The house resumed from Tuesday, February 6, consideration of the motion of Mr. Gobeil for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Mackenzie King.
Mr. L. E, PARENT (Terrebonne) (Translation) : Mr. Speaker, when the house adjourned on Tuesday evening last, I was discussing the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I was referring to agriculture and pointing out the recommendations made in the speech from the throne in connection with farm products; I was establishing the ratio between the prices of farm products and those of manufactured goods. I now wish to point out to the house the sad conditions under which our farmers actually labour, owing to the government's policy.
One must bear in mind that the Minister of Trade and Commerce is well acquainted with the present situation. Members of this house have, perhaps, not all read the publication "Canada 1934." At page 12 this is what we find:
Such .an uneven recession in prices-
The prices refer to farm products.
-worked extreme hardships because it seriously disturbed the relative purchasing power of different economic groups in the country.
Groups refer to farmers. This deplorable state affecting the Canadian farmer is due to the famous protection promised in 1930, which, however, only favoured manufactured products as it was so often proved in this house.
Let us briefly examine lvow the farmers suffer from such a state. Purchasing power is equivalent to product exchange or labour exchange or again service exchange. Through the medium of a national currency, namely, the dollar, in Canada. The farmer is forced to pay a tribute to the manufacturer, varying between 25 and 30 per cent, when he purchases the products of the latter. In other words the dollar earned by the farmer only represents 75 or 80 cents of the value in manufactured goods. The manufacturer, on the other hand, can, with a dollar's worth of his goods, purchase SI .25 worth of farm prod-
The Address-Mr. Parent
ucts. I shall quote some official figures in this connection. On mowing and binding machines, which are two indispensable farm implements, he paid under the Borden regime, a customs duty of 12-50 per cent; under the Meighen regime, the same percentage; under the Liberal adniinistration, half, namely 6 per cent; since this government has assumed power, 25 per cent; and under the preference schedule 28-75 per cent. The outcome, sir, is that when the farmer requires a mowing or binding machine, he must pay 28-75 per cent of customs duty, when purchased outside of the British Empire. I intend, now, to show that farm implements are not purchased in England but mostly from foreign countries; therefore, all Canadian purchasers must pay the duty, according to the tariff in force.
According to the Bulletin 423 of the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, published in August, 1933, §203,089 of farm implements were purchased in June, 1933, of which $167,000 came from the United States subject to a duty of 25 per cent, while previously, under the Liberal regime, it was but 6 per cent, and there was only $14,791 worth imported from the United Kingdom. Under the Conservative tariff regime, the farmer therefore pays on almost 80 per cent of his purchases of farm implements, a customs duty of 25 per cent.
Let us examine what happens in the dairy industry, a greatly developed industry in Canada. No farmer can compete in this field of activity unless he has one, two and even three cream separators. According to Bulletin 423, August, 1933, statistics show that Canada imported, in June, 1933, 1,130 cream separators, of which 724 came from Sweden, subject to a duty of 25 per cent; 138 came from the United States, subject to a similar duty, and 72 came from Germany, also subject to the same duty, a total of 934 out of 1.130. There were, therefore, only 196 imported from the United Kingdom and entering the country free of duty.
Furthermore, according to Bulletin 576, February 1, 1934, one notes that almost half of our imports of farm implements in December, consisted of cream separators. Figures speak for themselves. Half o.f the imports of farm implements in December consisted of cream separators destined to the dairy industry. These imports were valued at $41,039. We imported 567 from the United States which paid a duty of 25 per cent, 166 from Sweden and 70 from Germany. This means that not one cream separator from the British Empire during that period entered Canada. Owing to the Imperial Economic agreements at Ottawa, the duty on all imports of farm imple-74726-241
ments coming from outside the empire, was raised. And according to the evidence furnished by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, the farmer is obliged to-day to pay a high duty in order to purchase what is indispensable to the farm, while he receives greatly reduced prices for his own products.
It is not astonishing, sir, that His Excel-lenicj' the Governor General could well afford making special recommendations to this government in order to fill the deficiencies existing. For the last three years, since this government has assumed power, nothing was provided for and in 1933 we note no change which might improve the lot of such an important class as the Canadian farmers.
Let us now discuss the Imperial Economic agreements. Our friends opposite make much capital over the slight improvement of the world or mternaitaional trade and they appropriate to themselves the whble credit for this; they contend that this improvement in trade is due to these agreements. The Imperial Economic agreements at Ottawa, sir, in my opinion, have not facilitated trade relations. The preference granted to the countries in the British Empire has not increased the sale of our products because our trade abroad has decreased since these Imperial agreements took place. Canada took advantage of the stabilization of currency existing between the pound sterling and our dollar. That is the greatest factor in the improvement which has taken place during the last months of 1933. If the government had not raised the tariff and closed foreign markets, our trade would have similarly benefited and this I contend would have been due to the stabilization of currency and not to the Ottawa agreements.
It must be pointed out, sir, that the supply and demand between two countries is automatically controlled rather than 'being the result of agreements, and that the stabilization of currency is the most powerful factor in establishing the possibility of exchange between two countries. I shall quote in support of this the views of an authority on the subject, those of the president of the Dominion Bank, one of the most important Canadian banks.
In .the course of the speech the president delivered before the general meeting of the shareholders in the Dominion Bank, a speech published in the Ottawa Citizen, the following is how he expressed himself, speaking of our basic industries:
Lumbering is conspicuously better partly because of the rise in sterling exchange