend refers. I have the figures for 1929 and 1930. In 1930 they were:

Exports $4,245,000

Imports 3,500,000

Topic:   S3.000,000.
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LIB
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Yes. The chief commodities were:

Potatoes $2,081,000

Fish, dried, smoked and pickled 713,000

Then there are milk, condensed; newsprint and other items of that kind.

Topic:   S3.000,000.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

The figures are almost

identical. They are as follows:

1929 1930

Exports

$4,442,000 $4,245,000Imports

4,900,000 3,500,000

Topic:   S3.000,000.
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LIB

William Duff

Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

The figures just given by the minister for the two years do not show much difference, but if he looks up recent reports from the commissioner in Cuba I think he will find that, in view of the fact that this extra duty was not imposed until two months ago, the trade has been affected very considerably since then. Last week I received a report from my own office stating that shipments of fish to Cuba-and every fortnight a boat leaves from Halifax-had fallen off and that on the last two boats practically no fish had been shipped owing to this increase in duty. Perhaps the minister has not the information under his hand, but I should like to know whether his trade commissioner has made a report in regard to the serious situation which exists in connection with the trade from Nova Scotia of that particular item.

Topic:   S3.000,000.
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I shall check up and get that information. May I ask that after the rather full discussion to-day, this item should be allowed to pass? It is almost eleven o'clock.

Topic:   S3.000,000.
Permalink

Item agreed to. Progress reported. At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Friday, May 15, 1931


May 14, 1931