I hope the minister will give some figures on wheat also. I think we are going too far in this idea of nationalism when we cannot move goods from one Canadian port to another in anything but a Canadian boat. I suppose soon we will not be allowed to travel from one part of Canada to another unless we stay in Canada.
friend a question? Is it any more unreasonable that we should provide that protection for Canadian ships than the United States government provides for American ships? A Canadian vessel cannot engage in trade from one American port to another.
There is a distinction to be drawn on that point, but I will ask this of the minister and also of the hon. member for East Algoma: Will they agree to place on the Canadian statute books some other laws in conformity with laws dealing with similar matters that are now in force in the United States? I will give an instance. There is a law in the United States which allows an American citizen who is abroad to buy $100 worth of merchandise and take it back free of duty. Will he support the placing on our statute books of a similar law to allow Canadian tourists to bring back from the United States $100 worth of merchandise free of duty? If his argument applies in the one case it should apply in the other. If I go to the United States and one of my automobile tires happens to play out and I buy one there, when I get to the line I have to pay duty on that tire before I can get back home. The United States law allows an American to buy a motor car, if he likes, in Canada, either new or secondhand, and take it back with him at 25 per cent duty; our government will not allow a man to bring in a secondhand automobile at any rate of duty. Does the hon. member think we should change our law in that respect to correspond with the law in the United States?
With regard to the suggestion of the hon. member for East Algoma, may I ask this question. Because the United States has a coastal shipping law which prevents a Canadian boat from hauling grain from one
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American port to another American port, why should we have exactly the same law here? The conditions are not the same, because Buffalo happens to be an American port. Any exporter from the western states can send grain from Duluth to Buffalo and later send it on from Buffalo to Montreal if he wishes, or he can send it from Buffalo to New York. He can send it by the Erie canal. But the Canadians will not have that privilege. I understand the hon. member for Dauphin to say that we can send it on if we send it in a Canadian ship.
Yes, but they do not compare with Buffalo at all; Buffalo is strategically located, and there is no point in Canada that compares with it fairly.
I regret very much that this bill, if it must be passed, did not come down earlier in the session and go before a select committee of the house. Before it is passed Canada Steamship Lines, which is the biggest company in the association, should be investigated. We should investigate the capitalization of that concern; -we should investigate its earnings in past years. The minister said last night that the rates they charged this year, although they did raise them to 7 cents, were not as high as in former years. Well, they should not be as high. Why did we spend S150,000,000 on the new Welland canal? Was it not in order that there might be lower rates on grain as well as other freight? In my opinion the rate of 7 cents, considering the price of grain and having regard to the fact that everything in Canada was supposed to have been reduced, was excessive.
They raised it to 7 cents and it was brought back to 6i only under pressure from the board. It seems to me that the shipowners have a good deal of nerve to come forward at this time and ask for this legislation. I do not wish to delay the house, but I do insist that this is the very worst
time the government could have chosen to bring down legislation of this kind. The Prime Minister was in Washington lately and discussed with the president of the United States the possibility of securing better trade relations, and in this connection I may quote from an article that appeared in the Montreal Star of Saturday, May 13. This article appears under the heading:
United States considers protest against change in shipping laws. . . . Measure would reduce shipment of grain in American vessels.
It is dated Washington, May 13, and reads in part:
Acting in response to the vehement pleas of Buffalo and United States lake shipping interests, the State department is considering making a protest to the Canadian government against the pending amendment to the dominion shipping laws aimed to reduce the shipment of Canadian grain down the lake in United States ships to Buffalo for transfer there to dominion vessels for export overseas through Canadian ports. Following representations made at the State department on Thursday afternoon by Congressman Andrews of New York, informal discussion of the problem was carried on between department officials and Hume Wrong, charge d'affaires of the Canadian legation.
I repeat therefore that this is the very worst time to introduce such legislation as this. It is very apt to be regarded by the public in the United States as a sort of retaliatory measure, and while I am not concerned about United States shipping, we do have to depend upon it sometimes to get some relief in rates. We suspend the coastal shipping laws and invite these ships to come in and carry our grain at lower rates.
This whole bill suggests pressure from the shippers' combine, or if that word is objectionable I will say association. I do not think the house should deliver our producers into the hands of the association. In my opinion the legislation we have to control rates is not effective enough, and I must protest as vigorously as I can against legislation of this kind. I would ask the government to put it off another year and let us have a thorough investigation of the whole matter by a committee of the House of Commons. So far as I am concerned I will not consent to being governed in this case by the work of a committee of the Senate. So far as I can see from a perusal of the evidence given before the Senate committee, there did not appear to be any members of the Senate acting as representatives of the producers. The representatives of the shipping interests were not questioned by anyone representing the producers. I want to see these men brought before a House of Commons committee and we should be given an opportunity to obtain a good deal more
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information in regard to this whole question before we pass this legislation, even though it may be held in abeyance in the meantime and may come into force only by proclamation of the governor in council. I do not think we should adopt this legislation, and for my part I cannot allow it to pass without recording my vote against it.
That, I said, was the impression which I got from reading the bill, and if it is not correct I hope the point will be made clear. Section 935 reads:
No goods shall be transported by water or by land and water, from one place in Canada to another place in Canada, either directly or by way of a foreign port, or for any part of the transportation in any ship other than a British ship.