October 24, 1932

LIB

Peter Heenan

Liberal

Hon. PETER HEENAN (Kenora-Rainy River):

Mr. Speaker, may I inquire of the

Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) if he is pre-

pared to make a statement as to the definite date when we may expect the legislation which is to be based upon the Duff report. I may say that there are quite a number of citizens in this city and outside who are anxious that this legislation should be introduced at an early date.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO INTRODUCTION OF LEGISLATION TO IMPLEMENT FINDINGS OF COMMISSION
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister) :

Mr. Speaker, there is an equal

number of persons who are desirous that it should be delayed in its introduction and the hon. member for Antigonish-Guysborough (Mr. Duff) has just expressed approval in that sense. The legislation will be introduced when it is thought desirable by the government that it should be introduced having regard to the present condition of legislation on the order paper.

Topic:   TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO INTRODUCTION OF LEGISLATION TO IMPLEMENT FINDINGS OF COMMISSION
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PORTSMOUTH PENITENTIARY

FURTHER STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF JUSTICE


On the orders of the day:


CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. HUGH GUTHRIE (Minister of Justice) :

Mr. Speaker, I think I should make

a statement as to the situation which exists at the moment in Kingston penitentiary. At noon to-day I received a report from General Ormond, superintendent of penitentiaries, who is in charge of the situation, to the effect that all is now quiet. All the prisoners are confined and are being regularly fed in their cells. Some loud speeches are being made by prisoners and there is considerable shouting and cheering, but apart from this there is no difficulty. It came to my knowledge that tear bombs had been used at the penitentiary and upon inquiry I find that on Saturday, when there was considerable noise, one tear bomb was exploded for the purpose of quelling the disturbance. I do not know whether or not it had that effect but certain it is that it had no, ill effects and caused no damage. The military guard has also been reduced from 150 to 50 men.

Inspector Smith, who has been acting warden at the institution, has been granted leave of absence along with the deputy warden. Both these men have been on continuous duty for the past nine days and are pretty well fagged out. The superintendent has made a temporary appointment of a warden under the provisions of section 39

Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements

of the Civil Service Act. Colonel Meglough-lin of Ottawa, until recently in command of the highland regiment in this city and an officer with a very fine war record, has been selected for this position. I do not know the gentleman personally but I understand he is thoroughly qualified. In any event he has been selected by the superintendent as temporary warden and under the provisions of the act can carry on for thirty days.

The report on the damage done is that it will run from S3,500 to $4,000. This damage consists mainly of broken furniture, beds and tables and the destruction of plumbing and the like. There have been three casualties but the physician in charge states that only one was injured by rifle fire; the other two were injured in the scuffle which took place, but all casualties are slight. This is the situation as it existed at twelve o'clock today.

Topic:   PORTSMOUTH PENITENTIARY
Subtopic:   FURTHER STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   CONCERNING DISTURBANCES IN INSTITUTION
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IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM


The house resumed from Friday, October 21, consideration of the motion of Right Hon. R. B. Bennett (Prime Minister) for approval of the trade agreement entered into at Ottawa the 20th day of August, 1932, between representatives of His Majesty's government in Canada, and His Majesty's government in the Lnited Kingdom, subject to the legislation required in order to give effect to the fiscal changes consequent thereon.


LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. P. F. CASGRAIN (Charlevoix-Sague-nay):

Mr. Speaker, at the outset of my remarks I shall endeavour to dispel the impression Avhich some hon. members of the government have sought to create both in this house and throughout the countiy to the effect that the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) and other prominent members of the Liberal party tried to frustrate the go\rernment in the carrying on of the imperial conference and to make it appear that that conference Avas a failure. These statements have been circulated here in the house and ha\re appeared in the press of the country but in an effort to refute them I do not think I could do better than to quote the statement made by my right hon. leader and which appeared in the Toronto Globe of July 18 and the Ottawa Journal of July 21. The article in question reads as follows:

Foremost among the causes of the present prolonged depression are the barriers which fear and greed have erected across the natural channels of international trade. The world must trade to live, and it must expand its trade if it is to live more abundantly.

The Imperial economic conference, summoned at such a time as this, is a challenge to leadership along the steep and rock-strewn path of economic recovery. Its significance outweighs national and imperial considerations. It is a test of good-Avill in economic cooperation by the nations of the British commonwealth, whose association is strengthened by common ties of kinship, tradition and sentiment. In no group of nations are the auspices more favourable for the reduction or removal of many of the artificial obstructions to international trade.

In welcoming the conference to Canada, we hope it will broaden and deepen the channels of inter-empire trade and cooperation. We also hope that it will inaugurate an experiment in cooperation which will point the way to a more wholesome and profitable basis for the exchange of goods and services among the nations of the world.

A non-partisan view of that statement can be only that it differs considerably from the utterances heard in this house as well as the statements issued all o\rer the country to the effect that our right hon. leader and other members of our party tried to disrupt the conference. Notwithstanding the proud and laborious effort the other day of the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) to show that "we have done well," I think it must be admitted that in this case the wish is father to the thought. It Avas more an expression of hope than anything else.

The most that can be said of the agreements born out of the imperial conference is that they offer potentialities, and such is the consensus of opinion of our leaders in business and industry regardless of their political opinions. The other day the Minister of Raihi'ays and Canals (Mr. Manion) tried to convince the house that all fair-minded Canadians should admit that the conference was a success. I have listened Avith a great deal of attention to the speeches delivered by those ministers of the crown who have thus far taken part in this debate, but so far they have failed to convince me and my belief is that they have failed to convince the country and even some of their own followers. The truth is that the Prime Minister alone seems to understand the real meaning of these agreements that have been submitted to us, the reason being that they are of his own making and his OAvn follorvers had nothing to do with them. For instance, we

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find that the ministers from my province who have spoken in this debate, namely, the Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve) and the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) were not members of any committees which had anything to do with the drafting of these agreements. Possibly this explains why they made such an exhibition of themselves the other day when they tried to support these agreements.

It would seem, so much in many cases is the whole matter involved in and depending upon certain conditions and restrictions, that in this conference we have given something and we shall not receive much. By studying the treaty one can find out for oneself that its whole merit lies in its appearance and the blowing and bellowing that the Prime Minister in his usual way has done in regard to the whole matter. The more the tariff changes are examined, the less impressive they become, because they are, as I said before, only agents for potential better business if certain conditions are obtained. Tangible results are not expected before five years and as we say in the old French saying in my province: "Quand les poules auront des dents." We have evidence already to brush aside the Prime Minister's glowing statement when, the other day, he so eloquently commended these agreements to the house in these words:

And in the days to come, I do believe we and the generations which follow us will look back upon that conference as the beginning of a new and greater empire, bound together by common allegiance to the crown, by ties of kinship and friendship and by a common interest which our individual welfare bids us all strive to maintain.

Against that statement we have the expression of opinion of other people which might leave us in doubt as to the feeling abroad and at home. We have the expression of opinion of Mr. Lloyd George, which cannot be made light of. He wrote:

The result of the Ottawa conference will not be particularly helpful to inter-imperial trade. From the standpoint of world trade its influence may well be pernicious.

And he added in his own striking style:

"Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad." The public has been bitten with the rabies of national exclusiveness_ and Ottawa has proved to be no Pasteur Institute. The mad dog of protection barked and bit in every street, the crowded corridors of every office and even found their way into the secret conclaves.

Lord Snowden also states that his conviction is " that the tariffs and imperialist policies which the Tories are carrying through are more dangerous in their permanent effect than

the crisis of last year which was temporary and yielded to drastic treatment." He says:

Nothing in my political experience has been more disgraceful and dishonest than the misrepresentations of the results of the Imperial conference which are being circulated in the Tory press.

The same thing is happening in this country. We find in Canada certain newspapers, favourable to the government, showing some reserve as to the nature of the results that might flow from these empire agreements. " No one knows quite well how so radical an experiment will work out," is what we can read in some of the prominent newspapers of this country. Everybody knows the British press was not so sanguine as was our Prime Minister about the good effects of the conference on interimperial relations. Everyone knows that at one time the conference came very near to failure on account of the attitude of the Prime Minister who as usual tried to impose his own will at all costs upon everyone. But it remains for one who attended the conference as an adviser, whose reputation is worldwide, to write these ominous words. Sir Arthur Salter in the New York Times, wrote:

If Ottawa has laid foundations on which more may be built, it has indicated very clearly that the limits to what may be built are much more restricted than at least English imperialists have believed.

There were periods in the conference when the bonds of empire seemed to be very fragile. It is possibly for that reason the Prime Minister, in the closing speech of the conference, had to admit that he had been sometimes impatient and at times intolerant. This nobody who knows the right hon. gentleman doubts. This is history. No tearful eloquence could make us forget what actually took place, which was openly admitted by some of the participants in the conference, and the old French saying "un secret de poli-chinelle" has become singularly apropos in this case. Polichinelle, I might say, is the cousin of the English Punch and our own Webster described him as "insolent, blustering, quarrelsome." And note further: "His

club, his laugh, his hoarse, nasal voice and his buffoonery amuse the Children." Polichinelle in the French farce has two humps, one in the front and one in the back. In looking at hon. gentlemen opposite since the results of the imperial conference have been submitted to the house, I would be tempted to observe that the hump they carry, the hump of protection is twice as evident as it used to be.

We were given to understand that certain reasons existed to bring about these empire agreements. Other reasons are to be found

United Kingdom

in the speeches delivered in Blackpool, England, and also in the British House of Commons by Mr. Neville Chamberlain, when he is reported in a newspaper issue of the 18th instant, as saying:

The ties of the empire have been wearing dangerously thin.

This was in the newspaper article from which the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manion) quoted the other day:

Canada has become to a great extent dependent upon the United States finance and in the absence of any preferential agreement with the United Kingdom she might have found it difficult to refuse a new offer of reciprocity from her neighbour to the south, which would definitely link their fortunes together to such an extent as would cause a divergence between Canada and Great Britain.

I am surprised at such a statement, for everyone knows that all over Canada today Canadians are just as loyal as they were before by their own free will, and will be more so provided they maintain their freedom of action and liberty in matters of trade and commerce. I wonder if the Prime Minister is not astounded at such a statement, a man who just on the eve of the imperial conference signed, through his brother-in-law, a treaty in Washington with the United States for the St. Lawrence waterways, definitely linking the fortunes of Canada and the United States for all time to come. Was this to make the ties of empire thinner or thicker? Does he believe that by so doing he is helping the empire? Surely if, according to Mr. Chamberlain, it is wrong to obtain financial assistance from the United States-and we are still doing it-it is certainly wrong to enter into an agreement with them which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars and give away forever our exclusive rights on our great waterway.

The claim has been put forth that the Canadian consumer would soon reap the benefit from the tariff changes. It has been said that British goods would be laid down here cheaper, and that Canadian manufacturers would be able to procure necessary materials for their industries at a smaller cost. Let us see. In certain cases the only difference brought about by the new agreements is to impose duties where they did not exist before. For instance, as regards the new duty of 25 per cent on cream separators, there was no duty before and we have not imported cream separators for three years from the old country. How do our hon. friends opposite believe this is going to help the farmer? I have listened with great care to the explanation given by the ministers from my province who have taken part in this debate, and although they

have endeavoured to explain these empire agreements, I have failed to see any real good coming from them to the farmers of my province.

I am also at a loss to see where in this agreement the right hon. the Prime Minister has made any provision to help the pulp and paper industry in this country, which as everybody knows is suffering severely at this time. In most cases the margin between the old rate and the present rate is so thin that the whole thing seems almost a joke. A closer scrutiny reveals that the changes in many instances are quite immaterial. Take high grade suitings, for instance. For the last two years the rate was 58 per cent; now it is 54 per cent; and at that it is double what it was under the Liberal regime. White cotton flannelette is taxed 40 per cent, a reduction of only three per cent, whereas under the Liberal regime the rate was only 16 per cent.

There is another item to which I wish to direct the attention of the house and of the country at large, and that is surgical dressings, including absorbent cotton and so forth. The British preferential rate used to be 12i per ment, intermediate 17J per cent, and the genera! tariff 20 per cent. Under this agreement the intermediate rate has been worked up to 25 per cent and the general tariff to 35 per cent. I appeal to hon. gentlemen opposite, why make these increases at the present time when we are still suffering from the depression in this country?

But that is not all. We find that both the intermediate and general tariffs on surgical and dental instruments have been jacked up to 10 per cent, while formerly these articles came in free, as I presume is the case in most civilized countries. Most of these instruments, as well as X-ray and other medical electrical apparatus is imported, and very few of these instruments are coming from England. The bulk is imported from the United States, France and Germany. I say, Mr. Speaker, that it imposes an undue burden on our hospitals, which are experiencing difficulties enough at the present time. It is also exacting a penalty from the medical profession whose devotion and self-sacrifice in these days of stress surely deserves another kind of recognition at the hands of the government. May I say that these new duties on human suffering, after all, would be especially resented in the province of Quebec where, quite naturally, the physicians have a French tradition and would be rather inclined to use instruments they have been trained with. This, Mr. Speaker, affects indeed one third of our population.

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Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements

One could quote similar instances without end when one examines the agreement in detail. Imported goods under the Liberal, regime were subject to an ad valorem duty and a small sales tax, but since the advent of this protectionist Conservative government in Canada all sorts of complicated duties have been introduced: A specific duty of so much per pound or so much per yard; the dumping duty; the excise duty, and to cap all, an increase in the sales tax. All these mean an added burden on the backs of the consumers of this country. The only change that has been made affects the specific duty, and the reduction is one-quarter in the case of woollens and one-third in the case of cottons.

Looking over this trade agreement we find that it means greater protection. There are some two hundred odd modifications involved. In eighty-nine cases there is an increase in the duties against non-British countries. In forty-nine other cases there is also an increase against non-British countries, accompanied by a decrease in favour of the United Kingdom. There is one case of an increase against all countries, and eighty-one cases of decrease in favour of the United Kingdom. There are only two cases of decreases for all countries, and one single case where there is a decrease for the United Kingdom and a few other countries. On the whole, therefore, we have 139 items on which the duties are increased against non-British countries, and only 84 items on which there is a reduction favouring the United Kingdom without any increase against other countries. There is the true picture, Mr. Speaker, and who would say that it is not protection in its most unpleasant and amplified form-protection of the worst sort -the kind of protection which accounts for the depression after all.

Nothing has been more costly to the world than this policy of protection. Every nation that has tried it has suffered from it. Our neighbours to the south who were the first to adopt and apply protection in a big way know only too well what it has cost them. The trouble is that today they cannot make a right-about face. The United States has gone too far in the way of exaggerated protection, and thus it is we see that the country in the world that is richest in natural resources, and a country that has made possibly the greatest effort in the direction of social amelioration, is now in the grip of disaster. Were the United States to reduce tomorrow their tariffs by 25 per cent they would be ruined for the simple reason that they could not meet competition from the outside world. There is a definite indictment of protection. With the

[Mr Casgrain.]

most complete application of the doctrine, and with the advantage of the most perfect machinery, the United States has not been able really to protect its industries. The protection has been only temporary, and subject to constant increases in their tariff with an eventual issue that no one dares to predict.

As has been well said, beyond a certain point protection does not protect. It has only one effect indeed, and that is to weaken the commercial life of any country. Whenever a country closes its doors by this policy of protection, there is no more communication with the outside world; first, because other countries are bound to take reprisals, and secondly, because its products become too expensive. The first effect of high protection is to force lower prices up, and the others follow suit. Who will deny that the result is social impoverishment, since there is no progress of civilization unless it be accompanied by a lowering of the prices of goods which enter into the cost of production. It is one of the greatest mistakes of our times to think that higher prices mean greater riches. It is not true, Mr. Speaker. Every man, woman and child, while prices are being gradually put up, has a little less bread, a little less clothing, and so on. On the other hand, while we were thriving in the midst of prosperity, it was mostly because for the whole century prices of goods of production had been going lower and lower, which meant that the goods were available to an ever increasing number of people at a lower cost. That was progress, Mr. Speaker.

The last argument of the dyed-in-the-wool protectionist is the patriotic one. It is often the last resort of those who have no better reason to advance. It is the last resort of a scoundrel. In this case it is obvious that patriotism has nothing whatever to do with protection. The proof is easy. Victorious Britain had counted only on free trade, and under that policy she developed the empire. No one will venture to say that the English of the days of Queen Victoria were lacking in patriotism.

When we look at the press, do we find the newspapers all of one accord in approving this agreement? I find that The Farmers' Sun in its issue of October 13, 1932, says:

Mr. Bennett's imperial conference stands out as a triumph of the protectionist principle. Tariffs have not been reduced; they have been raised. Trade has not been created, it is simply to be diverted. "Canada First" has not been decreased; Britain has simply been induced to agree, for herself, to "Empire First." And to Britain, "Empire First" is to mean taxes on food, taxes on copper, taxes on manufactured

United Kingdom

products, taxes and taxes and taxes. Protection has been nailed on to Britain for five years with a flag-pole.

The agreement is a manufacturers' agreement. Ultimately, agriculture may benefit on this or that product; but this benefit must await the correction of the exchange and price situations. But the manufacturers are benefiting now and have been benefiting for months.

Until the imperial conference tariff schedules were made public, there was the hope that Mr. Bennett had learned the sanity of reversing his tariff policy. The agreements reveal that he has learned nothing.

He has learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

We are told that the purpose of these trade agreements is to promote imperial unity, imperial harmony and imperial trade. Is this the way to go about it, to make all nations pay tribute to the British Empire? Who can conceive of a plan of imperial unity and imperial harmony that is based on bargains that bind our hands for five years? These are causes of friction. The cure for all our ills is not 1o be found in the isolation of a group of nations. Any kind of zollverein, as has been stated before, leads to war, and it is very sad that the government of the day has seen fit to adopt this policy. For people as well as for individuals the best way is to go straight to one's neighbour, to look him in the face and offer a fair exchange of the products of brains and labour. This was the whole purpose of the Dunning budget brought down in the year 1930.

As was said before by an hon. member who preceded me, tariff walls form a gaol around us, and who cares to go there. Many speakers in this debate have shown the weakness of the articles in the agreement submitted to us. I shall not deal at any length with them. Suffice it to say that articles 13, 14 and 16 which have already been commented upon by the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Rin-fret) provide certain restrictions and impose certain conditions upon the Canadian people, upon the administration of the excise act and the customs act. No sane person could accept the agreements before us, because by so doing he would be giving away the rights of the government and the Canadian people. It seems to me if we accept them we are giving away to another country the right to police our tariff, and to have a look in at the administration of the various governmental departments. Such practice would, I submit, be contrary to the law of this land.

Topic:   IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Well said.

Topic:   IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
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LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

I believe the agreements imply an abdication of the rights and privileges of the house and of the people of Canada.

They do away with our liberties as a free nation, and with the principle long evolved and recognized as to the supremacy of the dominions in their own affairs, and particularly in matters of trade and commerce.

I was surprised and sorry to witness the spectacle presented the other day by the Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve) when he attempted to support the agreement now before us. He thought he made out a case, but to my mind he merely made a mess of it. I do not believe the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) who is now in his seat did justice to himself; he gave a pitiful performance. His reference to our great and revered leader, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, was an effort to be clever, as were also his references to my right hon. leader (Mr. Mackenzie King) and the hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) as Bill and Ernest. Such references were trivial and impudent. Probably his familiarity was due to the fact that he is enamoured of his great friend "Pit" Bertrand of Quebec. That gentleman calls my hon. friend opposite Maurice, and in turn Maurice calls him Pit. The minister has hurt his case and that of his party by his manner of reference to Sir Wilfrid Laurier and to my leaders. I accept the challenge of the Solicitor General to meet him during the next general election on the hustings in the province of Quebec, and at such time I shall show up his conduct in the house, and the bad policies of this government. I say to him now that if he wished to be as bold' on the hustings as he was the other day in this house, I should invite him to come right away. I find however that he is bolder in the house than he would be on the hustings, because I learn he refused the invitation extended to him to appear at a meeting held last Sunday in Iberville when it was known that the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot), and the member from the constituency in which Iberville is situated (Mr. Rheaume) were to speak.

Mr. DUPRE; I shall be very happy to meet the hon. member any time anywhere.

Topic:   IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
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LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

At the beginning of his remarks he was strong for an election, but possibly he made a faux pas. It may be that after his speech he was given a very sound spanking by the Prime Minister or others of the administration, because we know on the following day when he resumed his speech he was much quieter and made an effort to explain his position. I am of the opinion, however, that his explanation made matters worse. He came in as a lamb, whereas on the preceding evening he went out as

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Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements

a lion. I should like to say to him that if he found it necessary to go out as a lamb, he should not have begun speaking by roaring and wagging his tail like a lion.

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

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE:

That was said before by the hon. member for Quebec East.

Topic:   IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
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LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

Probably it was, but it applies very well to the Solicitor General in this instance.

As Liberals we have to differ from the agreement before us for the same reason that prompted the Liberal ministers in England to resign. I do not believe I have time to recite all the reasons given for the resignation of the Liberals, but the most prominent ones are the following:

First, far from removing the obstacles to international exchanges, these agreements add to them, in fact, by new duties or increased duties.

Second, these agreements imply an abandonment without precedent of the rights of parliament. The British parliament could not reduce certain taxes now without the consent of the dominions.

Third, these trade agreements limit the right of Britain to negotiate trade treaties with other nations.

Fourth, they add to the burden of the common people.

Fifth, they will be an obstacle to imperial trade and

Sixth, they present the danger of sordid bargainings between the different countries of the empire.

These reasons, as has been so well explained by my right hon. leader, have no less force on this side of the ocean than they have in England. We cannot ask of Great Britain what we in Canada would not submit to. The conference of 1926 decided that the basis of relations within the British Empire should be that of self-governing nations. We have the statute of Westminster to vouch for that. I believe the conference of 1932 has gone far, Mr. Speaker, in a deliberate effort to do away with autonomy within the empire. We are face to face with a central imperial policy, and with that before us I wonder what the future of Canada may be. One has but to read an article appearing on the 18th instant in the Toronto Globe to have some care for the future of Canada. That article, under the heading An Undefended Empire, is as follows:

Informal conversations at Ottawa during the recent imperial conference revealed to British ministers unexpected readiness on the part of Canada, Australia and New Zealand to recognize their obligations in the cause of empire sea defence.

[Mr Casgrain.]

Then, later on I find the following:

The dominions cannot neglect the prospect of an empire helpless to protect its trade channels in case of war.

I say that after these agreements have been signed and put into force within the empire we will have either to build and equip a navy, or contribute to the defence of the empire as was done on a previous occasion. For one, I do not like such a policy;, and it would not meet with the favour of the people in my native province of Quebec.

Topic:   IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

It is dangerous.

Topic:   IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
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LIB

Pierre-François Casgrain (Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. CASGRAIN:

I should like to have

had time to follow closely the agreements presented to the house, but I am afraid I cannot do so. This is but a further step taken by the government to try to implement its promise made during the election campaign of 1930 to the effect that it would end unemployment. They failed at the conference of 1930, they have failed up to the present in the year 1932, and now they try to get a renewal of confidence by offering the same promises, because after all one finds that in these beautiful and wonderful agreements which no one except the Prime Minister knows anything about, we have nothing but promises of things that might happen if and when later on some other thing should take place. When the Prime Minister asked the electorate of this country in 1930 to give him the opportunity of dealing with unemployment he said:

Canada is now in a critical condition. Unemployment exists on a scale which never before was known in the history of this country. All this by reason of the policies of the Ottawa government.

When he spoke this the number of unemployed in this country was stated to be about 200,000, to-day, after two years of his administration, the number is in the neighbourhood of 750,000. And we have the dole, this is the only remedy that this government has seen fit or has been able to apply to implement their promises to the people of Canada. All that by reason of the policies of the government in office to-day.

To sum up the whole thing, Mr. Speaker, in the agreements submitted to the house we have this satisfaction only, to be told that the Canadian Prime Minister seems to have had his way at the conference, and that the trade agreements are in line with the old Tory policy of protection. The Prime Minister it seems has erected, to his pride and glory, a monument at the expense of the

United Kingdom

Canadian people. This, sir, I will not accept, and having heard the speeches made on this side of the house I think I am safe in saying that they rather than the speeches delivered on the other side of the house, represent public opinion at large in this country and for these reasons I shall vote against the motion before the house.

Topic:   IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
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UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. ALFRED SPEARMAN (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, there has been perhaps no event in recent years, with the possible exception of the general election of 1930, which has aroused in so many people of this country-I am not speaking for the moment of other countries-such keen anticipation, and such fervent and anxious hope as did the late imperial conference held in this city, the results of which are now before us for our acceptance or rejection. In 1930 this country was well upon the downward path that has led us into this apparently bottomless pit of economic depression. All the nations of the world were closing and barring their doors against our trade. The prices of agricultural and other primary commodities were falling and had reached a point below the cost of production. Unemployment had become an acute problem and was on the increase, business generally was declining and approaching stagnation, and everywhere throughout this country the cry arose: Give us a man. Give us a leader who will lift our feet out of this morass and place them again upon the broad highway that will lead us to prosperity; will assure to the farmer higher prices for hi3 commodities and a wider market, to the unemployed work and wages, to business generally increased trade and certain dividends. And this man soon was found in the person of the then leader of the opposition, the present Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett). He was swept into power upon a tidal wave of popular enthusiasm, a compound of these mingled hopes and fears. May I say this for the present Prime Minister, that he proved himself a man of courage and of action. He lost no time in putting into effect some of the promises he had made. He raised our tariffs, he commenced the blasting process. But it must also be said, Mr. Speaker, that these policies did not bring to us the results that he anticipated, that the people hoped for. We excluded foreign products it is true, but we did not succeed in opening foreign markets. The prices of primary products continued to fall, they reached a level far below that of 1930, and indeed in some cases below any previous record. Unemployment increased, it doubled and trebled. Business generally continued to sink, and an utter collapse 537X9-31

of our entire financial structure has become within the limits of practical possibility. I am not at the moment attributing praise or blame to any man or any government, I am however, describing conditions as I believe they are, as I believe they will be admitted to be by any one in this house or in the country. The people of this country are naturally courageous and hopeful, and in the imperial conference, they saw a new ray of hope, they looked towards it with hopeful expectation that was almost pathetic in its intensity. So when the conference assembled the stage was set, and the leaders from the various parts of the empire came together in an almost universal atmosphere of good will, to face perhaps one of the greatest problems, and one of the most onerous responsibilities, as well as one of the most inspiring opportunities ever offered any group of men. Today we are considering in these agreements the immediate and tangible results of their efforts.

In the time at my disposal it is obvious that I cannot do more than touch upon a few of the main phases of this vast and complex subject, and do it very briefly and inadequately. Under these circumstances I make no apology for speaking in the main from the point of view I most directly represent, that of the western farmer, not overlooking however the general interests of all concerned.

The matters considered and dealt with by the delegates were many and various, but I think it would not be unfair to judge as to the ultimate success of the conference by its effect and bearing upon two main questions; first, the extent to which it will tend to increase prices and widen markets for the primary products, and second, the extent to which it will reduce unemployment and provide work and wages for our people. Other matters were considered, many of them quite important, but these two I have mentioned are fundamental, and it is as they apply to these, as they offer some prospect of affecting in some degree one or other or both of these problems that I think we should judge and accept or reject the results.

Before I touch upon the agreements themselves however, which are the tangible results of their efforts, may I interject a few preliminary remarks? My own attitude towards the conference has always been wholly friendly. I have shared with the people generally the hopes that they felt, although I had no exaggerated expectations of what might be accomplished at this time. But I recognized in the conference a great opportunity, and to no part of Canada and no class of people was the opportunity greater,

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were more benefits possible, than to western Canada and the western farmer. It is true that I at no time held the opinion that much could be done in the way of tariff preference to help the wheat farmer, on account of a huge empire surplus and other factors to which I shall allude if my time permits. But I did hope that much might be done in respect to live stock and meats, butter, bacon and the other products of what we term mixed farming, which must assume greater and greater importance in our western economy in comparison with wheat; not only because of the great surpluses of wheat which have accumulated, but because of decrease in soil fertility, the increasing weed menace and other factors which are already manifest in Manitoba, the oldest of the prairie provinces, and which are rapidly becoming prominent in the other provinces also, and which indicate for the coming years changes in some of our methods of farming.

While I recognize all this, I recognize also that there were some great and complex problems to be solved. I think it is fair to say that in the making of trade agreements there are certain main principles that underlie them all, and these principles are as simple as they are fundamental, although in putting them into actual effect many difficulties may be encountered which are both acute and varied. In the first place, there are those treaties made between nations the products of which are not competitive but complementary, such as those nations where one may lie in the tropics and another in the northern or temperate zone. There no great difficulties are encountered. Then there are treaties as between, on the one side, a nation which is densely populated and highly industrialized, and on the other a nation which is in a relatively primitive stage of development and which produces in the main foodstuffs and raw material, each supplying what the other lacks and requires. There again the matter is comparatively simple. Such was the case with Canada and Great Britain in earlier years. Such is the case in some degree today as between, on the one hand, the United Kingdom, and on the other South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. They all present their problems but those problems are not by any means insuperable. But when we come to Canada of the present day the situation is wholly different and it calls not only for a high degree of statesmanship and wisdom on the part of leaders but also for breadth and clarity of vision, as well as some intelligent self-sacrifice on the part of producers, whether primary or industrial. In

Canada today not only do we produce for export large quantities of food and raw materials far beyond our domestic requirements, but we are also industrialized to such a point that we produce in great variety manufactured goods sufficient for our domestic needs and enough for export as well. This being the situation, we no longer have as we once had a natural market open to other countries. No longer is trade the easy matter it once was, a matter simply of exchange as between articles which one country produces and articles which another country has to offer. Today, in the main, we do produce and in ample quantity the very goods that Great Britain would sell, and to a large degree Great Britain can increase her sales here only by displacing a similar quantity of Canadian goods. There is the situation, and there is no use in our attempting to fool ourselves by trying to convince ourselves or other people that these are not the facts or that the problem does not exist. And side by side with that we must recognize another fact, namely, that in Canada, amongst our primary producers, and particularly in western Canada, with its scattered population and its wide areas of arable land already brought under cultivation, its variety and quantity of natural resources, we must produce for export great quantities of food and other primary commodities far beyond our own needs, or else we must repudiate our debts and reconcile ourselves to living much more within ourselves, and with a greatly reduced purchasing power. This applies not only to our relations with the mother country but to our relations with other countries as well. Thus, when a few years ago we entered into agreements with Australia and New Zealand, it was inevitable-we knew it then, and experience has confirmed it-that no matter under what government, Conservative, Liberal or Farmer, such treaties could be entered into only for the most part at the expense of agriculture and for the direct benefit of the manufacturers. We knew then, and might as well have admitted it, that Australia and New Zealand would have no interest in any agreement that did not permit them to sell a greater quantity of their products, such as meats, wool and butter in the Canadian market and in competition with the Canadian farmer. We knew that; and yet, such is the irony of fate, a government rose and a government fell partially on that issue; and hardly had the new government entered into the seats of the mighty than it brought about another treaty based on precisely the same principle as the one it.

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had opposed. It was inevitable; it could not be otherwise. And, as I have said, it made no difference what government might be in power, Conservative, Liberal or Farmer.

But when we turned to dealing with the mother country, the situation was different. Conditions were the opposite and we knew that Britain would be interested in no treaty which did not permit her to sell a greater quantity of her manufactured goods in this country. We knew that in doing so she might open up in Great Britain a wider market for our primary commodities, and we said to the manufacturers of this country, as they had said to us in former times, "Take the wider view, the broader vision, and recognize the indirect benefit that may be yours." Right here may I refer to an opinion-perhaps that is too strong a term; certainly it is not an intelligent opinion but a groundless thought -expressed both by speakers in this house and by certain sections of the press, who declare that criticism of this agreement or of similar matters comes from a section of the country which would destroy industry within Canada. I have not met that class of people; possibly such foolish persons may exist, but I am inclined to think that they exist only in . the imagination of those who make such a statement. What we do think, however, is this-paraphrasing words used by the ex-Minister of Trade and Commerce the other day and using words which I, myself, have used time and time again, in discussing this matter with my own people and amongst manufacturers: Better for you to share a market that has purchasing power than to monopolize a market that has not. And in our own country, at least in western Canada, under the conditions I have described, we cannot have that purchasing power without export, and we cannot export unless this country takes in turn the products of a country which will open its market to us. There was the situation, simple and yet complex.

Before I come to the actual agreements themselves-and you will recognize that I can treat them only in a very general way, partially because of the time limit and partially because of the handicap under which I, in common with the rest of the house, am now labouring-I have stated that my attitude towards the conference has been always wholly friendly. I realize the tremendous responsibility that devolves upon any member of the house who casts his vote against the agreement. I realize that. I realize that the general duty impending in Great Britain is to come into force on November 15, unless some agreement is entered into between now and

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that time, and that rejection of this agreement brings us under the general terms of that tariff, so that our position will be far worse than it was before. I recognize that danger. I recognize, too, this fact. Here we had a conference composed of many of the best men from the different parts of the empire, men not only of outstanding position-I have met some of them and I have read of others, and I know their reputation

but men of high intelligence who approached their problem in sincerity. With all the information available, with the aid of all those officials to whom such reference has been made, these men spent five or six weeks of intensive discussion and examination. This was the result of their efforts, the best they could offer, and I, for one, would hesitate long and earnestly before I would say, "No, you are all mistaken, you. are all wrong. I am wiser than you and I. recognize that this will not bring the effect you expect; therefore it is not worth my consideration." As I say, I should hesitate to take that attitude, and in seeking honestly and earnestly for a reason why I should support this agreement, I am confronted with this fact, that we have no information, that we cannot have that information unless prior to the vote being taken-and here I strongly support and endorse the request made by the leader of the opposition and from my own corner of the house-these schedules and the articles containing the gist and meaning of the agreement itself be examined and passed upon in committee before we are asked to cast our vote. We have been told, and must recognize it as a fact, that the meaning of the agreement, the effect of the agreement does not lie in sounding phrases. It does not lie even in the statement of certain principles. It lies in the manner and extent to which these principles are carried into effect, and that they may be made or nullified by the details of the items themselves. Lacking that information and pending any possilbe action of the government which will enable us to deal with it more intelligently, I can speak only in a general way.

Before dealing with the schedules, may I say first that I recognize that we are making concessions to Great Britain in return for which we are to receive certain concessions. I did not expect, nor do I think I would be fair in expecting, that these schedules as a whole would be in favour of this country. I think that would be almost foolish optimism. I am not impressed nor have I ever been impressed by arguments based upon averages and percentages. To my mind such arguments

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can be most deceptive, they may say anything or nothing. Therefore, I shall not labour nor shall I, with apologies, follow my hon. friends in labouring the question as to whether or not there are so many items in which reductions have been made and so many other items where increases have occurred in the British preferential, intermediate or general tariffs. The meaning of such an argument depends entirely upon other factors which we have not now before us and can have only in committee. Until we are able to know the importance of the item itself, the quantity which may be imported into this country, a statement of averages and percentages means little or nothing.

In going through these items I have arrived at certain general impressions. My first impression is that they may have the effect and in some cases I think they will have the effect of a partial diversion of trade from foreign countries to Great Britain. To the extent to which they do that, I wholly approve. I think I can speak for almost the entire population of this country and for every hon. member of this house when I say that a diversion of trade as from countries which will not deal with us to a country which will and which is our natural market, brought into effect without increasing our own costs and without injury to ourselves, is something of which we should approve and support. I support and approve of that. However, after a very superficial examination I have come to the conclusion that any diversion of trade to Great Britain will be followed by an almost equally increased protection to our own manufacturers.

I shall deal first with the textile items. The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) has stated that he did not feel that any of us would expect that any substantial reductions could be made in the case of textiles. With this statement I am not in accord. Before and up to 1930 when this government came into power textiles entered this country under a duty then far too high. The protection given at that time was totally unnecessary but that protection has been since increased and enhanced. May I illustrate my point by relating something which occurred a few years ago. In company with a number of my colleagues, and as was then customary, I went to examine and inspect the cotton works in Valleyfield, perhaps one of the finest factories on the North American continent. Our host was a gentleman well known in this country and not unknown to the cotton industry and to hon. members of this house. In welcoming us he commenced his oration by a remark

IMr. Speakman.]

to which I have referred already and stated that he recognized in his audience men who wished to destroy the Canadian industry. He then went on to show the advantages under which the Canadian industry was carried on in Valleyfield. He pointed out that that particular factory was one of the largest and most up-to-date on the North American continent, that they had the cheapest water power in the world running past their doors and that an ample supply of cheap, dependable labour and raw materials were available under advantageous conditions. He then went on to argue that the industry was entitled to substantial tariff protection. I was asked to speak for the visitors, and I should like my remarks then to be considered as my plea today. I said I was prepared to consider fair protection for the industry if it was necessary but that I was inclined to accept his own statements. I said that under all the advantageous conditions he had related I thought they could get along very well with little or no protection. Before 1930, and still more so today, I was convinced that we were in line with what is reasonable when we expected substantial reductions in cotton and woolen textiles along with substantial preferences to the mother country. We felt that as soon as the attitude held by the Minister of Trade and Commerce was taken at the conference almost 75 per cent of the field of negotiation was eliminated, leaving but 25 per cent.

Substantial preferences are given in the linen schedules, as has been stated by the Minister of Trade and Commerce, but the United Kingdom already has this trade. The trade returns show that at the time this agreement was entered into Great Britain supplied a large percentage of the linen goods used in this country. I find on a number of these items that the privilege of bringing in cheaper goods from Great Britain is given only to our manufacturers. They are being doubly helped. They receive greater protection in some lines and lowered costs in others. I have no objection to the greatest possible decrease in the cost of manufacturing but I do object to the manufacturer being given that added advantage while the consumer is met with the statement: "Behold what has been done for you." I am afraid the manufacturers will consider it unnecessary to hand these decreased costs on to the consumer and if the farmers and consumers of this country expect that that is the principle underlying these schedules then I am afraid they will have to realize that they have been sold a gold brick.

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The steel schedules are stated to be important, and they are. I think some substantial diversion undoubtedly will be made. In dealing with these schedules I remind the house that in connection with them, as well as with every other schedule I speak subject to the reservation that without sitting in committee we can speak only generally and to some degree in a hazardous way. Subject to this reservation I would say that in this case, as in some others, as much additional advantage is being given to our manufacturers as is given to the British manufacturers and the result may well be an increase to the consumer of the cost of of steel goods.

I shall illustrate my point by taking up one item-in fairness I must say that this item is not representative, it stands out by itself-that of cream separators. This is an article of common and essential use to every dairyman in this country, one of the men whom it. is intended to assist by this agreement. Previously this article entered the country free of duty but it is now to be subject to a ten per cent intermediate tariff and twenty-five per cent general tariff. Upon looking up the trade returns I find that no cream separators are purchased from Great Britain. Certain lines are manufactured in Canada and others are brought in from the United States, Sweden, Finland and other foreign countries. There is 'only one of two results which can be obtained under this item. The first is that the price level will remain as it was and our Canadian manufacturers will obtain almost the entire market. There will be no diversion of trade because if Great Britain could not sell at the price level on which we were purchasing from other countries, she would not be able to sell to us at the same price under the terms of the agreement. If she was not interested in the old price level, she will not be interested now. The other alternative is an increase in price brought about by our manufacturers being free from foreign competition. There may possibly be some diversion to Great Britain due to the increased price, she may become interested should the prices rise, but this will be at the expense of the dairyman whom we are trying to help. So far as I can see there are no other alternatives and in my opinion that item is wholly bad. However, I do not look upon it as being a really representative item. In the time at my disposal and from the information I possess, I may say, generally speaking, that is the impression these schedules leave in my mind and I have searched and studied them as carefully as I can.

Now we come to the concessions given to us, the assistance given to this country, because I stress again that it is only fair to remember that the schedules represent the price we pay, not the advantages given to us. I shall pass over the advantages accruing to the apple industry and to lumber, copper and certain other products, not because of their lack of importance but because of my lack of knowledge and time to deal with them. I understand that certain advantages accrue to those industries under this agreement, and to the extent they do accrue I am glad and I shall be willing to give them my support.

I shall come now to those articles with which I am more familiar, in which I am more directly interested and of which I have some knowledge. The first of these is wheat. I might say that they are, in the main: wheat, live cattle, meats, hams and bacon, dairy products, poultry products, all of importance and growing in importance. At the commencement of my remarks I stated that in my opinion no tariff preference could assist us in the marketing of our wheat because of the empire surplus that we have. We, under any conditions and circumstances, must sell a portion of our product in the foreign, that is, the European market. The quantity of grain offering upon the European market will remain exactly what it was before. There may be less of our own and more of that of other countries, but the sum total of wheat offering on the world market will remain exactly what it was. The competition of the world will be concentrated there and the price will be set by exactly the same factors as obtained before. By a provision in the agreement itself the price thus set by that competition, which competition remains exactly as it was before, will be the price which we receive. As a matter of fact, if the interpretation suggested by the press is correct and if this preference only applies to wheat shipped through Canadian ports, a disadvantage must obtain as against that wheat which finds its way through foreign ports such as Buffalo and other ports. We may find ourselves -with the price slightly reduced, slightly worse, through this agreement through increased freight rates, but I cannot see that it would be any better.

When we come to the others, as I stated before, the opportunity is much greater; the prospect is more hopeful. We come to hams and bacon. I think there that a definite advantage is given to the ham and bacon producers of this country. The situation is

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briefly this: the pig industry of the mother country is in a parlous condition. They have at the moment a commission inquiring to see what may be done to assist that industry and set it on its feet. One can hardly imagine that commission will report without suggesting something which will be of value and that the British parliament will not pass something which will assist the pig producer of Britain. We are entitled to be put in exactly the same position to the extent of 250,000,000 pounds as is the British producer. As has been said, no one knows just what form that assistance may take and no one can imagine its extent, but we can be assured that some assistance will be given; that it will be of advantage to British producers and that at the same time it will be of advantage to us within the limits of our quantitative agreement.

We come now to poultry and dairy products. There the situation is somewhat similar. There, again, the poultryman and dairyman of Great Britain are in a parlous situation, in a difficult situation. There, again, an inquiry is going on to see what may be done to set those industries upon their feet. There, again, we are assured that whatever is done, we shall have one of two things: either a preference as against outside nations, leaving possibly Great Britain with a preference against ourselves, or we may have somewhat the same quantitative arrangement as prevails with the ham and bacon industry. In either case I think we are assured we shall be given some advantage as against our outside competitors. In the meantime, until that inquiry has terminated and a decision is reached, we shall have free entry for those goods for three years or until the commission reports and action is taken. I cannot see other than that, given certain conditions to which I shall now allude, this should be of definite advantage to the mixed farmer of Canada, and as such, and with conditions as they are today, with no other hope offered, that cannot be dismissed with a gesture.

May I refer now to what I consider to be the most important phase of the whole matter, the greatest weakness which confronts us, and the factor which, if not dealt with, will entirely nullify the effect of the agreement itself. I have spoken of those advantages and in speaking of them I had in mind what was said by the Prime Minister some time ago when he said or was credited with saying that unless some action was taken by Great Britain as against Russia, unless the dumping of Russian products was stopped,

this would nullify any possible advantage we might obtain through a tariff preference. That may or may not be; I am not arguing that at the moment, but may I suggest to him that there is today a factor which has not been touched. I refer to the question of exchange, which, if allowed to remain as it is, wholly nullifies any effect of the agreement. What is the position? Hon. members know how it was in connection with shipping cattle. A cooperative organization went into bankruptcy on that account; it lost from $15 to $18 a head on every live steer. The same thing applies to everything we sell; we have to lose from 20 to 30 per cent. How are we placed? Australia and 'New Zealand are given the same preferential advantage as we. We must compete with them and within the wall of preference, how is it possible to us to compete with them? It was stated a few days ago in connection with another subject, namely, the relative prices obtained by wheat producers-in Australia and Canada, that the wheat producer of Australia received three shillings a bushel or, in our currency, seventy-two cents in addition to which he had a bonus of nine cents a bushel, or a total of eighty-one cents. On the other hand, the Alberta farmer receives twenty-eight cents a bushel for at least as good wheat. It may be argued that the eighty-one cents have not the same purchasing power as the twenty-eight cents on account of the depreciation of the Australian currency. There is something in that, although not as much as its proponents would indicate. There is a slight drop, but may I suggest this: take an Australian farmer and a Canadian farmer each with a $4,000 mortgage on his farm and 4,000 bushels of wheat to sell to apply to that mortgage. The Australian farmer will have about $3,300 to apply to his mortgage while the Alberta farmer will have approximately $1,100. Except for the bonus of nine cents, the same situation applies to every farm product we export to Great Britain in competition with those dominions. They have a tremendous advantage over us. During the election we heard the Conservatives tell the people that the dairy farmer of Canada could not live in competition with New Zealand butter in this country; that in spite of the cost of bringing it here, the Canadian dairy farmer was becoming bankrupt and ruined because of that competition. Now with the exchange far worse against us, we are expected to meet that competition in Great Britain. The idea is ridiculous. Let us say that we may arrange for some quantitative arrangement to meet the situation and let us turn to the country whose goods we must

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displace, whom we must supplant as a competitor. I shall speak of Denmark as illustrating that type of country. What is its position? Denmark has been wise enough to retain its currency upon a parity with sterling so that there is no difference in exchange.

Topic:   IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
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LIB

Edward James Young

Liberal

Mr. YOUNG:

How does she do that?

Topic:   IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
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UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

I cannot go into that in the five minutes I have at my disposal. What is the effect of that? The effect is that Denmark has as great an actual advantage over us as we have an apparent one under this agreement. That is the actual result. It is recognized by this government when they apply a dumping duty based on exchange aganist Great Britain. It is recognized every time goods are imported from countries whose currency is depreciated as against our own, and yet they shut their eyes and close their minds to the same situation as it affects our own goods in the British markets and the markets of the world. Until that matter is dealt with, this agreement to my mind will mean nothing to us because we cannot place our products in that market nor can we compete with the other dominions whose opportunities are equal to our own.

May I interpolate here a remark I should have made a moment or two ago, that if the time comes when we overcome this difficulty and are prepared to take advantage of these agreements, one thing is essential, and that is that we must have in this country some form of marketing board which will organize and control our export trade in order to ensure to the consumers of Great Britain that continuity of supply and that uniformity of quality of which they are already assured so far as the products of Denmark and other countries are concerned, and without which assurance Britain will not transfer her business to us. But that is by the way.

I come back to this question of exchange. May I say that the greatest weakness, the greatest disappointment, and the greatest mistake that the conference made was when they overlooked and ignored this all-important question. I say overlooked and ignored. It is true that they accepted the responsibility of considering it and appointed a committee for the purpose. They put at its head the one man in the present government who knows most about it and who is most sincerely interested in it, and then that committee brought in a resolution of pious and unmeaning platitudes. I have heard that same minister refer to matters coming from our comer of the house as pious and unmeaning platitudes, but if he drew up that report, it certainly was the most pious and unmeaning of all for he told us nothing save what everybody knew, simply pointed out a problem with which everybody is familiar, and then carefully refrained from offering the slightest suggestion as to how that problem should be met. To add insult to injury, the papers that supported the government and said that they did right on all counts, said of this particular committee: It is well, because they have

done nothing which can create an obstacle against the success of the coming world conference. And certainly they did not.

In the two minutes remaining to me, I want to conclude with this thought. I am not yet decided whether I shall or shall not support this agreement. I say that quite frankly. I have many arguments in my mind in favour of it, and .many arguments against it. I am hoping, still hoping even at this late stage, that the government, realizing the position of men who would like to be friendly towards the agreement, will give them the opportunity of knowing what they are to vote upon, give them the details without which no one can give a really intelligent decision. I am withholding a statement of my point of view as to voting with the hope that this will be done. If it is not, then I shall simply have to use the best judgment I have on the little information I have received.

If I do support the agreement one argument in my mind would be this: Believing as I do that the effects of the agreement will be absolutely nullified by the exchange situation, and believing that even this government will be forced to a realization of that fact before very long, to put the agreement into operation will bring nearer the day when the government will tackle that problem in earnest and attempt to solve it.

I have attempted, Mr. Speaker, to lay the situation before the house as I see it, fairly, impartially and without personal prejudice or political bias. I hope that I have succeeded. I believe that the facts I have cited as to the conditions and the difficulties and as to the principles underlying the treaty are facts which we must all admit. In view of the fact that this conference and these agreements were forced upon this country by those conditions, I shall not judge them with the same severity as though the markets of the world had been open to us at the time this agreement was brought into effect. That would not be fair. I shall continue to apply myself to this problem in the same unbiased way, and I sincerely trust that the government may even yet see fit to give us that information, because without it-I am not of a suspicious

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mind-the government is certainly left open to the suspicion that the details will not stand close examination. If the government will give us this information, I believe that every member of the house will apply himself to the best of his ability no matter what side he takes, to do what he thinks will be best for this country, for the empire and the world.

Topic:   IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
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October 24, 1932