Mr. EUSEBE ROBERGE (Megantic) (Translation):
Mr. Speaker, I am opposed to this agreement with Great Britain which i3 before the house, because, while containing certain clauses which are favourable to my constituents, others in greater number are contrary to their interests and will react injuriously in many cases on the cost of living. That agreement will certainly not have the effect of fulfilling the promises made by this government in the course of the election of 1930. Our opponents stated at the time that they would put a stop to unemployment; they pledged themselves to secure for the farmers better prices for their products and those prices have fallen 50 per cent, since their assuming power. Farmers find themselves today in a worse position than they were in 1896. The returns coming to them from the sale of their milk and other farm products, since the advent of this administration, are not sufficient to meet their municipal and school taxes and maintenance charges. Some of them in order to carry on are constrained to spend the moneys they had managed to save under the liberal regime, while the others run into debt. And now this government, under the stipulations of the treaty, is binding them to pay higher prices for living expenses and necessary improvements on their farms.
I shall point out the rates of duty which the farmers had to pay under the liberal
regime and those which they will be calledupon to pay in the future: Former NewTariff TariffSeparators Free 25%Barbed wire Free 10%Wool, piece goods 24i% 59%Suitings 244% 63%Cotton fabrics 18 % 50%Window' glass Free 15%Aluminum wares 15 % 30%Cutlery of iron or steel. . 15 % 30%Scissors, razors Free 30%Electrical apparatus.. . . Free 25%Flanellette 15 % 48%Overcoatings 25 % 91%Fertilizers Free 74%
I am content with quoting only a few items in support of my statement; they are too numerous to quote them all.
Mir. Speaker, on October 19, at page 369 of Hansard, the hon. Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve) stated:
Our opponents speak as if, for the last two years the government had refused to trade with other countries and as if had the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) been in power he would have found markets abroad to sell our products at advantageous prices. Does this contention rest on facts or past achievements.
Mr. Speaker, that contention is based on facts and history as I shall show. The hon. Postmaster General has forgotten, I think, that this government since coming into power has refused an order from Russia for $5,000,000 worth of manufactured goods for the most part, an order which would have ensured a good deal of employment for our labouring classes, who were in great need of it. Instead of allowing this order to be filled, the government put an embargo on all Russian products, wishing thereby to set an example for all countries the world over. To show to what extent Great Britain proposes to cease trading with Russia, I may read to the house an excerpt from an article which appeared in Le Droit, on October 18, 1932:
On giving the six months' notice required under the treaty, the Russian charge d'affaires was advised that the British government was anxious to increase its trade with Russia and was ready to open negotiations.
In that way did Great Britain put an embargo on Russian products. If I mention Russia, it is because since the putting of that embargo into force, Russia has doubled its output of asbestos and lowered the price of that commodity 50 per cent. As the constituency which I represent produces two-thirds of Canada's output in that line, I should point out that this embargo has been most
injurious to such mining centres as Thetford Mines and Black Lake, the later especially, which, under the liberal regime was one of the most flourishing towns in the Eastern townships. Black Lake then had a population of 4,000 souls which today is cut down to less than 3,000. All the asbestos mines at Black Lake have been closed for the last twenty-two months and without hope of resuming operations in spite of the government pledges to procure work for all. That is a striking example of the way the government settled the unemployment problem and lived up to its promises in the county of Megantic. At Thetford Mines one-third of the men only are employed since this government has taken the reins. Mr. Speaker, as you may see from the state of things in the county of Megantic, the electorate have good reason to complain and clamour for a change of government.
On motion of Mr. Casgrain the debate was adjourned.
On motion of Mr. Stevens the house adjourned at 10.45 p.m.
Monday, October 24, 1932
Subtopic: IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM