Mr. F. T. SHAVER (Stormont):
Mr. Speaker, before attempting to discuss the motion before the house I should like to extend to the Prime Minister and those associated with him as Canada's representatives at the recent imperial conference my sincere congratulations on the splendid results they achieved on behalf of all the citizens of Canada.
In attempting to discuss the question under consideration I shall have to approach it from two angles because the constituency which I have the honour to represent is about evenly divided between a rural and an urban population. The rural population are engaged for the most part in mixed farming, and the urban population are engaged primarily in the large manufacturing industries. From the standpoint of the rural population of my county I am very glad to say I can give my unqualified support to this motion because I believe that the agreements that have been entered into will provide much better markets for the mixed farming industry in eastern Canada, and on behalf of the textile industry in my county, which has been called upon to make some sacrifice, I am glad also to be able to say that while they will be forced to meet keener competition, it is not of such a nature as severely to injure that industry in my county. For these two reasons I am very glad to be able conscientiously and wholeheartedly to support these resolutions.
Many different attitudes have been adopted by members of the opposition. I believe that anyone discussing this question should approach it with an open mind, but I think we may conclude that the leader of the opposition did not approach it with an open mind for he really delivered his keynote speech in relation to the Canada-United Kingdom trade agreement two or three days before that agreement was presented to the house, during the debate on the address. In that speech he
Imperial Conference-Trade Agreements
devoted about six pages to this agreement and made seven major criticisms and about twice as many minor criticisms of the agreement before it was brought down. That proves to me conclusively that the leader of the opposition and his party had decided, whatever their motive may have been-it may have been for the benefit of their party; I do not know
before even the agreements were presented to the house to oppose them in their entirety.
The great diversity of opinion as to these agreements among the official opposition cannot escape notice. At one end of the line we have had the hon. member for Weyburn (Mr. Young), who is the extreme exponent in this house of the principles of Cobden and Bright, and at the other end of the line we have had a very moderate speech delivered by a manufacturer opposite, a protectionist, the hon. member for North Bruce (Mr. Malcolm). From another angle we have had the hon. member for West Elgin (Mr. Hepburn), who leads the Liberal party in Ontario, and who described his own position last year as swinging well to the left. Then we had the hon. member for Ontario (Mr. Moore), who I think we can say, judging from the very moderate speech he delivered the other day, swings a reasonably far distance to the right. Within those four comers we have had a great diversity of opinions expressed by hon. gentlemen opposite. The leader of the opposition, of course, in fiscal matters as in practically everything else adopts the Laodicean attitude; he is neither hot nor cold, but takes a middle course and proclaims himself a believer in the principle of tariff for revenue only. I think that perhaps explains this great diversity of opinion among his followers, as well as his habit of making such long speeches on every question he discusses, because he has to have something to suit every element in his party, so that each of his supporters can point to one paragraph when they go back home to their constituents and say that that shows they are consistent followers of their leader.
During the course of the debate there have been many criticisms from the official opposition of the protective principle embodied in these agreements. They have criticized that protective principle from every angle and have coupled with their criticism many severe attacks on the manufacturing industries of our country. I think that these attacks really culminated in the speech which the hon. member for Yorkton (Mr. McPhee) delivered the other evening when he quoted with great gusto the statement made by a
Manchester exporter referring to the twopenny, half-penny manufacturers of eastern Canada. He rolled that statement as a sweet morsel under his tongue. It apparently expressed his own ideas.
Subtopic: M719-37 IMPERIAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF TRADE AGREEMENT BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM