June 14, 1935 (17th Parliament, 6th Session)

LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

It is not an assertion, sir, it is a presumption. If it is against the rules of the house I withdraw it. But I find it absolutely absurd. This is a vote with regard to treaties; let us go further with it. What happened with regard to our trade with

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the United Kingdom? How much was lost each year since this government came into power compared with the last twelve months that the Mackenzie King government was in power? These figures come from officialrecords and no one on the other side from the Prime Minister down can contradict them. The first year he was in power our trade with the United Kingdom was 8155,143,483 less. The second year it was$247,341,815 less. The third year it was$226,594,446 less. The fourth year it was
$114,375,846 less. Yet they say: We are doing better than the Liberals did when they were in power. The total loss for the four years this government was in power up to August 31, 1934, was $743,455,590. This appears on page 2237 of Hansard. This is how we have lost our trade since this government have been in power on account of the wrong way in which treaties have been drafted since 1930.
Sir, it is very difficult to draft a treaty. It takes experts. You remember that when President Wilson went to Versailles to attend on the drafting of that famous treaty, some provisions of which have been before us in this house this year, he was surrounded by a legion of experts, including the chef of the Waldorf-Astoria. He was surrounded by geographical experts, economic experts and experts in this and that. Who were the experts who accompanied the right hon. gentleman on his numerous trips abroad? They were just freshmen and sophomores without the least bit of experience in regard to the changes that might be made in the drafting of one item in one treaty. Does not the Prime Minister and each of his colleagues realize the importance of the least change in a treaty? Sir, how were the tariff items changed from 1930 to 1933, when for the first time a tariff board was appointed by this government? They were changed at the request of some shortsighted people, the privileged few who were friends of this government and who came here asking for favours. Properly they should have asked for rights, not for favours, because they were asking the Prime Minister and his colleagues to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. During the special session of 1930 the corridors of this house were infested with those birds of prey who made so much money during the war, those well known profiteers who were so close to the government as to be subscribers to Tory party funds. They came here asking for a ransom, and they got it, in the stupid tariff of the special session of 1930. Was that drafted with the care with which a treaty would be drafted? It was not.
During the last campaign we heard a great deal about the treaties with New Zealand and Australia, which were condemned throughout this country. The Prime Minister and his colleagues said everywhere, "We will draft treaties that will fight for you." They drafted policies that fought against the Canadian people. The London conference of 1930, at which all the mistakes could have been mended, was a complete failure because of the attitude of the Prime Minister. It was a fiasco. There the right hon. gentleman met the representatives of the other British dominions, but probably he was not on speaking terms with them. Therefore, there was no agreement with Australia and New Zealand, with whom we had been trading all the time. There was an instance in which the Prime Minister showed that he was not an expert in drafting treaties and coming to agreements with other parts of the British Empire. Afterwards what did we see? We saw the then Minister of Trade and Commerce go to Honolulu to meet the representatives from the antipodes, with whom he arrived at agreements after the Prime Minister and his colleagues, in different parts of Canada, and especially in the eastern townships, had condemned the previous government for importing butter from New Zealand1 and Australia.
During the three months preceding the election of 1930, huge quantities of butter were imported into this country. In the records of this house will be found a question by the hon. member for Temiscouata, asking who were those who imported such quantities of butter during that period. The Prime Minister rose in his place and said it was not the policy of the government to divulge that information. Is it not true that this butter was imported mainly with the funds of the Tory party in order to lower the price of butter as propaganda against the Liberal party? It was most absurd to import butter at that time, July, June and May, because those are the months during which the production of butter in the antipodes is the smallest. That shows clearly that this butter was imported only for political purposes, and probably that is why the government refused to answer that proper question.
What about those treaties, sir? Is it not right to ask the Prime Minister and his colleagues about their treaties with Australia and New Zealand? During the special session of 1930 they raised the tariff, but a year later
Franchise Act-Mr. Cahan

they lowered it when the then Minister of Trade and Commerce met the representatives of these countries at Honolulu.
Progress reported.

Topic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON MOTION FOR SECOND READING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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