July 20, 1944

LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

I had not intended to

speak at this time, but the remarks of my esteemed friend, a gentleman I have grown to like more each year I have sat in the house, have prompted me to add a word or two. The committee will recall that I asked him a question as to the duty on Canadian farm machinery entering the United States.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
LIB

William Ross Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Brantford City):

I did not hear it.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

I asked the hon. member

as to what was the duty on Canadianr-made agricultural implements entering the United States.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
LIB

William Ross Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Brantford City):

I

thought the hon. member was referring to cream separators.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

No; the hon. member said that he was talking about cream separators at the time. My impression is that agricultural implements have entered the United States from Canada free of duty for many years.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
LIB

William Ross Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Brantford City):

Not cream separators.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

I am talking about agricultural machinery. _

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

You cannot cut wheat

with a cream separator.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

I should also like to remind the hon. member, and the Liberal party, to which I am an adherent, if nothing more, that implements free of duty, for farming operations, have formed a part of the Liberal platform ever since 1919. After twenty-five years that promise is being redeemed. And yet the hon. member believes it is a step in the wrong direction.

Well, coming from western Canada, being a farmer and having purchased a considerable amount of machinery for farming-and mostly Canadian machinery at that-I feel that this relief is about due. In my view the duty does mean something to the farmers who have to purchase that machinery. I believe that a monopoly exists in regard to farm machinery, and that removing the duty does not mean anything, so far as prices are concerned, unless some other measure is taken.

I think the hon. member said that it costs about three per cent of the farmer's dollar to maintain machinery, and he challenged anyone in the house to offer figures to controvert that statement. All the hon. member has to do is to look into what the government will lend a veteran who goes to take up land. He will be granted $4,800 to purchase the land, and $1,200 to buy the machinery. The purchase price of the machinery amounts to twenty-five per cent of the total loan. I say from experience that if a man wishes to farm now he will pay approximately fifty per cent for farm machinery and fifty per cent for land. It is a fifty-fifty proposition. To start farming now one would have to lay out as much money for machinery as he would for the land.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
LIB

William Ross Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Brantford City):

I was talking about the annual outlay.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

Well, of course you cannot farm unless you get started. I am talking about the farmer who wants to get started on the farm, and who will need as much money to equip the farm as to buy the land.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

You know something about farming.

Customs Tariff

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

Well, I am sure if the hon. member for Brantford City does not know as much about farming as I do, he knows far more about most other things.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
LIB

William Ross Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Brantford City):

Oh,

I would not agree with that.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
LIB

Harry Leader

Liberal

Mr. LEADER:

I have .always respected him very much, and I honour him very highly. However, I did not wish to go home to my constituency and tell them that I had sat idly by in the House of Commons while Liberal members, members of the Progressive Conservative party, members of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation party and members of the Social Credit party had stood up and defended the duties on agricultural machinery. I would not feel that I had done my duty. So that I now rise again to protest against the hon. member's statement that this is a step in the wrong direction. I believe that it is in the right direction, and that it is just overdue by twenty-five years.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Peterborough West):

The hon. member for Brantford City mentioned that the duty was being taken off cream separators. I quite agree with what he has said. The removal of this duty is going to make a great difference to workers in Canada after the war is over. The duty being taken off cream separators this year will not save the farmers very much, because there are very few cream separators coming into this country from the United States or any other country. After the war is over I am wondering what the workers in one of the largest cream separator plants in the world-the one in Peterborough-are going to do. They will be out of work. Many of those men and women are buying homes to-day. If they are thrown out of jobs through machinery entering Canada ' free of duty, machinery which will be coming into Canada from Sweden and from other countries, they will have a' just grievance. I hope this measure will be taken off the books next year.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. CHURCH:

The policy of the government respecting customs tariff item 409, which is now before us, was set out in the budget speech by the minister. The principle affecting all these agricultural machinery items is the same. The government to-day does not know where it stands. I know that the agricultural implements industry has been contributing a great part to the war effort. I have seen the plants of the Massey-Harris Company in Toronto, which are busy on war work, almost entirely. There are no implements coming into Canada owing to the war, tariff or no tariff.

Whether this item calls for duty, or does not call for it, the fact remains that the policy of the government at the present time in respect of this and following items is simply one of shadow-boxing and mere window-dressing. That is all it is, and with a war on it means nothing. As hon. members know, the government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Mr. Fielding dealt with this problem, and adopted a policy of imperial preference. That was followed for some years with our best steady customer, Britain.

Someone may ask what was done at the meeting of Prime Ministers which took place in London, England, in May. We understand that matters of imperial tradte, and trade of all kinds, and affecting all classes of materials, were dealt with at that conference and the future of imperial preferences was discussed. I might add that when the Drury government was in office in Ontario some of the same proposals were made with respect to agricultural implements. While he was premier, Mr. Drury came to Ottawa. At that time he headed a so-called farmer-labour government. What did they do? They came here and they addressed Mr. King's cabinet. Mr. Robb was Minister of Finance. They advanced the same proposals, through a brief of the Canadian council of agriculture, for free trade in agricultural implements and all along the line. They said that protection was an unmitigated evil, that they wanted to get a spade to dig and root it out. Protection for this industry was the policy of all governments in the early days of this country to 1921. What did the present government do when they came into office in 1,921? They did not reduce tariffs all along the line; they did little or nothing to lower tariffs.

Tariff protection has created work and employment. We have a war on now, and this is just some window-dressing instead of doing something for the farmers on the prairies. The best friends the farmers on the prairies have are the people in the east. I believe in the policy of confederation, each for all and all for each. What is for the benefit of one province is for the benefit of them all. There is a war on; we have had the Ogdens-burg agreement and others, and the result of war is that there is very little of this type of agricultural implements being shipped across the border into Canada, and our agricultural industries are converted to other war work accordingly.

What is going to happen to these men in this industry after the war, the men who work at the Massey-Harris plant in Toronto, the plant in Brantford and in many other places?

Customs Tariff

When the war is over what is going to happen to labour because of this policy? Do not overlook the fact that the United States with its population of 130,000,000 had the Hawley-Smoot tariff regarding all of these industries. In the British House of Commons that tariff was called the eighth wonder of the world in high protection. The Republican party may have a majority in congress and their policy as given at Chicago two weeks ago will be to protect their home market all along the line for themselves. Why should not they protect their home market? Why should we not adopt the policy of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Mr. Fielding of empire preferences also, as a home-export market? When the war is over, what is to become of the men in this agricultural industry

What has been happening in the other dominions? Mr. Curtin, Mr. Fraser and the other prime ministers have been sounding the same battle cry of empire trade and the empire family first over in London. I believe this matter was discussed in London when our Prime Minister was there. What is to become of the industries like the agricultural industry and hundreds of others? Something should be done about it. Take Russia with its population of 180,000,000 people. Russia is going to look after her own people and her own home markets by high protection. They have already announced a policy along those lines, and Britain has a separate bi-lateral policy with them for twenty years, signed at Moscow.

I was surprised when I looked over the budget to find that the government was all at sea on this empire trade question. The people in the British empire believe in the preference. The British empire has been our best customer and our steady market; it has been the best friend of the prairie provinces. We have been able to sell our products in exchange for goods and services. The imports and exports have created a tremendous amount of work and the farmers of the prairies have been provided with a steady market, not one that is here to-day and gone to-morrow, gone for the cry of internationalism.

The British empire is going into liquidation by default unless we look out and hold to our home market for our family first and any surplus for others. We should take a leaf out of what Russia and the United States are doing in connection with their industries, in safeguarding their own home market. When the war is over, there will always be tariffs. Look at the resolutions which were passed a week ago at Chicago by the Republican party. They are going to go back to the old days when they looked after their own people first, and the same with Russia with her 180,000,000 people, and who can blame them? Great

Britain has lost a quarter of a billion pounds in investments overseas. These have been marketed and put up as a pledge for the war, for munitions and food. She has lost all that and she needs the support of a policy like that adopted by Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Mr. Fielding. They were both Liberals, but they gave Great Britain preference and increased our trade with Britain and that of Britain with Canada.

Is the government going to throw overboard the Ottawa agreements for separate trade agreements? If so, they should announce their policy to Australia and New Zealand, If so, Canada will be sounding the death knell of the British empire unless we have this empire trade and .preference. I believe the prime ministers discussed this whole problem in London. The British empire will go by default and into liquidation unless home markets are available as they have been in the past.

Let me refer to this particular item. I remember when Mr. Drury came here and said that protection was an unmitigated evil. I was in the railway committee room when a large deputation representing the Canadian council of agriculture came here. They attacked the system which had been built up in this country and which had done so much for this country and for the empire. They said it was an unmitigated evil and should be wiped out altogether. Thousands of people left Ontario to go to the United States for jobs, many of them returned soldiers from the last war who had fought at the risk of their lives for this country. We are dealing only with this particular industry, but when the next budget comes down it will sound the deathknell of the automobile industry and many other industries.

I am in complete sympathy with the farmer because I know he has had to pay too much for these implements. When I first entered this house I suggested that the minister should have an expert in his department who would set a fair price on these agricultural implements to be paid by the farmers on the prairies.

This question will have to be solved in the next election. When the war is over there will be tens of thousands of our workers out of work. I remember when ward 5 in Toronto, at present represented by the hon. member for Davenport and part of which I represented when I first entered the house, part of it in the northwest, was almost an open field. The streets no-th of Queen and running west from Bathurst, Markham, Palmerston, Euclid, Manning, Shaw, from Queen to Bloor; all those streets for a mile and a half were built up by

Customs Tariff

houses erected in all these areas for the implement and other industries; also where the late Colonel Dennison, our magistrate, lived.

Under the protectionist policy that part of the city was built up. The workers bought their own homes and they did a great deal for Canada and for the British empire. I believe in protecting the farmer because he has had to suffer a lot in the past. Over ninety per cent of our industry owners were all right; but a small per cent of the manufacturers wanted to claim all the benefits of protection for themselves and give nothing in return to the consumer. After the war our own empire family should come first with Canada. The mother country wants to exchange goods and services along these lines.

Unless we and New Zealand and Australia help the mother country the British empire will go by default. I do hope that the Minister of Finance will declare before parliament closes what the policy of the government is going to be regarding preferences and empire trade all along the line when the war is over. If free trade has its way I believe that not tens of thousands but a million and a half of our population will have to go to the United States to look for work. You saw what happened at the Chicago convention last week, and there is another convention meeting there this week. A resolution was proposed that after the war they go for their own home market. I plead with the government to announce their policy regarding preferences and empire trade. Let the mother country know what you are going to do about them. These preferences should be brought up to date to meet modern conditions. Some of the duties are all right in some respects, but other duties undoubtedly should be protective. The United States and Russia are going to be the most highly protected countries in the world, war or no war. Britain has an agreement with Russia to-day, in which the dominions have no part, covering some of the matters to which I have referred to-night.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. WRIGHT:

I had not intended to take part in this debate since I covered the ground pretty fully in speaking in the budget debate, but I could not let pass unchallenged the statement of the hon. member for Brantford City with respect to the cost of farm implements on the average farm. In twenty-five years of farming in western Canada it has cost me approximately $8,000 for farm machinery and repairs, or roughly $400 a year, which is considerably over the $1.65 suggested by the hon. member for Brantford City.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
LIB

William Ross Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Brantford City):

I said 3-3 per cent.

[Mr. Church. 1

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink
CCF

Percy Ellis Wright

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

Mr. WRIGHT:

That is 3-3 per cent of the average income. It certainly costs more than that in western Canada, and anyone who has farmed in Canada will bear me out in my figures as to the approximate cost of farm machinery on the average farm in the west.

This tariff item would be helpful in reducing farm machinery costs, provided always that the reduction in the tariff is carried through into the price of the machinery. But that has not happened in the west, and nobody knows it better than the present government. In 1935 they reduced the tariff from 25 per cent as it was under the Bennett government to 121 per cent, and promptly the price of farm machinery went up by 2-4 per cent. That certainly indicated to me, and I think to the people of Canada, that there was a combine in farm machinery as between the manufacturers in the United States and the manufacturers in Canada. Otherwise that reduction in the tariff should have been passed on to the user of farm machinery. I doubt whether this reduction in the tariff is going to mean very much unless the government are prepared to go farther than they have done in the past.

The hon. member for Brantford City said that he was alarmed about the position of labour. I have figures here as to what labour gets out of the total price paid by the farmer for farm machinery. These figures were produced before the committee which inquired into farm machinery prices in 1935 and 1936. On an 8-foot binder which cost the farmer $281 laid down in Regina, labour received $22.62, and that, I believe, included the full cost of factory labour and office staff also.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   THE FARM DOLLAR-CANADA
Permalink

July 20, 1944