May 8, 1934

TRADE WITH JAPAN

STATEMENT MADE BY EIGHT HON. WALTER RUNCIMAN IN BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS


On the orders of the day:


CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day are proceeded with I desire to make a short statement arising out of a question asked yesterday by the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King). At that time he directed attention to certain statements appearing in the press that had been attributed to British public men, and I was then able to assure him that there was no foundation for those statements, so far as the government of Canada was concerned. Yesterday the Right Hon. Walter Runciman, President of the Board of Trade, made a statement in the British House of Commons, and in view of the importance of the matter and the desirability of there being no misunderstanding in such a matter I think it desirable at this time to read to the house his statement. Mr. Runciman said:

The house will remember when I last made a statement on this subject on 15th March, I informed them, on the failure of representatives of the textile industries of Japan and of this country to come to an agreement, the whole position was under review between the two governments.

When I saw the Japanese ambassador on the 16 th March. I handed him a memorandum inquiring whether, in the circumstances, the Japanese government bad any proposals to put forward for dealing with the problem. On the 31st March, I received a reply in which the Japanese government expressed their willingness to consider any further proposals which His Majesty's government in the United Kingdom might ^ make, but made no proposals of their own. The government have considered the whole problem again, very carefully in the light of this reply. It is already a year since His Majesty's government drew the attention of the Japanese government to the serious position arising from Japanese competition. It is

Trade with Japan

of course, of the utmost importance that every effort should be made to deal with a problem of this magnitude in the most appropriate way. Unfortunately there appeared to be nothing in the Japanese government's note of 31st March, to suggest that an early agreement on this subject was to be expected and, therefore, the government still holds the view that the problem which faces us is one which can only be settled satisfactorily by cooperation in some form between Japan and ourselves. His Majesty's government cannot allow a situation to develop in which negotiations are protracted indefinitely without any immediate prospect of success and during this time the Japanese- quite naturally from their point of view-are continuously expanding their exports in our markets to the detriment of Lancashire while our hands are tied'. Accordingly His Majesty's government have come to the conclusion that they would not be justified any longer in postponing, in the hope of an agreement, such action as is open to them with a view to safeguarding the trade of this country.

I therefore informed the Japanese ambassador on Thursday last that in the circumstances His Majesty's government were obliged to resume their liberty to take such action as they deemed necessary to safeguard our commercial interests. I assured him-and I am confident that the house will join me in this-that such steps as it was proposed to take would be taken in no unfriendly spirit.

As regards the Anglo-Japanese treaty, I am satisfied that His Majesty's government can, without denouncing it, take proper and sufficient measures to protect commercial interests of this country, and in these circumstances I see no reason to terminate a treaty which has regulated the commercial relations between the two countries for over twenty years.

As far as the United Kingdom market is concerned the government do not feel they can any longer suspend the review of silk duties by the import duties advisory committee, and my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has asked the committee to complete its report on these duties as quickly as possible.

In the case of the colonial markets my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies has been in consultation with the colonial governors. The governments of the colonies and the protectorates for which such action would be appropriate will be asked to introduce import quotas which, except in the case of West Africa, would apply to all foreign imports of cotton and rayon goods. With a view to reinstating this country in the position in those markets which she held before the present abnormal period, it is intended that the basis for apportioning these quotas as between foreign countries shall be as far as possible the average of their imports in the years 1927-1931. It is further proposed that necessary legislation in colonial territories should be enacted with the least possible delay, and it should be so framed that the actual quota regulations will be reckoned as commencing retrospectively from to-day, 7th May, so that no attempt at forestalling will be allowed to frustrate the policies and intentions of measures under contemplation.

In the most important of West African colonies, as the house is aware, there are treaty obligations which preclude differentiation in favour of our own goods. It was for this

reason that on the 16th May of last year notice was given to release West African colonies from their obligations under the Anglo-Japanese treaty, and action there will be limited to Japanese goods.

I have not attempted to deal in this statement with the position of any goods except cotton and rayon textiles. The government are aware that Japanese competition is not limited to these goods, and are considering in the case of each of the other industries involved w'hat tariff action in the colonial market is called for. As regards the home market I have no reason to suppose that the matter cannot be dealt with by means of ordinary procedure of Import Duties Act.

While His Majesty's government cannot any longer refrain from taking steps to safeguard our trade interests, we shall, of course, be ready at any time to give most careful consideration to any proposal which the Japanese government may desire to put forward towards a solution by mutual agreement of this difficult problem. A solution of this kind ought to be possible where governments of the two countries are anxious to agree.

That is the conclusion of the statement of the President of the Board of Trade, and I avail myself of this opportunity to thank the right hon. leader of the opposition for bringing the matter to the attention of the chamber.

Topic:   TRADE WITH JAPAN
Subtopic:   STATEMENT MADE BY EIGHT HON. WALTER RUNCIMAN IN BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I think the Prime Minister has acted very wisely in giving to the house the statement that he has in order that this matter may be put in its true position. I say that for the further reason that this morning's paper contains other dispatches that are misleading. I have before me, the Ottawa Citizen of this morning, May 8, and I will quote from an article headed "Likely to urge dominions take similar action:"

(Canadian and Associated Press Cables)

London, May 7.-The British government moved to-day to restrict Japanese trade in those parts of the empire over which it has direct control and to promote "intensification" of commerce within the British commonwealth.

There is nothing in the statement made in the British house, I must say, to justify this particular dispatch, and I think it is only creating embarrassment for governments of different parts of the empire that misleading dispatches of this kind should be sent abroad.

Topic:   TRADE WITH JAPAN
Subtopic:   STATEMENT MADE BY EIGHT HON. WALTER RUNCIMAN IN BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS
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RADIO COMMISSION EXPENSES


On the orders of the day:


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Leader of the Opposition):

I should like to ask the Prime Minister just how the house may get information with respect to the expenses of the radio broadcasting commission. The hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Hanson) asked a question about the expenses of the

Radio Commission Expenses

commission on Monday, April 9, and the Prime Minister replied that as the radio committee was sitting, it afforded every possible opportunity to secure the information. I am advised that the member has tried through the agency of the committee to get the information, and has been told that he can not obtain it from that source. Surely the house is entitled to some statement of the expenses of the commission under main headings. I do not mean anything in the nature of an inquisition, as the Prime Minister suggested might be possible, but rather a statement of expenses under general headings. I think we ought to be able to obtain that in short order.

Topic:   RADIO COMMISSION EXPENSES
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CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister) :

Mr. Speaker, the radio commission occupies a somewhat analogous position to that of the Board of Railway Commissioners for Canada. Parliament makes a grant to the railway commission, and also makes a grant to the radio commission, but in the case of the latter it is, of course, money which has been collected for the purposes for which the commission was to use it. I certainly believed that it was not desirable in this house to discuss at length the question as to whether or not ten dollars had been properly used here, or whether the same ten dollars could not have been better used somewhere else. I think that would not be fair to the commission. But I quite agree with what the right hon. gentleman has said that parliament has a right to know of these expenses, and when I answered the hon. member for Skeena as I did the other day I believed that he would be able to secure that information without question from the commission. I shall make it my business to speak to the chairman to-day, and if the hon. member for Skeena will suggest to one of the members of his own party the desirability of asking his question when the committee next meets or if he give notice in advance, I shall certainly use such machinery as I can make available, with my limited powers over the commission, for the purpose of securing the information which the hon. gentleman seeks, namely, the expenses grouped under main headings, such as the right hon. gentleman has mentioned. If, of course, that method fails, I shall have recourse to peace, order and good government.

Topic:   RADIO COMMISSION EXPENSES
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MARKETING ACT

ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS


The house resumed from Friday, May 4, consideration in committee of Bill No. 51, to improve the methods and practices of marketing of natural products in Canada and in export trade, and to make further provisions in connection therewith-Mr. Weir (Mel-fort)-Mr. Sullivan in the chair. On section 1-Short title.


LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

If one looks at the figures which were put on Hansard of March 26, 1934, at pages 1811 and 1812, one sees that the home consumption of pork meat in the year 1932-33 showed an increase over 1930-31 of 1,967,747 hundredweight. Multiplying that number by 13, as the price of pork meat was $13 less in 1933 as compared with 1930, we find that the farmer has suffered a loss in the sale of that commodity of $25,580,712. But to be fair one must deduct from that figure the sum of $4,788,666 representing the surplus of exports in 1933 over 1930, making the net loss suffered by the farmer in the sale of that commodity $20,792,046.

With regard to butter, home consumption in the year 1932-33 showed an increase over 1930-31 of 25,698,173 pounds, or expressing it in hundredweights, 256,981 hundredweight. The average price of butter per pound in 1930 was 30 cents as compared with 17 cents in 1933. Multiplying the difference in the price by the increase in the number of pounds consumed, we find that the farmer suffered a loss in the sale of that butter of $3,340,762, less $416,369, representing the surplus of exports in 1933 over 1930. But as the amount of exports represents a surplus it should be deducted from the $3,340,762, and thus we arrive at a net loss of $2,924,393 in the sale of that butter making allowance for the difference in price between 1933 and 1930.

A very interesting speech was delivered in Montreal last week by the brilliant gentleman who is Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens). I quote from a report in the Montreal Gazette as follows:

One aspect of the problem was the difficulty of regulating production and prices, particularly in view of the present situation, which had been described as "plenty amid poverty." Canada consumed 99 per cent of its own butter, 98 per cent of its beef, 90 per cent of its hog products, and 100 per cent of its eggs. By control of prices he was not suggesting government control-he would rather see the government leave prices alone.

"But," he declared, "things can't go on in this country with 50 per cent of the population on the farms and pay them 2J cents a pound for beef, 6 cents a dozen for eggs, 10 or 12 cents a pound for butter. Merchandizers in Canada control these prices, and it is up to them to do it in a way that 50 per cent of the population will not continue in present conditions-or some other factor may have to be introduced."

Marketing Act

One thing which strikes us is the large decrease which has taken place in home consumption. Since the beginning of this session and since the beginning of this parliament the speeches of nearly all hon. members have been in connection with external trade. This is almost wholly true with the exception of the few statistics which have been put on record by the member for Temiscouata. These concern internal ' trade and show to what extent there has been a decrease in the home consumption of farm products. I have before me official statistics which I obtained from the bureau of statistics year book as well as some contained in a letter I received from the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Weir). These figures show to what extent there has been a decrease in the home consumption of farm

Apples (bbls.)

Honey (lbs.)

Eggs (doz.)

Dressed beef (cwt.) .... Concentrated milk (cwt.)

Cheese (cwt.)

Potatoes (cwt.)

Peas (bushels)

Oats (bushels)

Barley (bushels)

Wheat (bushels)

Wheat flour (bbls.). . ..

products. This decrease has taken place in the face of an increase in the population when normally there should be an increase in the consumption of farm products. The quantities of decreases appear on pages 1811 and 1812 of Hansard of March 26, and the comparisons are between 1932-33 and 1930-31. I should like to give some figures showing the decrease in the home consumption of twelve farm products. I shall give first the quantity of decrease and then the figured value based on prices prevailing in 1933 as compared with those in 1930. These figures concern not external trade, international trade or Ottawa agreements, they deal with the most vital matter of our home trade, our interprovincial trade, our strictly Canadian trade within the boundaries of the country. The figures are:

Quantity of Figured value Figured valuedecrease 1930 19331,209,934 $ 3,920,186 $ 2,601,3589,535,689 858,212 953,56845.959,763 12,409,136 5,974,769891.619 13,978,438 5,198,138489,908 5,731,923 3,674,31075.483 1.243,959 822,0092.284,769 1,290,893 964,172973,616 817,837 473,1774,116,422 2,058,211 1,543,65830.140,741 10,699,963 11,604,18555,146,394 24,760,730 15,165,2581,689,000 8,428,110 5,759,490$86,197,598 34,333,884 $51,863,714 $34,333,884

The total 1932-33 decrease in home consumption is $86,197,598, representing the amount of the loss which the farmers have sustained, if we take into consideration the price that prevailed in 1930. If we take the price that prevailed in 1933 we have a loss of $34,333,884, and the difference between the prices of 1930 and 1933 is $51,863,714.

I will not insist on that point but I would call the attention of the minister to the serious fact that there has been a fabulous decrease in the home consumption of apples, honey, eggs, dressed beef, concentrated milk, cheese, potatoes, peas, oats, barley, wheat and wheat flour, and I urge that something be done to find out the reason for this decrease and to see what is the best way of remedying the situation. I have two or three other questions which I am going to ask the minister afterwards, but for the moment there are two which I should like him to answer. This bill is intended "to improve the methods and practices of marketing of natural products in Canada and in export trade, and to make further provision in connection therewith."

The products I have mentioned are natural products and a decrease in consumption has taken place in Canada. In view of this I would ask the minister these two questions. First, can we still say that we have our local market so far as those commodities are concerned in view of the enormous decrease in their consumption? Secondly, for what reason was there such a decrease, in one year, 1932-33, and what is the proper remedy to be applied to such a situation?

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I wish first to put on record some information asked for by the hon. member for Ontario (Mr. Moore) at the conclusion of the discussion last week when I was compelled to move that the committee rise and report progress. The hon. member dwelt at great length on the various plans that had been tried for controlled marketing and for the marketing of agricultural products generally. I endeavoured to point out on that occasion that the examples he was citing did not relate to conditions similar to those in Canada, nor were the problems which

Marketing Act

we were attempting to solve similar to the problems presented in the examples he mentioned. I pointed out that the methods set out in the different plans he mentioned were not similar to the chief methods that underlie the legislation embodied in the bill now before this committee. The hon. gentleman continued his recital in this connection however. I am sure that hon. members of this committee will agree with me as to the impossibility of discussing each one of the acts referred to in detail if we wish to make any progress, and therefore I have had prepared a synopsis of the different policies to which my hon. friend referred. If I understood him rightly, he emphasized in the first place the danger of government monopoly, price fixing and controlled production, together with compulsory cooperation, which he referred to more especially at the close of his remarks. The countries and states which he indicated in his address in connection with a marketing policy were Queensland, New South Wales, Bulgaria, Brazil, Chili, Cuba, Germany, Greece, Latvia, the Netherlands, Roumania, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary, Egypt, Jugoslavia and Uruguay, sixteen countries and two states. Of these, twelve provided in their policies for government monopoly of purchase and sale. That is not one of the chief principles of the bill which is before us. The object of the bill before the committee is . to enable producers, in so far as they indicate a desire to this end, to regulate marketing by organization and in some instances, if it is felt desirable, through appointment by the dominion board as its agency in the marketing of their own produce. I contend therefore that the statement put on Hansard by the hon. member was far afield if it was intended to apply to the bill before the committee. In the second place, of the different marketing plans which he discussed at considerable length, fifteen embodied the principle of price fixing; that principle appeared in fifteen out of the sixteen countries and two states he mentioned. The bill before this committee makes no provision for price fixing, and therefore I contend again that the hon. member was very far afield indeed when he compared the eighteen different policies of those sixteen countries and two states to the bill which is now under consideration. As I say, one of the chief principles in the plans he discussed was price fixing, which is not provided for or is not one of the aims of the bill before the committee. Further, of the eighteen policies which he outlined, in which reference was made to production con-

trol, four made provision for such control. In the bill which is before the committee no power is given to reduce or control production. I feel therefore that it is not necessary to dwell at any greater length on the statement made by the hon. member for Ontario.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I do not wish to interrupt the minister, but does he say that in the bill there is no provision which will admit of limiting or controlling production?

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

In the bill no power is given to the local or to the dominion board to control or restrict production.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Does the bill not give power to the local board to draw up any scheme it wishes and might such a scheme not include control of production?

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

The scheme that they would submit -might include controlled production, but no power is given to the board to control production and therefore no consideration would be given to a policy of controlled production since no power could be given to enforce it. In the bill there is no provision set out to give a board authority to enforce controlled production.

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Supposing we assume that the government as part of its policy desired to control production, would not the provisions of the bill be ample to enable the government to control production? I admit the government -might not in every instance do that, but do not the provisions of the bill enable it to do so if it wishes?

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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CON

Robert Weir (Minister of Agriculture)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

My understanding is that there is no such provision in the bill. The deduction that the hon. member for Ontario made from his survey of the whole situation as he saw it and the dangers inherent in provisions set out in this bill in regard to marketing, which provisions were altogether different from those he dealt with in the other policies outlined by him, led him to conclude with a very definite statement as to the dangers of compulsory cooperation. He stated that it would sap from the individual his personal initiative; that it would -make him a serf, reduce him to serfdom, to slavery, to becoming a ward of the state; also that it would lessen his credit, that he would not be able to get the same credit from banks, mortgage companies, and so forth that, I take it from what my hon. friend said, the individual would if he retained his individuality without becoming a party to this compulsory cooperation that the hon. gentleman decried so strenuously.

Marketing Act

That sounds all very well in theory or in words, but let us rather examine compulsory cooperation as it is in practice. Have we in Canada any one hundred per cent compulsory cooperation?

Topic:   MARKETING ACT
Subtopic:   ORGANIZATION TO IMPROVE METHODS AND PRACTICES IN MARKETING NATURAL PRODUCTS
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May 8, 1934