October 21, 1932

LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. J. A. BRADETTE (North Tirnis-karning):

Mr. Speaker, I have no reluctance whatever in addressing this house on an occasion such as this, for the very simple reason that I realize the duty I have to perform towards my constituents. Some newspapers have said that these agreements should be passed without discussion. That reminds me of a personal experience I had the first time I had the honour of sitting in this assembly, which was in the fall of 1926. At that time I asked myself why there were so many representatives in this House of Commons, but it did not take me very long to realize that it was quite necessary to have this number in order that every section of the country might be properly represented here. This country is so large, geographically, and so many different interests are represented that I believe every member should express the views of his constituents on questions such as this. If I did not speak on these agreements I do not think I would be fulfilling my duty towards that section of northern Ontario which I have the honour to represent.

I am not going to be absolutely critical of these agreements. Sometimes within the walls of this chamber, as well as in many different sections of the country, when we try to couple the word "politics" with any discussion on national, imperial or international matters, such a connection seems to be something of a slur. This, however, is a matter which 53719-29

should be brought forward in this house in order that every angle of these treaties may be discussed and the viewpoint of every section of the country presented. I will go further, Mr. Speaker. I maintain that it is the bounden duty of every member of this house to present the viewpoint of his constituents. Ever since these treaties were made public they have been the subject of discussion throughout Canada. I have received letters and several telegrams giving me different points of view which may be of interest to this house and to the country at large. Really we on this side should not be criticized for discussing these questions. In 1930 it was known that this conference would be held in Ottawa; a great many men whom I will call statesmen, because I believe they are worthy of that appellation, together with experts on economics, finance and commerce, not only as they concern their respective countries and the empire but as they concern the world, met here and deliberated for thirty days. Who, therefore, will begrudge the few days or weeks that we may spend here working for the welfare and advancement of Canada and the empire?

I greatly resented one statement made by the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) in his remarks on the address in reply to the speech from the throne. The right hon. gentleman did his best to reflect on the attitude of the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) in connection with the conference. Attacks of this kind have been made in the press as well, and they are absolutely unwarranted. Every citizen worthy of the name appreciated and admired the fine attitude taken by the right hon. leader of the opposition during that conference. I have in my hand a telegram which my right hon. leader sent to Right Hon. Stanley Baldwin. It Was sent in care of the Empress of Britain on July 18, 1932, and was reported in the Ottawa Citizen of the following day:

On behalf of the Liberal opposition in the Canadian parliament I desire to join in the welcome being extended today by all Canada to yourself and colleagues of the British and all other delegations to the Imperial economic conference, and to express our good wishes for the success which we hope may attend its deliberations. Personally I am looking forward with the greatest pleasure to seeing again Mrs. Baldwin and yourself, and to the renewal of many old friendships.

This message does not show any spirit of partisanship; it simply shows that my right hon. leader, on behalf of himself and the Liberal party, hoped that the conference would be successful. His personal conduct before and during the conference also has been com-

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mended by the Canadian people, and I was very sorry indeed to hear the right hon. Prime Minister insinuate that he attempted in any way to interfere with that meeting. Personally I had the pleasure of holding over forty meetings in my own constituency before and during the sessions of the conference, and I always made it a point to tell the people of North Timiskaming that no doubt some good would come from the conference, that it would be impossible for so many men of high standing to meet together not for days but for weeks without some good resulting.

I maintain that attitude today, and let me repeat that I think it is the duty of all members of this House of Commons to bring forward as forcibly as possible all the problems arising in the different sections of the country which may have a bearing on this question. After all, the different parts make up the whole of Canada, and it is not easy for those residing in one part to become acquainted with the needs of those residing in another part. I know there are members here from the maritime provinces who have never visited British Columbia, and even in my own riding, which I believe is one of the largest in Canada, many people living in the town of Timmins do not know how many people live in the town of Hearst. Some people maintain that these treaties should be regarded almost as though they were sacred. I repeat that these are national matters, and I believe they should be discussed very fully in this house. I said a few moments ago that no doubt some good came from the conference, but there are other matters on which people do not agree, and it is the duty of this house to have those matters properly aired here.

The conference is now a thing of the past, but we always learn in the school of experience. As a man living in this young country I firmly believe that even in connection with a conference such as this there should have been much greater publicity. Matters touching the whole empire were dealt with, and f believe the people of this country should have been given the fullest possible information. I have in my hand an article which appeared in the Ottawa Journal of July 7, 1932:

Give The Public The Facts

Isn't there altogether too much secrecy, and, consequently, too much pessimism and suspicion over the Imperial economic conference? On all sides these days one hears people say, "the conference, of course, will be a great show, but it won't get anywhere." Nine times out of ten the people who talk this way are blurred about what the conference really aims to get at, about its possibilities. Yet such talk does harm.

In the circumstances, wouldn't it be a good idea if we could have a series of public meetings to be addressed by conference delegates for the benefit of the public? Buildings for such meetings could be secured, and it is reasonable to believe that the spirit which could be aroused in this way would greatly help in mutual cooperation, so necessary for success.

Confederation could hardly have been brought about were it not for the platform campaign carried on by men like D'Arcy McGee, Charles Tupper, and others. They explained the issue to the people, broke down opposition, made union possible.

The cause being what it is, so much being at stake, no reason exists why something similar should not take place in the case of this conference. It could do no harm; and it might do a vast deal of good.

The views expressed in this editorial should be taken into consideration by subsequent governments in relation to any conferences that may be held in the future. What is contained in this article with regard to the evil of secret diplomacy applies to the last conference, and the editorial is warranted in its attitude; it will cause people to realize that matters of public importance should be considered in a public 'way. There was a feeling at the time of the conference that some English newspapers were not taking the proper attitude to the proceedings. They might have received reports and despatches based not upon fact but upon mere hearsay and rumour, but those who represented these newspapers could not do otherwise in view of the absolute secrecy that surrounded the conference.

One thing I deeply resent, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that the Conservative party in Canada is trying now, as it has always tried, to make the people of this country believe that Conservatives are the only citizens who are loyal to British ideals and principles. Let me assure you that in the newer section of the country which 1 have the honour to represent there are hardworking men who are pushing back the frontiers of Canada, opening up a new land to cultivation and civilization. We have miners digging down into the entrails of the earth, bringing forth wealth which has lain there from the foundation of the world; men toiling in our forests, and producing still more wealth to enrich this country; men who, although they do not stand up and sing the praises of Canada in sonorous phrases are in reality loyal citizens of Canada, loyal to their native land, to the British Empire and to British ideals. Hon. members opposite had better realize that no party in this house has any monopoly of loyalty to British institutions. We are all loyal to the empire, and I

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venture to suggest that I can speak all the more feelingly on this topic inasmuch as I am of French descent. I can say quite frankly that I shall always remain loyal to British principles and ideals, and this without constraint or pressure.

I was astonished yesterday to hear the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) introducing into this discussion questions from the past which we had supposed were forgotten. I appeal to him to examine his conscience and to look back on those days in the election of 1911 when the naval question was under consideration in this country and in the province of Quebec. It would be well for him if he did this; it would convince him, I think, that it does not lie with anyone on the opposite side to cast any reflections on the party over here so far as the question of loyalty is concerned. The loyalty of the Canadian people is irreproachable. Suppose a man found it necessary to discuss financial matters with his father: does it follow that he is undutiful if he happens not to agree in every respect with his father? Absolutely not. Similarly, we may have our differences, but the ties of loyalty in the empire are just as strong as they ever were. They do not depend on economics; it is a matter of the mind and heart. If I speak feelingly on this subject it is because I do not think that the question of loyalty should be dragged into political discussions.

Now, as to the method of approach, a good deal has been said with regard to the imperial conference of 1930. I will not try to cover that ground, but I might observe that this afternoon the eloquent member who preceded me before six o'clock compared the imperial conference to a poker game. I agree with him, being a business man, that in business transactions bargaining is sometimes necessary; but why compare the conference to a poker game? That, I suggest, is why there was so much resentment in the empire to the proceedings of the conference. It was stated in some English newspapers that the Prime Minister approached the conference as though he were sitting in to a poker game. I have played poker myself-not on any very extensive scale-and I know enough about it to understand that the object is to get the other fellow; get all you can out of him, and the more you make the more you want, while the more you lose the more eager you are to get after him. In corroboration of the statement that the conference was regarded in

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some quarters as a poker game, I have here an extract from one British newspaper. Let me read it:

Guardian Critical Of Bennett Offer

Says His Cards Are On Table, But Face Downward

London, Aug. 4.-"Mr. Bennett has a name for putting his cards on the table," said the Manchester Guardian in an editorial today. "He has lost no time in putting them on the table at Ottawa, but face downward, where they have stayed, while every other delegation explained itself in a less spectacular and distinctly speedier way.

"It may be," observed the Guardian, "that Mr. Bennett still does not know any more than the world what his cards are. Meanwhile other dominions have gone about their business in a fairly workmanlike fashion. More has been said about the Canadian proposals than any. and less done, yet there are people who would have us turn to Mr. Bennett as the leader of the British Empire."

Three-Stage Tariffs

The Daily Mail asserts the needs of the dominions and the United Kingdom would be met best by a system of three-stage tariffs, "of which the lowest would be for empire goods to which free entry could not be given; the intermediate stage for foreign countries conceding us favourable terms; and the highest for foreign states refusing us any concession."

The News-Chronicle describes the situation at Ottawa as extremely disturbing. "Mr. Bennett is still refusing to disclose the details of his offer made with such solemnity at the opening of the conference. Australia has definitely tabled her proposals, under which Great Britain would be committed to a whole series of food taxes. The prospects of such a tax in a country so dependent as ours upon overseas supplies, with a vast army of unemployed, cannot be contemplated without the gravest concern. Against the taxation of meat particularly both the Premier and Mr. Runciman have given the most specific pledges. We are frankly much more concerned by the prospect of an Australian agreement than by the spectacle of Mr. Bennett shuffling uneasily on a box which the Canadian manufacturers apparently refuse to allow him to open."

Not Ready, Is Claim

The Star, evening companion to the News-Chronicle, while not disposed to be critical because things are going slowly at Ottawa, says the blame cannot be thrown on Great Britain. "Mr. Bennett, according to the empire food taxers, not Mr. Baldwin, was the genius we were invited to follow. The gaff has blown, and the man of iron will and cast-iron decision is really not Quite so ready for his mission as we had been told to believe. The empire food taxers here can hardly expect us to have faith in Mr. Bennett as a man of action and decision.

There is another comment which I should like to read. It is taken from the British press, and I do not think the house is familiar with it:

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Bennett's Flippant Tone Jarred on Overseas Ears, Says British Journalist But Political Editor of London News-Chronicle Denies He Penned Word "Buffoon," and Blames Heading Writer-Explains That Some Newspapermen Thought Canada Needed Speeding Up

Ottawa, Aug. 4.-"Buffoon" was not the word, but to quote other words used memorably upon another occasion, A. J. Cummings, political editor of the London News-Chronicle, was "thinking along those lines."

The English editor, whose despatch to the London Evening Star has stirred several dovecotes on parliament hill, told the Globe about it today.

"Many people here," he said, "imagine that I called the Prime Minister of Canada a buffoon, merely because the Star chose to use the word in heading a despatch from me. I am not responsible for the editing of the Star, and the word was not one I had. written. I did, however, in my cable published by the Star, express quite strongly the resentment which a large number of my colleagues felt at the exceedingly flippant tone which Mr. Bennett chose to adopt in discussing with 100 press representatives invited to meet him the questions being decided at this historic conference.

Bennett's "Cheap Way"

"Frankly, I myself was astonished to find our meeting with Mr. Bennett in danger of degenerating into a low-grade comic entertainment. I objected very strongly to the cheap way in which Mr. Bennett tried to make talking points out of serious questions addressed to him by responsible journalists, and I was not alone. A number of representative journalists have since said to me that, but for their sense of the courtesy due to their hosts, the Canadian people, they would have made a public protest and walked out of the press conference room.

"As far as I am concerned," Mr. Cummings said "the episode is past. I felt that some protest should be made, and I realized that it was easier for a visitor to Ottawa to make it than for a Canadian. I have great personal respect for Mr. Bennett. I regard him as a man of courage and capacity, and obviously a leading personality. But as Prime Minister of Canada, he missed a unique opportunity to create a tremendous impression when he had before him, as he had Tuesday afternoon, the press of the whole world."

Charge of "Stalling"

A charge that Canadian delegation delays had been holding back the work of the conference was included in the same despatch to the London Star. In making the charge, Mr. Cummings said, he had only expressed an opinion held and expressed by many other correspondents. _

"Among the representatives of the United Kingdom press the feeling was that a little pressure brought to bear, a little speeding up, would not do any harm. And I think it has succeeded, you know, succeeded admirably.

"Canada is in this case the keystone of the arch of trade," the English editor went on. "England is the big customer. England could not make her picture complete, could not say what she was able to offer each, until she had before her the proposals of all, Canada as well [Mr. Bradette.l *

as the other dominions. I know for a fact that Canada alone among the dominions refused to give preliminary information regarding her position and proposals when London asked for it by cable four months ago. So that really the United Kingdom delegation came here in complete ignorance of Canada's position. Naturally, that would cause delay."

Mr. Cummings vigorously rejected the theory that, as a representative of the last of London's great Liberal journals and an inheritor of the Manchester attitude toward things Imperial, his views of empire politicians or empire trade might be tinged with prejudice.

As I said in the beginning, more publicity should be given to such matters so that the public may become familiar with what is to take place at such conferences.

There are two matters with which I believe the people of Canada as a whole thought that this conference would deal in a very thorough manner. The first was the monetary question, considered from an empire as well as an international point of view. A great many of the economists and financiers of this country were disappointed at this matter having been put in the background. I believe the government would be in a better position today if this matter had been dealt with at the conference. A special committee should have been appointed to deal with this intricate matter, not only from the point of view of Canada but of the empire as a whole and then the government would have been better prepared for the international conference which is to take place next December or January.

The next matter is the question of unemployment. It has been stated in this house, not only by the Prime Minister but by other hon. members, that it is becoming an international question. It affects every section of the world, and I believe a step would have been taken in the right direction had this matter been discussed. No doubt many of the delegates thought that an increase in the British preference would provide more work, but the conference did not get to the root of the question. It endeavoured to raise tariffs against the rest of the world, but the fact is that our present condition is due to the tariff walls which have been erected during the last forty years. We are suffering from overproduction and underconsumption; that is the problem which we have to face. I repeat that I do not believe the conference achieved all it could have achieved had it discussed this all-important problem.

I do not think I can be accused of being parochial or narrow in my statements but I feel it my duty to discuss the Imperial conference as it affects northern Ontario as a

United, Kingdom

whole and more particularly my own section of the country. The population here is made up largely of primary producers and consumers. The tariff always works a detriment to the newer sections of population. I do not want to be misunderstood-I am not a free trader but neither am I a high tariff man. The previous speaker (Mr. Willis) has tried to throw the mantle of free trade upon his section of the house, 'but such an attempt is not justified. Some of us believe in a national tariff, but we contend that it should be an elastic tariff, applicable to present requirements. My hon. friends opposite have apparently changed since the convention in Winnipeg four years ago. High tariffs were not even mentioned during that convention, but now they are being advocated with a vengeance and no consideration is being given to certain sections of Canada. An increased tariff is bound to work a detriment to the rural sections of this country, especially in northern Ontario and in the three western provinces.

The tariff was originated in order to give assistance to new bom industry. Similar policies have helped to build great nations such as Great Britain and the United States and to a certain degree, France. The purpose was to allow those nations to become industrialized, but conditions today have changed from what they were twenty or thirty years ago. Because so many countries have become highly industrialized we are faced with a condition of overproduction and underconsumption. If high tariffs are continued the people in the rural sections will not be able to buy the shoes produced by our manufacturers, or the automobiles or other manufactured articles. Until the primary producer is made prosperous there cannot be prosperity in this country as a whole. Such a policy may prove helpful to large industrial centres like Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Hamilton and other places, but it will always be a detriment to the rural sections of northern Ontario and the other provinces.

During the past twenty years Canada was primarily an agricultural country but due to an increased industrialization there has been a trend of population from the rural centres to the larger industrial areas. Agricultural life has been almost disrupted. I am not very old but I can remember the time when our rural communities were almost self-contained. I used to live on a farm in Quebec not very far from parliament hill and in those days a thousand people on the farm could maintain almost a like number in the

rural villages. There were located in those villages small industries; there was generally a tannery, a saw mill, a grist mill and three or four general stores employing dozens of employees. But this is all changed because of the development of highly concentrated and centralized industrial communities. I am dealing particularly with my own section of the country, but I am sure my remarks would apply equally as well to rural Canada as a whole. The people in the rural sections around Cochrane, Hearst and other towns in northern Ontario buy only a portion of their food and clothing in those towns; they send to Toronto, Montreal or Winnipeg. This is an anomaly which should be cured; the government should cease its policy of higher tariffs which is bringing about an increase in population in the urban centres to the detriment of the rural communities. In the past we could always look forward and picture the future happiness of our people, but I believe our rural poulation thirty and even twenty years ago was much happier than it is at the present time. We cannot any longer cultivate in the rural centres of population the community spirit, because the new social and economic order has been drawing the people more and more to the big centres of population and producing an agglomeration such as Montreal, which comprises almost forty per cent of the population of Quebec. On that score I believe the house should realize the seriousness of the situation, and again I repeat that no matter how high the government may put the tariff, this will never go to the root of the problem we have to face at the present time. It will never help to keep our rural population on the farm; they will continue and accelerate the procession to the larger centres when conditions return to normal.

There is one matter that I want to point out to the industrial section of this country. From the statistics of the domestic market it will be seen that the best customers they have in the country are within our own borders. What would happen if tomorrow the rural sections of northern Ontario and of the three western provinces were to be suddenly depopulated? The urban population would by that fact have to decrease at least fifty per cent. What would happen to Toronto if the farming population in northern Ontario were to disappear? The industrialists have in northern Ontario a potential market of at least $100,000,000 or perhaps $150,000,000 per annum, and the same thing applies to all the newer sections of the country. As regards the

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social order the nations are now beginning to realize that the so-called civilized countries are too highly industrialized. With the stagnation in population, for instance in countries like France, even in Great Britain and to some degree in the United States, they realize that industry cannot prosper unless outside markets can be found. Here in Canada we have the market within our own borders. We have this unlimited new territory that can be opened up to civilization and cultivation. We have numberless hills and mountains on the sides of which is untold potential wealth awaiting the prospector and miner to bring about the development of it. But we must realize that consideration should be given to the population there.

We often speak in glowing terms of what our forefathers did on the shores of the St. Lawrence, what the Loyalists did in Ontario and the hardships they had to endure. It is true that in these days we are not subject to the same dangers that they had to face; it is true that conditions are not identical, but in the rural sections of the country, to open up new land to cultivation and civilization is just as much a hardship as that which our forefathers endured two or three hundred years ago, because we have to face a different situation, a new social order which is working to the detriment of the country. We must realize that in the agricultural section that is opened up for colonization purposes we have to face obstacles which our forefathers did not have to face. For example, we have to face severer climatic conditions as we go northward. We are also getting further away from centres of population. It was stated this afternoon by a western member that any change made in the freight rate on wheat affects the price of that commodity. The same thing applies to the products of northern Ontario, because we are getting away from the large centres of population, and that fact alone should make the house realize that it is necessary for the government to study the conditions of the farmers and miners in that northern section.

I was one who attended many sittings of the former tariff board and I was sorry that the present government did not find it possible to establish a tariff board two years ago. It might be said, and perhaps rightly, that the Prime Minister and his government want to work for the benefit of the farmer and the working man, but the fact remains that for nearly three years the rural class, the consuming class, the working class, has had practically no opportunity of having its voice heard before the Department of National Revenue. This is an anomaly, and if nothing

in these treaties is implemented except the establishment of a tariff board, that would be a good thing in itself. I hope the government will find it possible to have the consumers represented on that board. I remember the jeers, Laughs and sneers at the mention of the Consumers' League of Canada. I belonged to the Consumers' League and I received valuable information from it. In fact it was necessary for me to belong to it in order properly to represent my constituency. I also was present at one meeting in the fall of 1930, prior to the previous conference, when a man representing the Consumers' League was not even given a hearing, when ministers who occupy portfolios in the present cabinet laughed at him-laughed and tried to ridicule one, who was representing nearly eighty per cent of the population of Canada! That happened in 1930, and I repeat, if nothing comes out of this treaty other than the establishment of the tariff board-and the government will find that it will pay to have every interest fairly represented-something will be well done so far as the conference is concerned.

A good deal has been said about lumber. I believe my colleague from northern Ontario, the hon. member for East Algoma (Mr. Nicholson) has done and tried to do good work for the lumbermen, work which will be of benefit to northern Ontario and to every section of Canada. Unluckily for our (population the lumbering activities are not as active as they might be. In our over-optimism we thought that through these agreements big contracts would be coming to Canada, but unluckily that has not yet been the case. There is one problem I want to deal with and it is that of pulpwood. In these agreements there may be some benefit to the pulpwood producers on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, but so far as central Canada, northern Ontario, is concerned, I do not see any benefit. If, as has been so well proved here during the present discussion, by building an economic unit, by surrounding an economic empire with great artificial economic walls, we are precluded to a large extent from markets outside the empire, northern Ontario will certainly suffer from such a situation. I know whereof I speak because I have cut pulpwood myself and I have sold some of it to local mills, but the settlers in large sections of northern Ontario must find an outside market, and the settler in our section of the country with his pulpwood is in the same position as the farmer with his wheat or his grain. He cannot go any longer into the process of manufacture and the only logical

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market, when our domestic market is saturated, is the United States. I am sorry to state that that market is closed to us at the present time, by what action I do not know, but I know at the last general election it was included in the Conservative platform that if they were returned to power, they would put an export tax on pulpwood going to the United States. 1 am not a sob-sister artist by a long shot, but I say that our settlers are near starvation because they cannot sell their primary crop, which is pulpwood. The crop in the first year of colonization is purely and simply pulpwood, and once our domestic market is saturated, we must necessarily sell in some outside market. The British market is too far away from us. No doubt the maritime provinces and eastern Quebec and British Columbia will benefit by these agreements, but northern Ontario will receive no benefit whatever.

Very soon, if Mr. Hoover is returned to power, we are going to deal with the United States in connection with the St. Lawrence waterway agreement, and I hope, if the government is really sincere in the matter of helping any section of the country they will make an effort in the bargaining to widen our pulpwood market and not restrict it. I spoke to members of the Ontario cabinet about the matter and most of them have the same view as I have, for the simple reason that you cannot have settlers unless they find it possible to sell, at a reasonable, I do not say an exorbitant price, the first crop they have in the timbered section, which crop is pulpwood and which is practically their only means of subsistence for many years. I am going to speak of that situation as long as I have the honour to represent that constituency because it is causing hardship to ninety-five per cent of our rural population. There is another very important matter. The troublous times in the history of France in the days of Joan of Arc was referred to as "la grande pitie de France." At present in Canada we have "la grande pitie de l'agrieul-ture et la grande pitie de l'industrie du papier a journal." Our great newsprint and sulphite industry in this country is practically on its last legs. It is one of the largest enterprises in Canada, one in which Canadian and foreign investors have placed hundreds of millions of dollars. The preferred stocks of these great companies are now selling for about only two per cent of their original value, and the common stocks are worth practically nothing. It is an industry which is a necessity in our national life, and one which all governments have combined and should continue to combine to help. Some of these companies are now in a receivership and others are next to bankruptcy, perhaps through fault of their own and perhaps not; this is not the time or the place to elaborate such a matter. The fact remains that we must do something to relieve the present situation.

As my time is about up, I will take advantage of the opportunity to discuss this question further when the appropiate item comes before the committee.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
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CON

Armand Renaud La Vergne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

The hon. gentleman's time has expired.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
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CON

Ambrose Upton Gledstanes Bury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. U. G. BURY (East Edmonton):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion and the treaty. My reasons for doing so are few and can be briefly stated, although I may take somewhat more time to elaborate the last of them.

I am moved in the first instance by confidence in the personnel, in the capacity and ability of the members of the delegations representing the United Kingdom on the one hand and Canada on the other. I am not ashamed to avow this as one of the grounds of my action. The business of government of countries is becoming more and more important and more and more difficult; it is becoming increasingly very big business. Without reflecting in any way upon the powers of parliament or upon the ability of individual members to grapple with the problems that present themselves to parliament, I may say that we are gradually coming to understand that in the solution of the very numerous and very complicated problems that arise in a national government we are wise to call in the services of the best experts available to us. I cannot think that there are in the political public life of the United Kingdom or connected with its commercial and industrial life any men who more adequately and satisfactorily could represent the interests of their nation than the gentlemen who formed the United Kingdom delegation. There was Mr. Baldwin, perhaps the most distinctively and characteristically English of any prime minister who has occupied that high position in the history of England for many years, and also a man well versed in large affairs of business; and, to mention only one other, Mr. Walter Runciman, perhaps one of the keenest minds in trade and commerce and finance in England. Then as far as the Canadian delegation is concerned I am perfectly confident that the interests of this great dominion did not suffer by reason of any want of capacity or ability on the part of those who represented us.

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My second reason is that I find in the treaty those principles which have for long commended themselves to me and which I believe to be in the interests of Canada and of the empire. Not merely are they my own personal opinions-that is a matter of importance to me

but they are opinions and principles which have been endorsed by the people of Canada in the 1930 election. I am not asking the house to take my ipse dixit for that statement. I have a very much higher authority before which no doubt my hon. friends on the other side of the chamber will more readily bow than they would to me. In the very fine speech to which we listened on Tuesday from the hon. member for North Bruce- (Mr. Malcolm)-who, if it be not impertinent for me to pay him this compliment, always addresses the house on matters with which he is absolutely conversant and always raises the level of debate to a platform and standard from which too often it drops, and who shows that he can approach these subjects and debate them, although a member of a party in this house, in no spirit of partisanship-the hon. member said:

Although that is so the government presents to us the draft of a treaty based on the protective principle. Again still greater consistency is exhibited than has been exhibited before, as evidenced in the fact that every clause of the treaty, every item in it, consistently holds to the policy advocated by the Prime Minister during the election campaign of 1930.

If that be so, Mr. Speaker, then I am correct when I say that this treaty embodies not merely the principles which I believe in and which I personally think are to the advantage of Canada, England and the empire, but the principles upon which the people of Canada expressed their voice in no uncertain manner a little over two years ago.

The third reason why I am taking my position in support of the motion and treaty is that in all the speeches which I have either heard or read from the opposite side of the chamber I have not heard or read anything to shake the conviction which I have already expressed. I was greatly influenced and greatly taken with the speech of the hon. member for North Bruce, as I have already stated, but we have as a house and as a party to accept the pronouncements of the right hon. leader of the opposition as being the fullest and most authoritative declaration of the reasons why he and his party, if they do not support the treaty, do not support it. When I come to examine those reasons I find that they are distinguishable in two ways: First, those criticisms that are levelled against matters

that are wholly outside the treaty itself, and secondly, criticisms that are levelled against the subject matter of the treaty, its provisions and its terms. The right hon. gentleman, who in a very exhaustive speech, perhaps exhaustive in more senses than one, with the most meticulous care traversed the ground which he himself had chosen with, if I might use the expression, a fine tooth comb, a magnifying glass and tweezers to find and extract any possible objections which there might be against the treaty, levelled his objections in the first place against matters that were outside of the treaty. He criticized the Prime Minister for having departed from the course followed by Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1902. The actions, speeches, sentiments and principles of Sir Wilfrid are quite properly the law and the testimony for the right hon. gentleman and those who follow him. But if we strip of everything extraneous all the statements which have been made on this matter and get down to the skeleton and bones, if we strip from them all the artifices of special pleading, what are the facts?

The facts are that Sir Wilfrid Laurier went to England in-well, I thought the conference was fixed for the year 1903, but I may be wrong. Anyway, before he went to England a duty had been placed on all grain and flour imported into England from every country, and an agitation arose in this country for a 'Canadian preference which should take the form of a removal of or reduction in the duty. Sir Wilfrid Laurier went to England and atsked the British government for a Canadian preference. He asked for it in the only possible way in which he could expect to get it, namely through the removal or the reduction of the existing tax. The present Prime Minister met delegations this year from England and other parts of the empire. So far as he was concerned he found no tax on certain commodities entering England upon which he wished a Canadian preference. He asked for that preference in the only possible way he could expect to get it, namely the imposition of a tax. Probably I should not say he asked, but rather that he suggested that if a preference were to be given it should be given through the imposition of a tax on such articles. That suggestion was made as one of the possible ways, and in fact the only way in which Canadian preference could be given on the particular articles not already taxed. The methods of procedure I have outlined constitute the fundamental and mountainous difference between the action of Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1902 and that of our Prime Min-

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ister in 1932. Both of them asked for a preference, and both asked it *n the only way possible, so far as the particular commodities involved were concerned.

Let us go back a little bit farther. In the year 1897 Sir Wilfrid Laurier visited London, and upon his return to Canada was subjected to considerable criticism because he had not obtained for Canada a preference on her agricultural products or grain. His speech delivered in Toronto was later quoted by Sir Robert Borden, then Mr. Borden, at that time member for Halifax. I have not the newspaper before me containing the report of the original speech by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, but hon. members who are sufficiently interested will find the quotation to which I refer in the debates for the year 1902. Mr. Borden, as he then was, read the following report of Sir Wilfrid's speech:

If I had thought I could have obtained for the products of Canada preferential treatment in the markets of Great Britain, not only would I have been wanting in patriotism but I would have been wanting in reason, I would have been simply an idiot if I had not obtained such preference for the products of Canada.

Therefore, as Mr. Borden pointed out, the only reason no positive, aggressive approach was made by Sir Wilfrid to obtain preferences for Canada was not because he did not think it was diplomatically proper, not because he supposed it was an improper meddling with the domestic affairs and fiscal policy of Great Britain-no; but because he knew that at that particular time the government and people of Great Britain would not have dreamed of putting a tax upon grain. Sir Wilfrid Laurier said so in the following words:

The position I took then was this: I acted like a reasonable man. I saw at once that it could not be possible, so great is the free trade sentiment in England to have a mutuality of preference so long as we continued to levy customs duties upon English goods.

And, knowing that it was impossible to get what he desired, like a reasonable man he refrained from asking; that is all. In the same parliament another Liberal leader, perhaps one of the most astute political leaders the Liberal party has ever had-I mean Sir Clifford Sifton, or as he then was, the Hon. Mr. Sifton-in the course of debate in this house on April 15, 1902, had this to say:

If Great Britain finds itself on account of its revenue necessities in a position to consider an idea which Lord Salisbury would not entertain two years ago-

Oh, then, somebody put it up to Lord Salisbury; somebody mooted this question, and he said, "No, we are sorry we cannot do it."

-we say that we have been favoured by fortune and shall be most happy to take advantage of the opportunity thus presented.

And so Sir Wilfrid did. He asked for the remission or removal of the tax, but was refused. Will any hon. member in the house say there is one scintilla of difference between the attitude of Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1902, in view of his statement in 1897, and the attitude of our Prime Minister in 1930 and 1932? There is not one particle of difference.

The right hon. gentleman opposite tells us the history of his relations with the British government. He tells us that in 1923, having received an invitation, he went to London. We will recall that Sir Wilfrid went to London on the invitation of Mr. Joseph Chamberlain. He had told the house in Canada that inasmuch as the invitation came from Mr. Chamberlain no doubt the British government was going to make some proposals. And so, in like manner, in 1923 the right hon. gentleman opposite went to London to attend a conference at which the Canadian preference wias a subject for discussion. When the British ministers approached him and said, "Will you give us a list of the articles upon which you would like us to place a tax," this Bayard of interimperial diplomacy refused to mention a single item.

There is in my native city a furniture mover who happens to be Scotch by birth, and who gives the lie to the old fallacy that Scotchmen have no sense of humour. He may, of course, only establish the rule by proving that there is an exception to it. Because as the badge or crest of his furniture moving business he has chosen a checker board, and under it has printed the legend: "Your move next." The right hon. leader of the opposition went to London, and that was his motto. When the government of Great Britain approached him and asked for a list of the articles on which he thought they might put a duty, in order that they might consider such articles, my right hon. friend bowed' and said, "Gentlemen, your move first." Then, of course, they had to say, "Well, if you are so very punctilious about interimperial diplomacy"-though surely at a time like that, in the words of Kipling, a nation might speak to a nation without all those trimmings and delays-"Will you give us a list on the express, declared understanding that there is no obligation on us to put a tax on anything?" I can imagine their thinking that such understanding went without saying, that neither side was bound to do anything in such a case; they would take that for granted. But suppose they had not asked that question; suppose they had adopted the suggestion of

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the right hon. gentleman and made out a list of articles which they thought might be taxed. Suppose, when he received that list, there was not one article contained in it that would benefit Canada at all. What would have happened? He would have handed the list back and said, "I cannot discuss these things. They are no good to me. Can you make out another list?" Another list would have been made out and solemnly handed to the right hon. gentleman, and the same thing might have happened again.

In 1930 and 1932, however, like a sensible business man the Prime Minister, anticipating what the government of Great Britain would want, handed them his list and said, "These are the articles on which we would like a preference if you can give it to us. We are not forcing or binding you; you are as free as a bird of the air to give or not to give. This list is for ycur information so that you may know where we stand in these matters." And in leaving this point let me say that to me it seems that if anyone fell from grace in departing from the Laurier method it was the right hon. leader of the opposition rather than the Prime Minister.

The next criticism is taken on the ground that this treaty attempts to force our fiscal policy upon Great Britain. Later the utterly gratuitous suggestion was made that there is in the treaty an attempt to force the selfgoverning colonies to do something. There is no such thing in the treaty, of course, as everyone knows. That criticism, it seems to me, is a poor compliment to those gentlemen who came here from England, who have been skilled for years in the government of their country, and who have -been trained almost from the nursery in matters of this kind. It is a poor compliment that any member of this house, and particularly the right hon. leader of the opposition, should believe for one moment that Mr. Baldwin and his associates would allow any fiscal or other policy to be forced down their throats, which they in turn were to force down the throat of their government, which their government in turn was to force down the throat of parliament, and which parliament in turn was to force down the throat of the nation. We have had thundered from the leader of the opposition the statement that no executive can bind a nation. That is an unimpeachable principle, but I cannot quite see the relevancy of it. What executive is going to try to bind what nation? This treaty has -been brought down in this house and laid on the table for free discussion. If the parliament of Canada chooses to reject it the treaty will be rejected; fMr. Bury.]

if the British parliament chooses to reject it the same thing will happen; but parliament is not an executive; parliament is the people.

The right hon. gentleman levelled one other criticism quite apart from the treaty. It was that he cannot be expected to accept this treaty because the Prime Minister has declared that it represents adequate protection. Would any other kind of protection do? Is it suggested that the right hon. gentleman would have had less objection to the treaty if the Prime Minister had declared that it contained inadequate protection? Because the Prime Minister made that statement; because he has said the treaty represents the platform on which he stood in 1930, the right hon. gentleman says he cannot be expected to approve of it, and he wants his followers to take the same view. This is an amazing situation. One would have thought that a treaty was good or bad in itself, and that it would be rejected or accepted on its own inherent merits. In this the right hon. gentleman is of the same mind as the mad prince of Denmark that-

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

The right hon. gentleman, however, has narrowed the application a little to-

There is nothing either good or bad in political arrangements, treaties or policies but the thinking of the Prime Minister makes it so.

So we have for the entertainment of men and gods the strange spectacle of the leader of the opposition playing Katharina to the Prime Minister's Petruchio, and saying:

.... Be it moon, or sun, or what you please:

An you please to call it a rush-candle,

Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.

Certain criticisms have been levelled by the leader of the opposition against the subject matter of the treaty itself. He says it is protective. Of course it is protective. If the Prime Minister and the delegates who represented this country at the conference had not tried to make it protective they would have been false to their principles, to their pledges and to the mandate which the country gave them in 1930. Of course it is protective; it coidd not be anything else. The hon. member for North Bruce (Mr. Malcolm) recognized the fact that it must be protective. Without being drawn into the alluring field of discussion as to protection may I just remind hon. members of the house that we are all protectionists, where our public or private property is concerned at least. We have police. We resent and regret the necessity for protection. We resent the possibility that someone may knock

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us down at the street corner and take our watch, if we have one. None the less, though we resent the necessity for protection, we are not quite so foolish as to do without it. Sometimes the greatest pacifists have 'been the greatest protectionists. May I remind the house of that scene from the story which enchanted us in our childhood, where Legree, the slave hunter, is following Eliza. She and her party have escaped to a position on the rock separated from their pursuers only by a narrow chasm. Legree mounts to a position on the other side of the chasm and prepares to leap across. He does leap; but suddenly a long arm shoots out and meets him squarely on the chest in mid-air, and a coldly dispassionate voice declares, "Thee is not wanted here, friend." That was protection. It was protection from a Quaker; it was the protection offered by Phineas. The most pacific people in the world may sometimes have to fall back on the doctrine and practice of protection. Some of us are protectionists not because we love protection for its owm sake or for its own value or virtue, any more than we love policemen merely qua policemen, or for any value or virtue except as an effective force to see to it that our rights of person and of property are recognized and respected.

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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

But you are protecting the spoilers.

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CON

Ambrose Upton Gledstanes Bury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURY:

I do not know what my hon. friend is saying, but -if he will put his question after my forty minutes are up, I shall be glad to answer him.

Another criticism levelled against the treaty is this: it has not enough British preference in it. It may be that that will improve with age; it may be that more British preference will be given. I sincerely hope so. But when the leader of the opposition was giving the figures dealing with that matter he was hardly fair. He said in his speech that in 139 items, which were general items, the result was brought about by increases in the duty. That is not quite accurate; brought about in part, yes. But what will go out to the country-because the newspapers will not give and the people will not. get the schedules, and will not be able to check up the right hon. gentleman's statements for themselves

what will go out to the country, I say, is the 'bare bald statement that in 139 out of 223 items the result is brought about solely by the raising of the intermediate and general duties. In point of fact, the British rate is reduced in 133 general items, and in 89 items while the rate itself remains unchanged the British preference is increased by increases in the other rates. So

that in 222 out of the 223 there is a considerable advantage for -the British producer and exporter.

Let me deal rapidly with another criticism. The right 'lion, gentleman decries and disparages the benefits that will accrue to this country by reason of the suspension of the Import Duties Act; -and what does he say? Two things. First, he asks, can anyone suppose for a moment that Great Britain will impose these taxes? And his second statement is that for -her to impose these taxes would be .to proclaim an economic war. That is truculent language to come from the right hon. gentleman. It might come from this side without causing any .particular surprise; but from the leader of the opposition it is rather surprising. She won't impose these taxes? The answer to that is that unfortunately she has imposed them. The tax is there; it is only suspended. The Import Duties Act is there, the tax being suspended until November 15, and there is no need for her to do anything. Effluxion of time will do it, and at the end of the period of suspension the tax will descend. What would the right hon. gentleman have done if, filing in the days of Damocles, he had seen him sitting with the sword suspended over his head by a hair, and had been told that the hair could last only ten minutes? The right hon. gentleman would have patted him on the shoulder and said, " Don't be at all uneasy, Damocles; who can suppose tor a moment that this sword will be .allowed to fall?" Damocles might very well have replied, " But it is going to fall in ten minutes' time. It is easy for you to be confident, blit you would not be so confident if cur places were reversed and I were tapping you on t.he shoulder, reassuring you." Well, that is exactly the position here. The tax is suspended over the heads of the Canadian producers, suspended until November 15, and the British government and parliament need not do one single thing except let time flow, when the tax will become operative. Yet the right lion, gentleman tall^s about the necessity for the British parliament imposing taxes. They are imposed, with suspension. Is not a man who is sentenced to a term of imprisonment. equally sentenced though the sentence is suspended? Is it not still a sentence?

Now I come to another criticism. The right hon. gentleman finds that we have absolutely nothing to congratulate ourselves upon; but before I go on to that there is one word more I should like to add on the question of these taxes. He says it is impossible to suppose that the British government will impose taxes. Did they not impose taxes in

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1902? And have they not imposed this tax? Have I not heard the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Mullins) speak sometime, somewhere, about a thing called the cattle embargo? It is perfectly true that it was not a tax, but it was the expression of the power and desire and intention of the British government to protect the industries of their own country first. What is the meaning of the three-year reservation in respect of eggs and other farm products? That brings me to what I want to say in that regard. The right hon. gentleman declares that while there is absolutely no danger from the position we are in in relation to the Import Duties Act, there is very grave danger in relation to that three-year reservation clause. But the fact is that there is no tax imposed there at all; it is purely hypothetical, purely supposititious, a figment of the right hon. gentleman's imagination, a possibility not yet brought to birth, and one that cannot be brought to birth for three years; yet even now he can hear the gates of the British market closing against Canadian trade three years hence. According to his own predictions, however, the right hon. gentleman will no doubt be in power before the three years are up, and he can stop the gates from closing; he may therefore rest in peace so far as the possibility of those purely hypothetical taxes coming into being is concerned. He tells us that there is no significance in a tax that has been actually imposed, though suspended; that has an actual existence. But there is a monumental, a terrible significance in a tax that may be imposed three years hence should the British government choose to impose it. We are endorsing a tax on food if we pass the treaty with that clause in, he says. We are doing no such thing, and the right hon. gentleman knows it. What we are endorsing is the right of Great Britain to say, "We will give you an exemption for one or two or three or four or five or ten years, just according to our own wish and determination." We are endorsing the right of Great Britain to manage her own affairs; and if she says she will give us a guarantee against the imposition of the tax for three years, we say that is good. But to say that we are endorsing the taxation of food because we admit the right of Great Britain at the end of three years to do what she can do now, tax food-that is absolutely absurd.

May I now refer briefly to one or two other matters that have been criticized? I will take the question of "first sale" of wheat. I will not deal with that extensively; the Minister of Railways dealt with it. Accord-

ing to the right hon. gentleman the effect of the "first sale" provision is this: that the markets of the world are going to be flooded w'ith the wheat from countries other than Canada and with the surplus wheat from Canada. They will find it very difficult to answer the question of the hon. member for Long Lake (Mr. Cowan)-What markets? But leaving that aside, it is claimed that the markets of the world are to be flooded, the world price is to be depressed and, therefore, the price which the Canadian farmer will obtain in the British market will also be depressed and the farmer will be ruined. That is the first trouble. But before these words have died on our ears, another argument is presented which absolutely destroys them. It is that the result of these measures will be that food prices in Great Britain will be taxed, the price of food will go up and the poor labouring man will not be able to support himself. One fly is thrown out to the farmer and another to the labouring man in the hope that two fish may be caught. Unfortunately for those who make it, that argument is self-destructive.

The right hon. gentleman also disparaged the benefits expected to accrue from the preference on tobacco. He claimed that the duty on tobacco might be lowered to the vanishing point, and then he asked: Where does your preference go? Of course, it goes nowhere; I admit that.

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CON

Armand Renaud La Vergne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

The hon. member has spoken for forty minutes.

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CON

Ambrose Upton Gledstanes Bury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURY:

In that case I must drop the question of the tobacco concession, though it is extremely interesting, and beg the indulgence of the house for a minute or two longer to conclude.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Go on.

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CON

Ambrose Upton Gledstanes Bury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURY:

In conclusion I may say that the right hon. gentleman seems to be so obsessed with what he conceives to be the evil origin of this measure, the circumstances of its begetting and birth, that he thinks nothing good can be in it. He reminds me of the words of King Henry V when he was courting Katharine of France:

Now, beshrew my father's ambition! he was thinking of civil wars when he got me: Therefore was I created with a stubborn outside, with an aspect of iron, that when I come to woo ladies I fright them.

In the view of the right hon. gentleman the Prime Minister, who was the father of this measure, must at its begetting have been thinking of economic wars, so that the hard

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features of economic conflict stamped and impressed themselves upon it. But that is not the end of the king's speech. There is hope in the future:

But, in faith, Kate, the elder I wax the better I shall appear: . . . and thou shalt wear me, if thou wear me, better and better.

That is the hope of those of us who sit on this side of the house regarding the treaty which has been submitted. There is an old Latin saying, solvitur ambulando. The great problems involved in imperial preference will be solved as we go forward.

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LIB

Lucien Dubois

Liberal

Mr. L. DUBOIS (Nicolet) (Translation):

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT (Temiscouata) (Translation) :

May I put a question to the hon.

member? I have been listening to his speech with much interest, and since the hon. member is a farmer, would he be kind enough to inform us whether butter sells today at 45 cents per pound, as the Conservatives, previous to the election, assured us it would?

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CON

Joseph-François Laflèche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAFLECHE (Riehmond-Wolfe) (Translation) :

He is no more a farmer than the

hon. member for Temiscouata is.

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LIB

Lucien Dubois

Liberal

Mr. DUBOIS (Translation):

It is unnecessary to make a lengthy reply to my hon. friend. Let me simply inform him that there is not only the promise of a better price on butter which was not fulfilled, but that practically none of the pledges made in 1930 were carried out. I further note that by these Imperial conference agreements the farming class, which is very deserving, seem to have been greatly neglected. This class of toilers, who silently, and sometimes unthought of, accomplishes its worthy task, should, I think, be given more consideration by our legislators.

Perhaps the farmer, generally speaking, has not the education, the culture of certain city folks, of certain big gentlemen; he has perhaps not the pleasing manner of Lord Rotber-mere, nevertheless, when a group of farmers request an interview from the Prime Minister of a country, I cannot understand by what feelings one can be moved to dismiss these people as rudely as was the delegation of farmers, in July last. By this attitude, the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) leads us to believe that he harbours thoughts which I would beg of him to dispel. It is absolutely necessary that the leaders of a country, those who are blessed with an education, culture and are influential in society, should, if they do

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not wish to regret it later, help the toiler of the soil, the " habitant," the farmer.

Back to the land has been advocated. The government has somewhat helped in this movement. Not perhaps as I would personally have wished, because, at present, we should endeavour to help, especially those who are already on the land, to maintain themselves there, and, should funds still be available, help the city workers, who have had some farm training, to return to the land. More working hands on the farm have been advocated. Yes, the land must have more hands, but one cannot become a farmer by simply wishing to be one, a special training is necessary. Let us work to give the land as many useful hands as it is possible, but what is also needed, is that one's whole heart, mind and soul must also be on the land. If the right hon. Prime Minister had well understood the importance of the part played by the farmer, if he had felt in his heart the respect due to the ploughman, he would have made it a point to meet this group of farmers who requested an interview. He preferred to stay away, he preferred to meet Lord Rother-mere. That was his own private affair, however, he must know, he must understand and especially realize that the farming class of this country is more useful to Canada than Lord Rothermere can possibly be. The farming class seems to be neglected, the farmer seems to be looked upon as a being, I shall not say useless, but one who can be fooled so easily that he may be considered of no account. Yet, the Prime Minister, as well as the leaders of society, must be aware that it is the Canadian farmer who was and is still the pioneer of this country.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Translation):

Hear,

hear.

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CON

Joseph-François Laflèche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAFLECHE (Translation):

This is

no news.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT (Translation):

It is no

news, but it is a fact, one must not forget it.

Mr. DUBO'IS (Translation): And it is

only after these leaders have turned their efforts to improve the land that they will be able to boast of having accomplished a worthy act. Look at the nations who have weathered the present crisis; are they not those who turned to the soil, the land? Let me point out, as examples, France, Belgium and Denmark.

If we really wish to perform durable work in this country we must at all cost help tin farming class, in all possible waj'S. One of

these would be to lower the tariff so that the farmers can purchase at low cost what they require. Not only has the tariff not been sufficiently lowered, but on the contrary, it was increased in many instances, thus rendered more burdensome to farmers. I can state that from this viewpoint the last July Imperial conference has been a failure.

Secondly, I also deem, it my duty to oppose the agreements entered into at the Imperial conference, because these agreements tie our hands for five years, thus preventing us to negotiate treaties with other countries which might, in the meantime, offer us more advantageous terms. I do not wish anyone to cast doubt on my loyalty and patriotism, and to that end I shall inform those who might be tempted to do so, that I am one of the descendants of those who, in 1812, defended Quebec and Canada, while another group of brave men-brave in their own eyes-hid on the island of Orleans. I am one of the sons of those who saved Canada for the British crown, but one must not be made the scapegoat for all this. Truth and common sense, I think, are worth listening to.

As 'the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) stated the other day, there are outside the British Commonwealth, countries with whom we could trade advantageously. There is, for instance, if my knowledge of geography is not at fault, France, Italy, Japan, South America, the United States and many others. And we could trade advantageously with those countries, should I judge by the profits we have made in the past. In our trade with Italy from 1916 to 1931, we imported $37,543,477 worth of goods and exported, during the same period, $272,398,678 worth, thus giving us a favourable balance of $234,855,201. Our trade with Japan was also profitable to us. In 1929, we imported from that country $13,000,000 worth of goods and exported $12,000,000 giving Canada a favourable balance of $29,000,000. In 1930. we imported from Japan $12,500,000 of goods and exported $30,500,000 worth; there, again, we had a balance of $18,000,000 in our favour. Our trade with Brazil was also profitable. In 1929. the value of our imports from Brazil amounted to $1,700,000, and that of our exports $5,900,000, giving us a favourable balance of $4,200,000.

In 1930, we imported from Brazil goods to the value of $1,650,000 and exported $4,300,000, thus obtaining a favourable balance of $2,650,000. The New Zealand treaty so highly criticized during the 1930 election brought our country a net profit of $71,000,000. The Australian treaty which was used as a

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battle horse, during .the same election, brought us a profit of $122,000,000

and at that time butter did not sell cheaper than today, if I am not mistaken.

I realize that the ,party on your right, sir, prides itself on being a business government, of having as Prime Minister a business man. I am willing to admit that the Prime Minister has a knowledge of business, but he has a better knowledge of his affairs than of those of the country. My leader and my party do not lay .olaim to such attainments, yet, when in power, find it possible to bring prosperity to this country. Is it attributable to good luck or is it evidence of good management? You are aware that between. 1896 and 1911, we enjoyed an era of prosperity such as was unknown until then. From 1911 to 1921, the Conservative party assumed power, and Heaven knows in what distress and chasm it left the country's affairs! The Liberal government then returned to power and until 1930, we again enjoyed prosperity. I wonder whether this is luck or the evidence of a good management.

Let me again repeat that I do no.t think it wise to be tied up by treaties siuch as were agreed upon at the Imperial conference. It is to our advantage to trade with the entire world but especially with the United States. At .the risk of shocking the great sponsors of Imperialism, and since I gave proof, just now, of my love for country, I can well maintain that our natural trade channels point to the United States. Each time we traded, on a large scale, with our neighbours, our profits were equally on a large scale. We do not know what .the future has in store for us. Perhaps, our neighbours will not always be under a regime of high protection as it has been until now, it would therefore be advantageous for our country, I think, to have our hands free then so as to negotiate a treaty which might be profitable .to us. However, by article 22, we are tied down. We are bound by this treaty, we have no right to trade outside the commonwealth without England's consent. It is no more nor less than economic imperialism. But economic imperialism is just as dangerous and fatal, if not more so, as political and military imperialism.

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CON

Joseph-François Laflèche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAFLECHE (Translation):

It will

bring on conscription.

Mr, DUBOIS (Translation) : This is why I am opposed to the enactment of the Imperial conference trade agreements. I think that the time has come to shake off this harmful jingoism, not only to Canada, but to the empire,

[Hr. Dubois.]

Why step backward, when, for the last fifty years, we have been moving forward towards autonomy with all the tenacity which char. acterizes Canadians? What would the Conference of 1926 have served, if, .today, we are to return to the colonialism of fifty years ago? What benefit will accrue from this autonomy that we won through sacrifices, if we sacrifice it on the alter of an exaggerated imperialism? This article which binds us thus has no justification, Both from a political and economic viewpoint, I state that the Conference of 1932 has been, a notable failure and a step backward of fifty years.

The third1 reason which forces me to oppose the enactment of these pacts, is that it isolates us from the rest of the world to the benefit of whom, I wonder, sir? These agreements between the nations included in the commonwealth, this wall erected around the British Empire, creates an economic whole isolated from the rest of the world. By this isolation this government has accomplished something entirely contrary to wfaat wise economists have advised and quite .contrary to what the Manchester Guardian of London published on July 7 last, as regards the Ottawa Conference:

The conference at Ottawa has something in common with Versailles,-"the newspaper

states." It is called, if not to end a war, at least to arrange a truce on one particular battlefield.

Let us agree. If the conference sought to make of the commonwealth a closed economic whole, independent of others, it would be bound to fail. First, all the component parts of the empire are not economically complementary, on the contrary, since the best customer of industrial England is still continental Europe, and the latter will not be long in using reprisals against the tariff bloc as constituted, finally bust especially, the world economic responsibility is such that, only measures giving to the world trade the widest markets can possibly remedy crisis. It will require imagination, insight. courage if the conference is to arrive at this dual result for which every one hopes; pull down the tariff walls between the nations of the commonwealth and adjust the preferential tariff, thus established, to present conditions of world trade. If the example given by the commonwealth is followed by Europe and the United States, if national protectionism is replaced by a true economic cooperation aniong the nations, the Ottawa conference will give happy results.

The Imperial conference will only bear fruit inasmuch as it will sponsor a spirit of cooperation among the nations of the world. Another English economist wrote as follows:

No group of nations can detach itself from the rest of the world. Canada and Australia cannot forsake the world markets for their wheat. South Africa and New Zealand cannot forsake the world markets for their wool. The United Kingdom itself has need of the world markets for its manufactured products.

United Kingdom

Instead of heeding these warnings, it was preferred to form a separate economic entity, such as is seen in the agreements entered into at the last Imperial conference. A tariff wall was erected, a fence around the British Empire, and the teachings of economists as to economic nationalism were totally ignored.

Let me quote from a lecture given recently in Montreal, by a French economist, Mr. Lucien Romier. Speaking of economic nationalism, he says:

If we persist in following the present policy and becoming deeper involved, we shall not only have a greater crisis, but catastrophies and wars in the years to come. For nations as for individuals, the way to success is to walk straight to one's neighbour, look at him in the face and say: let us exchange thoughts, and the products of our labours. But let us not barricade ourselves behind walls, because closed walls by complete protection, is a jail and no one cares to enter there.

With nations, as with individuals, a propaganda of Christian spirit and charity is a necessity, and it is only when nations, groups and individuals will be entirely imbued with such a spirit and charity that they will bring to a happy issue the future of their respective countries.

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CON

Armand Renaud La Vergne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER (Translation):

The hon. member has spoken forty minutes.

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LIB

Lucien Dubois

Liberal

Mr. DUBOIS (Translation):

I shall, sir,

close my remarks by stating another reason for which I am opposed to this tariff wall, to this isolation of the empire in the midst of the nations of the world, it is that the last Imperial conference, in setting up this isolation, has entirely ignored the recommendations of the Lauzanne conference. At that conference an agreement was reached on the following points: that the world needed a revival of trust between nations; that the nations needed more goodwill in their mutual intercourse. The results of the Lauzanne conference were of such importance, so encouraging for the whole world that His Holiness Pope Pius XI could not help thanking God for this first ray of dawn which seemed to dissipate the dark clouds hanging on the horizon. But, sir, the very next day which followed this first ray of hope, this first sign of good omen, at the Imperial conference of 1932, Canada with the entire British Empire isolate themselves from the rest of the world. The British Commonwealth wishes to do business alone, independently of other nations. From that point of view, I state that the Imperial conference of 1932 is an incitement to disorder, because we cannot isolate ourselves from the other 53719-30

nations, without creating an unfavourable reaction. Moreover, the Imperial Conference is a denial of the recommendations of the Lausanne conference. For these reasons I deem it my duty to register my vote against the present agreements.

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CON

George Manning McDade

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. G. M. McDADE (Northumberland):

Mr. Speaker, before proceeding to a brief discussion of the resolution before the house may I be permitted to express my regret at the absence through illness from his place in this house of the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Veniot). I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that I voice the feeling of all hon. members when I express the hope that he will be fully restored to good health shortly and be able to resume his seat in this house.

Respecting the important resolution under discussion at the moment, I do not wish to be charged with being in any sense extravagant in my statements, but I do say that the treaties concluded at the Imperial economic conference represent the greatest achievement since confederation. To us in the maritime provinces the treaties afford the prospect of increased traffic through the great ports of Saint John and Halifax, in common with increased traffic through the other large ports of this country. For a great many years there has been carried on in this house and in the country an agitation which has become commonly known as the maritime rights agitation, and which has been received sometimes with considerable sympathy from hon. members representing other constituencies, but on other occasions not with that wholehearted sympathy that we from the maritime would have liked to see. When the full advantages in trade have been realized under the treaties which have just recently been concluded, there will of necessity be a great expansion in the ports of Saint John and Halifax.

Dealing for a moment particularly with the argument of my hon. friends opposite against the duration of the treaty for a five-year term, may I express the belief that it would be in the interests of Canadian industry and of Canadian workmen that we have a permanent tariff as far as possible subject to the application of dumping duties as necessity might arise, and I believe that since this administration came into power we have had tariff stability to a much greater degree than before. Certainly this feature of the agreement is praiseworthy rather than condemnatory.

The treaty concluded with the United Kingdom should of necessity lead within a reasonable time to increased prosperity for the people of the maritime provinces. Take for instance, lumber, apples, bacon, butter, cheese,

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fish, eggs and other commodities. Under the terms of the treaty the people of the maritime provinces will 'be able to ship these commodities in much larger quantities. To the fruit growers of the maritime provinces the treaty means larger markets. I am credibly informed that the fruit growers of the Annapolis valley, as a result of this treaty, will make increased shipments to the amount of at least $1,000,000 annually and will further increase as time goes on. I invite my hon. friends from Nova Scotia to interpret the feeling obtaining in that province concerning the preference, and to support this resolution on that ground alone. The preference on apples will also mean a great deal to the apple growing industry in the Saint John river valley, where, within the past ten years, under capable assistance from the Departments of Agriculture at Fred-erictoq and Ottawa, a large industry has been developed.

I should like to deal somewhat more extensively with the continuance for five years of the ten per cent preference on lumber. That preference will have a stabilizing effect upon the lumber industry, and will prove valuable to eastern Canada, particularly the province of New Brunswick where lumbering is unquestionably one of the basic industries. Prior to the agreement now before us what privileges were enjoyed by those engaged in lumbering? We all know that the high tariffs imposed by our friends in the United States, tariffs which have existed many years and were made higher in the year 1932, had practically eliminated the market for Canadian lumber in the United States. We know further that due to unfair competition from Russia, to which the Canadian shipper was subjected, we were not able, except to a very limited extent, to reach the old country market. Therefore our sales were practically limited to the domestic market. To such an extent had this condition of affairs affected the industry that whereas previously thousands of men were employed in lumbering throughout the province, scarcely more than 300 or 400 are now so employed. This indicates the state of the lumbering industry throughout the maritime provinces-indeed, throughout the dominion-prior to the passage of the treaty with the United Kingdom.

To what extent did Canadians suffer through exclusion from the markets of the old country? May I point out that annually the normal imports of lumber into Great Britain are between 3,000,000,000 and 3,500,000,000 board feet. In the year 1931 the imports were a little in excess of 3,000,000,000 board feet. In the same year there were imported

'Mr. McDade.]

from Russia approximately 1,200,000,000 board feet or 36-7 per cent of the total import. May I say to my hon. friend from Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) that when he states the Canadian lumber industry was not affected by the imports of lumber from Russia, he is sadly mistaken. In the last year while Great Britain imported 36-7 per cent of her lumber from Russia, she imported only 4-4 per cent from Canada. In other words, while the import from Russia amounted to 1,200,000,000 board feet, from Canada she imported only 139,000,000 board feet. Yet my hon. friend will say that the treaty has done nothing and is of no advantage to Canadian lumbermen because, according to his contention, little if any lumber was imported from Russia. He did admit that lumber was imported from other Baltic countries. Surely he must know that no country living under normal social and economic conditions could have met the Russian competition. He must know, further, that the Russian competition forced many Finnish and Swedish mills into liquidation.

On Monday last, discussing article 21 of the agreement, the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) expressed some doubt as to whether or not action would be taken by the government of Great Britain under the provisions of that section. Hon. members realize that article 21 was inserted so that action could be taken against any country where state controlled labour brought about conditions with which Canada could not compete. My right hon. friend could not have been in the confidence of the administration in the old country. It rvould not seem that the Right Hon. J. H. Thomas, Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, could have consulted him with regard to the advisability of abrogating a treaty with a country in which conditions existed such as described in section 21 of the treaty.

On Monday the right hon. leader of the opposition attempted to throw some monkey wrenches into machinery by stating that the necessary six months' notice of cancellation of the treaty with Russia would probably not be given. At page 287 of Hansard, after quoting the provisions of section 21 of the treaty between the United Kingdom and Canada, the remarks of the right hon. gentleman are reported as follows:

With respect to that particular article, however worthy may have been the intention of whoever is responsible for it, I venture to say that by the time an effort is made to have it carried out, there will be a degree of dissension between the different parts of the British empire the like of which has never before been known.

United Kingdom

On Tuesday announcement was made in the British House of Commons that steps had been taken towards the abrogation of the treaty, and I should like to inquire from the right hon. gentleman where he is able to find " a degree of dissension between the different parts of the British empire the like of which has never before been known." The right hon. gentleman continues:

Who is going to state when state-aided competition has reached a point which will render it necessary for the British government to declare an embargo against the country in question.

I do not think there was any intention of declaring an embargo. I believe the intention was that action should be taken which would serve to ensure that Canada would receive the full benefit of the preferences extended under the treaty. He continues:

Will anyone say that any government from any part of the British empire should be compelled to act at the instance of some other part to the extent of declaring an embargo upon trade? If this clause means anything, it meanB that in a matter of this kind the British government will be moved into action at the instance of the Canadian government.

I really do not know' what actuated the British government to take steps to conclude the Russian treaty, but I do say if it was at the instance of the administration in Canada, credit certainly redounds to that government.

Within two short years after having received the confidence of the people this government brought together in this capital city representatives of all parts of the empire, who have agreed upon policies which, to my mind, will bring prosperity not only to this country but to every section of the empire as well. I agree that a contract must be based upon consideration; we give something in return for what we get. I believe Canada will receive immeasurable advantages under the treaty, but we have not lost sight of the fact that to be successful the treaty must also work to the advantage of the other sections of the empire; in other words, its advantages must be mutual.

While I am on this point may I be permitted to say that the impression obtaining among many thoughtful people throughout the country is that prosperity in the various parts of the British Empire will mean increased trade throughout the world. No less eminent an authority than Mr. Schwab has stated that while these agreements will hit the United States to a considerable degree, when they are fully in operation their effect will mean prosperity within the British Empire and increased trade throughout the world. I think it is only reasonable to expect that if 53719-301

the British Empire is prosperous, as I submit it will be if this treaty is given a fair chance, that prosperity will be felt generally.

I do not intend to discuss at length local matters particularly affecting the community which I have the honour and privilege to represent in this house. I think at least members of the government will agree that my constant importunities with regard to unemployment on the Miramichi are proof positive that any treaty which will help rehabilitate the great lumber industry that once was ours certainly merits the hearty en-dorsation not only of myself but of all hon. members from the maritime provinces. On the north shore of the province of New Brunswick we have waited hopefully for the results of the imperial conference. Lumber is our basic industry, and it is an important industry also in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and to a smaller extent in Nova Scotia. In reasonably good times this industry affords employment to approximately a quarter of a million people, and if we assume the average family of five we see that more than a million people will be affected. So I appeal to hon. members opposite to endorse this phase of the treaty particularly. If some of our hon. friends in the corner feel that they must vote against the resolution 1 trust that when the bill is in committee this house will unanimously approve of the action of the government with regard to lumber. I do not wish to be understood as expressing undue optimism, Mr. Speaker, so far as the lumber situation is conoerned, but I do believe that in due time Canada will receive a sufficient preference in the old country to enable us to ship approximately 1,300,000,000 feet to that market annually. I think that was the opinion voiced at the conference.

It would not be fair for me to conclude my remarks on this subject without expressing my personal appreciation of the able work performed by the hon. member for East Algoma (Mr. Nicholson) in connection with this question of lumber. The hon. member was acting in his capacity as chairman of the executive committee of the Canadian Lumbermen's Association; throughout the conference he worked assiduously in preparing and submitting the case on behalf of Canada, and his efforts were continued until a happy solution was found. I believe Canadian lumbermen may look forward confidently to larger markets within the British Empire, but proper advantage must be taken of the agreements. The ten per cent preference has been initiated for a definite period of five years, and certainly Great Britain kept faith with

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Canada by giving notice of the abrogation of the treaty with Russia. It is true that a new treaty is invited, but the British government is pledged that no treaty which may subsequently replace the present treaty with Russia will interfere with the preferences extended to Canada under the terms of the conference agreement. I would direct attention also to the very satisfactory bilateral agreements with the other dominions, which will mean increased business with South Africa, the Irish Free State and Southern Rhodesia.

It is not my intention, Mr. Speaker, to dwell at much greater length on this subject, but before closing may I place on record the opinion of the Saint John Board of Trade, which is not a partisan organization in any way. The monthly bulletin of that board, issued last month, stated:

It is still the respectful conviction of our board that as the outcome of the Imperial economic conference-when it shall have been fully revealed-the situation for the lumber industry in this province will be decidedly improved; in fact, we are quite hopeful.

I do not wish to take up the time of the house quoting clippings from newspapers. I take it that the newspapers are widely circulated and inasmuch as the public reads and is thoughtful, it has an intelligent grasp of the proposals. I submit that we, as members of the House of Commons, are afforded one of the greatest opportunities that have come to members of parliament in a great many years. We are given a chance to build bigger the great British Empire of which we are all proud to form a part. I share the sentiments voiced by both sides of the house as to the greatness of British institutions, as to British ideals and as to the glories of the British people. I listened tonight to remarks from an hon. gentleman opposite, and I am glad to say that I concur in what he has said as to the unquestioned loyalty of our French Canadian friends.

This conference represents the considered thought of the brightest minds in the governments of the empire. Agreements have been satisfactorily concluded, and they are being received wholeheartedly by the vast majority of the peoples of the empire. With the greatest respect and deference, I submit that the leader of the opposition and his colleagues have misinterpreted the feeling of the people of Canada relative to the agreements. When they have opposed them on the floor of this house, they have not represented the feeling of the people, for the overwhelming considered judgment of the people of Canada, throughout the length and breadth of the

country, is in support of the agreements. I say this with all due deference to the leader of a great political party, but the people of Canada, in my humble opinion-and I say this not only fr .m personal observation but from endorsements received from various sections of the country

are wholeheartedly in support of the agreements. Therefore it is with great pleasure that I have made these few observations.

While I may be pardoned for having dealt only with the lumber situation, it is of vital importance to the community of Miramichi, where there is unquestionably a great deal of distress and misery and suffering. All this existed under the regime of my hon. friends opposite, but owing to worldwide conditions it is unfortunately still with us. I appeal to the house for a fair trial of the treaty. So far as lumber is concerned, it will undoubtedly serve to improve the conditions that exist not only with hundreds but with thousands of people on the north shore of the province of New Brunswick, and, indeed, in other lumbering communities throughout Canada. On that ground I ask hon. gentlemen to support the concessions granted.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
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October 21, 1932