March 24, 1939

LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

But there was an interpolation.

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LIB

Robert John Deachman

Liberal

Mr. DEACHMAN:

Let me read the item:

But the suggestion that has been made to me as Minister of National Revenue-and that is probably the reason why my name is mentioned in that regard-is that the law respecting valuations for duty purposes is not being properly applied by the Department of National Revenue. All that I can say in that regard is that these representations are receiving the consideration of the Department of National Revenue at the present time. I do not think there is anything more I can add.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Yes.

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LIB

Robert John Deachman

Liberal

Mr. DEACHMAN:

Yes, that is what my hon. friend said. In other words, the suggestion is that they are making a very careful investigation to see if it may not be possible to adjust this situation.

May I say this to my hon. friend and to the House of Commons: Rather a hundred times I would have it that we should go boldly to the United States and ask for an amendment than that, having entered into negotiations with those people, who understood our system of valuation, we should then turn around and change that valuation at the request of interested parties. True, there is no limitation to genius in a corner seeking to satisfy the needs of greed. But I do say that we should hesitate, and hesitate a long time, before we face that method of settlement.

Let me turn to the next item. We had a story yesterday from the hon. member for Essex East (Mr. Martin):

I must say, and I say this in the house, that I first of all thank the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Ilsley) for the statement he has made to-day, namely that this whole matter is receiving the consideration of the government. I want the committee to know that there could have been no more painstaking effort on the part of the Minister of Finance and on the part of the Minister of National Revenue in considering this problem, as they have done during the past two or three weeks particularly, in conference day after day with members from Essex county and other parts of Ontario and myself.

Canada-United States Trade Agreement

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

What is wrong with that?

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LIB

Robert John Deachman

Liberal

Mr. DEACHMAN:

Government by the

house; government by party; a democracy- or what have we?

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Did the hon. member ever confer with me about these matters?

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LIB

Robert John Deachman

Liberal

Mr. DEACHMAN:

Yes, quite; but I did not have much of a conference, by the way.

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LIB
LIB

Robert John Deachman

Liberal

Mr. DEACHMAN:

But here is the situation: I point this out-my hon. friend admits it himself and I will prove it. In a speech he delivered last year to the junior chamber of commerce of Canada, in the Windsor Hotel, Montreal, he used these words:

Another feature of political public service of the "less pleasing" type is the continuous and at times intense pressure of special interests-sectional, corporate or individual. I have often said, and now repeat, that no government can be truly efficient unless it continuously places the general interest above the particular, the national above the sectional. But it is so hard to defend the general interest, when everyone is fighting for some special interest.

So I say the minister himself admits the condition which exists. Why should anyone else attempt to deny it?

I now come to another paragraph of the hon. member for Essex East:

In answer to the hon. member for St. Paul's (Mr. Ross) I referred to the provisions of the Customs Act. In my judgment there is within the terms of the present Customs Act an opportunity to obviate whatever harm may exist because of the removal of the three per cent excise.

What did the hon. member for Essex East mean by that sentence? He meant that within the four corners of the Customs Act there remains the power for the Minister of National Revenue to obviate or to nullify the change which had been made. All that I am pleading for to-day before this house is that if we are to change this, let us face the situation, let us admit that we are wrong; but do not change it now by a shifting of valuations when these valuations have remained fixed over a long period of years.

I ask this question. We have in Canada two or three large United States automobile manufacturing companies. We have gone through this list which I have before me, and it has not been suggested for one moment that we change the excise tax in regard to the other items; these were Canadian companies.

But oft for our own the bitter tone, Though we love our own the best.

There is no reason except that the pressure upon this item is greater. And why the pressure? Pressure comes from power, and these gentlemen have the power.

I have before me the net earnings of the Ford Motor Company. In the year 1935 they were $2,109,000; 1936, S3,888,000; 1937, $4,-

375,000. The record of their accumulated surplus has been as follows: 1935, $17,167,000; 1936, 818,825,000; 1937, $20,939,000,-almost $21,000,000-of accumulated surplus. I shall watch with some calmness and detachment the attitude which the government takes on this particular question. But I am quite confident what the attitude of the people of Canada will be if the government of to-day decides that by some other way rather than in the regular way they give back to this corporation and other similar corporations that which they took from them by negotiation.

We heard the other day some remarkable things which I think ought to be touched upon. My hon. friend the member for Ontario told us that the farmers had a very high tariff and that that tariff had done wonders for them. Well, that high farm tariff began in 1930. Liberals have always claimed that tariffs, so far as protecting the farmers are concerned, are hopeless, useless and absurd. Within three years

There is one other thing which my distinguished friend from Ontario mentioned. He said that we should support this particular industry for another reason-that it is based on something we shall need in the future. The Minister of National Defence is here

2234 COMMONS

Canada-United States Trade Agreement

and I put this to him: If we are going to vote money for a particular purpose in a democratic parliament, should we not vote it definitely for that purpose? If you suggest that we should maintain our automobile industry by artificial means because possibly it may be necessary to us for military reasons in later years, then by all means submit a measure such as that to the house and let us consider it seriously and bravely. But I suggest that the idea that we pay more for an automobile now with the happy idea that we will get it back years later with a tank thrown in, is as great a piece of folly as could possibly be conceived.

It is suggested that the farmers of western Canada should have no objection to this. Well, the farmers of Manitoba recently presented a brief before the dominion-provincial commission in which the estimate was made that in a normal year high tariff interests took from the farmers of western Canada the sum total of 847,000,000. And what do we pay to maintain the price of wheat? The sum of 848,000,000. I suggest to the Minister of Finance that it might be helpful to short-circuit the cheque which we send to the western farmers, pass it directly to the Canadian manufacturers, and let it go at that, thus saving the expense of the present roundabout way of doing it,

It is further suggested that having established this reciprocity treaty with the United States, we should now enter into negotiations with them over another thing-and I shall relate all this to automobiles.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Pretty far afield.

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LIB

Robert John Deachman

Liberal

Mr. DEACHMAN:

Not at all far afield, as you will see in a moment. It has been suggested that we enter into negotiations with the United States to permit them to increase the price of coal which they ship into this country.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I must rise to a point of order, Mr. Chairman. If we are to have a general budget debate on this item of automobiles, my hon. friend is quite in order, but so will every hon. member be who follows him and attempts to expand in the same manner as he is now doing. I suggest to him in all seriousness that coal is not automobiles.

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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I think the point of order raised by the Minister of Finance is well taken. I would ask the hon. member for Huron North to confine his remarks to the item under discussion, which is automobiles.

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LIB

Robert John Deachman

Liberal

Mr. DEACHMAN:

Speaking to the point of order, it is rather curious, Mr. Chairman;

I am dealing directly here with the threat of an increased price on coal by negotiation with the United States, which necessitates in the view of some people an increase in the duty on automobiles. The Minister of Finance does not recognize that fact, but it is true. It may seem that we have wandered far afield, but it is directly and positively connected with the point I was going to discuss-

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LIB

Frederick George Sanderson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

I would point out to the hon. member that I have given my ruling, and I would ask him to abide by it.

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LIB

Robert John Deachman

Liberal

Mr. DEACHMAN:

I accept your ruling, Mr. Chairman. Here is the point at issue. Are we going to negotiate directly with the United States, or are we going to change this rate by indirect action? I plead with the government that in the consideration of this item they at least give the House of Commons an opportunity to decide upon it, that they do not by some indirect means alter the direct intention of those who made the treaty.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

This item seems to have engendered quite a lot of heat. I think this is the first time I have had occasion to say anything during the time the treaty has been debated or since the discussion of individual items in the schedules began. But as I sat here day after day listening to the debate I was struck by what must be the enormous difficulty of reconciling the various economic interests in this country. My friend from Essex East (Mr. Martin) nods his head in agreement. Yet he insists on maintaining a society in which you cannot help one person without doing harm to someone else.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Oh, I did not say that.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

I know that the hon. member did not, but his nod conveyed his approval of what I was saying, which had a direct bearing on that point.

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March 24, 1939