October 25, 1932


Henry Elvins Spencer

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. H. E. SPENCER (Battle River):


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with a view to getting behind the very important associations I have mentioned, in an effort to try to solve the enormous problem before us, and to relieve the world of the crisis under which she is now suffering.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock.


Ross Wilfred Gray


Mr. R. W. GRAY (West Lambton):


Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)




Ross Wilfred Gray



When our fathers went to school they learned the three R's; everybody understood what they were, but today we have the three T's-Tories, tariffs and taxes. Wherever you find one you are bound to find a combination of the others.

In replying to the very interesting speech delivered on Friday last by the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Willis), I should like to give to the house this thought in connection with our wheat markets. I shall not pretend to follow him in the very intimate knowledge he displayed of the various grades and sources of this commodity, but it does seem to me to be hard to understand how we are going to get an improved price through the workings of these agreements. Great Britain cannot possibly take more than one-half of our surplus and while we are selling this one-half to the British market our foreign competitors who are kept from that market will form just that much keener competition which will bring about lower prices on the Liverpol market. For years Liverpool has fixed the world price of wheat but if foreign exporters are to be shut out from British ports will this not tend to create a new centre on the continent, say at Roterdam, Amsterdam or perhaps Naples, where the world price of wheat will be fixed? The resultant keener competition will lower the world price which the Canadian producer will have to accept. When we have disposed of one-half of our surplus and go into the world markets with the other half, imagine how welcome we are going to be. We will face the keenest competition and all nations will be forced to accept a lower price because of this competition. The hon. member stated that since this government came into power some fifteen trade

commissioners have been appointed and sent throughout the world to further the sale of wheat. I say to him that it will take more than fifteen trade commissioners to obtain anything like a decent price for the wheat produced in this country.

I have stated that the constituency of West Lambton is partly rural and partly urban, and I should like to give to the house my idea of the effect these agreements will have upon local industries throughout western Ontario from Hamilton in the east to Windsor in the west. In this part of the province there are located a large number of industries which chose this particular section partly because of the cheap power available in the Niagara district and partly because of the possible close relationship not only to parent companies but tc the sources of supply of their raw materials. These industries have been encouraged to locate in this section, not only by municipal councils but by governments. The argument of a staple tariff has been advanced and over a period of years employees have been encouraged to build and own their own homes. There are thousands of men in western Ontario today who are paying on agreements of sale and just waiting until the time when they will be able to secure title to their properties. In most cases these particular industries do not import large quantities of any one class of material, but their combined imports are considerable. What will be the effect of the tariff arrangements upon these various industries?

The first possible effect which I see is that an industry may continue to import its raw material even with the higher tariff. Why do 1 say this? Their importations may be small and it might not be economically sound to import from Great Britain. In many cases their needs cannot be placed upon an annual inventory, they import as they require. Because of the change in the intermediate and general tariffs, there will be an increased cost to the consumer. Hon. gentlemen have stated that there will be a diversion of trade, but my belief is that if there is a diversion it will be to other ports of entry in Canada. Industries will be established at the eastern ports to the detriment not only of the industries in western Ontario but to both the labourer and the consumer.

I should like to deal with a few of the features of the agreement referred to by previous speakers. The general wording of the agreement does not impress me as being the considered draftsmanship of a month's session but rather a hurried putting together of the clauses in the dying days of the conference.


Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements

It is the kind of contract which in the ordinary course of business would lead to lawsuits and the necessity of interpretations by the courts. Already there is a wide divergence of opinion as to the meaning of several of the clauses. Is an agreement subject to a variety of interpretations likely to bring about closer empire relations? Such a contract is what one might expect to find in business, but is it good for members of a family to be bound together by a covenant-in this case a very indefinite covenant?

Are we doing right to bind succeeding governments to terms of three, five or ten years? Time makes for change and I submit that we should be in a position to. take advantage of any changes and to negotiate new agreements if necessary. All we have in this regard is article 23 of the agreement which, in my opinion, holds out nothing but trouble for future governments.

What will be the effect when Great Britain appears before our tariff board? When the bill was introduced we were told that the tariff board would be a partisan body, and I have no doubt that it will. Is it likely to adopt tariff measures out of keeping with the policies of this government? Are the decisions of the board to be subject to change overnight by regulation and order in council as have the measures of tariff passed during the session? If this is to be the case then I submit that the British businessmen appearing before the board will lose confidence in the board. There will be friction with a resultant loss of business both to Great Britain and to Canada.

No attempt is made in this agreement to deal with the evils of dumping duties and fixed rates of exchange. The removal of these powers would go a long way towards stabilizing trade, and yet all we have in the agreement is a promise that as soon as the finances of Canada will permit, something will be done. With declining trade, with declining revenues, all we can look forward to is another gloomy budget to be presented by the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes).

The Prime Minister closed his address with these words:

Wider still and wider Shall our bounds be set God who made thee mighty Make thee mightier yet.

Did the empire become great by building around herself an economic wall? Did the empire become great by forcing tribute from the rest of the world? Has the link which has bound the empire together been created through preferences by tariff? Certainly not.

The bonds which have held us together are the preference which we have in our hearts for the motherland; and though some hon. members may shout disloyalty from the housetops, whether we be representatives of the Conservative, the Liberal, the Progressive or the Labour party in this house, and regardless of what may be said by Mr. Neville Chamberlain, we are all

Children of Britain's island breed,

To whom the Mother in her need Perchance may some day call.


Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. E. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

Mr. Speaker, I would think it is quite apparent to the members of the house, and no doubt to the Canadian people, that we have had almost enough discussion on the resolution introduced by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) to approve the trade agreement between Canada and Great Britain. I would not venture to enter the debate at this time were it not for the fact that certain hon. members opposite, and particularly some from the province of Saskatchewan, have endeavoured to make it appear that nothing good can come out of these agreements for the Canadian people or even for the producers of western Canada. I feel it my duty, having the honour to represent in this house a rural constituency in Saskatchewan, to say that before coming to Ottawa I made a pretty thorough canvass of my riding, and I did not find a single businessman or producer who was not anxious that as soon as possible after parliament met, we should pass these agreements and see if we could get increased markets for our products.

I have noted with surprise the inconsistencies of the speakers opposite. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) referred to this last night. It has been a surprise to me to observe some hon. gentlemen opposite contradicting themselves, even in their own speeches, and to listen to some making statements the direct opposite of those made by their colleagues. To demonstrate this it is only necessary for me to refer briefly to the speech of the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) and to that made by his colleague, the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Rinfret). The leader of the opposition laboured hard and long to prove that Canada had coerced the mother country into these agreements, while the hon. member for St. James took strong objection that Great Britain had coerced Canada into these agreements and that we were being dictated to by an external government, such dictation, as he said, being wrong.

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The leader of the opposition, in his three and a half hour speech, I think proved conclusively that our leader is a great statesman and a great force in the empire today. In that speech the leader of the opposition, I consider, eulogized the Prime Minister when he said that my leader had dominated the conference of 1930; that he had dominated the conference in Ottawa in 1932, coercing Great Britain, forcing them to change their tariff policy, and dictating the tariff policies of other dominions. No greater compliment could be paid from the other side of the house to our Prime Minister. In fact, he placed the Prime Minister on a pedestal as being a great statesman and a leader. Surely then, we have reason to believe the statement made by Sir Cunliffe Lister in the city of Regina, when I had the honour and pleasure of listening to him address a joint meeting of the Canadian Club and the board of trade, and when he said that credit for the success of the conference must be given to the Prime Minister of Canada; for it was his vision in 1930, his vision again in 1932, in placing concrete propositions before the conference, that formed the basis of the agreement. We have also the statements of leading British statesmen such as Lord Hailsham and Lord Rothermere; and another leading statesman in Great Britain said that at last the empire had found a statesman. Let us briefly compare all the statements of these British statesmen and the leader of the opposition with that made by the hon. member for Melville (Mr. Motherwell) when he referred in his speech to the present Minister of Agriculture. He desired to express sympathy for him because he said that his associates around the council chamber were a lot of ignoramuses who do not know any more about agriculture than a sucking turkey. The hon. gentleman must have forgotten for the moment just where he was. He must have been thinking he was back on his farm in Saskatchewan, possibly in the hog pen or the poultry yard. I am sure none of the members on this side of the house understand what a sucking turkey is, but evidently it is a species produced by him while he was minister of agriculture. He need rot waste his sympathy on the present Minister of Agriculture, because the latter, in the two short years during which he has held that office, has done more for agriculture, has initiated greater improvements in agricultural matters, than the hon. gentleman opposite has done in almost a lifetime. Further, I take exception to any reference to any hon. member, and particularly a member

of the cabinet, as being an ignoramus. Such expressions are not becoming the dignity of the house. I have gone through the speech of the hon. member for Melville, and in the forty minutes he took, some of the terms he used are as follows: "political mummies,"

" taradiddle," " same old humbug," " ignoramus, " sucking turkey," " flim-flam," " warbling of Prime Minister," "nonsensical political trick." These terms were all used in his forty-minute speech, and one can well see why his leader, having a policy of Senate reform, did not designate him to that dignified chamber.

It is expected in the country generally and by the government that the administration will receive just and reasonable criticism from the opposition, but during this whole debate we have not heard a single constructive idea or suggestion from the official opposition.


Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.


Ernest Edward Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. PERLEY (Qu'Appelle):

Hon. members may laugh. These agreements are achievements, and possibly the greatest step in the direction of consolidating this empire than anything that has yet been accomplished. I think all will agree that the stabilization of the business of this empire will do more to rebuild the world's economic structure than anything else that can happen. In proof of that I quote from an article in a paper to which I think the opposition will not object, the Toronto Globe, which on October 15 said:

If these trade agreements do nothing more than shock the world and get it out of its somewhat fatalistic submission to depressed conditions, it will have accomplished more than any other possible agency. If they show the need of exercising industrial ingenuity and dexterity, or. as in the case of South American nations, lead to concerted action to meet the new contingencies, the benefit cannot help being far-reaching. In the meantime they have begun a new epoch in intra-Empire relations, in both unification and trade, which, it is to be hoped, means increasing helpfulness and development which the rest of the world can challenge only by adopting more liberal policies than now prevail.

In an issue of a later date the Toronto Globe says that it regrets Canada did not do what New Zealand has done, namely, pass these trade agreements promptly and without parliamentary debate.

I quote also the Winnipeg Free Press, which hon. gentlemen opposite will surely agree with me is not a great friend of this government. The Winnipeg Free Press calls these trade agreements " a definite step in the right direction." In Great Britain, parliament within a very few days of convening passed several


Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements

resolutions preceding the treaty and from a report in the press I notice that they are now on the second or third reading of the bill. I quote from a Canadian Press report of October 20 last:

By overwhelming majorities the House of Commons this evening passed a series of resolutions preparatory to ratifying the imperial trade agreements. . . .

The United Kingdom does not wish to stop trading with Russia, Mr. Baldwin said, but in the future Anglo-Russian trade must be on a more even balance than it has been in the past.

Crushing government majorities were recorded on the divisions on four financial resolutions which give legislative effect to tariff provisions inherent in the agreements concluded at the imperial conference. The majorities ranged between 350 and 400.

That is the businesslike way in which they are proceeding to pass these agreements at Westminster.

Right here I think I might well consider the main objections put forward by the right hon. leader of the opposition. He it was who put up the main barrage, and he made his greatest argument against the five year term of this agreement. Surely time should be the essence of this agreement as of all others, whether between individuals, governments, or nations. I claim that if the agriculturist of western Canada or any other part of this country is to avail himself of the real benefits that we believe will accrue under this agreement, he must have a chance to change his methods in order to increase his production to the point that will be necessary. It will mean an increase in the production of hogs, cattle, dairy products, lumber and many other items. This cannot be accomplished within a year or two, and I think that any term shorter than five years would be worthless. Any hon. member of this house who heard the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens), or the Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Man-ion), deal with this phase of the argument put forward by the leader of the opposition must acknowledge that they answered it fully, and particularly when the Minister of Trade and Commerce pointed out that the treaty with the West Indies was for a term of ten years. But I do not ask the house to take simply the arguments presented from this side. I am going to quote an imperial authority, Sir John Simon, a Liberal member of the national government in Great Britain, who speaking in favour of the five year term in the House of Commons on October 20th is reported as follows:

Sir John Simon, speaking in the House of Commons today in the debate on the Ottawa agreements referred especially to the constitutional point taken by Sir Herbert Samuel over [Mr. E. E. Perley.l

the five-year term in the Anglo-Canadian agreement.

Sir John declared he had consulted responsible permanent officials of both the Foreign office and the Board of Trade on the question, and had been informed that the five-year terms was no innovation. The practice for trade treaties to cover a minimum period of years after which they might be terminated by either side on given notice was an accepted one.

Sir John made particular point of the Anglo-French treaty of 1860 which was concluded by Cobden and approved by Gladstone. This treaty was for ten years and the opposition then raised the objection now raised by Sir Herbert Samuel, he declared. Both Cobden and Gladstone had swept the objection aside.

What better argument could we have than that in favour of the five year term?

I wish to give some figures to the house which will I think show the importance of the five year clause. They are taken from the 1930 report of the United States statistical branch, and given in dollars the value of the 1930 exports of the first ten primary products from the United States to Great Britain:

United States Exports to Great Britain, 1930

Products- Value

Wheat $23,000,000

Wheat flour 8,500,000

Barley 5,600.000

Pig products 28,300,000

Lumber 23,500,000

Leaf tobacco 75,000,000

Lead 650,000

Zinc 300,000

Copper 20,000,000

Apples 10,300,000

That is a total of 8195,000,000 of primary products exported from the United States to Great Britain in that year. The figures do not include the exports of fish and dairy products, condensed milk, butter and cheese. If we add those to the figures I have just quoted it will be found that we are being given a preference in a market which the United States supplied to the amount of 8225,000,000 in the year 1930. Will it not then be generally agreed that it will take time for Canada to develop that market? There is this further fact. If we add the exports of wheat and beef from the Argentine, of wheat and lumber from Russia, of pig products from Poland and Denmark, the figures reach a total of some 8500,000,000, and we are being given a ipreference in that great market for our primary products-the products of the farm, of the forest and of the mine. The point I wish to make in that connection is that it would have been far better had the term of this agreement been made ten years instead of five.

I would also draw the attention of the leader of the opposition to this fact, that the strongest argument brought against the reci-

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procity pact o-f 1911 was that it was to continue for only one year. That is what defeated that pact, and we know what happened to the Liberal party on that occasion.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we come to the second objection raised by the opposition, and particularly by the leader of the opposition, namely, the possible increase in tariff. Hon. members who listened to the Minister of Trade and Commerce will agree that he answered fully the objections raised and gave good and sufficient reasons why a tariff is necessary so that we may enjoy a preference in empire markets. I draw the attention of hon. members opposite to the fact that in the Dunning budget of 1930, in order to give a preference to Great Britain, provision was made for an increase in the rates on thirty-eight items. I believe article 12 of the conference agreement, providing for the constitution of a tariff board, to adjust and settle any disputes in matters appertaining to the application of tariffs, will act as a safety valve. In my view this is a wise and just provision which will obviate any unnecessary misunderstandings as to tariff operation.

Up to the present time I do not believe any valid reasons or sound arguments have been put forward which would justify any hon. member in voting against the agreement. At this point I should like to refer briefly to the speeches of the hon. member for York-ton (Mr. McPhee) and the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Butcher). As I have endeavoured to point out, the first named gentleman is inconsistent, because in one breath he uses the term "magnanimous agreement" and in the next the term "iniquitous agreement." He quoted certain figures to show the exportation of wheat from Canada during the years 1930 and 1931, and to those figures I now direct the attention of the house. At page 505 of Hansard the hon. member is reported as follows:

In 1930 we exported 207,000,000 bushels, and of this quantity we sent 77,000,000 bushels to Great Britain, and 129,000,000 bushels to foreign countries.

Concerning the year 1931 the hon. member said:

We find that in that year we exported 194,000,000 bushels, of which 63,000,000 bushels went to the United Kingdom and 131,000,000 bushels to foreign countries.

Had the hon. member been fair in his argument he would have said there was a possibility under this agreement of supplying Great Britain with the 131,000,000 bushels we had shipped to foreign countries. This agreement seeks to make possible the sale of that

great amount of wheat in a sheltered market under the protection afforded by this agreement.

Then the hon. member made reference to barbed wire. In my view if there is any commodity the opposition should keep clear of, it certainly is barbed wire. I hope hon. members opposite will not forget what happened to the barbed wire industry in the year 1897. At this point I should like to make a personal reference, for which I ask the special indulgence of the house. I have no doubt the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Butcher) will bear out my statement. For many years he resided in my home town, and during that time held a responsible position in the town council. Further than that, his brother was employed for some years on what is known as the Perley farm. I am proud to say that due to the tuition he received on that farm he has since developed into one of the best farmers in the constituency from which my hon. friend comes. I venture to say that the hon. member knows my farm almost as well as I know it. On that place there are about thirty miles of barbed wire fencing. The fences consist of cedar posts with four strands of barbed wire. In other words there is one strand of wire 120 miles long. Twelve miles of that was built in the year 1896, the year the Liberal party came into power on its policy of free trade. Binder twine, barbed wire and coal oil were the three items mostly under discussion in western Canada. Before the Liberal party took office there was a high tariff against barbed wire, and it cost S2.90 per spool of eighty rod. The remainder of the fence was built when barbed wire was placed on the free list. Under that policy within two years the price of that commodity had doubled in price, and I know whereof I speak. That is a concrete example of how free trade actually operates. Many hon. members know what happened to coal oil and binder twine.

Probably I should give another concrete example. In the year 1918 and 1919 when the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen was leader of the government, to stimulate an increased production in western Canada tractors were placed on the free list. At that time there were twenty-two concerns in Canada manufacturing tractors or parts thereof. We know what has happened. Tractors were placed on the free list with the result that today with the exception of the small machine built by Ford, there is not a single tractor concern manufacturing in Canada. That is what happened the tractor industry under a policy of free trade.


Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements

I claim that the trade agreements constitute the foundation of imperial preferential trade. The Prime Minister put it well when he referred to the vision of Macdonald and Laurier. But, sir, it took the courage and vision, (he businesslike and statesmanlike ability of our Prime Minister, to put the preferential policy into force. Hon. members may call it bargaining if they wish, but certainly it is not one of conciliatory approach. That is the policy of the right hon. leader of the opposition. I well remember that in 1931, during the debate on the address in reply, the hon. member for Wetaskiwin (Mr. Irvine) asked the right hon. leader of the opposition what his method of approach would have been had he attended the conference of 1930. The right hon. gentleman replied that he would have made a conciliatory approach. We know the Liberal party under its present leader has always had its eyes turned toward Washington, and never more so than in the years 1927, 1928 and 1929. In 1930, in desperation the Dunning budget was introduced, by which one eye was turned towards London, the other remaining on Washington. They did give some preferences to Great Britain, namely on cut flowers and cast iron pipe.

I should like to go back a little further and place on Hansard a quotation to indicate the policy of the party opposite, and to show that not only has their policy been conciliatory, but, when dealing with tariff matters, it has been one of fear. I will quote from the speech of the right hon. leader of the opposition when he was Prime Minister in 1929, speaking on the budget. This can be found on pages 1403-4 of Hansard of that year:

I say that with the knowledge which we have before us at the present time, were ire to do what hon. gentlemen opposite by their amendment apparently wish us to do, namely raise the tariff, we would be creating in the minds of the American people the very sentiment which would cause them to raise their tariff higher perhaps than it was ever their intention to raise it. We do not intend to take any action of that provocative character.

May I say to my hon. friends opposite, in the other corner of the house, that were we today to take a step along the lines of increasing the British preference to a greater degree than exists at the present time that step also might be misconstrued, for we know that there are people on the other side of the line who are just as anxious to be trouble-makers as certain people on this side of the line.

That is a policy of do nothing. He is appealing to those south of the boundary, and also wants to make some slight appeal to the British. But it is within the memory of hon. gentlemen here that the Hawley-Smoot tariff came into effect shortly afterwards, which

[Mr. E. E. Perlpv i

closed the gates-the term he used the other day-closed the gates completely to the importation of our primary products into their market.

I could quote figures, sir, at considerable length to show how our trade with the United States under the Hawley-Smoot tariff decreased in 1928, 1929, and particularly in 1930, 1931 and 1932, right to the present time, owing to the tariff that closed the markets to us. Now we have the policies of the two parties, and I am going to propound to hon. members of the opposition and to the country a question which I think a reasonable one: Which do you think is the safest man to guide the affairs of Canada, one who approaches great questions with cringing and fawning and fear, or one who, like our Prime Minister, has the courage of his convictions and comes with a businesslike and sound proposition to lay before a conference, such as the proposition which formed the basis of these agreements? Which do you think is the safer man? There is only one reply. I will ask another question: Which do you think would command the greatest respect from the delegates assembled around this table in July 'last? Again there is only one answer.

Every part of Canada is anxious that we get down to business and pass these agreements. We want to get into the market in which we have the preference with our wheat, our flour, our cattle, bacon, ham, butter, cheese and many other items.

I would refer briefly to wheat, which is so important to the majority of farmers in western Canada. Many of the speakers opposite would have it thought that we expect an immediate increase in price. That is not the case; no one ever suggested that. What we do expect is a market for our wheat, a sheltered market, in which to sell in the neighbourhood of 150,000,000 bushels more than we are now selling annually. We admit, and it is recognized the world over, that supply and demand will always regulate prices; they have in the past and always will. But what we do expect is a market for more of our product. The opposition have argued that these preferences are useless. I would like to propound to them a question: What would they say if Great Britain should give Russia a preference of six cents a bushel, and place an embargo against our product? What would they say if she should give Denmark a preference on butter and bacon? What would they say if she gave Norway and Russia a ten per cent preference on lumber? We know what they would say; we know the howl that would go up. What dops this

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preference mean to the average farmer in Saskatchewan who produces say 5,000 bushels of wheat. It means that when that wheat is delivered at Liverpool, c.i.f., he would have an advantage of $300 over wheat from Russia or any other country. If that $300 is absorbed by a dumping process, then Great Britain has agreed to put in force an embargo against the dumping country. That possibility of an embargo, I claim, is the main strength of these agreements.

If I had time I could refer to bacon and ham and dairy products. The possible increase in hogs alone in western Canada is important. If, for instance, 300,000 farmers in the west increase their hog production by only ten each, it would mean a possible increase of 3,000,000 hogs, and that would be our quota. I want to make this point clear. We in western Canada-I know whereof I speak, and I think the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Butcher) will bear me out-can market our coarse grains and wheat in the form of hogs and steers and average sixty cents a bushel if we can obtain five cents a pound on the hoof for the hog or the steer. That is what we want.

My time is short; I cannot deal at length with these items, but I want to say that the removal of the cattle embargo is a wonderful thing for the ranchers in western Canada, and to the hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) we must give the credit for that. We know that in 1930 we exported in the neighbourhood of 30,000 head, within a year after he came into office. I would ask the hon. ex-Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) how many were exported in 1928 and 1929 when he was in office? Not one.

I was going to dwell a little on what we have offered Great Britain, but I shall not take time for that. Let me say, however, that these agreements may be the means of causing the farmers in western Canada to change their system of agriculture. They may lead to smaller farms and intensified farming, which will be a good thing, tending to more stable husbandry and happier and more contented homes.

I will only refer briefly to the possibilities of diversion of trade from the United States to Great Britain, amounting to some $50,000,000. The Prime Minister referred to that, and we know it would be a tremendously good thing. These agreements work to the interest of the producer. The Prime Minister and his associates went to this imperial conference well prepared, and I think the results reflect great credit upon them. We have reason to be proud of the Canadian delegates, and of the

experts and statisticians who assisted the work of the conference. We cannot estimate the benefits that may accrue to every man. woman and child through the trade which will take place under these agreements, which were drawn up on the basis of mutual consideration by those delegates who assembled here while the empire was facing a crisis which, while not quite similar to that of 1914, was nevertheless extremely serious. Here in Ottawa, under the shadow of the peace tower, those serious minded delegates, representing one quarter of the world's population and area, gathered around a conference table and decided to take this step in an endeavour to save the empire.

I had intended to speak for a few moments on the currency problem, but I will not take up that question beyond saying that it is a problem with which all countries are wrestling today. Many policies have been suggested; some of them are very good, especially those which would stabilize the pound and the dollar, yet I think we must agree that there are advantages and disadvantages to be weighed before any serious step can be taken.

In conclusion let me say that the farmers of Saskatchewan, who for the last two or three years have been passing through trials, hardships and privations which they will not soon forget, want us in this House of Commons to stop-I was going to say this claptrap, but since I criticized an hon. member opposite for using a similar term I will not do so-this debate and get down to business. Let us give the farmers of western Canada a chance. I venture to say they are not downhearted, and I am sure they will continue to show the courage and fortitude that has stood them in good stead in the past, and will endeavour to play their part in building a bigger and better Canada and a bigger and better empire.

Mr. ST-PERE (Hochelaga) (Translation): Mr. Speaker-


Donald James Cowan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. COWAN (Long Lake) (Text):

Oh, my lord.

Mr. ST-PERE (Text): What is the idea? The hon. gentleman does not seem to like French. Does he not remember that both languages are official in this house? Let him do as I did. I had to learn English; why does he not learn French?

(Translation): The Imperial economic conference at Ottawa has completed its work. If the English people have not taken all the interest which they devoted to the conversion of the war loan, we must remember that all the nations are watching the proceedings taking place in the capital of Canada, whence


Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements

have sprung the resolutions which greatly interest the trading nations of the world. It is safe to state that the Russian government's economic experiment is no doubt the only one which compares with that of the nations of the British commonwealth.

On the one hand, it was the first time that such a meeting was convened outside of the United Kingdom; a dominion made the invitation, prepared the agenda and led in the debate; a sign that the dominions have attained their manhood and are no longer subordinate either to the government or parliament of Great Britain. Seated at this round table were representatives of countries having equal rights, the head delegate of Great Britain was but primus inter pares.

In 1894 a colonial economic conference met. England did not take an active part. She simply was represented by Lord Jensay, as an observer. Canada was the only one that had then the statute of Dominion, and from that viewpoint the recent Imperial conference at Ottawa was without precedent; another point to note was that the circumstances in general under which it met were very different from those of 1930. Great Britain and the dominions recognized that their reciprocal relations were entirely changed and that the problems to be solved were more numerous, greater and more complex.

What was the subject discussed at Ottawa? First, the replacing of the imperial preference existing to a various degree by a system of tariff protection in common, thus isolating the commonwealth from the rest of the world. Certainly no one dared to mention a "closed economic entity." All understood that the British Empire, notwithstanding her diversified climate and products, could not refuse trading with countries outside the empire and content herself with internal markets.

The great English newspaper, the London Times was aware of this fact and pointed it out to the delegates a few days before the conference:

The Empire, no more than its component parts, can exist by itself. There must be international cooperation on a larger scale to bring about this widespread prosperity which is the only sound and lasting foundation of the prosperity of a country or group of countries, whatsoever. However, it is also admitted that progress can only be gradual, and that the members of the commonwealth must first come to an understanding on a common trade policy. It is therefore quite natural that Great Britain will endeavour to exercise pressure on her associates in favour of protective views which she has sponsored: it is not without a motive that, in the general tariff, the exemption of an import duty granted to the products of the dominions, has but a duration of six months and expires probably with the closing of the conference.

We have not to concern ourselves, in the course of this debate, as to whether the deliberations at the conference were stormy or peaceful. The state of mind and feelings of delegates were daily commented upon by the press, but this has no bearing whatsoever over the final recommendations of the conference. Let us come to facts, in his opening speech, the right hon. Prime Minister expressed himself as follows:

What results do we expect from this conference? The answer is, I think, from all of us, greater markets within the empire. This is the answer from all of us, undoubtedly, if we are persuaded, as I am, that greater empire markets mean as well greater world markets, lor to us in Canada closer empire economic association does not mean in any sense world disassoeiation. The trading potentialities of this empire are great. But even one-quarter of the human race cannot profitably shut itself off from contact with the rest of the world.

Up to then the Prime Minister of Canada is perfectly in agreement with the Prince of Wales, who made the following remarks at a banquet given in honour of the English delegates to the Ottawa conference:

I will read this in English for the information of the hon. member who seems to protest against the use of French:

At the present time-

Said the Prince:

-we in the British Empire are inevitably dependent on the world prices-and can afford to do nothing which might react adversely on world confidence and so check the recovery of world prices. Indeed, it is of the utmost importance in our own interest that, so far from taking any step that might discourage foreign countries, we should make effort at Ottawa to put heart into the world, and to concert measures in which other countries may later cooperate.

(Translat'on) : Then the Prime Minister


When we reach an agreement by which our products pass more freely from one empire country to another, we drive clear channels through the stagnant pools dammed up by the world upheaval, and naturally we will carry past the boundaries of the empire and to its benefits, establish once more again throughout the world that commerce which is its very life blood. The British people in their vigour, industry and experience have nothing to fear from foreign competition when they are united in that economic association which is now possible. When from this conference that results, we will welcome fair and friendly competition. In our own interest we will welcome it.

"To drive clear channels through the stagnant pools dammed up by the world upheaval." The Prime Minister thought fit to allow them a free course and to even increase the flow by adopting intermediary and general prohibitive tariffs, condemned by all the great

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economists of the world. Does he forget that the value of international trade is, today, only half-perhaps less-of what it was at the beginning of 1929. During the same period the number of unemployed has more than doubled. According to the statistics of the International Bureau of Labour, from 20 to 25 million people are today, without work. What will happen tomorrow?

Unfair attacks: (the Prime Minister).

But we have no right to invite unfair attack upon the plan so full of promise for us. We within the British Empire have established our own standard of living. Those it is our duty to safeguard. I am disinclined to comment adversely upon the standard of living of any other country, or upon the economic scheme on which that standard of living is based. But I do say that where they are unlike and antagonistic to our own, we must resist the conscious or unconscious efforts to put them in free competition with our own.

It is desirable, I state, that our standard of living be safeguarded, but is that the result created by high protection? The latter always places the consumer in the impossible position of repurchasing the product of his own labour, and at times places him on the level of slaves. The spantaeus of protection have never been the champions of the people oppressed by the international high financial interests and the large industrial corporations. The Premier then traces a plan:

The plan we must achieve will lead us through this world period of reorganization and change. So when we find our orderly progress opposed, and when our social and industrial existence is threatened, it is our common duty to provide the safeguards which will leave us free to go forward on the course we have decided to be the right one. State-controlled standards of living, state-controlled labour, state-aided dumping dictated by high state policy, conflict in theory and in practice with the free institutions of the British Empire. The subordination of individual right and liberty to a national economic plan affronts our whole idea of national development. We must be active in the defence of our institutions. We must put before all else our peace and happiness.

"Let us look for guarantees" we agree on this point. Let us remember, however, that the Russian oil entering Canada is shipped to Mr. Mellon's aluminium company, on the other hand Poland prohibits the entry of this commodity on her territories. Our hon. friends contend that our delegates at the conference obtained a great success by forcing England to cancel her trade agreement .with Russia, and that such a step will open up a market for our wheat and lumber.

One of the economic fundamentals of Russia, even under the socialist regime, is based on the development and foreign sale of her lumber in

the northern regions. At all times, England has been Europe's best client for soft wood.

The Russians, therefore, endeavoured to concentrate their efforts on the British market, which has always been considered, owing to its potentiality, the regulator of lumber prices. During the period of two years, namely 1927 to 1929 according to the statement of experts, the Russian exports to England amounted to between 340,000 and 500,000 standards, and they expected for 1930, a shipment of 800,000 standards. This increase would not have been disastrous, had it not synchronized with a fall in prices due to the economic depression and the trade policy of the Soviets.

The latter upset the trade of countries exporting lumber, such as Scandinavia and Canada, moreover it was responsible for a great depression, caused by the fluctuation of prices. Finally, lumber firms in England were forced to place their purchases in the hands of a syndicate whose duty was to purchase and regulate sale prices.

The Conservatives will contend that this trade arrangement was cancelled, a few days ago. That is so, but let them not forget that the British government has invited the Soviets to conclude another trade agreement. Let us recall the advice of a great French writer to his young son: "Beware of men's honour when the sun is down."

And the empire markets:

As we desire greater empire markets, it is our task to decide the means by which they may be obtained. As each of us must find markets for our exportable surpluses, it is in our common interest to achieve a plan which will provide the maximum exchange of goods compatible with those domestic considerations fundamental to the development of our natural resources. Those considerations cannot be forgotten if the empire project is to succeed.

We have had these empire markets from 1922 to 1930, a period during which Canada enjoyed unparalleled prosperity. Treaties and a moderate tariff policy were responsible for this. Why have cancelled the former and increased the latter? The answer comes from the large manufacturing associations and international trusts opposed, in certain instances to international cooperation.

And "a very interesting fact": (Mr. Bennett) .

In the past, Canada's manufactured products have enjoyed a measure of protection, in the home market. Our natural products have enjoyed little or no fiscal advantage over their foreign competitors in empire markets. It is now our hope to secure it for them. Inasmuch as the ideal application of the principle of protection involves an equalization of benefits thereunder as between manufactured and natural products, it is the desire of this government to effect that equalization and to find a way for our exports into the empire markets by giving the exporters from those markets a way into ours.


Imperial Conference-Trade Agreevients

This protection that was considered sufficient, was only criticized by those industries whose over capitalization would deserve them as a punishment "controlled economy." The "little or no fiscal advantages" mentioned by the Prime Minister have exacted as compensation in the past these intermediary and very high general tariffs, mentioned in schedule E against all foreign markets outside the Commonwealth. The Conservative party has well deserved from its masters, the trade trusts.

And our natural products: (Mr. Bennett).

1 have said before, and I do not desire to minimize the fact, that Canada must have greater export markets for its natural products. No country can live unto itself in this complex age, and with our relatively small population, with our vast and varied natural resources, with our immense exportable surplus in natural products, we perhaps above all other countries must be assured of other markets than our own. And I confidently believe that the people of the United Kingdom will not hesitate to support our proposal knowing on their part that it will mean increased prosperity to many of their basic industries, and through them increased pi'osperi-ty to all classes of the land.

We must have markets outside the United Kingdom, but this Government cares little and discards as if it were non existent the clause "the most favoured nation". But what about the resolutions, the recommendations of the Economic Committee of the League of Nations which, in June 1932, appealed to all governments, in the following words:

The committee points out that the present situation contrasts violently with that existing previous to the crisis, at a period when numerous trade treaties containing the clause "of the most favoured nation" was in force. A number, among the most recent, endorsed reciprocity, while up to lately, the principle "of the most favoured nation" was to be found, so to speak, at the basis of all trade treaties.

The experts of the League of Nations were of little weight in the recommendations of the last Imperial conference. The Economic Committee are unanimous in stating that they are of the opinion that "notwithstanding the infraction with which they have to put up, the clause "the most favoured nation" as to customs matters must be one of the essential principles of economic trade and that its cancellation would cause unforeseen difficulties."

The right hon. Prime Minister informs us that he has simply laid down the foundation "and that the economic imperialist measures will, in the near future, be carried out". That is on what the Conservatives depend; as to the consumers let them find elsewhere more recuperative means such as an international agreement would be both from a fiscal and economic viewpoint.

[Mr. St-FereJ

The wheat growers, copper, zinc and lead producers of the empire, will see the preference vanish should they not be able or refuse to place these products on sale, in the United Kingdom, at prices not exceeding the world market prices, and, in sufficient quantities to fill the requirements of the consumers of the United Kingdom.

Let the workmen and producers of Canada, put on mourning clothes, for England will do her own bidding. If they are unable to compete on an equal footing with other nations on the British market, they will be out of luck and will witness their industries totter. That is a market which promises us very little hope to relieve unemployment and the industrial crisis.

Our hog producers, tobacco growers, dealers in egg, poultry, butter and other manufacturers of dairy products are equally liable to encounter a preferential duty after a certain length of time.

Mr. Wickham Steed, the great English writer, has written the following as to the English character:

1 have often stated that the English mind is a queer mixture of idealistic and matter of fact notions. Both are held equally in earnest; but during a period of economic crisis, the latter, that is the safeguarding of private and national interests, has the best of ideals. Until order is again restored, the health of the outside world is of little concern. Let the foreigner go and hang himself! And when the foreigner becomes too insistent, he is considered very much a bore.

The proceedings of the Imperial Conference have confirmed the psychological notations of Wickham Steed.

The idealism of the English delegates readily endorsed the agreements between the nations of the commonwealth, forming ties which will hinder foreign trade within the British Empire, etc., but the matter of fact turn of mind and fear that the foreigner will prove himself very much of a bore made them insert this proviso, in article 4 "not exceeding world market-prices and in sufficient quantities" a rather embarrassing clause for those who depend on the United Kingdom market to sell their products.

England also retains the right to refer our tariff against her products to our Tariff Commission, which I trust will be endowed with the qualities requisite of members forming such an institution and of which Mr. Thomas Walker Page, late president of the United States Tariff Commission, from 1920 to 1922, stated:

To create an effective tariff, the members of the Tariff Commission must be free from all

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interference by business people, and possess the confidence of all the members of congress and senate.

Is that clear enough? "Et nunc, erudimini." Let us suspend our verdict concerning the work of this organization, which has been awaited for two years.

What is, sir, the outcome of this conference, if not a promise of "potential'' trade with England, on the one hand, and the closing of our doors to products of countries outside of the commonwealth. It may be contended that this attitude of isolation will oblige foreigners to establish, on Canadian soil, factories which will manufacture what we export, also taking advantage of the British market, while reaping the advantage of that of Canada. First, all is problematical and the realization of the second part would be equivalent to a ruinous competition between Canadian industries, and would foster overproduction, thus creating another crises of unemployment which would be a truly national one.

Viscount Hailsham, an ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, who recently was in Ottawa, wrote the following on April 1, 1932:

It was thanks to the genius of colonial statesmen such as Sir John Macdonald and Sir Wilfrid Laurier, that the empire was saved from a complete disaster, even to the errors made by British statesmen themselves were rectified. In 18G1, the Canadian colonies obtained the right to grant one another reciprocal preferences; Australia and New Zealand acquired the same privilege in 1873. By degree all the colonies, as soon as they were granted their autonomy, abandoned the erroneous policy of free trade and formed their own economic union. Since 1897, Canada has granted a preference to British goods; since 1919, Great Britain conforming herself to the resolution of the Imperial conference of 1917, granted a preference to the products of the empire. Last year, the Prime Ministers of all the Dominions declared unanimously and solemnly that they accepted the principle of Imperial preference.

He might have added that neither Sir John A. Macdonald nor Sir Wilfrid Laurier had ever thought, for a moment, of establishing this preferential policy on the threshold of a closed door to foreign countries and that a moderate protection was always the policy of these great statesmen. Had we followed such a truly Canadian policy we would have equally benefited from the advantages which London grants to the members of the British Commonwealth, and of which the most important, at present is a preference on goods made in Great Britain of 10 per cent ad valorem, in the general tariff, levied on all important British products, save a few. Why was it not averred that to-day no country is in a position, through its own individual resources,

to divert to its advantage, the course of economic evolution and that trade is not carried on to the extent it was previous to the crisis.

This international trade upheaval has created most complex and varied problems which governments have to face. But instead of working for an international appeasement and for a durable improvement in the financial situation, the delegates at the last conference preferred the isolation of the commonwealth to the interdependence of nations and the chorus of diplomats, in ibhis house turned into a hall of miracles, broke out in the following refrain:

Unissons nos efforts pour la tache commune, Pour la tache commune, unissons nos efforts. L'Union fait la force, et la bonne fortune Qui nous a reunis saura nous rendre forts. Nous vivrona toujours en bonne harmonie Les yeux dans les yeux, la main dans la main. Si l'un de nous Yeux augmenter le pain,

Afin d'eviter toute zizauie. _

Nous ferons monter la biere et le vin.

Wheat, sir. was the subject of many discussions and responsible for many conferences within the last years. Our empire granary-western Canada-France, the countries bordering on the Danube, Argentine, Russia and even England who, according to Sir Charles Fielding and Sir Royland Biffen, could produce enough for her own requirement, if her production was better industrialized, are seeking markets for their own wheat. The Red Fife, the Marquis and the Come Back, the latter from Australia, will necessarily be the highest prized. Notwithstanding the preference granted to our wheat, it will have to compete against all others, on the British market, because the consumer in the United Kingdom will always demand his "free breakfast table," therefore, at all cost, our growers must therefore reduce the cost of production to a price level which will permit growing wheat at a profit. Will the Canadian farmer accept the wages of other wheat growing countries? Never will the Canadian farmer ever adapt himself to the standard of living of the Gaucho of Argentine and the harvestmen of "United Europa."

As a result of the Conference he will have to sell his wheat at the world's market price. England offers quite a "potential" market, according to the hon. Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve). The wheat trade is influenced by the overproduction of this commodity.

The farm producers of butter, cheese, eggs, etc., should not depend too much on the conference agreements to return to a relative prosperity. Denmark is at present undergoing a terrible crisis and England which ab-


Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements

sorbs 70 per cent of her production has no intention of dropping the Danish market.

The Stauming government has just created a department of exportation, "The Valuta-Centralin's " efforts will be directed in taking more advantage than ever of the English market. Will our farmers be able to compete with the Danes? Especially will they be able to produce in sufficiently large quantities and receive in return sufficiently remunerative prices. Competition, you see, is the life of trade: It is only in Canada that this aphorism seems not to be understood.

Mr. Speaker, while our opponents are very jubilant, at the thought that the imperial conference agreements will by themselves restore prosperity to a disorganized world and that some stipulation or other provisos will raise agriculture from the mess in which it is, and over zealous loyalists of Neville Chamberlain's stamp discover a closer union in the Imperial unity and some kind of loyalty in the extraordinary raising of fiscal taxes, we, Liberals, deny the soundness of such economic fallacies accompanied with a great display of circumstantial patriotism.

WTe contend, with Carnegie, that high protection is the mother of trusts; we realize, as partisans of international co-operation, that Tory exclusivism will deprive us of many profitable markets, especially that of the United States where there exists, at present, a government attacked by a microbe which is destructive of the world's equilibrium and whose most ardent followers endorse the politico-fiscal policy of our friends opposite; we hesitate in the face of the dangers, that too close a tie between the members of the commonwealth might lead us ibo, by being called upon later to foot the bill for the protection of those great maritime routes which are destined to promote inter-imperial trade; we weigh those "potential" opportunities of success without discovering any hope, because of the numerous restrictions placed upon our foreign trade; finally, we remain Liberal, following the example of those English Liberals who recently resigned from a National Government whose first act was to throw on the shoulders of the people a new burden of indirect taxation.

The hon. Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) mentioned "shadow boxing" and "sparring." This mixing of sports with the debate pleases me. Indeed, sports possess a code of honour which is greatly contrary to those methods to whom certain public men and especially numerous political dabblers call to their help during electoral conflicts. This, of course, has

nio personal reference to the hon. Solicitor General who, although somewhat of a tease must well remember that great sport motto of English universities, namely: "better lose

cheerfully than win by all means."

But shadow boxing forms part of the training preparatory to a great match and offers much chance of success, it is by good sparring that a clever boxer overwhelms his opponent. The hon. leader of the opposition has apparently weakened his opponents in the very first round, and the betting is a hundred to one that his victory will be decisive in the last round which will take place at the next dominion election. This therefore, ends the sports in this debate.

However, sir, the conflict of principles which is taking place between the two great political parties in Canada has not yet ended. Whether the Conservatives seek their cue in London, that is their business. But we Liberals will remain at our post as shock troops, and this to make common cause with all those who, idesirous of seeing the end of this crisis, favour the natural course of affairs, flexibility in the fiscal policy and well regulated friendship in our economic trade relations.

In a work, sir, called Decadence de la Liberte, Mr. Halevy describes how universal suffrage fared under the third republic. He shows how parliament often ended by adopting a policy contrary to what the people had clearly demanded in the election.

Our parliament, by its overwhelming majority has played such a role since the election of 1930, and is preparing to continue such a policy.

While Canada, England and the other nations of the commonwealth will remain united in this conflict against the world, unemployment will continue to spread, our large factories, like the Angus shops, in the county of Hochelaga, where 4,000 workmen were dismissed, will close their doors to those who ask for bread, our large Canadian maritime ports like those in Denmark, England and the United States will remain inactive, finally great distress will prevail over the land. But no matter, the most pernicious imperial nationalism will replace, thanks to our Conservative friends the unceasing activity which, in the past, characterized trade protected by the British flag floating over the seven seas of the world.

Great Britain and a better world will no more be the motto of the great economic undertakings. The empire crusaders will have

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won half a battle. The Right Hon. Neville Chamberlain will have vindicated his father's defeats at the conferences in 1897 and 1902.

As to our Canada, she will have to content herself with whatever crumbs there are in the midst of this inter-imperial confusion, and the standard "Canada first" will be relegated to the museum of national disasters.

And as a bit of consolation, all the nations will await the future international economic conference where the question of abolishing tariffs will not even be mentioned, and we will wonder when and how the crisis will end.

Mr. Speaker, the man at the helm of government always keeps his eye on the future, but at present, what dark chasms filled with surprise and mysteries lie before us!


John Knox Blair


Mr. J. K. BLAIR (North Wellington):

Mr. Speaker, in taking part in this debate it is my intention to refer to certain ideas which have been advanced during the discussion in this house. I shall first enumerate them:

1. The paying of tribute to our empire by other nations.

2. The effect of this on the British Empire.

3. The increase in high tariffs.

4. The fixation of the time for the application of high tariffs at five years in order that this government will be enabled to enforce its policies even though the country declares otherwise.

5. The placing in the treaty list of certain articles which do not affect Great Britain and therefore should have been taken up under the regular schedules.

6. The lack of parity of our dollar with the English pcund, making the British market

useless at the present time.

I should like to review the history of the British Empire in its relations to other nations, and also the colonial and imperial conferences which led up to the last conference. I shall endeavour to show the effect of this conference upon us as an empire and will discuss this matter from the different angles taken bv former speakers. Our future as an empire can be interpreted only through a knowledge of the past. Whether the British Empire will continue to prosper or fall into ruin can be foretold only after a comprehensive study of past empires which rose and fell.

History' is philosophy teaching from experience, and the cause of the overthrow of such ancient empires as Greece and Rome also applies, in principle, to the downfall of the recent German empire. All the empires of the past have been founded on the idea of assimilation, on the effort to force different human materials through one mould in order to form one na-S3719-36

ticn. These past empires sought to impress their supremacy upon other nations and compelled them to pay tribute. This was the action taken by the German empire, and it is being suggested by this government that we follow a similar practice. Such action created a spirit of hate in the neighbouring nations and inculcated a feeling of vengeance. This spirit of hatred was greatly augmented by the restrictions placed upon trade and commerce. Ancient empires, and recently the German empire, imposed burdens upon neighbouring nations by the adoption of a zollverein system. Naturally, these neighbouring nations were dissatisfied and were constantly on the outlook for an opportunity of retaliation. Shall we as an empire follow this example and antagonize other nations as Germany has done?

Empires and nations are like individuals and the policy they follow determines their fate. Mr. Stanley Baldwin indicated at the conference the fundamental principle which he wished to follow-the lowering of tariffs and the retaining of harmony with other nations. The Prince of Wales has suggested that the great difficulty of the present day is the obstruction to trade and commerce. The Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett), helped to fashion the spirit of this last conference and assisted in changing the previous British aspect towards other nations. Empires which follow a policy of demanding the last pound of flesh will not and cannot endure. Is Great Britain going to follow this policy, which will lead to destruction, or is she going to adopt better principles which will bring about the expansion and prosperity of the empire? The British Empire is not an empire in a historical sense; it is a commonwealth of nations governed for the great part by the most democratic forms of government known to history. It is a system of states; it is not only a static system but a dynamic system which is revolving at all times toward a new destiny, unfettered by race, time or space. In these days when the light of natural science is penetrating into every department of human thought and knowledge the effect of physical environment upon the character and history of the peoples of the world is becoming more generally recognized. Great Britain believes that a people must have a local government suited to their needs, customs and traditions; she believes in the adjusting of tariffs to suit the times and conditions of trade.

Means should be available to each government whereby political, social and commercial aspirations could be moulded into it by its constitution. Britain wishes every country under her to work out its own destinies


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according to its own desires. The old idea of world power, world empire, has meant the downfall of all who pursued it; it has meant enslavement of conquered and unconquered alike, but the new idea of world democracy, with perfect freedom means the liberation of the world, the adoption of the brotherhood of man and the abolition of war. And, indeed, for Great Britain and her dominions to be anything but democratic would mean her downfall, as has been demonstrated in many past empires. Autocratic empires stand condemned; for any empire in a domineering way to demand tribute as our Prime Minister suggests, would be driving nails in its own coffin. It is a sin against the light of civilization.

The British Empire is bound together by the democratic spirit, and underneath that is friendship, love and truth. These are the forces that bind the British Empire together as one country, one community, one family. Its strength is not based on mailed fist, on fire and sword, on bursting and blasting, but on emotion of heart and soul. It is said by Chamberlain that the British Empire hangs together by a mere thread, yet what may be said to be a mere thread can carry an electric current which will put great machinery into motion. The thread which binds the British Empire carries a force of sympathy and sentiment which could be a potent factor in the history of the world.

Mr. Speaker, we have reviewed the past; we have examined the conditions in the present, and the comparison assures us to a reasonable degree of certainty that the British Empire should not be deviated from her path of independent democracy, good-will and trust in all races and nations of the world. If she be not so deviated, then the future of the British Empire will be prosperous even more than the past has been.

The British Empire, supposedly secure though she may be, must not forget the power of other nations. There are other great nations than Britain and with these she must cooperate, as was indicated in the speech of the Prince of Wales when he said: we wish for preferences; we wish for cooperation with all the great nations. Even if we give a British preference, there must be no animosity between the British lion and the American eagle. The best path of safety for the British Empire is that on which she can walk with the other nations of the world in peace and harmony.

Having given a picture of the empire, let me deal briefly with the preliminaries that ted up to the recent imperial conference. The

Mr. Blair.]

evolution of the independence of the dominions took place very gradually. In the first place Alexander Galt attempted to make a treaty through the British ministry with the Spaniards. That was refused. He then went to Spain to make a treaty with the Spanish government and they told him that the only way in which it could be done would be through the British ministry. That expedition failed. Later on Sir John A. Macdonald, in making a treaty with the United States, wished to be called in consultation whenever treaties were being put through. That was refused. Sir John was led into the outer chamber and after the treaty was completed he was allowed to sign his name under that of the British minister. He resented those conditions and tried hard for future freedom for the dominion.

Later on, in 1887, we find the first imperial conference called to deal with defence, and the question of the Pacific cable came up. There we find the vested interests trying hard to get hold of that conference. At this conference and at every conference from then till now we find the cloven hoof of vested interests struggling to acquire economic priviliges whereby they could obtain money without giving proper value. This was done under the name and guise of patriotism. Sir John Pender was the chief leader defending the vested interests against Mackenzie Bowell who fought for the Dominion of Canada to prevent it from paying extortionate prices to British firms. Sir John Pender said that the trust was primarily a public spirited, rather than a private earning corporation. However, the efforts of Mackenzie Bowell, and Sanford Fleming in particular, resulted in success so far as the Pacific cable project was concerned.

The third conference in 1897, was of a little different type. There you find the spirit of Joseph Chamberlain, and the leader of the Dominion of Canada was Sir Wilfrid Laurier wiho joined with the other colonial premiers. They had a great deal of discussion over the different questions that arose. Joseph Chamberlain went throughout the British Empire, proclaiming the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon race; Laurier approved British preferences.

In the fourth conference in 1902, the same question arose, Chamberlain maintaining the idea of centralization, Laurier maintaining imperial reciprocity in trade as the surest step towards the unity of the British Empire. At this conference three questions arose which have a considerable bearing on the recent imperial conference. The three ideas which were most ardently discussed at that time were

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the first, Chamberlain idea, second the zollverein system, and third, the Hamiltonian idea. Chamberlain believed that we should have an imperial council and be governed, as it were, from a central authority. Under the zollverein system the nations within the British Empire would have free trade among themselves, but could exact tribute from surrounding nations. Alexander Hamilton believed that nations which were most conveniently geographically situated in regard to trade and commerce should band themselves together, each division in that area being allowed to develop its own nationality, language, manners and customs, religion and education; and even if they varied in race, still they could have a coterminous boundary and develop a national pride. The underlying idea of the Hamiltonian theory was that while they could not have homogeneity, better still they could have diversity with harmony and select the best from each. Those three ideas were up for discussion at that conference, and as a consequence a strenuous fight arose. It was at that conference that Joseph Chamberlain realized that the development of the British Empire was not the development of the British nation. Joseph Chamberlain saw that the British nation was being isolated from the British dominions, and that while the dominions remained true to the British crown, yet they were not under the control of the British government. It was a case where the Hamiltonian idea of perfect liberty and freedom to the dominions prevailed. These were colonial conferences.

The first real imperial conference took place in 1911, and there we have a somewhat different aspect. In the first colonial conference you have a dispute arising between a Conservative prime minister on each side. In the next you have a Conservative prime minister in the old land and Laurier and the other prime ministers from the colonies. At the imperial conference of 1911 Mr. Asquith accorded us perfect freedom so far as trade and commerce is concerned, with local autonomy unfettered and complete, loyalty to the crown, and spontaneous and unforced cooperation for common interests and purposes. As Kipling wrote at the time in Our Lady of the Snows, indicating the freedom of Canada and the other dominions:

"Daughter am I in my mother's house,

But mistress in my own.

The gates are mine to open,

As the gates are mine to close,

And I set my house in order,"

Said our Lady of the Snows.

Why should this government surrender control of our own doors, and why should we 53719-36*

seek control of our neighbour's doors? I believe in Mr. Asquith's principle that in greater freedom comes stronger unity. Always true to the British crown, Alexander Galt, Mackenzie Bowell, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Right Hon. Mr. Mackenzie King have always fought for Canadian autonomy and for our freedom from entanglements with Great Britain. The present government is the custodian of that liberty which it has taken long years to secure, and which we have maintained against all the schemes of Joseph Chamberlain, who was always trying to tie up Canada under the control of the British government, instead of trusting to its loyalty to the British crown. He almost wept when he learned that the dominions were individual nations instead of simply an expansion of the British nation. Now we have our Prime Minister in association with Mr. Neville Chamberlain entangling this country by a treaty which will not leave us with perfect control of our own trade and commerce. That is very true to the Chamberlain idea, but it is not true to Alexander Galt, Mackenzie Bowell, Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Right Hon. Mr. Mackenzie King. We are behind the British crown one hundred per cent, but we do not want any Englishmen dictating to our Canadian government; nor do we want to dictate to Great Britain. We want perfect freedom for every dominion and for every parliament. We do not want the policy of this high tariff government, Mr Speaker, to be enforced upon the next government. We are a democratic empire and we want the will of the government to prevail when in power and to cease when out of power.

But that does not satisfy the Prime Minister. He wishes to enact high tariffs for a period of years so that any new government cannot lower the tariff without the consent of other nations of the empire. The strong purpose of the Prime Minister seems to be to hang the tariffs up so high that any new Liberal government cannot reach them. At the same time he removes all the ladders, and has set a time safety-lock of five years and sent the key over to England so that we cannot deal with the tariff during the life of the next Liberal government. We are being entangled with other countries so that we cannot alter our tariffs except by mutual consent. That is the policy that was always sought by Joseph Chamberlain. He wanted Canada and the other dominions to be entangled with the imperial council. He believed in the centralization of power, but the dominion prime ministers took great care to


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retain every vestige of their liberty, assisted by Mr. Asquith's view of local autonomy expressed in 1911, as absolutely unfettered and complete, with loyalty to the common head, and with spontaneous and unforced cooperation for common interests and purposes. The dominion prime ministers carefully guarded the independence which they had won, and gradually they obtained more, but it was not until 1926 that we were free from legislative entanglement. Now it looks to me as though the Prime Minister of this country, this admirer and disciple of Joseph Chamberlain, is trying to revive the spirit of that statesman, and I am afraid it may be some time yet before he realizes that he is beating a dead horse. Canada desires no entanglement with the British nation. We are one hundred per cent true to the British crown, but we will brook no interference by Englishmen in controlling our affairs; nor do we want to control their affairs.

Canada was promised much from the short session of 1930 through the raising of tariffs, and again the tariffs were raised in 1931 under the guise of the British preference. We cannot vote for it. We cannot sacrifice our birthright for a mess of pottage, even if we are anxious to obtain a British preference, because we are more anxious to relieve the poverty of our own people. To-day in this treaty we have preferences entangled with high tariffs. The Prime Minister knows the desire of the Liberals to maintain and carry forward the historic policy of the British preference. We also know the Prime Minister's desire for high tariffs. So in this treaty he has linked up the British preference with high tariffs and says: Here is your pet policy; now support it. While we wish to vote for the preference, how could we explain to the farmers and the people in the rural districts that we voted to raise the tariff higher than it has ever been before?

Surely when wool is so cheap, the Prime Minister could have lowered the price of woollen goods. Before these tariff rates were revealed I bought a farm in Ontario. Now that I have seen these schedules I must say that that farm is for sale at once, because I see nothing in this treaty that will help the farmer. Let me quote a few items from this trade agreement and contrast the duties imposed under the conference agreement with the duties that were previously enforced under the Conservative government and under the Liberal government preceding:

Wool piece goods- Per cent

Liberal 24}

Conservative 62

Conference 59

[Mr. Blair.l

Wool overcoating-


Conservative.. .. Conference.. .. High grade suitings-


Conservative.. .. Conference. . .. Hosiery, wool-


Conservative.. .. Conference.. .. Blankets, wool-[DOT]


Conservative.. .. Conference.. .. x\xminster carpets-


Conservative. . .. Conference.. ..











Here are a few more items contrasting the present rate of duty with the rate under the Liberal regime:

Cotton printed piece goods-


Present rate

White cotton flannelette-[DOT]


Present rate

Wool piece goods-


Present rate

Wool overcoating-


Present rate

High grade suitings-*


Present rate

Hosiery, wool-


Present rate

Blankets, wool-


Present rate

Axminster carpets-


Present rate

Per cent 18 50








One hon. gentleman stated in the house to-day that we on this side were trying to tear from the Prime Minister the laurels which he had won at the last imperial conference. That same cry went up in the short session of 1930. Then it was said that we were trying to tear from the Prime Minister the laurels that he was going to win by relieving unemployment. He went over to the imperial conference in Great Britain and again it was said that we were trying to tear his laurels from him. The next session came on and he was going to relieve the economic situation by again raising the tariffs, and still we were told that we were trying to tear his laurels off him. Now we are said to be tearing his laurels from him over his achievements at the last imperial conference. To be candid I never saw any boquets around the Prime Minister, not from the time he assumed office down to the present. Any laurels that he won in the

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short session of 1930 by relieving unemployment I am sure he is welcome to, and he is welcome also to any honour he may claim from his visit to the Imperial economic conference of 1930. Certainly in my view he should have nothing but criticism. At this time when he is raising tariffs for the fourth time he is deserving of no credit. Hon. members opposite say we are depriving him of his laurels; we do not think there will be any laurels for him. Certainly we have not torn any from him on previous occasions.

I should like now to say a few words concerning our honoured leader and his attitude toward the Imperial economic conference. Word was whispered around to hon. members on this side of the house instructing us not to hold meetings during the conference, despite the fact that some of us arranged meetings. We were told that our chief was keeping quiet, and that it might be well for us to do so. I know that in my own constituency I was asked on two or three occasions if Mr. King had died. I said no, that he was very much alive, but that in his judgment at that time it would be best to make no comments. He realized fully that he would be blamed for any statements he made during the conference. I am sure he did not make himself conspicuous last summer, and I do not think any difficulties met with during the conference can be attributed to the activities of our chief or those of any Liberal.

Following the last election tariffs were made higher, promises sent out and prosperity proclaimed. Again this year tariffs are maintained high and clothed in the disguise of a British preference so that we may be led to vote for high tariff. There is a desire on the part of the government to appear well before the public. Worse still, Mr. Speaker, the vested interests which are always prowling around in disguise have secured for themselves high tariffs on articles which never came from Great Britain, although they appeared on the free list. Among other commodities in that class I may mention cream separators. The tariff on articles which do not and never will come from Great Britain could have been put on the tariff schedules in the ordinary way, and would have been voted on according to their own merits. Vested interests, however, saw to it that they were placed on the preferential list so that they would pass the house.

The Conservative party have before them an organized plan to form the empire into an economic unit, but such a plan must fail because it works against the laws of nature and of the universe of which we form a part. The commonwealth of nations, this empire of

ours, will be stronger in proportion to the elasticity each part is given. The treaty now before us constitutes an attempt to centralize trade within the British empire. To this policy Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Charles Tupper, Alexander Galt and Sir Wilfrid Laurier took objection when they asserted and effected the complete freedom of Canada in matters of trade and commerce.

I believe there never has been a government which has had so many conferences, so many opportunities to help the poorer classes as has the present one. But we know that at every turn the vested interests got what they wanted, and the farmers have suffered. Even when 3,000 farmers gathered in Ottawa not even the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir) would recognize them, and under this agreement they are receiving treatment similar to that which they were accorded when visiting this city. This is the fourth time they have been fooled with wild promises by the government now in office. Appeals have been made to the farming communities to look on the situation with an open mind, and doing that they are promised that matters will turn out all right for them. To be successful is such an effort one would have to be a paranoiac; he would have to be demented.

I do not like to be wailing about hare-times; I am not a Jeremiah. I enjoy life and my liver is perfectly healthy. I want this government, however, to realize the situation and change its ways. I do not think the Prime Minister realizes the distress obtaining in the land or he would take pity on the poor and change his plans concerning high tariff, high interest rates, wages and the price of farm products. When the people of Canada elected a millionaire to the control of our government they made a fatal error. We know that the governor general, not being a commoner, is not allowed to enter the House of Commons. Were he to make an attempt to do so, the guards would prevent it. In like manner our ballots should prevent any one who is not a commoner from entering or controlling the House of Commons.

The unstable method adopted by this government in its tariff changes, so far as investors are concerned has had very disquieting results. Some storekeepers have been buying from the same firms during the time they have been in business, but they have found that owing to tariffs they have been compelled to change their sources of supply. They have had to find new firms from which to make purchases and their old customers


Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements

continue to inquire concerning the lines of goods with which they have been familiar. In that way commercial relations are destroyed, and an attempt is made to build up trade among people estranged from each other. I say this transition will take years, and instead of trade improving it will no doubt suffer.

The price of cotton goods is very high. On linen used by poor people the tariff rate is over 60 per cent, but on the good quality linen used by wealthy people the duty is removed. How could hon. members explain to the farming communities that they had voted to raise the price of barbed wire and separators? Undoubtedly if we were permitted to vote on the different items we would be in a position better to express our views. The government has heard the cry of the world for lower tariffs. We know that the Prince of Wales and the Right Hon. Stanley Balwin have stated that the tariffs should be lowered. Farmers, labourers and all the poorer classes in the community realize that high tariffs are at least partly to blame for much of the poverty now existing. Tariffs act as a strong wedge to drive between the rich and the poor, so that the poor may be made poorer and the rich richer.

The agreement with which we are now dealing will be effective in raising the tariff, and for that reason I should not like to vote

for it. On the other hand, a British preference is offered, and for that reason alone I should like very much to vote for it. We must note however that it is binding for a five year period. Hon. members will see that the tariff on many articles used most frequently is three times as high under this agreement as under Liberal rule. Most emphatically I state that under the guise of a British preference the treaty is intended to raise tariffs. I could not return to my constituency with a knowledge that by my vote I had sanctioned a duty three or four times as high as under the regime of the late government on articles used by farmers' wives. When the Liberals were in power the prices of cottons, woollens, shoes, wire, carpets, blankets and overcoating were too high. We know however that at that time the prices of other commodities were also high. Now the tariff is raised three times as high. Who can afford to buy at such prices? We are not on a parity with the English pound; when we sell a dollar's worth we receive only seventy-five cents. On what can the farmer depend when for a period of five years he has to buy under increased tariffs?

Let us for a moment survey tariff rates: The following table will serve to compare the rates as they obtained in 1930, after the short session of 1931, after the ordinary session of 1931 and the present rate:

Regular Short RegularSession Session Session Present

523a White cotton flannelette.. .. 523b All cotton printed piece goods

523 Cotton pillow cases

523 Cotton sheets [DOT]

523 Cotton towels

554 Wool piece goods (grays).. . Wool fabrics (overcoating) .. Wool hosiery

The articles covered by these items are those most frequently bought by farmers' wives. The hon. member for Compton (Mr. Gobeil) has said that the farmer's wife will in the year 1932 receive 18 or 19 cents for her butter on the English market. I wonder if the increased price will make up the difference she has to pay on the price of a cream separator.

The time stipulated for the operation of the agreement is, in my view, much too long. The intention of the government is that we will have to accept the tariff changes, and that the farmers and villagers will have to pay high prices for their purchases, regardless of the prices they may receive for the products they have for sale. A nation which adheres to

1930 1931 1931 Rate16 31 63 60119 321 631 60116 331 641 62116 341 66 62J15 361 69 6611 331 641 6125J 761 122 10623 581 971 891

this treaty is like a farmer in a community who proclaims that he will not deal with or exchange with his neighbours, but will deal with his brothers who live many miles away. Now this farmer has dealt with his neighbours for many years; is it wise to proclaim to them that if they are going to trade with him or his brothers they will have to pay tribute? Such an attitude provokes war. Would it not be better for the brothers to gather at the father's home at Yuletide and inquire how they can help one another, buy from each other, sell to each other, exchange with each other as much as possible, yet keep a kindly spirit towards all their neighbours? We cannot do without friends nor can we so easily do without neighbours. Let us retain both friends and neighbours.

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It is a strange situation, Mr. Speaker, which we have today. When evil days came upon the land in times past it was by reason of famine, pestilence, plague or war. But to-day we have poverty in the midst of plenty. An hon. member on the other side said we could have worse, instead of poverty in the midst of plenty we might have poverty in the midst of scarcity. In that case I would have sympathy with the government in office, but when we have poverty in the midst of abundance surely there is something wrong with the government. The heavens truly are kind to us, but the defects of our government make the goodness of the heavens of no avail.

There are some principles that former conferences have laid down which I think should be mentioned here. They laid it down that no country should impose upon others either opinions or debts or definitely fixed constitutions; that they should not bind coming generations in those respects, nor should they allow governments to float contracts and load their children with debts. But by these agreements we are interlocking our authority with that of the British nation, and contradicting these resolutions. I say that every nation's authority should be limited to its own boundaries. Not only that, but its authority should be limited to the present; they should not hand down to coming generations burdens over which the coming generations have no control. I consider that this government is disobeying every rule laid down by former conferences, destroying the fundamental principles fought for by our former prime ministers. I say that the British nation should have no intermingling of authority with this country, neither should we intermingle our authority with theirs. Each nation should be entirely free to open or close its own doors.

I note, Mr. Speaker, that my time has expired.


Pierre Auguste Martial Rhéaume


Mr. MARTIAL RHEAUME (St. John-Iberville) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I wish

to take part in this debate so as to reply to a challenge sent, last week, to the Liberal members, by the hon. Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre).

I invited the latter to meet me in my county. He was conspicuous by his absence and sent me the following telegram;

Mr. Martial Rheaume, M.P.,

St. John-Iberville, Que.

I challenged the French-Canadian Liberal members to repeat to the electors of Quebec the charges voiced by the Liberals, namely: that the Conservatives had been too hard on the English at the Imperial conference; that the Conservatives had compelled the English to make concessions; that the Canadian Conservatives were opposed to the English or anti-

British. I again challenge you to repeat these words before your audience of Sunday and you do not require my presence as I will know, nevertheless, whether you have or have not repeated these charges. I trust you will read this telegram at the meeting and that you will explain how it happens that the Liberal party opposes the agreement that protects the farmer, the workman and the manufacturer and opens to us new markets for our products. Please explain to them also the disappointment of the Liberal party because we have succeeded where you have failed. I count on your loyalty to place the facts before your friends in their true light.

I received a letter from the hon. member for Compton (Mr. Goibeil) in reply to a telegram which I sent him. I must add that these gentlemen did not come to the meeting, and, by the way, I shall repeat what I stated last Sunday, at Iberville:

I challenge the hon. Solicitor General to resign his seat and I shall do likewise, we can then both come forward in the constituency of St. Johns-Lberville. I shall further request the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Bennelt) not to issue the election warrants for both ridings on the same date, so as to afford an opportunity to the hon. Solicitor General of being rebuffed by the electors of the city of Quebec as he will be in the constituency of St. Johns-Lberville. I also request the hon. member for Compton-who I invited to meet me in my constituency, Sunday, and who never turned up-to invite me to the county of Compton, together with the hon. member for Sherbrooke (Mr. Howard), the hon. member for Laprairie-Napierville (Mr. Dupuis), and other members, where we shall repeat the statements made in the house by our leader and the hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe).

If you wish to find out Quebec's views on this subject, open uip a riding and you will soon learn what they are. You have heard the voice of New Brunswick, when the hon. member for Royal (Mr. Jones) who had been elected, in 1930, by nearly 3,000 of a majority, was returned by slightly over 600 votes. You have heard the voice of Ontario in the South Huron election. In 1930, this riding had given a majority of 349 votes to the Liberal candidate and, in October last, the Liberal member for South Huron (Mr. Golding) was elected by a majority of nearly 2,000 votes. I think that they are afraid of Quebec. The government has certainly had the opportunity of finding out the views of Quebec. It has just appointed the Hon. Mr. Rainville to the Senate. I think that the choice of the party for this senatorshiip was the hon. member for Berthier-Maskinonge (Mr. Barrette). However I am informed that he was not ap-


Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements

pointed because the government feared to open a constituency in Quebec. There was a much sought appointment in the Court of Appeals. I think that the hon. Minister of Marine (Mr. Duranleau) would certainly have accepted this post, however the government did not care to bring on an election in the beautiful county of Chambly-Vercheres. The hon. Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve) would also like a senatorship. The government do not wish to appoint him nor will they do so because they fear to open the constituency of Laval-Two Mountains where they may receive the same reply they received in Ontario.

The hon. Solicitor General, in his speech delivered last Wednesday made the following statement at page 380 of Hansard:

We may be wrong, we may be right. The country will decide, and we are ready to go before the country to find out who is right and vdio is wrong.

I think the hon. Solicitor General noticed the slip he made. He immediately asked to adjourn the debate, at 5.45 p.m. The following day at page 383 of Hansard, he stated:

As far as the election goes, I may say that I was not well interpreted. I did not fix any date. And when I saw the fright on the faces of hon. gentlemen opposite I thought I had better correct that statement, and say that we might not have an election before one or two or three years. I hear laughter from the other side, but may I tell my friends opposite that they should keep cool, because they should remember, if I may say so, that there is no more Beauharnois.

I think that a night's rest brought sound advice to the hon. Solicitor General. I was informed that his leader's absence was due to having been called to Albany so as to be in-, vested with an honorary degree. This reminds me that when I was at college, we had a professor who neither allowed us to smile nor utter a word in the class room. Having heard, one morning, that he was i'll, we smiled and chatted. I believe that in the Government leader's absence, the hon. Solicitor General was overzealous, and perhaps went a little too far; he was so advised and the following day, he contended that we had wrongly interpreted his words- I note also that, in his speech, he wrongly interpreted our leader's remarks.

I know that the hon. Solicitor General is very devoted to his leader. He states that there is no more Beauharnois, however, I am informed that there are members opposite who received small gifts from the Beauharnois Company so as to help them in the last election. Both the Liberal and Conservative parties received such gifts; however, I wish to state that we have no need of being helped

financially, we have the people behind us, and all are aware that money has no vote but the people have. You have heard the voices of New Brunswick and Ontario, if you wish to hear Quebec's voice, I offer you the opportunity; I am ready at any time.

In his telegram, the hon. Solicitor General contends that the Imperial Conference agreements are to the advantage of the farming class. I wonder if it is helping the farmer when the customs duties on cream separators and barbed wire are increased by 10 per cent.

There are many kinds of mathematicians, but the hon. Solicitor General has certainly not examined the figures closely, for he would have found out his error.

In 1930, our good friends on the opposite side made use of "Canada First" and I recall that the Conservative candidate, in my constituency stated: "All for Canada." But these were only meaningless words. I had some correspondence with the hon. Minister of Public Works (Mr. Stewart) in connection with goods manufactured in St. John, so as to fill a contract for the National Research Council. "Canada First" it sounds well, but deeds not words should be practised; I found out that the contract, instead of being awarded to the Canadian Trenton Potteries of St. John, in my county, was awarded in England.

I have here the splendid newspaper distributed during the Three Rivers election, the souvenir number of the Victory. This newspaper was published by a Conservative organization. I shall read the following extract:

Mr. Bennett favours a bonus on butter.

St. Eustaehe, 8.-The hon. Arthur Sauve, Postmaster General, made the following statement at the Conservative convention of Two-Mountains, _ which choose, last night Mr. Jean-Paul Sauve, as candidate for the constituency. "After a number of interviews on the subject with my colleague the hon. Mr. Weir, Minister of Agriculture, and also with the Prime Minister, I am authorized to state that the Dominion government is willing to discuss the question of granting a bonus on each pound of good quality butter made in the country butter factories of Canada."

I have personally heard the hon. Postmaster General say that he had never made such a statement; this reminds me of a speech which he delivered last summer at Cap-Saint-Martin, in Laval-Two Mountains, and in which he stated that no more New Zealand butter would enter into Canada. I would advise the hon. Postmaster General to inquire at the Trade and Commerce department, he will there find out that butter is entering into Canada, and perhaps more than under the Liberal regime.

The hon. member for Compton stated in his speech that the farmers should rejoice

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at the prices they obtain for their butter. I challenge the hon. member for Compton to repeat that statement in his county. I think it would rather have been his duty to tour his county, after the last session, and apprise his people of the work done by his government to improve the condition of the farming class and also the help which he himself had rendered to safeguard the interests of the farmers of his county. I know that the hon. member for Compton prefers travelling about the country and be the torch bearer and acolyte of ministers, in the county of Maisonneuve, for instance, where he went to uphold the Conservative policy. I think the duty of a member is to travel through his county, as I did last summer, so as to meet the people and give an account of his stewardship.

1 he duty of a member is not only to draw his indemnity but to be the spokesman of those who returned him. He, therefore, must render an account of his activities, of what the government has accomplished, especially after such promises as were made throughout the country by the member for Compton and other members opposite.

Referring to the newspaper just mentioned, I find that the hon. Minister of Marine stated that he had $758,000 appropriated for work in the county of Three Rivers-158,000 for the retaining wall at Shawinigan Falls and $700,000 for the further development of the Three Rivers harbour. I shall this week put some questions to the government in order to find out whether the promises made to Three Rivers have been fulfilled. I think that since the hon. member for Three Rivers (Mr. Bourgeois) has taken his seat in the house, the only speech he has delivered was when he moved the address in reply to the speech from the throne. It is his duty to inform us, today, whether all the pledges the government made, in the course of the election, have been fulfilled. I also notice in that newspaper a photograph of the Right Hon. Mr. Bennett, represented with his arms outstretched saying: "My tariff protects industry," further on an appeal is made to business men:

We, in industry, are reaping the aftermath ot the general crisis.

There should be no question of politics in the present election. Our business and interests should be the first considered. We shall discuss politics when business improves.

On the same page I read the following headline:

We shall discuss politics in four years; for the moment vote for Bourgeois and the government.

In both the Three Rivers and South Huron election the Conservatives preferred not to discuss politics, and contended that unemployment could not be looked upon as a political question.

Was it not their battle horse, in 1930? The government assumed power under misrepresentations and the people are waiting for the Prime Minister, his lieutenants and other members, just as the United States are waiting for the coming election to give their verdict. I know that Mr. Hoover has the support of the financial interests in ;he United States, just as our Prime Minister has in Canada, but Mr. Roosevelt has the advantage of having the people behind him to the same degree as the Liberal party has in this country.

I regret that the hon. member for Compton is just taking his seat when I am about to close my remarks, however, I must make way for the hon. member for St. Denis (Mr. Denis) who wishes to be heard before the adjournment of the house. I may say that I entirely approve the policy of the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King), for when I became a candidate in my county, I pledged myself to support him, and I am keeping my promise.


Joseph-Arthur Denis


Mr. ARTHUR DENIS (St. Denis) (Translation) :

Mr. Speaker, w'ithin the last few days, we note that the government feels the necessity of defending its policy, so numerous and well directed are the attacks of the opposition. No one on the government side, at the outset of this debate, dared to raise his voice, only the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) had spoken. In his pride, he imagined, no doubt, that the opposition would be disarmed after listening to his statement, however, the contrary has happened. His appeal to the patriotism and loyalty of the opposition sounded insincere and he should have known that the opposition guided and lead by such a wise chief as the right hon. Mackenzie King would not be ensnared by these vain appeals, which are always the arguments of those who have a poor cause to defend. But the Prime Minister was bolder, he even went as far as to distort the meaning of the words which our great leader, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, uttered at the Colonial Conference, in 1902. so as to make them serve his purpose. I would never have thought that a Prime Minister could make use of such unscrupulous means to force upon us a treaty so contrary to the interests of his country.

I read and scrutinized the agreements that the right hon. Prime Minister has submitted to the approval of the house, and, after serious consideration, I wonder how he can rea-


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sonably request us to sanction, these agreements. At all times, we, in the opposition, have always been opposed to high protection, and this pact is founded on that principle which, in the past, was found lacking and is now the cause of the most serious economic and financial crisis existing throughout the world and threatens the peace and security of nations. For the last two years, we have been living, in Canada, under a regime of high protection. In 1930, this government succeeded in getting into power, after touring the country, chanting its favourite hymn "High protection; Canada First." Through this policy, the country was to return to prosperous days; unemployment was to cease; our trade would develop; our Canadian producers would find markets to sell their products; our domestic markets would be exclusively restricted to our products through the medium of a tariff wall shutting out completely all foreign goods.

What was the result? I put the question to you, sir, and to all our hon. friends on the opposite benches. It was nil, absolutely so, and our country is suffering from the most dire distress. The people are downcast and threaten to rebel if a change of regime does not take place.

I would have imagined that the government taking heed of the past, would have understood that its policy was disastrous to the country and that instead of persisting in such a policy, it would have adopted other methods, but no, it wishes to apply this policy to the whole British Empire. These agreements which the government wants us to approve afford us the most convincing proof of this. To attain their aim our opponents charge us with being disloyal to the British Empire. The government must be short of arguments to make such a charge for it knows perfectly well that if there is a party which has given proof of its loyalty to the empire, it is certainly the Liberal party. If England, in the past, has been favoured by a preferential tariff, it is the Liberal party that granted it to her, notwithstanding the protest of hon. gentlemen opposite. Our opponents distort the truth when they charge us with not wanting to trade with the commonwealth; basing our stand on the principle of liberty, while at the same time having due respect for the autonomy of each dominion, we have never favoured a preference which would close all the world markets, to us, and it is this preference that this government grants to the British Empire by raising the intermediary and general tariffs, which would completely close foreign markets to our products. If we desire

a greater expansion in trade with the British Commonwealth, we also desire to trade with our neighbours, the United States, which, whatever may be said to the contrary, is the natural market for our products. The world will one day realize that a tariff war can but produce one result: that of bringing ruin and distress into the country which resorts to it. Our neighbours to the south have begun to realize this fact, and in a nearer future than is expected, we may be able to negotiate with the United States a trade treaty advantageous to Canada.

Let us examine these agreements which are submitted for our approval, and let us weigh the advantages which Canada will derive, in the light of her trade and future development. I wonder whether I am prejudiced, for I find that our country receives very little in comparison with the favours we grant to the commonwealth.

John Bull with his cunning diplomatic ways has succeeded, once again, in fooling our Prime Minister, by grabbing the lion's share. The former had already met our Prime Minister at the Imperial Conference, in 1930; he had sized him up and knew what should be done to secure from him all concessions favourable to England.

I shall not delay the house by examining each item separately. Speakers who preceded me in this debate did so, and I, therefore, do not see the necessity of once more going over the whole matter; moreover the house is sufficiently acquainted with their purport. However, permit me, sir, to draw the attention of the house to certain Canadian products which seem, according to our opponents, to have been favoured by these agreements, and which, on the contrary, are subjected to restrictions which did not exist under the Liberal regime. I refer to eggs, butter, cheese, poultry and all dairy products. It is stipulated in these agreements that so far as these products are concerned, after the lapse of three years the government of the United Kingdom may revise the principle on which rests this preference and regulate the flew of these products, as it may deem proper. I do not know whether one can find any advantage in such restrictions. I think that our government has been over zealous; it should have made the same reservation when it granted to the products of the United Kingdom a preference liable to ruin a number of our small industries which have just started.

Article 4 reads as follows:

It is agreed that the duty on either wheat in grain, copper, zinc or lead as provided in

United Kingdom

this agreement may be removed if at any time empire producers of wheat in grain, copper, zinc and lead respectively are unable or unwilling to offer these commodities on first sale in the United Kingdom at prices not exceeding the world prices and in quantities sufficient to supply the requirements of the United Kingdom consumers.

I wonder whether our wheat growers find in this article any great advantages. From my point of view, I do not see any, except that they can sell their wheat on the English market at the price laid down for the world market, and this, in sufficient quantity to fill the requirements of the United Kingdom consumers. It simply means that we shall have to compete with the prices of Russian wheat, where labour is under requisition, and the cost of production is below that of Canadian producers. This applies to the whole pact.

To summarize, the government has obtained no more than what we enjoyed under the Liberal regime, and, if there is any difference it is that we are tied down by certain restrictions which are to our disadvantage. If, on the one hand the government of the United Kingdom displays so little generosity towards us, on the other, we note that our government has shown itself very obliging and generous towards England. We granted a preference on 223 items of British products: on a number of them we increased the preference; on others we increased the intermediary and general tariff. Closing our markets to foreign products, impeding all trade with other countries, except with the nations of the British Commonwealth, and thus forcing Canadian consumers to pay dearer for the goods they require.

Not content with having erected an impassable tariff wall around Canada, our Prime Minister wishes to extend it around the British Empire. The same ills will produce the same effects. Before long, England will discover that high protection has plunged her into great distress, and the responsibility will rest upon cur Prime Minister for having dragged her into this policy of high protection.

Before resuming my seat, I should like to make a suggestion to the right hon. Prime Minister, previous to his departure for the World economic conference, which is to take place in the near future. This conference is called in order to find ways and means to solve the financial and economic crisis which affects the whole world. Apart from the suggestions of activating the flow of trade between the various nations, by pulling down the tariff walls, I would advise a reduction of at least 50 per cent on all debts, either public or private on all liabilities, debentures and

mortgages; to limit the rates of interest to 4 and 5 per cent on all private enterprises, and to a still lower rate for government and municipal undertakings. This would prevent the financiers making loans to the state instead of placing the money in circulation, either by building houses or by establishing a number of industries, thus helping a great many people to earn a livelihood.

I think that if cur Prime Minister succeeded in having these suggestions adopted by all countries, he would be greatly entitled to be called "the saviour of humanity."

I do not think, however, that he will prove himself so courageous, because such an achievement would be contrary to his principles: to always favour large interests to the detriment of the people, the strong as against the weak, wealth as against poverty and finally, to speak frankly, the trusts as against the small trader, which these agreements are driving to ruin, unless we, the opposition, take all means possible to defeat his treacherous plans.

Previous to closing my remarks, I should like to comment briefly on the speech of the hon. member for Compton (Mr. Gobeil). I do not intend to contradict his figures on some of our exports which he quoted.

Mr. GOBEI'L (Translation): Because they are correct.


Joseph-Arthur Denis


Mr. DENIS (Translation):

I believe they are, but let me inform him that these figures cannot destroy our contentions when we state that the protective tariff, which was to bring ease to our farmers by making them obtain better prices for their products, has not been effective because our products are not sold any dearer. Whatever may be the tariff, it has no bearing on the production of our farms, cows, butter, cheese or eggs. All these products must be consumed and our farmers are forced to accept their market prices. Moreover, hon. gentlemen opposite have no reason to feel annoyed, if, today, we use similar tactics to those they used in 1930, when they charged the Liberal government with being negligent in administering the country's affairs. If those charges were true in 1930, how more cogent are they today, on our behalf as against them, since the country's distress is far greater than it was in 1930. When we went out of power, there were 20,000 unemployed, while today, there are 700,000, or more.

With all due deference to the hon. Postmaster General (Mr. Sauve), who always finds it possible not to state the truth, the Liberal party never denied, nor concealed the fact that unemployment prevailed in 1930. Our


opponents-I admit-referred to it more than we did, they had need to do so in order to attain their political puipose. So as not to alarm public opinion or discourage those who were out of work, we preached optimism, while our conservative opponents preached pessimism.

However, through the irony of fate, when, v-.-riay. conditions nave become much worse, hun gentlemen opposite are shocked because we do not agree with them and state: "All is for the best; conditions are improving, wait, do not lose heart, in two or five years, the agreements we have entered into with England will give excellent results." Hon. gentlemen opposite are simply jokers, and the people await the opportunity to rebuff them as they deserve. Then, our beautiful country, under a Liberal administration, will again enjoy an era of happiness and prosperity. And, as a reward for the great services rendered to the empire, the present leader of the government will be given a well padded seat in the House of Lords, in England.

On motion of Mr. Shaver the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Bennett the house adjourned at 10.58 p.m.

Wednesday, October 26, 1932


October 25, 1932