January 25, 1939

INQUIRY AS TO REVISION AND CONSOLIDATION DURING THE PRESENT SESSION


On the orders of the day:


LIB

John Gordon Ross

Liberal

Mr. J. G. ROSS (Moose Jaw):

I should like to ask the Minister of National Revenue (Mr.

Usley) whether it is the intention of the government to introduce this session a bill to amend and consolidate the Customs Act.

Topic:   INQUIRY AS TO REVISION AND CONSOLIDATION DURING THE PRESENT SESSION
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of National Revenue):

The committee that has been working on a new Customs Act has not yet completed its work, and under the circumstances all I can say is that I hope to be able to introduce it later in the session.

Topic:   INQUIRY AS TO REVISION AND CONSOLIDATION DURING THE PRESENT SESSION
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VALIDITY OF QUEBEC STATUTE

REFERENCE TO SUPREME COURT OF CONSTITUTIONALITY OF "ACT RESPECTING COMMUNISTIC PROPAGANDA"


On the orders of the day:


CCF

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg North Centre):

In view of the disturbing situation in Montreal, arising out of the threatened eviction of citizens from their homes for alleged holding of political opinions, will the government reconsider its decision and refer the constitutionality of the "padlock law" to the Supreme Court of Canada?

Topic:   VALIDITY OF QUEBEC STATUTE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO SUPREME COURT OF CONSTITUTIONALITY OF "ACT RESPECTING COMMUNISTIC PROPAGANDA"
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Right Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

No.

Topic:   VALIDITY OF QUEBEC STATUTE
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO SUPREME COURT OF CONSTITUTIONALITY OF "ACT RESPECTING COMMUNISTIC PROPAGANDA"
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GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY


The house resumed from Tuesday, January 24, consideration of the motion of Mr. J. E. Matthews for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his speech at the opening of the session, and the proposed amendment thereto of Mr. Manion, and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Woods-worth.


LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. W. D. EULER (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, may I first of all join with those who have already spoken in the debate in complimenting the mover (Mr. Matthews) and the seconder (Mr. Chevrier) of the address. In my rather lengthy experience in the house I cannot recall any occasion on which the subject-matter and the manner of presentation were excelled in the speeches of those who proposed and seconded the motion.

I might also congratulate again my hon. friend the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion) upon taking his seat as leader of his party. I say that with particular pleasure because of the fact that he and I entered parliament at the same time in the same year, after the elections of 1917. While at times we did not agree, and perhaps the same thing will be true in the future, our relations were always very cordial indeed, and I trust they may so continue.

The Address-Mr. Euler

I should also like to express my very sincere regret that my colleague, my personal friend and my deskmate, has found it advisable on account of health to withdraw from the office of postmaster general. I should like to welcome my new colleague, the Postmaster General (Mr. McLarty). I can assure him that I surrender vexy willingly, and with a degree of gratitude which perhaps he will appreciate a little more fully as the days go by, the responsibilities and duties of the office of acting postmaster general.

I have no intention of discussing at length the matters which are mentioned in the speech from the throne. Indeed I propose to confine my observations very largely to matters of trade, to discuss particularly the principles underlying trade agreements in general, and more especially the principles which underlie the trade agreement which has just been concluded with the United States. Perhaps it may be possible for me to give some information which the house has not now, although I do not propose to discuss the agreement in detail-that may very well be left to a later occasion. But I may be able to remove some misconceptions and to answer some criticisms which have been made in the house.

My hon. friend the leader of the opposition has said that it is quite impossible at this time to judge of the merits of the agreement, that only time will tell. I think he is quite right in that statement. At the same time I am sui'prised, in view of his having said that, that he should then proceed to criticize rather fully the agreement itself.

It is quite possible, in reading the speeches made by hon. members on the other side, to read into them-although perhaps not so much into the speech of the leader of the opposition-a very decided antagonism to the making of commercial agreements with other countries, especially such agreements as contain what is known as the most favoured nation clause. If we accept that view we might as well abandon the idea of export trade. Yet when we consider the United States, with which we made the most recent agreement, we should realize that our exports to that country are greater than they are to any other country in the world, not excluding even Great Britain. Last year our exports to the United States were some $5,000,000 greater than they were to Great Britain.

It ought to be unnecessary-and I make these observations only because of criticisms that have been made and antagonisms that have been displayed-to discuss the vital importance to Canada of finding export markets.

In a country like Canada, which has tremendous surplusses of products such as wheat, of which we consume only one-quarter of the normal crop; with our dairy products; our forest products, which employ literally thousands of people; our mines, which employ tens of thousands; and with our many other products, it becomes absolutely necessary, if we cannot consume these commodities in full ourselves, that we should find markets in other countries. Some people fear the results of permitting goods to come into Canada from other countries, more particularly such products as are manufactured in Canada; but surely it should be realized that to the extent to which we can dispose of our surplusses in foreign markets, not being able to consume them ourselves, precisely to that extent do the producers of such commodities in Canada obtain buying power to buy again the products of our factories. We have, therefore, not a vicious circle, but a happy circle which I think governments have a duty to maintain as far as possible.

This, of course, implies that if we are to sell our goods in other countries we must also buy in those countries. It would be an ideal situation if it were possible for us to make our trade agreements in such a way as to allow the importation of only such commodities as we cannot produce oui-sclves, or produce to advantage, and perhaps to sell to other countries the commodities which they cannot produce, or produce advantageously to themselves. But desirable as that would be, it is not always possible, as hon. members know very well. In these days trade agreements are absolutely essential. We all know that more particularly in recent years, when the coxmtries of Europe, having the fear of war in their minds, are trying to make themselves self-sufficient and self-supporting within their own borders, it is almost impossible, by reason of their tariffs, quotas, and exchange control, to enter into those markets unless we make special arrangements with those countries. If we did not make these special arrangements with them we should find ourselves discriminated against in favour of such countries as are prepared to enter into such trade agreements.

After all, these trade agreements of ours have been pretty successful. I know that criticism may and does come fi-om the other side that in the last year or so business has begun to fall, has been reduced. I am not going to enter into the reasons for that because they are fairly well known to everyone. I do say, however, that our trade agreements have been pretty successful. Canada to-day is still the fourth exporting nation of the world, her exports being exceeded by only

30S

The Address-Mr. Euler

three other countries-Great Britain, the United States and Germany. There is really only one country in the world with which we have what is usually called an unfavourable trade balance, and that country is the United States, which sold us last year about $78,000,000 more than it bought from us. But if we take into consideration the amount of money that flows into Canada by reason of the tourist business, I believe it could be shown to the satisfaction of every reasonable person that even with that country we have a favourable trade balance of $75,000,000 or $100,000,000.

It will be of interest to the house to know -many hon. members may know it now- that while we have had a shrinkage in our exports and imports, we nevertheless, in the year ended in December last, sold $956,000,000 worth of goods and imported $677,000,000 worth. So that we have a favourable world balance of trade of $280,000,000. With regard to the balance of trade and the disparity that exists between our purchases and sales, so far as the United States are concerned, I should like to make a good-natured reference to the argument advanced the other day by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Manion). I will read from Hansard because I made at the time an interjection with which he did not agree: He said:

In the last twelve months ending in November, 1938, we bought from the United States $40 worth per capita-it may be a little more or a little less, $39 or $41. How much did they buy from us? They bought $3.50 worth per head of population.

Mr. Euler: That is not a fair comparison.

Mr. Manion: Why not? What is wrong

with it? I do not see anything unfair about it. I can see no reason why one Canadian should buy eleven times as much as an American buys from Canada. But that is precisely what happens when my hon. friends opposite deal with the United States.

An hon. Member: One rabbit, one horse.

Mr. Manion: We get the rabbit and they

get the horse. We buy eleven times as much per capita as the United States people buy from us. I cannot see anything unfair in the comparison. I submit that it is perfectly fair.

It is a poor rule that does not work both ways. The Americans can say: Each Cana-

Country

United Kingdom

Australia

Union of South Africa.. ..

New Zealand

Belgium

France

Germany

Italy

Japan

Netherlands

Sweden

The United States

fMr. Euler. 1

dian sells us $33 worth of goods a year, yet each American sells to Canada only $3.50 worth. One statement is just as true and just as misleading as the other. Of course, the basis of comparison is absolutely wrong, or rather a change is made in the comparison when he makes the statement. If you want to put it on a per capita basis, then I contend that the leader of the opposition should say: Each Canadian buys $40 worth of goods from the United States and each Canadian sells $33 worth of goods to the United States. Or, if you want to reverse it, you can say: Each American buys so many dollars' worth and each American sells so many dollars' worth. Taking it on the per capita basis, if you like, you take what each Canadian buys and what each Canadian sells, and what each American buys and what each American sells. Or, taking it on the basis of the countries themselves, you can say: Canada as a whole buys so many dollars' worth of goods and the United States as a whole buys so many dollars' worth. If anything can be made out of this comparison, which I contend is fair, well and good. The Canadian buys $40 worth from the United States and sells $33 worth.

If you want to carry the comparison to the point of absurdity, I would refer to what my hon. friend said, that each Canadian buys eleven times as much goods from the United States as each American buys from us. The only inference that one can draw from that statement is that the Americans ought to buy eleven times as much from us as they do now. What would happen if they did? They now buy from us $350,000,000 worth. Multiply that by eleven, and they ought to buy nearly $4,000,000,000 worth. On the other hand, the American could calculate in exactly the same way and say that Canada ought to buy nearly $4,000,000,000 worth of goods from the United States. I am afraid that even if we applied the principles of the social credit party, we should not have enough money to pay for the overwhelming mass of goods that would come in.

It will be of interest to give the exports to and the imports from the most important countries in 1938:

Balance

Exports Imports ( + ) or (-) $339,711,086 $119,268,179 + $220,442,907 32,ys2,U5i 9,043,630 + 23.938,42115,546,087 1,991,295 + 13,555.39216,370,857 4.561,824 + 11,809.0339,658,745 6,180,793 + 3.477.9529,152,226 6.104.841 + 3,047.38518.166.228 9,930.450 + 8.235,7721,745,343 2,631.434 886,09121,092.215 4,642,762 + 16,449,45310,267,088 3,755.896 + 6,511,1925,411,427 2,114.030 + 3.297,397345,911,915 424.754.818 78,842,903

The Address-Mr. Euler

There are just two countries with which we have an unfavourable balance-Italy and the United States. With Italy our trade is very, very small. But our trade with all the world for the calendar year 1938 left us a favourable balance of some S280,000,000.

I should like hon. members to appreciate the fact that our trade with practically all countries of the world shows a favourable balance. I think it has been suggested that we ought to abolish some of our trade agreements with foreign countries. If they should say to us, "We are buying more from you than you are buying from us; we are going to stop buying from you and buy from countries which will buy more from us than you do," that would be a very serious situation for the producers of Canada. If I may use the word used the other day by an hon. member from Toronto I would postulate that if we can keep a favourable trade balance with all the world, we ought to be pretty well satisfied.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

Would my hon. friend

permit a question? Do the figures he gave include exports of gold from Canada?

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

To the United States, yes.

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Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

The United States only, or in all trade figures?

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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

I do not think we export gold to any extent to any other country than the United States. And I see no objection, although some persons may object, to including the exports of commodity gold, because, after all, the production of that gold gives employment to a great deal of labour.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Is it not true that we have always had what my hon. friend speaks of as a favourable balance of trade, at any rate in the last twenty-five or thirty years?

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LIB

William Daum Euler (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

No. I am sure that during the time of a previous Conservative administration the balance was against us.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I do not think so.

Topic:   GOVERNOR GENERAL'S SPEECH
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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January 25, 1939