June 4, 1931

LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Will my hon. friend permit me just on that point, as to the time within which the pledge shall be carried out? There is nothing about "reasonable time" in the matter, for this is what the Prime Minister said at the special session:

It must be remembered that promised with respect to policies are matters of profound importance to the Canadian people, and the policies we promised to put into effect we propose to put into effect immediately.

The Budget-Mr. Stevens

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Absolutely. I am amazed at the unreasonableness of the hon. gentleman. I venture to say that everyone in this country who is not blinded by political prejudice will agree that this government and the Prime Minister in particular, has gone a long way in discharging its promises, and they expect that the Prime Minister is the one who will continue to discharge those obligations.

My hon. friend then went on to deal with another subject. Oh, he said, there is another thing which the Prime Minister has not done. No sinking fund has yet been set up. Well, what about the nine years of their tenure of office? Why is it that this sinking fund becomes so important all of a sudden?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

We never promised it.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Neither did we.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Hon. gentlemen opposite were nine years in office and did nothing about it. The late Mr. Robb, as Minister of Finance, agreed about five years ago that a sinking fund should be set up, but nothing was done.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

He just paid off the debt.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

My hon. friend from Shel-burne-Yarmouth is very much perturbed now regarding no sinking fund.

He went on and said: I see nothing in this budget about a surplus. I want to say this to him, and I say it with a good deal of earnestness, that had he and his friends been over here now they would have been confronted with just the same deficit that confronted us.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No, no.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

With at least the same deficit. These miscellaneous cries of "no, no" from hon. gentlemen opposite are indicative of one thing or the other: either they have never given the matter a moment's thought, or they are blinded with prejudice. Nothing is surer than this, that when Mr. Dunning, the then Minister of Finance, last year locked up source after source of revenue just on the eve of an election for the purpose of making an appeal to the people-but which fortunately the people were not beguiled by-he knew that he would ibe confronted with a deficit if he should be in office this year. He knew it, and anyone else who gave his budget of last year a moment's thought knew perfectly .well that there would be a deficit. In view of the conditions that have developed,

(Mr. Ralston.]

conditions that did not have their origin since this government came into power and were not, I will admit, due entirely to the tenure of office of my hon. friends opposite, but owing to conditions throughout the whole world-

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Does my hon. friend say, no?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

It was not conditions throughout the whole world last July.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

My hon. friend would not have dared to make that statement because last July, when my hon. friends opposite were still in office, there was a tremendous amount of unemployment in this country and a rapid falling-off in trade, more rapid in the earlier months than in the later months of last year. That all happened while they were in office, and my hon. friend now says that that was not due to world conditions.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I rise to a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I only want to have this point made absolutely clear. I said: "It was not that last July", meaning, that is not what my hon. friends opposite said last July. Then they blamed the conditions on the government.

_ STEVENS: What I was about to say is this, and I think I am over-generous: Conditions were bad in this country as they were in other countries, partly, or largely, if you like, due to a general world economic condition. That is what I was about to say, but my hon. friend interrupted and would not let me get away with it.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

That is not what the

Minister of Railways (Mr. Manion) said.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I might remind my hon. friend that I did not interrupt him very much. I propose to examine some of his arguments, and I will deal first with that on export trade. He referred to export trade in relation to the tariff and he spent a very considerable time on it. Summed up, his argument was this: if you want to increase the exports of a country, lower or take off your tariff.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Sure.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I hear an hon. member

say "sure."

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Certainly.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Another hon. member

says "certainly." Very good. My hon. friend did not say just where he would take the

The Budget-Mr. Stevens

tariff off. He and his friends opposite never do. They will go to the country and say: The tariff proposals of the Conservative party -and at present of this government-are injurious to trade. But when they are in office I notice that in large measure they maintain the tariff. If they believe, as the hon. member said this afternoon-and he was the spokesman of the party opposite, he was the financial critic of the opposition-if they believe the doctrine that he preached this afternoon, carried to a logical conclusion it is this: To take off the tariff in order to let imports come in and to send exports out. That was his doctrine. He does not say where he would stop or where he would start; he is very careful about that; but that is his doctrine.

Let us look at that doctrine for a moment. My hon. friend referred to the drop in exports-and I wish the house would do me the courtesy of following me in this matter for a moment-he referred to the drop in exports, and he used percentages; I will do the same. The figures I am now giving to the house represent the percentage decrease compared with the same months last year:

January 39-30

February 34-21

March 38-56

April 33-12

Now I will give similar percentages for the United States, and I do it for the purpose of establishing the fact that this situation from an economic standpoint is not peculiar to this country; then a little later on I intend to base an argument not only upon these figures, but upon quantity as against value, which I think is illuminating to anyone who chooses to study the figures. The United States figures showing decreases in exports as compared with the same months last year are as follows:

January 41-07

February 37-84

March 30-24

April 39-25

With the exception of March, the United States was 3. 4, 5 and 6 per cent higher than Canada in the falling off of its export trade. I admit very frankly that that has no great significance, but at the same time it is a very useful thing to keep in mind when studying this question.

Now I want to refer to farm exports just for a moment. Farm exports have fallen off. But let me give my hon. friends opposite a very unpleasant reminder. During the years that they held office-and mark you, we are now discussing that portion of my hon. friend's remarks in which he dealt with the

fiscal policy of this country injuring exports;

I want that to be borne in mind-during their term of office from 1921 to 1930, farm exports to the United States dropped from $162,880,000 to $40,841,000, or a falling off in nine years of no less than 75 per cent. My hon. friends may say: Oh, well that is due to the American tariff.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink

June 4, 1931