March 10, 1936 (18th Parliament, 1st Session)


Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Conservative (1867-1942)


That "hear, hear" is
typical of the kind of criticism of hon. gentlemen opposite. But surely they must admit that men who have had long experience in government, and are just as conscientious as

Canada-UJS. Trade Agreement
they are, are qualified to pass fair and constructive criticism on a measure of this importance.
We have been told that the leader of the opposition should receive a great deal of credit for his part in negotiating this agreement, but hon. gentlemen opposite say that he could not conduct the negotiations to the point of signing the agreement. I think the leader of the opposition has sufficiently well established his own position with respect to the agreement, and surely any intelligent member of this house will appreciate the explanation the right hon. gentleman has given of his part in those negotiations. And surely if we want to look at -the matter in an unbiased way, what the leader of the opposition has said should have some weight when we are attempting to come to a conclusion.
To me as a new member of the house the attitude of hon. gentlemen opposite seems to have been one of cheering and gloating over the fact that this government has been able to consummate this agreement. Their attitude is: You fellows over there had your
chance-why didn't you make an agreement? From the benches opposite we have received very little comment that has been constructive, beyond the presentation of the Prime Minister and the evasive remarks of the Minister of Finance.
I come from the Niagara peninsula, which is of fairly good repute, I think, throughout this dominion, and I wonder how hon. members of this house who represent other fertile districts in this country have been viewing the lack of constructive suggestions from their own side. Think of those vast fertile tracts from the Niagara peninsula to Windsor, and then, north of that, of those vast areas in the St. Lawrence valley, the richest in the world, producing fruits and vegetables, and of those sections of British Columbia which are likely to be affected by this agreement. Do hon. gentlemen representing these districts want Canada to return to the conditions of 1929, to the conditions that prevailed from 1926 to 1930. as I recall them most vividly? Do my hon. friends who are interested in these rich tracts of country recall the flow of trucks back and forth across the border, bringing in the surplus crops of American fruits and vegetables to be disposed of in Ontario and other parts of this dominion? I wonder if they recall that the canning companies were compelled by the competition of American canners to resort to importing a portion of their requirements, and then their pack, much of it, probably went over to the homeland. I shall not
read into Hansard figures from the bureau of statistics showing how these importations were reduced in the years from 1930 to 1935 when we had a Conservative government in power in this country. We have all had an opportunity to digest those figures and discuss them on the public platform and in private, and it is hardly necessary for me to repeat them here. I wonder if hon. gentlemen recall, as I do, the truck loads of surplus American produce coming into our own home market, as I saw them come into the St. Catharines market, and selling at a price with which no producer in Ontario could begin to compete. I have experienced those things, and I know something about them. The late government took steps to protect this particular industry-your industry and mine. It constitutes one of the greatest basic industries of this country. I recall that when the canning factories were assisted by the late government in respect to importations, imports of canned goods, which had been coming into Canada in thousands of cases, were reduced by seventy-five per cent. The statistical reports will prove that. A feeling of security was built up among the fruit and vegetable interests from 1930 to 1935. I know of one very large producer who spent a small fortune-and this point applies to Peel and other counties that have been referred to on the floor of this house-in building greenhouses in which to produce commodities for the households of this country, such as lettuce, early cabbage, and similar products which tend to foster our home markets. I recall that he was frightened almost beyond description when he was told by owners of trucks that came down from Guelph and Galt and Hamilton: "We may as well go a littlefarther east where we will get our producefor half the price that we can buy it fromyou." He replied, "I cannot produce it for any less, with all the costs of production here." They started to carry out their
threat, and I well remember how the late government saw to it that that situation was relieved.
Nor have I forgotten all the invested capital and the immense amount of labour that is taken care of through that investment. I know of one place where over forty persons are working. It is one of the largest greenhouses in the country, growing plants for other growers and for the owner's use. I saw in 1931 cabbage being brought over wholesale from the United States, to the detriment of home production, but the late government saw fit to stop that kind of thing by applying the necessary restrictions. Are hon. mem-

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