March 23, 1933

CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Fish and fish products, I believe, were the words used.

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LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Yes. Each case has thus far, since these words were in the statute, been determined upon its own merits. For instance, if you used the word grain, it would cover all forms of grain; but when parliament two years ago voted five cents a bushel for wheat, that covered one specific kind of grain only, and the result was that $12,500,000 was expended at a time that was most opportune in assisting in the payment of taxes and for other obligations which the farmers had to meet. iSo far as the products of the forest are concerned, that is a matter which has not engaged the attention of the government; nor was lumber included in the items mentioned yesterday, for reasons which I fancy commend themselves to the house at once. There are other avenues of effort through which we think we can attain the end, by some means other than the means indicated by the statute. With respect to mines, there has been no suggestion that the government should take any further action at the moment in this regard, except in connection with coal, and that has been dealt with in another way, by provisions of statutes that have been passed by this house.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

As I recall,

the United Kingdom-Canada agreement contained a clause about not subsidizing exports from one part of the empire to another. There was something which referred to subsidized imports.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That was a resolution.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Has my right

hon. friend received an assurance from the British government that what he is granting in the way of bonus or subsidy in these cases will in no way affect the terms of the agreement as understood in Great Britain?

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

No, the government has

not received any such assurance from the British government and so far has not asked them about it. It is not believed that this will in any sense contravene the provisions of the resolution. It must be remembered that that was not part of the agreement; it was one of the resolutions adopted by all the countries-Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, Canada and New Zealand. We do not believe that the steps we have taken as a relief measure to deal with this situation will be regarded by any of the governments as a violation or a contravention in any sense of the terms and provisions of the agreements. It will be recalled that the United Kingdom-Canada agreement provides for a domestic price for wheat and also for quotas with respect to many other commodities, and that principle is being extended. That is a purely domestic matter which could hardly be regarded as a subsidy or a bounty. It is our considered view that there is no likelihood of the British government regarding unfavourably this relief measure which has been upon our statutes in terms for two years but which we thought desirable to mention specifically in the course of the budget the other day in order that it might not be said that the house had not been apprised of our intentions.

It was suggested the other day that we should be able to anticipate any contingency

which might arise. At that time I expressed grave doubt that any government would be able to anticipate what might happen upon this continent or in any other part of the world even twenty-four or thiirty-six hours ahead. I gave an illustration predicated upon the experience of some of the leading men in the city of New York gained in the space of thirty hours. Availing ourselves of the provisions of this statute, we thought it desirable that we should make known to the house in the budget the intentions of the government in connection with relief measures to deal with a situation which confronted our agricultural production.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Most of the

products, the export of which are likely to be assisted, will be dairy products. As I recall the United Kingdom-Canada agreement, the preference given to dairy products in the British market is for only three years.

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Three years certain.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Yes. The

British government has reserved to itself the right to revise the terms upon which dairy products will be admitted to Great Britain after that time. May I ask the Prime Minister if he 'has considered if the effect of this subsidizing of dairy products for export purposes may not increase the protectionist sentiment in Great Britain in so far as it concerns agricultural interests in that country and in the long run result in the probability of our dairy products being pretty effectively shut out of the British market?

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The right hon. gentleman is quite correct in assuming that there is a provision in the agreement to give dairy products a preference for three years certain, but he will recall that it was not a question of the loss of preference, it was only a question of the method by which the preference would be granted, that is, the preference might be by quotas or by percentages of duties payable by the foreigner. It might be decided whether there should be an allocation of quotas to Canada or a continuance of the preference with respect to dairy products.

One of the risks which all governments must take is that attendant upon conclusions that a certain line of action will enure to the benefit of the people of the country in question. Weighing the situation from the standpoint of advantages and disadvantages to be derived and having regard to existing conditions in agriculture in this and other countries, we believe that the results to be derived from the exercise of the powers contained in

Relief Act. 1933

this relief measure will be of benefit to agriculture and all its various ramifications. I claim no omnipotence or omniscience with respect to matters of this kind. As I have said, we know of the difficulties of foreseeing in a world such as this what will happen within twenty-four hours. We know that tonight in some great cities with populations as great as this there is but one bank functioning. These things could not have been foreseen by any human judgment a month ago. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages with the best judgment we have and applying the principle which I fancy has governed all governments desiring to do what is best for their own populations consistent with their obligations, contractual and otherwise, we have arrived at the conclusion I have indicated. We thought it desirable that these matters should be mentioned in this way in order that we might make known to the house everything upon which we believe that action should be taken. That does not indicate in any sense that conditions will not arise which may necessitate in the very nature of things action of a like character being taken in connection with other matters not now mentioned.

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UFA

William Thomas Lucas

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. LUCAS:

Will any provision be made in regard to the stabilization fund to ensure that the producer derives the benefit rather than the exporter?

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LIB

James Malcolm

Liberal

Mr. MALCOLM:

I listened with some

interest to the observations of the Prime Minister in the course of which he stated that the relief granted by paying the difference between the existing rate of exchange on the pound sterling and $4.60 was to be treated as a relief measure. It strikes me that the very limitation of the list which the Minister of Finance gave in his budget condemns the scheme entirely. I quite appreciate the fact that had Canada followed the course of Australia and gone off the gold standard with Great Britain so that the dollar would be on a parity with the pound, Canadian agriculture would not be at the disadvantage it is with regard to the export of dairy produce or of wool, a commodity which was promised all sorts of protection by my hon. friends opposite and which is not to have even the advantage of the assistance of the difference in exchange. The question was asked a moment ago by somebody as to what this would cost. The minister did not seem to be able to give a very definite answer. The trade returns, I might say, show on the list of commodities-given by the Minister of Finance that the volume of trade in the past year was a little

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Has the order in council been passed extending the benefits of the agricultural stabilization fund to the thirteen products?

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

No.

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LIB
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That depends upon the action of the house.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

The government has power, under the present relief legislation, to pass it, has it not?

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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Inasmuch as the present act expires on March 31 of this year, it is hoped that this bill may be enacted before that date. If it is, then we would have the power.

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LIB

March 23, 1933