May 9, 1938 (18th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)


The hon. member says, "we do not admit it"; I had hoped that in view of the statement made by the Minister of Labour the other evening we would be a unit on that point. It is true that in the United States with respect to raw materials high tariffs have been very largely replaced by free entry, and it is true that in this country the free items are very much more numerous than the average man realizes, as he will learn if he will study the tariff. The tariff as a structure was designed to encourage the development of the country, and to provide us with facilities whereby, in a moment' of stress and strain, we might be able to maintain our position.
I know there are very acute differences of opinion as to the extent to which a tariff should be imposed. But I cannot think there are many members of the house who are realists who will not admit that the tariff is no longer a question of discretion on the1 part of governments; it is a necessity. Then, if that be so-and I submit it must be so- is not our only question the consideration of what shall be the extent of the tariff? Is that not the only question? And if that, is the question to consider, what factors: enter into it? I suggest to hon. members that in a country with a population so sparse,, inhabiting an area so vast, and with an urban population so great relatively to the: rural population, subject to the conditions I have imposed as to quality and price, the tariff should be such as to give to the Canadian producer in factoiy and mill the business: of his own country. I have never hesitated for a moment to say that I apply that prin-, ciple also to agriculture.
The hon. member who spoke a moment ago was hardly familiar with the tariff history: of the country. I trust I am not becoming controversial when I say that we encountered much criticism because we endeavoured to see

Farm Implements Committee Report
that the farmers in and about the great cities, whether growing fruit or market garden truck, should be protected from the climatic advantages which belonged to their competitors in another country.

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